Dropping Truth Bombs

(aka "Laser Myths")


By Jeremy Stafford

The topic of laser-aiming devices on firearms for defensive use is as full of myths and outright lies as a politician's speech. Honestly, I didn't even know where to start.

Due to space limitations, I'll touch on some of the bigger myths. So, let's cut through the BS and get to dropping some truth bombs.

Lasers Sights are a Crutch

"Laser sights are a crutch"

This is, of course, a complete and total fabrication. Laser sights are most definitely not a crutch. All of the laser sights in the world don't fix Guncounter Gary's horrid trigger pull. What a laser does do, however, is give the shooter more options under more scenarios than iron sights by themselves.

Up close and in low light, the laser sight can really help a shooter, especially shooters with less than perfect eyesight. It also helps shooters track moving targets easier during a gunfight, which usually results in a shorter gunfight that favors the laser-sight user.

"Laser sights will fail when you need them"

"Laser sights will fail when you need them," says the guy with a light on his gun. Where's the eye rolling emoji when you need it?

Look, making sure the laser sight has a good battery and is sighted-in correctly is completely up to the shooter. Most of the people spouting this myth are the same ones that don't verify that their iron sights are even calibrated for their defensive ammunition. Don't listen to them.

Is there a chance that it will fail? Sure, just like there is a chance that your white light and your red-dot sight will fail. That being said, if you maintain your equipment, the odds of any of those failing in a gunfight are miniscule.

"The laser sight's dot will serve as a warning"

Can it? Maybe. But I doubt it. Don't depend on the laser sight's dot to stop a fight. I tend to lump this one into the same trash heap as the old "just rack the action of your pump shotgun" crowd.

The laser sight is a sighting device, not a compliance device. If things have gotten to the point that you are aiming a weapon at a person, the willingness (not the intent) to follow that laser with some lead needs to have been made prior to unholstering.

"The laser sight will give my position away"

First, see previous myth. If you are pointing your gun at someone and they are still a viable threat, then maybe you should be engaging that threat. In that case, the muzzle flash and sound of the shot will probably do more to give away your position than the laser sight.

For the people to whom this is actually a tactical concern, there are infrared lasers and night vision. For the rest of us that are actually concerned about the 99.9 percent of armed-civilian encounters, it's a nonstarter.

"My red laser sight is obsolete, I need a green one"

I get it, we all want the "new, shiny," but your red laser sight is going to work just fine. The output from red and green lasers is about the same, it's just that the human eye tends to see colors in the green spectrum better than colors in the red spectrum.

From a practical standpoint, expect anywhere from 2 to 4 yards of increased visibility with green lasers during partial-light engagements. In mostly dark scenarios, I have found that both colors work well to 20 to 25 yards, which is about as far as I feel comfortable shooting with a pistol in the dark. Remember, the laser sight isn't going to help you identify your target, and Safety Rule #4 (always be sure of your target) still applies.

"Laser sights will blind you, the bad guy and anyone in the area"

Unless you have managed to acquire a military-level Class III B laser, this is totally false. All of the laser sights available to civilians are Class III R and will not melt any retinas. If you do happen to have a Class III B laser, Uncle Sam probably wants it back.

While this is most certainly not a complete list of laser myths, it does cover some of the big ones. If you're not a good shot, laser sights aren't going to save you. But, if you train hard, study tactics and lead a prepared lifestyle, then laser sights can be a valuable part of your tactical toolbox.

Like anything else, laser sight application requires training and practice, and I highly recommend the Crimson Trace and Gunsite Laser 250 class as a starting point. It's not inexpensive, but it's worth it.

Be safe and train hard.

[This article is taken from "Complete Focus" - on newsstands now]

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