Are laser sights actually useful?

Review and discussions of optic related equipment.

Moderators: admin, Inquisitor, ForumModerator, WebsiteContent

Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Eris
Moderator
Posts: 2042
Joined: Mon May 23, 2016 11:54 am
Location: Houston
Contact:

Are laser sights actually useful?

#1 Post by Eris » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:18 pm

I recently bought a Walther PK380 and one of the options I did not get was the laser sight. It just seemed pointless. But the more I think about it the more I wonder if it would actually be useful.

On the one hand, the iron sights see perfectly acceptable for a handgun and I don't see how a laser would really make a difference, but on the other hand they are a popular accessory and there must be a reason that people like them. Am I wrong to ignore them? Should I give it a try?
77+ recreational uses of firearms
1 defensive use
0 people injured
0 people killed

User avatar
YankeeTarheel
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 5206
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:01 pm
Location: The Jughandle State
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#2 Post by YankeeTarheel » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:24 pm

I'm trying to figure out if laser sights give you anything over red dot sights. But I much prefer red dot sights over iron sights.
"Fascism comes along when the rich people get the generals to help them stay in control." -- Woody Guthrie
My son says: "Don't argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!" -- YT

User avatar
Simmer down
Site Admin
Posts: 15584
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:17 pm
Location: The Liberal part of N Texas
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#3 Post by Simmer down » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:36 pm

I had a few and they let me know how much wobble I had just pointing the gun. For me, they weren't a substitute for skill but they were helpful in showing me what I needed to focus on.
Image Image Image
Puffing up is no substitute for smarts but it's a common home remedy

User avatar
richardw
Been around awhile
Posts: 230
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:58 pm
Location: SE PA
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#4 Post by richardw » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:49 pm

Laser sight has an advantage in one situation: din lighting to darkness. Red lasers are a not very visible in daylight but very good in a dark room. Green lasers are better than red in daylight but not as good as red in dark rooms. I have had both and ended up selling them.

One thing that bothered me was the fact that the red or green dot can really disrupt your concentration. All of have some level of shake when aiming. With a lase you can see the affect on the target:a dot that keeps jittering. For me that was distracting. I kept feeling like I had to stabilize the dot before firing. If Imhad dine that in a SD situation it could have gottten me killed.

I resorted to the old tried and true method for shooting in dark spaces;
: a flashlight. Illuminatesmthe gas guy, shines light in his eyes, and gives you all you need to get off several shots.

User avatar
FlyGuy
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 762
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:28 am
Location: Houston, TX
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#5 Post by FlyGuy » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:12 am

Much like richardw's comments, a laser is distracting if you are trying to do some serious target practice. I have Red Dots on any of my firearms that have a rail to mount it on. I much prefer those over iron sight for quick acquisition of the target. The fact that the dot will eventually be the hole in the paper takes a lot of the iron sight alignment out of the picture. I turn the laser on at the range for the novelty of it and do a quick mag dump without even looking down the sights. I just concentrate on putting the laser back close to what I want to hit. Usually I have a novelty paper target up that has bottles and cans or large shapes with numbers. As far as home defense, I definitely have a laser on the bedside table gun. You don't have to be accurate just close. I also imagine anyone seeing a laser come from around the corner is a deterrent in itself.
Never confuse knowledge with intelligence.

User avatar
Bucolic
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 7078
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 5:51 am
Location: Southern PA.
Contact:

Are laser sights actually useful?

#6 Post by Bucolic » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:41 am

I have a cheap laser and light combo on my Mossberg .410 pump shotgun. Both have pressure switches on the fore end, It's the gun I take when I hear bumps in the night out by the barn and coop. At close range with buckshot, the pattern is tight so one really needs to aim it. The laser works well for quick target acquisition and both the light and laser have held up well. Of course, the .410's recoil is not excessive.

Image

One argument for lasers on handguns that I hear but am somewhat agnostic about is that they afford you improved accuracy when you are shooting in an odd position - on your back, prone, weak hand, etc.
Neverthless, she persisted.

