We’ve come a long way since the original, giant laser sights were introduced and opened up a new concept in personal defense. Today, the ability to project a red or green dot on a target has proven appealing to more shooters and law enforcement agents than ever, and some gun shops would sell more if they spent more time explaining what these devices bring to the shooter’s table.
First, an obvious selling point: For guns with tiny sights, a projected laser beam makes a lot of sense. Most Crimson Trace dealers tell me the bestseller in the line is the LaserGrip for the J-Frame revolver. Almost every serious handgunner owns at least one of these small-frame Smith & Wessons. For decades, they came with narrow front sights, only 0.1 inches wide, and proportionally narrow rear sight notches. They’re hard to see in daylight, let alone in the dark. A projected red dot on these little guns solves the problem. I have one on the S&W M&P340 that sits in my pocket as I write this.
The same is true on a number of small semiautos, notably the little LCP 380 that has become Ruger’s best-selling handgun — which dealers can barely keep in stock. The little sights that come with the LCP aren’t the gun’s strongest selling point. Enter the Crimson Trace LaserGuard, which mounts on the front of the triggerguard and is touch-activated via a pressure switch. Customers need to actually see and experience how a laser sight improves close-range speed and accuracy on these little “mouse guns” to actually appreciate it.
LaserMax, which for many years has offered a laser sight that fits over the sideplate of a J-Frame, has just announced their CenterFire laser sight. This new unit attaches under the barrel and projects its beam from directly under the muzzle — which strikes me as more efficient than offset. It extends in front of the frame, however, and will require a dedicated holster, or a generously sized generic one such as those from Remora Holsters.
LaserLyte has just announced a similar front-of-the-triggerguard, under-the-muzzle laser attachment for the economy-priced Diamondback micro-size 9mm and .380. The Master Module system UTA-DB fits into the gun’s housing seamlessly and the programmable laser features a dual-mode constant-on and pulse, with an auto-off option after six minutes to preserve battery life.
If your gun shop is like most, you have a waiting list for Glock’s slim new .380, the G42. No concealment-size .380 is easier to shoot, and it comes with sights just like the standard ones on a full-size Glock. A laser sight is nonetheless a useful addition, and Crimson Trace has just announced a model in its LaserGuard series to fit the Glock 42.
LaserMax recently expanded the CenterFire laser series to
include a model designed for Smith & Wesson J-Frame revolvers.
The LaserLyte TGL UTA-YY laser designed for the Glock G42
pistol features ambidextrous activation, dual modes and
an auto-off option.
Other Advantages Of Laser Sights
Another obvious advantage of a laser sight is the safety net it provides for the point-shooting advocate who won’t raise conventional sights to eye level or the handicapped shooter who can’t. And, speaking of the handicapped, another advantage to laser sights is that a wounded shooter can aim and shoot from the hip or a belly-high hold if his handgun is equipped with a laser sight.
Remind your customers that virtually every top shooter recommends dry-firing. A laser sight is an excellent aid for improving their trigger press. The shooter simply puts the dot on a safe backstop and does his or her best to press the trigger straight back, without the red or green dot bouncing or jerking when the hammer falls or the striker goes forward.
It’s sort of “bio-feedback” and can be a tremendously helpful shortcut in learning to distribute trigger pressure in a smooth press rearward that does not disturb the muzzle or alter the point of aim.
Does your customer ever show a friend or relative how to shoot? If so, remind them the laser sight is a tremendous aid for a firearms instructor working with a new shooter. Particularly if the student has a bit of machismo, he may be resistant to being told he’s flinching or jerking the trigger. In that case, the instructor simply hands the student a laser-fitted gun that has been triple-checked and confirmed unloaded, and tells the student to dry-fire at a given target and “follow the bouncing red ball.” When that red line jerks downward like an Enron profit-loss chart, the irrefutable proof is now literally before the student’s eyes.
Freud allegedly said 90 percent of curing a neurosis was finding out what caused it. That’s largely true of trigger press problems, too. This diagnostic drill helps the student to see and accept the problem sooner — which means it gets fixed sooner. And one way to fix it has already been mentioned: Have the student get the laser dot on target and press the trigger without moving the dot.
Lights With Lasers
The red dot helps your customer hit the target, but in the dark it doesn’t do anything to help him find or identify it. A combination light/laser sight unit solves that problem.
Several years ago, I was part of a group that tested the effectiveness of different night shooting techniques. We learned a weapon-mounted light — which allowed the shooter a proper two-hand firing hold instead of juggling a flashlight in one hand and a pistol in the other — provided faster hits on target in the dark. We also found if we could see the target to identify it in the dim light, a laser-sighted gun was faster still. The single fastest, surest combination was white light and laser combined.
The EOTech Insight M6X, Streamlight TLR-4 and SureFire X400 are three weapon light/laser combination units that I’ve used and can recommend. The addition of the laser module makes them bulkier than less expensive units, which project white light only, so they may not fit some holsters made to accommodate pistols with standard lights. However, a lot of home-defense guns are kept in safes, drawers or on nightstands, so many of your non-police customers won’t worry about that.
Laser sights are here to stay, and getting more compact and effective all the time. I hope the suggestions in this column will help you to boost your sales of these useful, potentially life-saving devices.
By Massad Ayoob
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