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Thread: Laser or no laser?

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    I know this is often a personal choice, but I run into a lot of people who abhor the use of lasers. Their main point being that a laser doesn't make you a better shooter.

    I have a laser on my Glock 37 and I definately think there is some value in it. I agree that a laser won't make you a better shooter, mechanics-wise. But, it will make you shoot better. As long as you continue to practice the mechanics, a laser, IMHO, will help you in self defense situations in speed of tracking 1 or more targets.

    I personally practice both ways, with and without the laser. After all, it can fail, and then what? I practice my mechanics but also feel that the laser can help me shoot better in stress and time-sensitive situations, even in low-light if I don't have a light handy.

    So, what I tell people is this: a laser won't make you a better shooter, but it will allow you to shoot better without having to use your sights.

    What do you guys think?

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    The pros use them (Military: Delta, Seals, etc..). I believe there must be some benefit especially in low light conditions. Plus they seem to have an intimidation factor that could lead into the bad guy standing down without requiring you to shoot. They also look cool as hell (my opinion) .

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    cs9c1 wrote:
    The pros use them (Military: Delta, Seals, etc..). I believe there must be some benefit especially in low light conditions. Plus they seem to have an intimidation factor that could lead into the bad guy standing down without requiring you to shoot. They also look cool as hell (my opinion) .
    Good point on the intimidation factor, I forgot about that one.

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    Lasers are a tool, much like a light, bayonet, or scope... All have their uses when used in conjunction with a firearm. To be effective, any tool must be set-up and used properly.

    They are good for unaimed snap-shots and point-shooting, IF you have mastered the proper handling of the gun that it is mounted on, AND if you have practicedusing the laser itself. Also good for estimating range and point-of-impact. NOT good to rely on for accurate shooting. If used defensively, a laser will give away your position, much like a weapon-mounted light. Lasers can also 'drift' (become misaligned over time), and if you rely on the dot for aim, your bullet will not end up where you intended (very bad thing!). I would not advocate the use of a laser for anything but a short range target acquisition AID, not a replacement for the sights.

    molonlabetn


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    I agree whith what everyone has said.

    I really like the idea of having a laser, especially in a defensive situation. The laser should allow you to "see" where your aiming while moving to cover / retreating to saftey. I could also see it as a benifit while engadging multiple BG's.

    Cheers,

    Jason

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    I have an internal Lasermax on my SIG P229. I use it primarilly as a training aid, as it allows me to see where I may be anticipating recoil, jerking the trigger, or using other bad habits. When I train with it, the idea is to keep it from moving off the target center. Training with it over time promotes muscle memory and actually makes you a better point shooter. I don't carry with it installed.

    There is also the intimidation factor, but I don't know if I would use it in a self defense scenario.

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    Never. It's a gadget that can fail. There's no substitute for learning to shoot properly. Besides, at 1 to 15 feet where most encounters occur, what do you need a laser pointer for?

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    cREbralFIX wrote:
    Never. It's a gadget that can fail. There's no substitute for learning to shoot properly. Besides, at 1 to 15 feet where most encounters occur, what do you need a laser pointer for?
    Agreed, It's no substitue for practice and training. But the deterent factor is a big plus.


    Cheers,

    Jason

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    I'm not so sure about the deterrent factor. What if the goblin doesn't see it or is doped up and doesn't care? I'd rather not waste that precious second or two figuring out whether or not the goblin is intimidated. Moving is a better investment, IMHO.

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    I have one for my XD-9 Subcompact. It was a gift. It is fun toshoot with, but I never carry with it attached. It is also a high powered flashlight.

    I just don't see myself clearing out any drug houses anytime soon.

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    cREbralFIX wrote:
    I'm not so sure about the deterrent factor. What if the goblin doesn't see it or is doped up and doesn't care? I'd rather not waste that precious second or two figuring out whether or not the goblin is intimidated. Moving is a better investment, IMHO.
    I don't intend to insinuate that a laser can defuse all situations. If the threatening individual is "doped up" or just nuts, I agree that moving to cover (if possible) , breathing, and a steady squeeze are the best answer. But (and this is a big but) if you are dealing with anyone with a lick of sense, I believe, they would think twice about pursuing injury upon an individual with a pistol illuminating their chest or head (if your that good) with a laser. I don't use one now(I trust my iron sights). I have used them and they do have a place,in point or low light shooting they do assist in acquiring your target faster. No gimmick will ever out do training. It takes thousands of rounds, patience, and good direction to become a superior marksman, IMHO. And even then it can all got the hell in a hurry when the stress of a situation take effect. OK, I'm off the soap box now.Next...