Image

User avatar
atxgunguy
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 5596
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:42 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#7 Post by atxgunguy » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:01 am

Eris wrote:I recently bought a Walther PK380 and one of the options I did not get was the laser sight. It just seemed pointless. But the more I think about it the more I wonder if it would actually be useful.

On the one hand, the iron sights see perfectly acceptable for a handgun and I don't see how a laser would really make a difference, but on the other hand they are a popular accessory and there must be a reason that people like them. Am I wrong to ignore them? Should I give it a try?
I'd think a Walther PK380 would a very small and wobbly platform for a red light. TBH, I don't see much of a point of having a red dot on pistols in general. They generally weigh down the gun and almost always require getting a separate holster to accommodate the extra chunk of plastic. I've shot a Glock 17 with a red light and after a few rounds, went right back to the basic sights.

To echo other, red dots are definitely more my cuppa and I only have them on rifles. Better sight acquisition and a fixed point of aim. The weight is mitigated by firearm's size and rail mount.

...that's not to say Bucolic's "Bump in the night" shotgun doesn't have its merits. The laser just gives you a better idea of where the buckshot goes. Good enough for coyotes and the like.
LGC Texas - Central Region President

Image

User avatar
CDFingers
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 17536
Joined: Fri Jun 29, 2012 4:09 pm
Location: Member LGC: norCal
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#8 Post by CDFingers » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:35 am

Eris wrote:I recently bought a Walther PK380 and one of the options I did not get was the laser sight. It just seemed pointless. But the more I think about it the more I wonder if it would actually be useful.

On the one hand, the iron sights see perfectly acceptable for a handgun and I don't see how a laser would really make a difference, but on the other hand they are a popular accessory and there must be a reason that people like them. Am I wrong to ignore them? Should I give it a try?
They're totally useful in showing the bad guy where you are and in raising the profit margin of your local gun store. Moreover, if you own stock in a battery company who makes little round silver batteries that die really quickly, you're helping yourself. :P

Seriously, there's nothing like learning to point and shoot your primary weapon with iron sights, I tell you what.

CDFingers
ImageImage
Ship of fools on a cruel sea
Ship of fools sail away from me

User avatar
Hiker
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 1411
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:22 pm
Location: Lexington KY
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#9 Post by Hiker » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:21 am

richardw wrote: One thing that bothered me was the fact that the red or green dot can really disrupt your concentration. All of have some level of shake when aiming. With a lase you can see the affect on the target:a dot that keeps jittering. For me that was distracting. I kept feeling like I had to stabilize the dot before firing. If Imhad dine that in a SD situation it could have gottten me killed.
Yes! Yes! And my old eyes trying to find that little dot in the massively confusing and stressful situation of SD situation--ain't no way!
All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty.-Henry Clay
Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.—Aristotle

User avatar
SeaDragonTattoo
Been around awhile
Posts: 273
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:23 pm
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#10 Post by SeaDragonTattoo » Wed Oct 04, 2017 10:44 am

Also check your local laws, lasers are illegal on carry weapons in some areas. Can only use them at the range in my case. In the 18 months I've been shooting, I've only seen one guy using a laser. Many red dots though.

User avatar
featureless
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 2050
Joined: Tue May 23, 2017 6:11 pm
Location: California
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#11 Post by featureless » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:59 pm

I found lasers were a great way to tell if I'd had too much coffee.

(More seriously, I also found it to be distracting and required more focus on my grip to keep the damn thing on rather than getting sights lined up. After trying one, they are not for me. Red dots on the other hand, are awesome, although I've never had the opportunity to try one on a handgun.)

User avatar
Bucolic
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 7078
Joined: Sun May 20, 2012 5:51 am
Location: Southern PA.
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#12 Post by Bucolic » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:06 pm

I would not want a red dot on an SD pistol. Better to practice quick acquisition with iron sights. However, I strongly recommend putting one on a Target pistol, particularly if your eyes are aging as fast as your midsection is growing. I.e., if you are getting on in years.
Neverthless, she persisted.

