No sooner did I put LASER grips on my little five shot revolver, then I started receiving comments and emails telling me all the mythological reasons why I should never have done it. At first, I spent some time responding to folks individually in order to respectfully explain that their concerns were unfounded. It didn’t take very long for me to realize that the amount of misinformation that is floating around about LASER sights was going to take some real world myth-busting to clear up.
The first step in busting myths is to define the myths that need busting. With that in mind, here are the common misconceptions that are most often expressed to me.
Myth # 1: You cannot see LASER Sights in harsh daylight.
False: I tested my Crimson Trace LASER grips, which are equipped with a red LASER, in harsh daylight against the following objects:
- An orange silhouette target.
- A red fence.
- My garage, which has white siding.
- Various types of clothing.
In every case, and without exception, the LASER dot was clearly and easily visible. I don’t have a green LASER sight, but I have been told that the green LASERs are even more visible in daylight. This myth is BUSTED!
Myth # 2: LASER sights are too expensive.
Obviously, this is subjective. Depending upon a person’s individual budget, adding a LASER sight to one’s defensive firearm may be monetarily out of reach. However, many of the folks who express such objections spend a fortune each year buying lattes at Starbucks and food at the local fast food joint. In response to such folks I generally ask, “How much is your life worth?”
It is common for defensive shootings to occur in low-light circumstances where seeing your sights is almost impossible. Given the increase in active shooter incidents, it has become increasingly common for potential victims to find themselves hiding behind furniture, under desks, and so on. This would require you to shoot around or over objects without being able to see your sights at all. A LASER sight attached to your defensive handgun would solve both of these problems and allow you to quickly and efficiently put rounds on target, potentially saving your life and the lives of those around you. Many folks simply cannot afford the investment in LASER sights. I understand that. Nevertheless, for many middle class people the argument that LASER sights are too expensive is a lifestyle issue rather than an issue of cost. In their cases at least, this myth is BUSTED!
Myth # 3: LASER sights will give away your position.
OK… first of all, I’m just a citizen carrying a 5 shot revolver for my personal defense as I go through my daily routine. I’m not a special forces sniper wearing a ghillie suit while I hide in the bushes, waiting to take out my target behind enemy lines. Can we get real here, please?
The majority of defensive shootings happen at distances between three feet and three yards. At those distances, its a fairly sure bet that the bad guy already knows where you are. The LASER is not going to change that.
Nevertheless, we tested the theory that the LASER would give your position away, just to make sure. While testing the LASER sights at night, we discovered that the LASER emitter was slightly visible when the LASER was pointed almost directly at the subject. For the most part, it was otherwise invisible. This means that the bad guy might possibly notice the LASER emitter an instant before he sees the muzzle flash from your gun and feels the impact of your bullet. At that point, you will most assuredly have given your position away.
We also discovered that the LASER beam itself was completely invisible except when the air was filled with smoke, fog or other particulates that reflect the beam. If you happen to find yourself in such a rare situation while hunkered down in your hiding place, you can simply turn the LASER off. That way, if you have not yet been found by your potential attacker, your LASER won’t give away your position. My Crimson Trace LASER Grips have a handy switch on the bottom of the grips for that very purpose.
In conclusion, our tests revealed the following. For the purpose intended, the idea that a LASER sight on a concealed carry handgun should not be used because it will give away your position is complete nonsense. This myth is BUSTED!
Myth #4: LASER sights are just toys with no practical use.
The first response I thought of when someone took this position with me was, “if weapons mounted LASER sights are useless toys, why does the United States Military use them?” One would think that this response would be enough to dispel the myth. All the same, we took a hard look at the subject anyway.
Of the many useful reasons to install a LASER sight on your defensive firearms, the following, listed in no particular order, seemed the most relevant to civilian use:
Improved performance under stress:
Firearms instructors, such as myself, stress the need to focus on the front sight and to get a flash sight picture prior to each press of the trigger. When and where appropriate and possible, we apply some level of stress to a student’s training in an effort to establish the skill of acquiring a flash sight picture during dangerous stressful situations.
Unfortunately, people who do not undergo such training or fail to practice the application of it, will invariably focus on the threat the moment they are faced with a life or death confrontation. A LASER sight allows the gun’s operator to focus on the threat and still put rounds on target by simply placing the LASER dot where the round needs to go.
Aiming from odd positions and orientations:
As explained above, active shooter incidents have increased in recent years. As a result, the possibility of having to shoot from behind a piece of furniture or other object has become more likely. In that event, raising your head in order to use the sights on your handgun might expose your noggin to the bad guy’s bullets. It is a far better approach to keep your head down and use your LASER sight to aim your gun by simply reaching over or around the object you’re hiding behind. All you have to do is peak around or under the object to see that you’re on target. Put the dot on the bad guy and shoot.
Easier sighting for folks with bad eyesight:
When our eyes make it difficult or impossible to see our sights, the addition of a LASER sight can save the day. My eyes have deteriorated as I’ve gotten older. That’s why I have applied brightly colored sight paint to the sights on my guns. The sight paint helps, but my sights are still blurry to my aging eyes. Adding the LASER sights have improved my ability to get my gun on target quickly. I didn’t realize what an astounding difference the LASER sights would make until I tried them. If you ask me, the LASER sights are worth their weight in gold. This myth is BUSTED!
Myth #5: LASERS are pointless. The batteries can die.
It is true that LASER sights require batteries to function. Guess what… so do flashlights, cell phones, tablets, laptops and even cars. We don’t refuse to take advantage of other forms of technology because the batteries might die. Why would we refuse to make use of LASER sights?
If the possibility of the batteries dying is a big concern, then buy some extra batteries and change them often. If my LASER sight batteries die during an emergency situation, I’ll use my iron sights. That’s one of the reasons I painted them with brightly colored sight paint. They make a great backup sighting system. Like many of the other objections to using LASER sights, this one is just silly. Even so, we bandied the idea about for a while and concluded that this myth was BUSTED even before it began.
It should be clear, at this point, that LASER sights can be a useful addition to your defensive firearm. In a world in which criminals and terrorists are more brazen and better prepared, a LASER sight can give the law-abiding citizen a badly needed edge. I don’t know about you, but I’m for anything that stacks the deck in my favor.