However, there is a large contingent of gun owners who do not use or, in some cases, approve of laser sights. I will attempt to describe the competing viewpoints below. Bear in mind, that for this discussion, the intended use of laser sights is for self-defense scenarios, not for improving your score at the target range. And, although it may be obvious to most of you, the laser sight works by emitting a tight, red (or sometimes green) laser light beam which shows up as a red or green dot where the gun is aimed, since the laser sight is aligned with the gun's point of impact at a particular range. The shooter turns on the laser, points the gun until the dot is on the target and shoots. Simple. Well, maybe, and maybe not.
- They are very good, if not essential, in the dark or in poorly-lighted situations.
- They provide a point of aim if the shooter is not able to align his or her gun sights on target, say if you were down on your back, or shooting primarily from behind cover.
- They are good for "point-and-shoot" scenarios when there is no time to present your gun in such a way as to acquire a sight picture before shooting.
- They are good training devices helping you to see where your point of aim will be when you actually pull the trigger.
- In the dark or poorly lighted environments, the laser beam is a dead giveaway to your location.
- And, in self defense situations when quick shooting is essential a good shooter can align his or her weapon well enough without depending on finding a laser dot on or near the targer.
- If you are behind cover, you will have time to aim anyway, and with or without a laser sight, you'll still have to expose yourself enough to see the target.
- Quick point and shoot scenarios are just that: draw, point and shoot with no time to watch for that little red dot. Effective point-and-shoot technique really does not depend on aiming, but on instinctive pointing which comes with practice.
- Yes, they are good training devices, but you should not depend upon them in a self-defense situation.
- And, a laser creates dependency on that technology, and technology can malfunction, especially when you need it most.
There are further nuances to these arguments, such as how the laser is energized, what holsters are the best, etc.
My take on laser sights at this point is that they are very much a personal preference item. Some gun owners love them and are very effective with them. Some are on the fence, even with a sight installed on their carry weapon, and others don't like them at all. What makes it difficult is that there is really no way to try out a laser sight without having to buy it. I do not believe any laser manufacturer has a "try it before you buy it" offer. Many holster makers do, so I wonder why Crimson Trace or others don't adopt this program. If a person got a laser under this program, installed it and tried it for, say a week or two, then returned it in undamaged and operating condition, in the same packaging, the manufacturer would be out little cost. And, I think might sell more units in the long run.