Handguns: Laser Thinking

Crimson Trace's green Laserguard sight.

The folks at Crimson Trace Corp., which manufactures laser-sighting devices, don’t believe a laser sight is an accessory—they believe it’s a necessity. And for two reasons: not only does a laser sight help an experienced shooter place accurate shots while on the move or from the offhand, but also helps a novice shooter gain command of a handgun.

“It really all comes down to training,” says Kent Thomas, CTC’s director of marketing and product development. “First, you need to become completely familiar with all the features and controls on your handgun. Then, learn to use the iron sights. We call this Basic Firearms 101.”

That done you can move on to the next step.

Trigger control is a key aspect of consistent accuracy, and Thomas believes laser sights can quickly help a new shooter achieve this goal.

“A laser-sighting system can help the novice shooter improve trigger control in a surprisingly short time,” he says. “In just a few shots, you can literally ‘self-judge’ your form because you will see the laser move as you squeeze the trigger.”

No one can hold the gun steady enough so that the laser will not move as you shoot, but if you see the laser dart quickly off target as you squeeze the trigger, you know something is amiss.

Let’s say you’re a right-handed shooter, and you notice that the shots are landing below and to the left of the aiming point. That’s a surefire sign of a flinch or of moving the gun as you pull the trigger. But with a laser sight, it’s easy to correct. What you need to do is practice trigger control:

First, make sure the gun isn’t loaded. Then, aim at the target while the laser is on and slowly squeeze the trigger. Concentrate on keeping the gun steady as you do so. Watch the placement of the laser sight on the target. You want to prevent that laser from moving off of your aiming point.

When you can shoot several times without a telltale “laser jump,” you’re ready to resume practice with live rounds—and you’re on your way to better shooting.