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Laser on a handgun ?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by amboy49, Dec 30, 2012.

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  1. amboy49

    amboy49 Well-Known Member

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    I'm contemplating the purchase of another handgun. Something on the smaller frame side for concealed carry as a personal defense gun. I'm thinking of a Ruger LC9 with the laser. Notwithstanding the obvious concerns about carrying a 9mm for a primary defense weapon, I'd like to hear folks weigh in with their thoughts/opinions re: the laser.

    The Ruger does have some drawbacks according to some of the reports I've read, but my main question(s) now relate to the laser and how it affects sighting, especially under bright sun light conditions. Is the laser only an advantage during low light conditions ? Is the laser just a device to help those who don't want to practice and become proficient with standard sights ?

    Thanks in advance,

    Amboy 49
     
  2. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Banned User Banned

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    Don't count on the laser to make up for lack of marksmanship. They are an accessory sight. They are intimidating, and can be used to great advantage by a trained shooter, but can back fire on an inexperienced user.

    Many classes, including our state's HCP class, do not allow them to be used.
     
  3. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I have two J frame S&W revolvers with Crimson Trace lasers. Recently bought a Springfield Arms XDS, shot it at the range--two months later got a Crimson Trace for the XDS--The XDS is light years better than my two wheel guns, trigger, a 5 shot magazine for reloads.

    Going to your question about a laser--try this for a drill--wait till its dark--lay on your back--with your gun in your hand roll it to a selected target--basically you can hit a bad guy with almost no personal exposure.

    Don't rely on it ---its a very reassuring tool.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  4. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    Lasers on handguns are the best thing since sliced bread. I wouldn't carry a defense pistol without one.
    They're somewhat like headlights on a car.

    Lasers don't work in bright sunlight; why would I care?
    Do I NEED headlights in bright sunlight?

    Lasers do work just fine indoors in bright light.

    Can you see your sights in the dark? Can you drive at midnight WITHOUT headlights?

    With a laser, I don't even have to see my GUN, miuch less the sights. Where the red dot goes, the bullet goes. I could lay on my back in total darkness, with the gun in my weak hand, outstretched around the corner. If I can see the red dot, I can put the bullet there. Can anyone do that with iron sights? Even night sights? I think not.
     
  5. Unknown1

    Unknown1 Well-Known Member

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    <blockquote><I>"I could lay on my back in total darkness, with the gun in my weak hand, outstretched around the corner. If I can see the red dot, I can put the bullet there."</I></blockquote>Have you personally actually done that at all, let alone under stress, or are you assuming that you should be able to do it when you need to??

    Lasers verify the shooter's skill...they don't replace it.

    Keller
     
  6. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    I have shot the s--T out of a target while laying on my back with a laser. They work, its another toll to get you home safe---ask any plumber or electrician if they prefer a screw driver to a screw gun.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  7. sptnclays

    sptnclays Member

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    I have one on a smith revolver. I think they may be intimidating but I couldn't hit crap with it. Maybe it was me but if I wasn't looking at the sights I would shoot way off center.
     
  8. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    Well, it should go without saying that owning a Silver Seitz doesn't mean you can break 25. And just because you can break 25 in practice doesn't mean you can do it in under stress. There; got trap into the discussion.

    I'm not bragging about my shooting; just offering up the advantages of a laser over iron sights. I can put 5 in the head of a silhouette target, with a 12 ounce J-frame .357 mag, DA only, from behind my back at 7 yds. I love blowing up spuds and apples that way; makes believers out of skeptics.

    Could I do that under stress? I hope I never have to find out.

    Can anybody do it without stress and without a laser? I know I can't.

    There simply isn't anything superior for self defense. Believe it or don't.
     
  9. Lefty1960

    Lefty1960 Member

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    A laser will get you killed. You can get get on target in most defensive pistol situations much
    faster with open sights than you can with a laser. Seconds count in a defensive situation.
     
  10. smsnyder

    smsnyder Well-Known Member

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    Laser are fine for targets but night sights and iron sights are better in a hot situation.
     
