9 Critical Concealed Carry Lessons: Ep. 4 Lights and Lasers!

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Just because I’m not a fan of handheld flashlights for concealed carry doesn’t mean I don’t see the value of having one mounted to my pistol.  Watch the video to learn more.

What is your take on lights and lasers for your concealed carry gun? As I noted in Episode 1 of this series, I don’t think much of handheld flashlights for every day carry — and I stand by that.  A lot of you disagreed with me on that, and that’s fine.

With respect to lasers there is a lot of “wisdom” out there from a gaggle of “professionals” who have zero experience in combat but who will argue that having a laser in a gunfight will make you forget your sights or that it won’t work or that it will compromise your ability to fight back.

Check out all the episodes in this series:

That specious argument, however, is firmly rebuffed by our experience in the Global War On Terror. For the first time in history, in Special Operations Forces at least, the majority of the killing was done in the dark — with lasers. Granted, we were using infrared (IR) models and what you want for a street gun is something you can see with the naked eye, but the principle remains true. If we can shoot Jihadis at 200 meters with an IR laser, all night long, any marksmanship debate about the efficacy of lasers is closed. They work. They work well. And actually, they might be easier to use than traditional sights.

What are the advantages exactly? Good pistol marksmanship generally includes the statement “focus on the front sight.” Couldn’t agree more. And that works, as long as you are incredibly fast, attuned to combat and you can change focal planes quickly.

What does a laser do for you? It not only allows you but encourages you to look at the threat as the engagement is happening. Real targets, unlike the paper bad guys at the range, don’t hold still. There is no way to replicate that in training. Even expensive moving targets move in a predictable pattern. A laser forces you to focus on where the target is now. Given your natural instinct to look at the target, this is an awesome combination. You can not only track where the threat is but also confirm that it is, indeed, a threat.

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Seeing small details when your blood is up is an acquired skill. In military circles, we have the distinct advantage of spending enough time in firefights that we become attuned to it. Anyone that isn’t full of B.S. will also probably tell you that their first combat experience was a less than ideal performance. As an armed citizen, you don’t have the luxury of real world practice. Screw up the first encounter, and your odds of surviving to a second drop.

Lasers work in all light conditions. If you want to experience real fun, start shooting at a threat in zero light at close range. Tritium works great, as long as you are paying attention to it, and your chosen powder doesn’t blind you. Plus, a laser always offers a little target splash, and barring that a great way to end incoming muzzle flash.

Last, a laser expands the number of shooting positions in which you can put lead on target. When I teach new students, this is one of the things that blows their minds, how easy trick shots or otherwise difficult shots are with lasers.  You can hold your pistol behind you and shoot via a mirror if you have to. Odds are you will be faster with a position closer to your normal shooting stance, but the weird stuff will work with lasers.

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Lasers are a fantastic tool in the arsenal. They don’t take the place of training, but like all good technology, they shorten the learning curve. Drastically. It’s not all you need, but it is a solid investment. You won’t regret it.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Jim Helring August 17, 2017, 8:41 am

    I purchased a SIG 227 and had the factory hone job and SR trigger installed. I carried a 45 as my basic weapon in the Army for 24 years and competed with it in many unit competitions so I chose this platform for a home defense weapon. First time I went to the range I learned some valuable lessons. 1 I couldn’t load the magazines very well my 70 year old fingers just didn’t have the strength so I acquired a Maglula devices which solved that problem nicely. 2. my eyes without correction could not focus on all three items ie Target rear and front sights. So I was forced to blur the target and concentrate on the sights as best I could. 3.remembering my basic Army 45 qualification range from the dark ages I wheeled the standard man sized ringed silhouette out to 25 yards and commenced shooting. I fired one sighter to get familiar with the trigger and fired 5 standard 230 ball down range. Much to my surprise all but one were within the 9 ring and the bad one I knew it immediately. So I hadn’t forgotten how to shoot. Then I put on my glasses, lined bifocal. and found out now I could see one or the other clearly but not both. If I looked through the distance I could see the target, bifocal I could see the sights. I knew I would have to find a better way so I installed and zeroed a SIG laser on the rail. Voila I could look at the target and acquire the dot very fast and it is very accurate for me. I have practiced at home with the laser from all different positions in the house where I may have to deal with a threat, right handed, left handed on the floor around different corners etc. I have practiced jumping out of bed in the middle of the night ,acquiring the weapon and responding to a specific threat option. For old people like myself the laser is a Godsend because NONE of us sleep with our glasses on and wont have time to find them even though mine are right there on the nightstand. The laser gives me a perfect aim point even with my blurred glass less eyes. With the laser on the rail I still have full access to the iron sights. Just some thoughts from an old dog.

  • Chucky556 August 13, 2017, 11:53 pm

    First – lasers are a no-brainer. Perfect target acquisition when the laser is visible, and opt for good night sights as backup. Second – what’s with the Make America Great Again hat? Nice that you’re spreading knowledge, but you lose credibility with state propaganda in the background. If you think that grifter in the white house gives a fuck about 2A when you see him shitting on every other amendment, I have a bridge to sell you. He cares about 2A only for anyone who lines up behind him; just wait until the III%, Oath Keepers and others realize they made a mistake, and he will make the Democrats look like the Wayne Lapierre. Wake up. Research what gun rights are like in Russia and you can see your future.

  • J. Berger August 7, 2017, 7:04 pm

    Look at Armalaser TR series.At $118.00 much better than Crimson Trace

  • Archangel August 4, 2017, 11:31 am

    I got a couple cheap green ones of Ebay and they are bright enough to see in the daylight.
    The red ones are near worthless on a bright day, but that’s not what they were intended for anyway.
    A night in the dark, you most likely will not see your gun much less the sights, unless they have tritium.
    And after a few years, they go dim and there are no batteries to swap out to brighten them up.

  • John Bibb August 3, 2017, 2:08 pm

    ***
    The indoor shooting range has low light conditions at the firing lane positions due to steel plates between lanes. I had in shadow problems getting a correct sight picture at 25 ft. with a dark 8 inch wide target–has a 1 inch red center bulls eye. Firing a good Taurus 709 slim pistol. Also made worse by 76 year old eyes! I would hit the target 1 out of 7 shots. Far better with a light colored background target.
    ***
    I added the excellent Crimson Trace red laser–it mounts over the existing trigger guard and doesn’t affect the concealability of this small subcompact pistol much. It holds zero very well, and with it I get most of the shots an inch above the bullseye–in the 10 or 9 rings. An excellent improvement in accurate shooting in low light conditions. It does help to hold the spot an inch or two low to hit the bulls eye.
    ***
    John Bibb
    ***

  • ~ Occams August 3, 2017, 12:26 am

    Global war on terror”?

    Anyone STILL believe that nonsense, since it finally came to light (what most of ‘tuned in’ already knew); That ISIS is Obama, Hillary, the CIA, and Israel’s little proxy army.

    No. Just Amerika and the Rothschild’s quest for global domination.

    Oh, yea; And there’s this. I think the author has the credentials;

    “The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida, and any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the TV watcher to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the U.S.” ~ Robin Cook, former British Foreign Secretary

    • Chris Hale August 10, 2017, 4:31 am

      If there are no Muslim terrorists then who are the lunatics that keep killing people all over Europe ? PARIS….London….ect…Is it the EVIL Americans?

  • Mark Wynn August 2, 2017, 8:31 pm

    Yet, Nebraska’s concealed carry range test won’t let us use the laser on our weapon. At only seven yards I can group shots inside an inch with or without the laser, but if you have a laser on a weapon, and train with it, why can’t you use it?

    • LaserBob August 3, 2017, 1:38 pm

      sign up for a different range, or have words with the range management. If you are a paying member and you complain, they will at least here you. I use a laser on my carry gun, mostly did it because my eyes are old and will no longer allow me to see the sights and target. I can acquire the target quickly and like this article says, I\’m not looking at my gun, I\’m focused on the target and I can hit with the laser very well from 6 ft to 20 yards. I see it as best of all worlds and now have lasers on other guns as well. My wife, not any where as experienced as me also shoots better with the laser. Bottom line, I like lasers on all guns, except hunting guns. I use red dot sights on my range only guns such as my high end 1911 as with my eyes, it is just so much better.

  • Bob August 2, 2017, 5:05 pm

    The problem with flash light on the weapon anyone can just aim at the light and say goodbye.

  • JOHN T. FOX August 2, 2017, 3:15 pm

    THE PROBLEM WITH LASERS IS THAT THEY COMPROMISE YOUR LOCATION. YOU SEE A LASER, TRACE IT BACK TO WHERE IT’S EMINATING FROM AND FIRE! NO LASER MEANS THEY DON’T KNOW THAT YOUR THERE. IN SUCH SITUATIONS USING THE POINT METHOD OF SHOOTING IS YOUR BEST BET. THE MILITARY INFERED LASERS REQUIRE SPECIAL GOGGLES TO SEE THE LASER AND THE TARGETS. IN A HOME DEFENCE SITUATION IT’S UNLIKELY THAT YOU’LL HAVE THAT EQUIPMENT, LOCATE IT AND PUT IT ON TO USE IT. OH, AND IT TAKES WORKING BATTERIES TOO!

    • torn August 7, 2017, 9:15 pm

      You don’t have to shout! Do you just read stuff and believe it? Lasers allow you to fire before the other guy gets a bead on you, in other words faster and better.

    • Sean Willson August 16, 2017, 11:06 am

      If I can’t make an accurate shot in the time it takes a bad guy to notice the dot and trace its source I shouldn’t be using a firearm at all.

  • Jeremiah August 2, 2017, 2:17 pm

    My S&W M&P 9 Compact has built in grip laser. I don’t leave home without it day or night. The transition from laser dot to regular sights is easy. If I can see my sights, I use them to center the target; if I can see the red dot, I center the target. Do it a few times in low and no lighting, and it becomes intuitive. Practice, as always makes anything better.

  • Mal Cap August 2, 2017, 9:56 am

    I have a CTC Green Laserguard for my 9 Shield. Only BladeTech made an IWB holster for it. It took me two years to get a leather pancake order via Gunners Alley which is now another six weeks in the making. As a retired LEO I wouldn’t put a light on my carry gun. It would give my position away. Since Smith now owns CTC it might be a good idea to hook up to get some leather holsters for some people who want them. DeSantis makes a nice mini-scabbard model but not for the Green Laser.

    • Thomas Siciliano August 2, 2017, 11:24 am

      I also have a Shield with a CT green laser. The best holster I found is custom made for the Shield with CT is made by Alessi Holster, Buffalo, NY. I have one, it’s excellent, black angus leather, heavy stitching and short waiting time. He sometimes has them in stock, under $150.00.

    • Lee August 2, 2017, 5:21 pm

      Check out whitehat holsters out of Texas. They make hybrids, mostly. Lots of laser options, and even lights, if you so choose.

  • Rich Shamory August 2, 2017, 9:19 am

    Clay, your right on with the lazers & light. Your confirmed my long running position on both. Thank you….> 🙂

  • Troy August 2, 2017, 9:00 am

    I agree, training is necessary to insure that you’re comfortable using your weapon. I’m going to purchase a laser for my conceal weapon, but will also practice using my weapon without it.

  • Ken August 2, 2017, 8:43 am

    I like your style and your wealth of knowledge.
    Where do you run your classes?

  • Dave Hicks August 2, 2017, 8:17 am

    Good article. However I think it is interesting that using a laser, might make one become dependent on the laser rather the sights or point shooting. Practice Practice Practice. The sign in the background is also interesting ,Thanks

    • JOHN T. FOX August 2, 2017, 3:19 pm

      WHEN YOU TURN ON THE LASER, YOU GIVE YOUR LOCATION AWAY. USE THE POINT METHOD OF SHOOTING AND STAY UNLOCATED! THEY DON’T WORK IN DAYLIGHT. THE BEST THING TO DO IS PAINT THE INTERIOR OF YOUR HOME IN EGGSHELL WHITE AND ANYONE IN THE HOME WILL BE A SHOOTABLE TARGET WITH TRADITIONAL NIGHT SITES.

  • Infidel762x51 August 2, 2017, 7:48 am

    But they are not worth a crap in daylight. Even the green ones don’t show up well in the sunlight. Indoors or at night fine but outside, as they say in Joisey fuuggetaboutit.

    • Dr Motown August 2, 2017, 11:43 am

      I agree. I have two green lasers and neither one is rapidly visible beyond 10′ in full sunlight

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