Image

Sarge
Grizzled Veteran
Posts: 657
Joined: Thu Apr 20, 2017 12:13 pm
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#13 Post by Sarge » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:04 pm

For me the laser is a great help.. I'm kind of old and was trained in point shooting for CQB .. back before the days of the Isosceles stance and weaver stance... and extension of the old one handed target shooting stance .. lasers sort of close the loop for me

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BeSpwAA_0DU

add a laser to that technique where you focus on the target and not the sights and you hit rate goes up in the good 'ol Golden Triangle I prefer grip mounted lasers to something hanging off the front of the gun.. but I can see where, if you have been trained to rely on your sights, lasers could confuse you.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oRdZ3hZ8y-w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li0rGtXh23I

User avatar
YankeeTarheel
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 5206
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:01 pm
Location: The Jughandle State
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#14 Post by YankeeTarheel » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:53 pm

SeaDragonTattoo wrote:Also check your local laws, lasers are illegal on carry weapons in some areas. Can only use them at the range in my case. In the 18 months I've been shooting, I've only seen one guy using a laser. Many red dots though.
I've seen a number of people using lasers at the local ranges. They are a little distracting for other shooters, but not as much as high-powered rounds! One guy in the next booth was using some kind of high-powered long-range rifle. I had my target rolled back to ID my shots when the gust from one round tore the target right off the clamps! 2 bucks down the drain! But that was a HUGE distraction!
"Fascism comes along when the rich people get the generals to help them stay in control." -- Woody Guthrie
My son says: "Don't argue with an idiot. They'll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience!" -- YT

User avatar
SeaDragonTattoo
Been around awhile
Posts: 273
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:23 pm
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#15 Post by SeaDragonTattoo » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:35 pm

YankeeTarheel wrote:
SeaDragonTattoo wrote:Also check your local laws, lasers are illegal on carry weapons in some areas. Can only use them at the range in my case. In the 18 months I've been shooting, I've only seen one guy using a laser. Many red dots though.
I've seen a number of people using lasers at the local ranges. They are a little distracting for other shooters, but not as much as high-powered rounds! One guy in the next booth was using some kind of high-powered long-range rifle. I had my target rolled back to ID my shots when the gust from one round tore the target right off the clamps! 2 bucks down the drain! But that was a HUGE distraction!
Yeah, I shoot at indoor ranges and when they don't separate the rifles from the pistols I have issues. I can double up ears, that's not as bad as long as I do that, but the percussion is not fun. A small city range recently opened here and while expensive, there's a full 30-foot wall between rifle and pistol ranges. It's great. I can concentrate much better on what I'm doing. At other ranges I have to just stop and walk away until the jackasses with the high power rifles finish spraying bullets at the giant government sized 15 foot target. I mean, seriously.

User avatar
spara
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 1247
Joined: Wed Jun 11, 2014 5:42 pm
Location: San Antonio
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#16 Post by spara » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:48 pm

I sometimes use a laser in competition when shooting Pistol Caliber Carbine. They're useful in these situations:

1. When you want to exit from a start position quickly and don't want to mount a rifle to shoot close targets
2. Targets are at odd angles, either close to the other side of a barricade or a low 45º degree target
3. Quick shots on close targets
4. Verifying point of impact / point of aim when shooting through ports

I can see where they would be useful in a self defense situation at night. I really don't think they have much value in live fire training but I have found laserlyte cartridges useful in dry fire


AZAndy
Been around awhile
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:14 am
Location: Prescott AZ
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#17 Post by AZAndy » Wed Oct 11, 2017 5:58 am

I have a Crimson Trace grip on a S&W 640, as I found the sights hard to see, and it used to be what I was carrying during my pre-dawn morning walk. Using one for dry-file shows up any trouble with trigger control, which is handy too. Now that I have a new eyeglasses prescription specifically for shooting, and a different small revolver with tritium sights, I have less use for the 640's laser.

Seems to me a laser might be useful for unaimed fire training, but I haven't gotten around to doing that.
Reunite Pangea!