  11. jbmi

    jbmi Well-Known Member

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    Here's what my 380 LCP looks like with a laser and extended mag.
    A small gun like this is worthless trying to use the sights, they are about an inch apart and that little gun in big hands doesn't make it any easier.
    The laser is perfect, point and shoot, from any odd position you may find yourself in.
    I also put one on my 40S&W, even though that one has great night sights.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Haskins Bill

    Haskins Bill TS Member

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    My experience with shooting with a laser equiped handgun is not to take too much time after the laser hits the target. The longer you hold on target the more you shake! Put it on target and let the lead fly. Hell get out your laser pointer and try that on say the door knob across your living room. The longer on target the more you shake. Just saying. Bill
     
  13. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I prefer tritium night sights, such as these made by Trijicon.

    Tritium gas is an isotope of hydrogen. When it decays it gives off beta particles and electrons. The electrons strike a phospher screen, which then gives off a photon.

    The half-life is 12.3 years. That means in 12.3 years the sights will be half their brightness, and should be replaced. But the tradeoff is that these sights are always on. No batteries, no switches.

    The effect is a small glowing green dot for each tritium container. Generally the front sight will be a single green dot, and the rear sight will have two dots. There are variations, though, for color, and sometimes a post type front sight is used instead of a dot.

    I have two guns with these sights. My main house gun is a SIG/Sauer P-220 in 45 ACP. It's from the late 1980s. The tritium is well past its half life and needs replacing. The other is my Remington 1187 shotgun with rifle sights. Trijicon makes replacements for the Remington sight blades. I use this shotgun for night hunting coyotes, but it also works well for defense.

    When you see these in the gun shop, they don't seem to be overly impressive. But at 3AM when your eyes are fully dilated, they are quite bright.

    Cost is generally in the $100 range for a 3-dot set. The issue is whether you have a front blade that is replaceable. If it is not, then it will have to be machined to accept the tritium vial. Many gun makers offer tritium sights from various companies as a factory option.

    From a tactical standpoint, you use them just as you would any iron sight. No messing with switches, no looking for the red laser dot, no time hesitation.
     
  14. mike campbell

    mike campbell Active Member

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    "From a tactical standpoint, you use them just as you would any iron sight. No messing with switches, no looking for the red laser dot, no time hesitation.'

    Have you actually tried a laser sight?

    !) I don't have to "mess with a switch." The switch is a pressure pad under my finger. It's instant on when I want it. if...IF...it doesn't come on, well then, I'm no worse off than if it wasn't there.

    2) I don't "look for the red laser dot." I don't even look at the gun. How many times have you heard a trapshooter say "don't look at the bead, just look at the target." That's all you have to do with a laser.... don't even look at the gun, just look at the target and the dot will be there.

    3) No hesitation? I can't believe anyone could ever try one and believe they can acquire a target faster with anything else. If you're trying to line up 3 glowing dots, you're focused on the wrong thing. You think a boxer watches his gloves? If it's light enough to see the sights, you don't need them. If it's too dark to see the sights, you could use a laser.

    In fact, apart from some personal "preference", I don't believe there is any rational argument for not having a laser sight. Iron sights are abolutely unecessary on a gun meant for encounters at 20 feet or less; that's why so many belly guns have been, and still are, made with the most rudimentary gutter on the topstrap.
     
  15. Avaldes

    Avaldes Well-Known Member

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    I can't say I have ever seen anyone at a range that could shoot for score with a laser sight system. Doesn't mean they don't work, but I just haven't personally seen them work well.
     