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    LOL...

    I've noticed that many people who have lasers on their pistols at the range really bounce all over the place with it. It doesn't look easy to use. Is that the case?

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    cREbralFIX wrote:
    LOL...

    I've noticed that many people who have lasers on their pistols at the range really bounce all over the place with it. It doesn't look easy to use. Is that the case?
    The laser definately shows you how shaky you are but I think the shakiness is also a result of looking downrange at the target and not using your sights and not using proper technique. I still like the idea of having a laser there in the case I might not have the time or mental clarity to use proper technique and I can still see about where my round is gonna go. Of course, that's the point of practicing, so you don't have the think about technique, it's already there.

    One more thing, is I think the laser can help on longer range shots too but I haven't 'scientifically' tested that.

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    Well I sold my Lasermax a week ago. I was using it primarilly as a training aid, and found it to be helpfull in taming some bad habits. Now I notice no difference in my groups without it, they are still 2 to 3 inches at 15yds. Prior to using the Lasermax they were 4 to 6 with some fliers, so I think it paid off.

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    I think the deterent effect is limited for CC holders. You will probably never have theluxury to pull, point, lase, and wait to see if it has any effect on an attacker. You will be lucky to be able to get off an aimed shot.

    As a training aid it is probably a good thing.

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    I agree ilbob. Maybe more of an issue for CC'ers like myself. I think as long as you don't rely it, it wouldn't hurt to have one.

    Cheers,

    Jason

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    My 2 cents is that a laser can't really replace the accuracy results one can achieve by the proper application of shooting fundamentals. OTOH a laser may be useful in low light situations, for compromised shooting positions or shooting around cover, and maybe for "intimidation" purposes. However, if you aren't justified in shooting someone, I can't see that pointing a laser equipped weapon at that person would be very often justified either. Not that it would never be unjustified but it could be legally dangerous for the gun owner.

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    My concerns are these:

    1) A laser may make target acquisition easier in low light, but you're betting your life or somebody elses that your laser didn't get knocked out of alignment and that your bullet is going where the dot is.

    2) In low light situations, a laser gives away your position as much as it paints the target.

    3) As pointed out earlier, lasers are mechanical devices that fail (especially the batteries). As we all know, Murphy was an optimist which means that the laser will fail when you need it most.

    4) They're relatively expensive. Why not spend the money on night sights and range time?

    5) If it's dark enough that you can't see your front sight, then you can not isolate your target and have no idea what's behind it.

    Just my 2 cents worth, does anybody have change for a nickel?

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    Got Sig? wrote:
    I have an internal Lasermax on my SIG P229. I use it primarilly as a training aid, as it allows me to see where I may be anticipating recoil, jerking the trigger, or using other bad habits. When I train with it, the idea is to keep it from moving off the target center. Training with it over time promotes muscle memory and actually makes you a better point shooter. I don't carry with it installed.

    There is also the intimidation factor, but I don't know if I would use it in a self defense scenario.
    I like the idea of using it as a training aid. I bet that it would really help a person develop control during the heavy trigger pull of a DAO carry gun. -Opie

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    Well, to add to the intimidation crowd, most BG's have probably seen enough bad action movies that they will flip out if they notice they've got a severe case of reddotitis.

    Then again, some BG's are smart.

    Still, there's something a bit... predatory about a laser, I suppose.

    Especially if you have a three dot triangle configuration.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Yes, lasers are gadgets that can fail. So are flight instruments, and pilots in the "golden age of flight" abhored them for that very reason. Who needs more gadgets than a magnetic compass (when has the earth's magnetic field failed) and the good, old, reliable Mark I human eye-ball? But today, we would consider a pilot crazy to think like that and we wouldn't dream of boarding a plane that wasn't equipped with those failure prone gadgets.

    There are various pro's and con's to use of lasers, but I think the big issue is this:
    In actual shootings, police and civilians hit the bad guy about 20% to 25% of the time with ordinary iron sights. One hit out of four or five shots, with the rest going somewhere unintended. With laser equipped sidearms, the hit rate in actual shootings exceeds 90%. That's far too big a disparity to ignore.

