The primary debate regarding laser sights revolves around color options — red or green. And while selecting between a red or green laser sight for your firearm may seem no more important than choosing between a brown and black leather holster, there are fundamental differences between the two colors that should be considered before you purchase an optic. Understanding how red and green laser sights are built — and how your eye responds to each — is critical to making the right purchase.
Laser Sights and the Human Eye
Our eyes are extraordinarily complex organs that allow us to view the world in multiple dimensions and in color. What we actually perceive as “color” is really electromagnetic radiation with wave-lengths of 390 to 700 nanometers (nm) with 390 being the color we recognize as violet and 700 being what we know as red. Electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than violet fall into the ultraviolet category, and wavelengths slightly longer than red are considered infrared. Both ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths are outside of our visible spectrum and invisible to the human eye.
Green light offers less of an advantage over red light in dim conditions. In reduced-light conditions, the cones in the eye are able to pick up both red and green light almost equally well, so while green laser sights are significantly more visible than red light in bright sun, the two colors are both easily discernable in darker lighting conditions.
According to Crimson Trace’s Media Manager Mike Faw, there’s a widely held misconception that the military uses green laser sights when engaging combatants at night, a myth that’s been perpetuated by television and film. To be clear, Faw says, those laser sights that are clearly visible at night with special night vision equipment are actually infrared laser sights and are not visible to the naked eye.
Which Laser Sight is for You?
Either way, Crimson Trace® offers a wide range of options available in both red and green, so you’ll have plenty of choices.
According to Faw, the company offers roughly 350 different firearm laser sights (most in the industry), and 200 to 250 of those products are red laser sights. With the growing interest in green laser sights, Crimson Trace has begun researching new methods of construction that will make green laser sights lighter, less complex, more efficient and more affordable than ever.
Red or green, having a laser sight on your firearm makes the firearm more versatile. You’ll shoot accurately in any light conditions, and you don’t have to align the sights with your eye to make an accurate shot, even at moderate ranges. No matter which laser sight you choose, you won’t make a poor choice.