There are a few things you can do to enhance your personal protection handgun. Many send their gun to the gunsmith for trigger jobs, add night sights or flashlights, but one of the most popular self-defense accessories for handguns is a laser. Available in either red or green, lasers almost instantly project a high-visibility dot on your target for quicker acquisition. You can get guns with integrated lasers, laser grips, guide rod lasers, rail-mounted lasers and even a laser that replaces your rear sight. Competitive shooters also take advantage of the quick target acquisition lasers offer.
By no means should lasers be substitutes for proficiency with your firearm and its sights; however, can be exceptionally beneficial during a self-defense situation. Eighty percent of self-defense shootings occur in low-light. Lasers give you the tactical advantage to get on target in the dark or take the time to align your gun’s sights—quite possibly saving your life.
When faced with a life or death threat, your body responds by going into fight or flight mode, also called acute stress response. When faced with something we think might harm or kill us, our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline preparing us to either run or fight. Our heart rate increases, we get tunnel vision, we might shake, our pupils dilate, and we experience hearing loss. All these things can make it very difficult to use our fine motor skills and memory to operate a gun effectively. Laser sights of any type make it simpler to get on target in times of extreme duress.
Further, instead of concentrating on aligning your sights and focusing on your front sight, lasers help you keep your eyes on the target—which is what you’ll automatically do anyway when faced with a threat.
When shopping for pistol lasers, whether universal or fit to a specific gun, it is important to consider size. Lasers should be slim and lightweight and not add too much bulk to your carry gun. There are plenty of holsters that accommodate lasers, as well.
Many shooters and gun owners have picked up lasers or handguns with integrated lasers due to aging eyes and have found their accuracy has increased, regaining confidence in their shooting abilities while eliminating frustration at the shooting range.
For less than $100, you can purchase a reliable laser for your pistol. The following list is our favorite top five budget pistol lasers:
This micro 650nm red laser has ambidextrous recessed buttons and mounts to any rail. It has pulse and constant-on modes and will turn off by itself after five minutes. We like this one because it mounts and adjusts for windage and elevation easily. An Allen wrench for adjustments is included. It handles hundreds of rounds of recoil from a .45 ACP without needing to re-zero. We also like its size. It weighs less than one ounce. The price is hard to beat, and it comes with a two-year limited warranty.
This green laser is visible up to 600 yards at night! Green also makes it easier to see during daylight than a red laser. Like the TruGlo, it has an easy to operate ambidextrous button and has constant on and pulse modes. It includes a pressure pad, so you can mount this one to an AR-15. The housing is solid and after much abuse, the Sightmark ReadyFire is still truckin.’ We particularly like its versatility, durability and how it withstands recoil on our pistols and rifles. The only thing against the Sightmark is it is bulkier than the others on this list; however, for $120, this one feels like a true bargain!
LaserLyte V4 Laser $78.95
Our favorite thing about the LaserLyte V4 is its size. It doesn’t need a lot of rail space, so it is good for your compact or subcompact gun, as well as a larger one—especially when compared to the versatility of the LaserMax. It also has constant on and pulse modes. It is not as easy to sight-in as the others, but the good news is, once adjusted for windage and elevation, we love that it holds zero box after box of ammo. It’s compact, lightweight and we appreciate the way it fits a variety of carry guns without adding too much bulk.
The LaserMax laser fits a wider variety of subcompact guns than any other on this list, requiring only a ¾-inch of rail space to mount! It has an ambidextrous on/off button and will automatically switch off after 10 minutes to conserve battery life. Mounting and zeroing is quick and easy. It fits better on more smaller semiautos than any of the others on this list and only weighs 0.5 ounces, so attaching it to your carry gun is not burdensome. Kudos for fit on our subcompact carry guns, but we’re not so convinced it’s the best for full-size pistols.
Though this is an amazing deal for a Streamlight laser/light combo, Streamlight’s TLR-6 lasers are gun specific and start around $90. Though we love Streamlight, the TLR-6 would be the least favorite on our list, as you can’t use it for any other gun than the one you’ve purchased it for. That being said, the TLR-6 has an ambidextrous operation, fits snug on your handgun and feels like top quality. The red laser and C4 LED light combo has multiple modes and an automatic shut off after 10 minutes. It really is the whole package. There are 18 different models—all fit subcompact guns.
Some gun owners are vehemently opposed to lasers, but all of us at Best in Bunch agree they can be extremely helpful. For competition, self-defense, dry-fire training and even hunting, we encourage the use of lasers if it gets you on target quicker, helps you feel more confident in your abilities as a shooter and especially if it gets you out to the range more.