  16. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    mike campbell, quote: <i>"Have you actually tried a laser sight?</i>

    Yes. Several. Got rid of them. For me tritium night sights are superior.

    mike campbell, quote: <i>"!) I don't have to "mess with a switch." The switch is a pressure pad under my finger. It's instant on when I want it. if...IF...it doesn't come on, well then, I'm no worse off than if it wasn't there.</i>

    Yes, there are grip pressure switches. Some work better than others. Others have ordinary switches.

    mike campbell, quote: <i>"2) I don't "look for the red laser dot." I don't even look at the gun. How many times have you heard a trapshooter say "don't look at the bead, just look at the target." That's all you have to do with a laser.... don't even look at the gun, just look at the target and the dot will be there.</i>

    Does not universally work that way for everyone. If you can make it work that way, good for you. Unfortunately, some people cannot pre-align a laser on target. They have to hunt for the dot. Lasers are not a universal solution for everyone. Many cannot align a handgun onto target without sights. The irony is if they could they probably would not need to use a laser in the first place.

    mike campbell, quote: <i>"3) No hesitation? I can't believe anyone could ever try one and believe they can acquire a target faster with anything else. If you're trying to line up 3 glowing dots, you're focused on the wrong thing. You think a boxer watches his gloves? If it's light enough to see the sights, you don't need them. If it's too dark to see the sights, you could use a laser.</i>

    Obviously you are having issues with iron sights. It's good to know your limitations. I have no such limitations. Iron sights are the fastest for me to use, and it makes no difference to me substituting three dot tritium night sights. The three dots are aligned as the gun comes onto target. It's one fast, fluid motion.

    mike campbell, quote: <i>"In fact, apart from some personal "preference", I don't believe there is any rational argument for not having a laser sight. Iron sights are abolutely unecessary on a gun meant for encounters at 20 feet or less; that's why so many belly guns have been, and still are, made with the most rudimentary gutter on the topstrap. !) I don't have to "mess with a switch." The switch is a pressure pad under my finger. It's instant on when I want it. if...IF...it doesn't come on, well then, I'm no worse off than if it wasn't there.</i>

    Well, if you feel you absolutely, positively cannot miss and can guarantee that a missed bullet will not endanger others, then perhaps you have a point that handguns don't need sights. If you cannot guarantee exact bullet impact, perhaps you need to rethink the subject of aiming.

    Rational arguments against laser sights? I already outlined some above, but here are more.

    They are a battery driven electronic device, subject to mechanical and electrical problems. While these are better now, they still are not as rugged as the guns they are put on. And they are no substitution for not learning to properly aim and shoot a gun.

    Another issue is some people turn the laser on and leave it on, especially those who have little training and grip the gun tightly. The problem with this is that lasers work both ways. Dust backscatter illuminates a path back to you. Lasers should only be turned on when the target is identified and not before.
     
  17. whopper1

    whopper1 Member

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    I prefer a Taurus Judge loaded with #4 shot-you really dont need to aim!!

    Dave
     
  18. mtimney

    mtimney TS Member

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    I have never been in a gun fight, but I am a relatively experienced IDPA competitor (3rd in my class in the New England Regionals this year) so I have a slight idea of what it might be like to use a firearm in self defense.

    Lasers are not allowed in IDPA matches, so I am very used to using the sights on my customized Glock. That being said, I have lasers on both my carry weapons... a Ruger SR9-C and a Ruger LCP. The SR9-C is also equipped with tritium night sights.

    IMHO when it comes to self defense you are foolish to depend entirely upon a laser (for the reasons mentioned in previous posts)....and just as foolish not to take advantage of the benefits of a laser (for the reasons mentioned in the previous posts).

    The trick is to know when to use the different sighting systems. Some situations are obvious--You can't see most lasers outside during the day, and some light conditions make it hard to see tritium sights well. Others situations are not so obvious.

    At the very least, you need night sights on a defensive pistol. Adding a laser can be a considerable help, but you need to know how to use it and how to switch back and forth between it and regular sights.
    Mark T.
     
  19. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    The hand guns that I have that do not have lasers are Taurus Judge (car gun) & my FN-57, my house defense gun-All my carry guns have the laser.

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  20. Kerz

    Kerz Member

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    Hey Guys,
    Excellent discussion topic… many good pros and cons. I would offer that lasers do have a place in defensive tactics but they are not the solution, rather an option (tool in the tool box). For example, seeing the sight picture in low light is much different than identifying the treat, thus a need for proper flashlight handling skills. Training (correct training) will be the key to surviving a life threatening situation. Again, this is an excellent topic but much too complex to thoroughly cover in this venue.
    Vic
     
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