Beginner’s Guide to Handgun Laser Options
Beginner’s Guide to Handgun Laser Options

Beginner’s Guide to Handgun Laser Options



There are a variety of companies offering weapon-mounted lasers, typically in three categories that include grip lasers, guide rod lasers, and rail mount lasers. Depending on your weapon system and the way you intend to employ it, you may find one suites your needs better than others. Recently there has been the introduction of green lasers. In some instances they may be easier to see than red lasers but in my experience the color of your laser is about as important as the color of your underwear.

Grip Lasers

Grip lasers are the least intrusive to the handgun and are available through Crimson Trace for almost every modern pistol or revolver. Most are easy for the user to install and zero. They also make the execution of laser discipline simple because you can cover the laser beam with your trigger finger or just reduce your pressure on the handgun’s activation switch (grip). Laser grips should not impact holster selection and their instinctive activation make them the, almost always, best choice.

I prefer Crimson Trace laser grips for almost all applications because they do not interfere with holster selection and because of their instinctive activation.

Guide Rod Lasers

These units replace the recoil guide rod in your handgun and on the plus side, add nothing to the external dimensions and little if anything at all to the weight of the pistol. For plastic framed handguns they are a non-intrusive option and do not increase the already bulkiness of the grip on some of these firearms. On the down side, if they break your pistol could be rendered inoperable and they are not conducive to instinctive tactical control if you need to exercise extreme laser discipline. Finally, they require a separate action on the part of the shooter to be activated. For me this is a deal breaker.

Guide rod lasers are appealing but there have been instances where they come apart and disable the handgun. Not a good thing!

Rail Mounted Lasers

The biggest problem with rail-mounted lasers is they can make finding a holster to fit your handgun difficult. However, Crimson Trace now has a Resource Guide for Holsters that are compatible with their lasers and it includes more than 3000 options. Most rail lasers are easy to tactically control with your non-shooting hand and some even incorporate a high intensity weapon light. They’re generally a good option for law enforcement tactical teams and on a handgun strictly used for home defense, where you might have time to ready the gun – turn the laser on – before contact. Crimson Trace LaserGuard lasers are a kind of hybrid rail-mount laser. They attach to the trigger guard and, like Crimson Trace laser grips, offer the very desirable instinctive activation.

Don’t be lured in by cheap rail mounted lasers like this one. Spend the money for the real deal or better yet, opt for a Crimson Trace LaserGuard.

Regardless of the handgun laser you might choose, consider taking the Laser Integrated 250 Pistol Course at Gunsite to learn how and when to use it. If  you’re not convinced a handgun laser is a necessity as opposed to an accessory, contact Crimson Trace and ask for a  free copy of their Laser’s Edge DVD. A free copy of this DVD is also provided with every copy of one of my books sold HERE.