    Whatever other disadvantages lasers might have (giving away your position, expense, etc.) the improvement in the ability to hit the target, even for an inexperienced shooter, outweighs it all, in my opinion. It's pretty easy to imagine a time when police and armed civilians will be considered negligent NOT to have a laser sighted sidearm, especially if one of your shots misses the bad guy and hits an innocent bystander.

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    markand wrote:
    In actual shootings, police and civilians hit the bad guy about 20% to 25% of the time with ordinary iron sights.* One hit out of four or five shots, with the rest going somewhere unintended.* With laser equipped sidearms, the hit rate in actual shootings exceeds 90%.* That's far too big a disparity to ignore.
    As much as I hate Wikipedia, I'm going to say {Citation Needed} on this one...
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    Since it's not been mentioned, I'd like to point out:

    Green LASERs - visible from point of radiation to point of impact without obstructions. i.e. You can see the beam from the LASER device all the way to the target without anything in the air. This is how a person was recently (past year or so) found and arrested near Sea-Tac Int'l Airport for shining a green LASER at the cockpit of an aircraft; the copilot was able to locate the origin of the beam by simply following it back to the ground.


    Red LASERs - visible only at the point of impact or if there are obstructions. i.e. You can't see a red LASER until it hits the target or unless something like dust or smoke is in the air. A red LASER will be virtually "invisible" to the naked eye if it passes through clean air until it hits an object.

    If you're wondering why I capitalize LASER, it's because it's an acronym, explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser

    Edit: the information I posted is found on that link near the bottom under "Popular Misconceptions", but I knew about it before reading this article from numerous Physics and Chemistry textbooks.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
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    That doesn't seem possible, that you can trace a green laser (the word has since become a word seperate from its origin as an acronym... Do you capitalize MODEM?) in a dust-free environment.

    Unless the light has something to bounce off of (floating particles, hairs, dust, small insects), theoretically, you should not be able to see the beam.

    On the other hand, if the laser is putting out so much power that it ionizes the air, you would need something more than would fit on your keychain (perhaps in your garage) to power it.

    That being said, joker on the airplane was probably giggling, or otherwise giving himself away. Plus, an active laser pointer is slightly easy to spot, if the laser is on, even if you can't see where it is pointing.

    Just look for the glowing green/red dot.
    Why open carry? Because 1911 > 911.

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    AbNo wrote:
    markand wrote:
    In actual shootings, police and civilians hit the bad guy about 20% to 25% of the time with ordinary iron sights. One hit out of four or five shots, with the rest going somewhere unintended. With laser equipped sidearms, the hit rate in actual shootings exceeds 90%. That's far too big a disparity to ignore.
    As much as I hate Wikipedia, I'm going to say {Citation Needed} on this one...
    Cite: March 2007 issue of Combat Handguns magazine included an article on street results with Crimson Trace laser grips. CT has long claimed a 400% improvement over iron sights. CT grips are being installed on police guns quite gradually, probably owing to high initial cost and gadget aversion, and haven't been involved in a very large number of shootings. Nevertheless, CT has been carefully following how their product performs in the real world and the reported results of actual street shootings is remarkable. Summarizing the results of the actual shootings as reported by Combat Handguns:

    Number of shooting incidents involving guns with Laser Grips: 8
    Number of targets engaged: 10 (8 human perpetrator/suspects and 2 attacking dogs)
    Number of shots fired: 26
    Number of hits: 24
    Hit percentage: 92%
    Typical hit percentage for iron sight only guns in actual shootings: 20% to 25%
    Number of likely hits with iron sight only guns firing 26 shots: 5
    Number of shots needed with iron sight only guns to get 24 hits: 120

    Now 8 incidents doesn't exactly comprise a large, definitive pool of data, but 24 hits with 26 shots fired is impressive. Especially considering that only about 1 of every 4 or 5 shots fired from iron sight only guns actually hit the intended target in a typical police or defensive shooting. It is this improvement in the hit rate, and dramatic reduction in errant shots and consequent liability for same that I believe is going to overcome most objections, including cost, and put these devices on more and more police guns (not just SWAT types) and more and more guns carried by armed civilians, even those who don't or won't practice.

    Indeed, those who don't or won't practice (police legal counsel take note) might be the greatest beneficiaries of a laser sight. Last summer, I took a church youth group to the NRA range. Many had never fired a gun before. While some struggled with iron sights, EVERYBODY hit dead center with virtually every shot using the gun with the laser grips. As I said in the previous post, that's far too big an improvement to ignore.



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