User avatar
VodoundaVinci
Chatty
Posts: 1108
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:08 pm
Location: Illinois, USA
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#18 Post by VodoundaVinci » Sun Nov 05, 2017 12:09 pm

I use a laser cartridge in my DA pistols to aid in developing Point Shooting indoors during dry fire practice. Highly recommended.

We have a small group here locally that shares SD guns and goodies between the members and several folks have lasers and really love them. I'm not sure why but I suspect that they are the worst shots in the group because of them. I have tried them and my problem with using the little red dot on the target use to aim is "chasing" the dot visually. I shoot a lot worse with a laser than I do Point Shooting and not as well as I do with a red dot scope or iron sights when I use them.

I'm not a fan of lasers. Huge proponent of Point Shooting inside of 35' so take my laser opinions with a grain of salt. The problem with a laser on a hand gun is that a tiny movement of the hand makes a 3" movement at the target and I end up chasing the little red dot around the paper instead of trusting my alignment by acquiring a front sight or just looking at where I want the bullet to hit and pulling the trigger.

VooDoo

AZAndy
Been around awhile
Posts: 282
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 9:14 am
Location: Prescott AZ
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#19 Post by AZAndy » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:43 pm

I have a set of Crimson Trace on a 640, and though I have no idea how useful they'd be in a defense situation, they're an excellent trigger training tool for dry-fire. The laser helped a lot with learning a steady, smooth press. It was really disheartening at first to see how jerky I was, but it got better. All the dry-fire smoothed the trigger out some too.
Reunite Pangea!

User avatar
Vjornaxx
Helpful Contributor
Posts: 7
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2017 12:15 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#20 Post by Vjornaxx » Sun Nov 05, 2017 8:55 pm

The context of its use matters a lot. Understand that the purpose of a laser is to help you get effective shots on target faster, not necessarily with greater accuracy. It is most useful when you are in compromised positions where the use of the sights is impossible or ineffective - Such as shooting from retention and from the hip; and in low lighting such as at night or indoors during overcast conditions.

Outside of these conditions, the usefulness of the laser diminishes dramatically. Red lasers wash out easily in daylight. Green lasers are much brighter so they are more useful during daylight, but they have lower battery life. Past of 10 yards in a well lit environment, it's very difficult to see any laser on a person and so using traditional sights tends to be faster. Also, durable laser sights are expensive; and if you intend to carry it, finding a well made holster for your particular gun/laser combo may prove difficult.

Here is an example of two officers using green lasers at night:
WARNING: DEATH YouTube Link
The lasers can clearly be seen and likely contributed to both officers scoring effective hits on target within two seconds of clearing their holsters.
Our preferences do not determine what's true.

User avatar
Bacchus
Verified Member
Verified Member
Posts: 3076
Joined: Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:06 pm
Location: Corvallis,Oregon (LGC Member)
Contact:

Re: Are laser sights actually useful?

#21 Post by Bacchus » Sun Nov 05, 2017 9:17 pm

Vjornaxx wrote:The context of its use matters a lot. Understand that the purpose of a laser is to help you get effective shots on target faster, not necessarily with greater accuracy. It is most useful when you are in compromised positions where the use of the sights is impossible or ineffective - Such as shooting from retention and from the hip; and in low lighting such as at night or indoors during overcast conditions.

Outside of these conditions, the usefulness of the laser diminishes dramatically. Red lasers wash out easily in daylight. Green lasers are much brighter so they are more useful during daylight, but they have lower battery life. Past of 10 yards in a well lit environment, it's very difficult to see any laser on a person and so using traditional sights tends to be faster. Also, durable laser sights are expensive; and if you intend to carry it, finding a well made holster for your particular gun/laser combo may prove difficult.

Here is an example of two officers using green lasers at night:
WARNING: DEATH YouTube Link
The lasers can clearly be seen and likely contributed to both officers scoring effective hits on target within two seconds of clearing their holsters.
Welcome to the forum, Vjornaxx. :) Mosey on over to the New Members forum and introduce yourself! We won't bite. ;)
"I am not a number, I am a free man!" - Number Six

Image
ImageImage

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest