What I love & Hate About Crimson Trace Lasergrips

One of my favorite firearms innovations of the last decade or so has been the swift rise of aftermarket laser aiming systems for handguns. Remember when adding a laser to your handgun meant installing something that looked like a small flashlight onto your gun’s tactical rail with a coiled cord attached to an activation switch? Thankfully, we have come a long way. The innovation and greater integration will likely continue.

Crimson Trace (CT) has been an industry leader in laser sighting systems. It even offers high-tech laser grips for the relatively low-tech snub-nosed revolver. The Smith & Wesson 638 pictured here has forever been a favorite snubby, and adding a laser aiming system makes it even better. There is truly much to enjoy and not much to gripe about when it comes to adding Crimson Trace Lasergrips to a gun, but there are a couple things. With that, here are the things I love and hate about Crimson Trace’s LG-350G Lasergrips.

Love: Activating and Aiming

Adding most CT Lasergrips to a handgun means enjoying CT’s well-known, reliable and unobtrusive means of actuating the laser. Simply grasp the grip and depress the small button located on the frontstrap of the grips, and the laser comes on. When the laser comes on, the dot shows you where your rounds will hit. Granted, there a few nuances to aligning, aiming and actual point of impact. Since the laser emanates from the right sight of the gun just slightly lower than the barrel, there is some adjustment needed to accommodate the paths of the laser beam and bullet. If you point the gun and laser at something one inch from the barrel, the point of aim and point of impact may be different by an inch or so. At varying distances, the point of impact closes. At extreme distances, you defeat the point of shooting a snub-nosed revolver, but for the most part, where the laser beam lands is where the rounds will hit. The key is that you do not have to align the gun with your eyes; you can aim and shoot accurately without that extra step. For the record, CT’s Lasergrips install easily, activate intuitively, aim reliably and generally make the whole shooting process better. The activation switch works every time, and the bright green laser beam makes it easy to see even in daylight.

Love: Excellent Grip

 

Snubbies are not known for having a good grip quality. That is because they are known for being very concealable. Their shorter grips leave less to hold onto. Adding the LG-350G Lasergrips means removing the usually shorter handles and gaining some extra real estate in the grip. Since I carry this snubby inside the waistband, it is no trouble to hide just a bit more handle length. What I gain is a grip that helps fill my palms and finger grooves and even has a place for my pinky finger. Since the Lasergrips use two different types of plastic (one for comfort and one for structure), I get a solid grip through the sides with a little give in the frontstraps and backstraps. Considering the benefit of activation and aiming working in conjunction with greater grip and comfort, I will gladly give up the more concealable handles.

Hate: Finding the Right Holster

“Hate” is just too strong here, but as I said, there are a couple of points to gripe about. First is the matter that adding different grips with a protruding housing for the laser source means some holsters will not work with the gun. Leather and plastic holsters can be altered to accommodate the laser, but there is a risk with modifications like that. It is better to find a holster that does its job regardless of what grips are on the gun. The Blade-Tech Klipt fits the bill. It holsters the Lasergrip-equipped, J-frame snubby perfectly.

Hate: Fussing With Batteries and a Power Switch

It’s a compromise I’m willing to live with, but I am generally not a fan of adding electronic accessories to a mechanical handgun. Electronics need power and can fail. That is true for mechanical parts made from metal or plastic, but less so. CT’s Lasergrips require four small lithium batteries. Before you can operate the activation switch on the frontstrap, you have to turn the grips on by using the switch on the base. When the laser is powered on, you will get about two steady hours of time when the activation pad is pressed. You should burn through the battery over a very long period of time because most lasers are activated for only a few seconds at a time. I leave the power switch on all the time and have yet to use up the original batteries. The battery power management is excellent. You just have to be diligent to check the laser and replace the batteries when needed. The CT Lasergrips are very robust. They handle the recoil of round after round and stay on target. I have never gotten them very wet, so there is no telling what would happen if too much moisture got in or around the gun. While it is not likely to happen, it is possible, and therein lies one of the dilemmas of this kind of technology.

For more information on CT’s Lasergrips visit CrimsonTrace.com.

Do you use CT Lasergrips on your handgun? What are your experiences with this kind of technology?

Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.

About the author: Mark Kakkuri is a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Ben McMillan September 25, 2018, 1:18 pm

    I have 4 autos and while it took me time to locate a good source for my holsters, I have never regretted buying from them.

  • Walt September 2, 2018, 11:16 am

    I’ve carried a Colt Defender with Crimson Trace sights for over ten years. No problems and I’m still on the original batteries.

    A couple points. If the laser fails-use the sights. I’m a lefty, no problem.

    Also, if they get wet take them apart. Rinse them with DISTILLED water and either blow dry them or pack them in uncooked rice for a couple days. This also works for cell phones and even the hearing aids I washed (yes, I am an idiot).

  • John B September 1, 2018, 8:47 pm

    My eyesight just can’t see most front sights on handguns unless lighting is perfect. I went all in on CT: 3-1911’s two red and one green, Ppks, CZ-75, Hi Power, 3 Glocks, 92FS, Sig P220 & P226, J & K frame S&W, Ruger LCpS Pro is laser guard, P3AT is a laser guard, TAC-14 rail mount. They have totally changed my results, especially past 10 yards. I also really like how you can see the effect of your trigger pull if you are moving off target or dipping as you pull. I was a huge skeptic 5 years ago, now I am all in.

    Yes, especially for guns I already had holsters for they are not always compatible.

  • Brad F September 1, 2018, 10:05 am

    I’m a Southpaw. I purchased a pair of Crimson Tace laser grips for my Kimber K6S revolver. I was concerned that my support hand/thumb might block the laser, but it hasn’t been an issue and I haven’t had to modify my grip.

  • Duane Pauley August 31, 2018, 8:49 pm

    Crimson Trace Laser Grips can save your life.
    & as I have asked many a gun owner,” What’s your life worth. You Have to decide that.

  • Guido August 31, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Hello

    One advantage to using laser on any carry pistol is the ability to have your weapon out and essentially aimed and ready to fire without having to assume any kind of a traditional shooting stance.
    I’ve had my pistol drawn and discretely hidden beneath an elbow or armpit with my body rotated so that the weapon is nearly pointed at a target before I was able to discern whether said target was a threat or not. Fortunately, none has ever been judged a target, but they also were completely unaware that I discreetly had the drop on them. Seconds count.
    -One thing that has always bugged me about CT lasers is the damn oddball batteries.

  • N6JSX August 31, 2018, 6:01 pm

    I find them 100% over priced with such a narrow pistol model support base – plus they are NOT adaptable to all models.

    Take the 1911’s there are so many varieties with slight mechanical dimension differences that CT cannot accommodate. I got burned on a 1911 I bought and I’m stuck with it. CT information/data is misleading at best. I’ve been burned on Taurus many times. I shy away from CT for other competitors that are more versatile/adaptable and FAR CHEAPER!

    And another point the GREEN vs RED laser has no part cost difference yet CT gouges more for GREEN. CT has a good product for a SPECIFIC MODEL OF PISTOL but to all other models can suck hind tit.

  • Larry Fillman August 31, 2018, 4:09 pm

    Crimson Trace. Started out being “THE” one to own. I’ve got them on a number of pistols but the gleen began to falter with the grips for my Judge. Not a good ergonomic design. Called CT as I thought there might be a recall but that was not the case. Very disappointed. Then I bought the S&W M&P Shield 2.0 with CT. Literally have to hold the gun flat to activate the laser button. Sent it back. Got it back without any improvement. Spoke with S&W rep and was told its an entry level laser and don’t expect more. I got rid of the gun. I now have a bad taste for CT and, due to other circumstances, S&W as well. I’ve got other lasers on other firearms and they function as one would expect them to. As a side note S&W and CT are owned by the same company.

  • Lynn K. Circle August 31, 2018, 1:49 pm

    I have used Crimson Trace laser grips on my .45 Kimber for more than a decade. The grip feels excellent at the range, and reduces felt recoil compared to the wooden grips which came with the gun. Sighting in was easy; I first ensured the dot was on the spot where the regular sights said the gun was pointing, and then had to make only very minor adjustments at the range. Unlike the revolver in the review, the grips had no effect or issue with my Crossbreed holster. I recommend them without reservation.

  • Benny August 31, 2018, 11:44 am

    I went around the “Add-on” and bought a S&W Bodyguard BG38 that was preset from the factory to 25′. I double checked the settings with a Bore Site and found it to be within ¾”. At 14oz unloaded, it goes well in a holster OR in my Shorts Pocket.

  • Ben August 31, 2018, 9:19 am

    I love the CT laser grips and have them on 3 of my pistols. 99% of the time I use the sights for aiming anyway, but on that rare occasion that I need to point, aim and shoot without raising my weapon (carjacker elimination, or similar situation) it’s good to know where my bullet is going. Yes, they are expensive but wait on the NRA show and they sell them for $150 off at the show.
    And let’s be honest……the dot is cool………

  • Al Margheim August 31, 2018, 7:11 am

    I’ve had CT laser grips on three of my guns. All three have quit working within a couple of years. CT replaced them under warranty, but three different sets of CT grips on my Kimber Solo broke, were sent back to CT for them to examine and agree that the problem was defective components, but they won’t replace the grips any more. .

    I baby my guns, these grips were not abused in any way. I don’t trust CT grips now.

  • Otto Kunst August 31, 2018, 6:46 am

    As for getting wet, one of mine did get VERY wet while carried in a bike pouch with a ventilated bottom (go figure) in a heavy rain with lots of puddles and no bike front fender, meaning that the front tire threw up a LOT of water into the pouch and saturated the gun and the laser grip. I thoroughly dried the firearm but wasn’t savvy enough to disassemble the grip. Whether just from the water itself, or from corrosion afterward, the laser later failed. So if your grips ever do get wet, my recommendation is to disassemble the grip, remove the batteries, dry it as well as you can, and then give it a day or two to thoroughly air dry before replacing the batteries ans re-mounting the grip.

  • Karl Jacobsen August 31, 2018, 5:46 am

    CT grips are the only laser sights I use on my carry guns. My only complaints are around finding the right holster (as the author notes above) and the price. To CT’s credit, the do offer some holsters on their site as not to leave their customers with no option. I also find if the laser is mounted to the grips themselves, as opposed to in front of the trigger guard, most standard holsters will fit. I recently purchased a CT Laserguard Pro for my S&W Shield 9mm. The direct competitor is the Streamlight TLR6 who’s average street price is about $100 less. Literally the only major gain to buying the CT Laserguard Pro over the TLR6 is CT’s patented instinctive activation. The instinctive activation is definitely a plus over it’s competitors but it’s hard to justify the difference in price. Again to CT’s credit, if you purchase from them they often send out discount codes and run sales that help offset the price difference.

  • Jack Mackay August 31, 2018, 3:55 am

    On my previous comment I managed to switch the bullet impact statement – the right side mounted laser has the bullets impacting 1/2″ to the LEFT of the dot and vice-versa for the left side lasers.

  • Jack Mackay August 31, 2018, 3:48 am

    I have been using laser grips for more than 20 years and have them on most of my defense handguns. The technique I use to set the sighting alignment is to position the red (or green) dot about 1/2″ to the right of the grouping center (for the grips with the laser on the right side – I do go to the left side for left side lasers). This way the bullet impacts are always 1/2″ to the right(or left) no matter the range. Elevation is dealt with the same as for iron sights or red dots. Just a suggestion that works for me.

  • Tom Thomas August 28, 2018, 10:52 pm

    Last week I actually just put some on my old Glock 30 that I bought in 2001. The price had come down so far, I just couldn’t resist the deal that I got. It’s replacing the guide-rod style that requires too much intervention to activate. The CT grips are different for a Glock than a revolver but suffice it to say that holster selection is simply not a problem for the Glock configurations. Trigger guard versions would be a whole different story. While I share your sentiments about electronics on guns, iron sights make very reliable backups as long as you train with them.

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