Comments: The Joy of Lasers: Part 1

Back when I was a SWAT cop, our tests showed that lasers were slower, and they certainly are not conducive to accuracy. The time spent trying to find the dot was more than was required to bring the front sight somewhere onto the target. That really is enough at CQB distances.

Lasers also encourage extremely poor trigger control as the loud switch is yanked back as soon as the dot seems right.

I've used IR lasers with NVG's to good effect overseas, and think that visible lasers are valuable if you really need to shoot around a shield or with a restrictive gas mask. Other than that, you are trying to replace skill and practice with technology, and it doesn't work. The $200 spent on this is better spent on a 2 day rifle class.

And sight offset being a real problem for CQB? No. Aim high in the chest and be generous with ammo. Bullets are cheap: Life is dear.

Posted by KarlJ at July 15, 2011 06:34 PM

Dear KarlJ:

Thanks for your comments! As I'm sure you may have noticed, I was careful to note that having a laser does not relieve one of the necessity of proper stance, grip and presentation, just as though one was using iron or optical sights. I also made the point that it takes practice to be truly proficient with a laser sight, not only in terms of muscle memory issues, but in terms of training the brain. Correctly positioning the dot does not relieve one of the necessity of proper trigger control and in fact, lasers are a wonderful aid in trigger control training as they provide an immediate visual indication of jerking or anticipation.
No longer does one have to balance a coin on the front sight.

I have little doubt that a laser may be marginally slower if you're talking about testing people with little or no laser experience but who are quite proficient with iron or optical (red dot-type) sights. However, once they do the required practice, my experience has been that they can be a bit faster.

Again, Kentucky windage isn't a bright idea in CQB. I'm sure you know that the necessity for speed and accuracy increase as the distance diminishes. If you opponent is wearing body armor, for example, a head shot may be your only chance. Trying to remember hold over is far less effective than being able to place the dot precisely where the bullet will strike.

While I agree that a competent class is generally money well spent, We're comparing apples and oranges. I was playing SWAT in the days before even red dot sights were common, so I've worked with iron sights and everything that followed. Lasers are a worthwhile and viable addition, but as with any piece of sighting equipment, require proper practice.

Thanks for reading, and again, for your comments.

Posted by Mike Mc at July 15, 2011 07:58 PM

Fair enough, Mike. I started with irons only too, and our first laser was the size of a 3 cell maglight and had a battery life measured in minutes! We eventually had a few of the HK/Surefire(?) dedicated laser forends for our MP5's. I'm still not convinced, but I admit to having been wrong in the past!

I would like to take a moment to remind folk that should they decide that this sort of product is something they actually intend to depend on, then buy a good one like this one. Don't think the $50 catalog special is just as good. Just like with red dots sights, good ones cost what they do for a reason.

Posted by KarlJ at July 16, 2011 06:08 PM