When it comes to selecting the best laser sight for a home defense or concealed carry firearm, gun owners should carefully study the market, visit firearms stores or gun ranges for an in-the hand feel, and ask lots of questions.
Ask store staff and friends if they own a laser sight, or have shot a firearm with a laser sight installed. Some gun shops and ranges also rent handguns and other firearms with laser sights installed, or laser-and-light combos installed, so shoppers can experience laser sights in action. Many major big box stores and online firearms accessory sites also offer laser sights and product details.
The key to shopping success is educating yourself before you open your wallet.
After you know the details and differences, it’s time to see the real deal. Continue the education with a hands-on experience by feeling how the laser sight activates, and seeing how bright the laser shines on a distant target or wall. After this first step, zero in on models and features to find the perfect laser sight fit for the firearm that will be accessorized.
These six standard questions could help you determine a best fit or perfect sighting solution:
- What firearm will be fitted with the laser sight or light? Crimson Trace’s website, as an example, lists many of America’s leading firearms manufacturers, and then goes into details by firearm model or laser sight type the shooter prefers. The company’s precision-engineered products fit firearms ranging from those offered by Beretta to Walther, plus the popular 1911s, and onto AR rifles. There are also laser and light products to fit any firearm with an accessory rail. Additional details about on-off switches to prolong battery life, adjustments, and other features can be found on the company’s website, too.
- What products will best match the firearm’s intended uses? Buyers should determine whether they wish to install a green laser sight (tends to be more costly and have shorter battery life) or a laser sight with a red laser diode. And if a light will help, such as a person who is often alone late at night in dark parking garages, then is there a laser-and-light combo available? If you select these light-and-laser sight combos for a concealed carry handgun, remember that size (will the gun fit into a pocket or glovebox), the laser sight’s ease of operation/activation, and if there is a holster to hold the firearm with a laser sight installed, all become important questions that need answers.
One great source to learn about—and shop for—holsters is online at Crimson Trace’s Holster Resource Guide. More than 3,000 holsters from more than a dozen manufacturers are featured on this detailed pdf.
- Should I buy a green or red laser sight? Both colors offer advantages. Red laser sights are normally more affordable and use less battery power. There are also more red laser sight models on the market than green ones, so the odds are higher that buyers will find a red laser sight product that fits.
Green laser sights are often more visible in bright lighting conditions, but these type laser sights tend to be more expensive.
- Where can I buy, try, or see laser sight products? Gun shops and shooting ranges across America now stock laser sights and are available to answer questions. Look on countertops and in display cases for items such as blue guns (solid plastic and molded to look like a certain firearm but doesn’t function) for laser sights you can feel and operate.
More information and experiences are also available. Some gun shops and ranges now offer informative firearms classes for new buyers, and some of those classes permit the shooting of firearms with laser sights installed. Another option is to look at the firearms manufacturer’s website and see if models are available with laser sights pre-installed. There are many firearms available from a large number of manufacturers that have laser sights already installed.
- What if I want a shotgun or AR for home defense? There are many options of laser sights that can be mounted on Weaver and Picatinny rails, and green and red options, too. Some products are available that are lights and lasers, or one of the newest models for most AR rifles has a replaceable grip that controls and changes light and laser sight modes on the module, all without wires to get caught on obstacles or become disconnected.
Many small but affordable rail-mounted laser sights are now on the market. Do the research and determine a good product fit for the firearm to be equipped. Remember, too, that for ease of operation, tabs and activation pads that naturally fall under a finger when the firearm is gripped normally are considered by most laser owners to be easier to use than buttons that must be frantically searched for in the dark. That ease of operation and activation becomes more important during times of stress.
- What if I need important follow-up service after the sale? Does the laser sight manufacturer have a customer call center, is there an installation manual included or offered online, and how about replacement batteries or the first initial set of batteries? Also, look to determine where the product is manufactured. If the laser sight was built off-shore and imported, then you could be on your own after the purchase. Buyer beware.
Laser sights and laser-and-light combo units have become accepted by mainstream firearms owners. For self-defense and home protection, these products can sometimes be the difference between surviving or become another police report statistic. Laser sights also let those who could do you and your family harm, quickly see – especially in the dark – that you’ve taken an important step to own the situation.
Check out the video below to see exactly how a laser sight can help when your life is on the line.
Images courtesy of Crimson Trace