The Shooter’s Guide to Laser Sight

The Shooter’s Guide to Laser Sight


Mathew R Reed
August 26, 2021

The ability to get a clear eye on your target is one of the best advantages you can have as a shooter, but if it’s bad weather or the dark of night, there’s always something stopping you.

The laser sight was designed as a way to combat even the poorest visibility and help you lock onto a target with ease.

What does a laser sight do? A laser sight can be attached to a firearm either on the existing sight mechanism or somewhere else, and project a small laser beam onto an intended target.

By viewing the laser beam, the shooter is able to get a visual reference point that can enable them to take the shot more accurately.

These lasers are used for all purposes today, whether it’s a combat zone or for hunting, and they give you a clear advantage.

If you’ve never utilized one of these devices before and want to see if they’ll really make a difference, check out our guide to laser sights to find out more.

What is a Laser Sight?

What is a Laser Sight?

Laser sights on firearms have come a long way since they were first introduced, and their affordability and accuracy have given them a huge boost in popularity in recent years.

With a laser sight attached to your firearm, you’ll get a clear view for acquiring your target and an idea of how to make the most accurate shot, making them worth their weight in gold.

A laser sight is a small device that is attached to your firearm, including on the existing sighting mechanism, onto a rail system, foregrips, the trigger guard, or in another replacement part.

These sights project a beam that lands on a target in front of it, so that the shooter is able to see exactly where their shot will land, giving them greater visibility than usual.

There are many different types of laser sights, with some more appealing than others depending on your preferences.

A laser sight might have a colored beam or be an invisible IR laser, it could include a flashlight or illuminator, and be installed in a number of places on the firearm.

Although there are lots of variations, the end goal is to aid in target acquisition.

The History of Laser Sights

The History of Laser Sights

The laser sight sounds to many like a futuristic firearm device, but the first was released well before the 20th century, in 1979.

Laser Products Corporation is credited with being the first manufacturer of firearm laser sights and their initial one was released alongside the .356 Magnum Colt Trooper.

This original laser was a lot larger than the ones we use today, and it features a battery that was just as big.

Both the battery and sight were integrated with the grip of the gun and there was no way to swap it out for another firearm, making the whole thing quite bulky and more of a hindrance.

As advancements were made, like smaller sights, attachments for a range of firearms and placements, and more efficiently sized batteries, the laser sight caught on.

Unlike a traditional iron or optical sight that requires you to look through it to see the target, the laser sight allowed this target acquisition using the gun’s scope, which many people preferred.

Although the laser sight was traditionally considered a tool for military and law enforcement, they’re now popular with civilians as well, including for hunting and self-defense.

This is because their accuracy and ease of use have improved, and the price of these devices has decreased, making them more accessible for all.

How Do They Work?

A laser sight might seem like a futuristic firearm device, but when you look at how they work, you’ll see they’re quite simple.

These devices operate by projecting a beam of light in front of them, usually with red or green color for improved visibility.

The laser sight is calibrated to ensure accuracy and that it aligns with the firearm, so when the beam lands on the intended target, you’re able to take the shot.

These sights aren’t the only type of optical assistance you’ll use though, as they don’t work as well during daylight and have limited range, so using a backup like an iron sight is recommended.

The Best Way to Use Them

The Best Way to Use Them

A laser sight can be a helpful tool in just about any setting you use your firearm in. although they’re considered more of a military or police force-centered device, it’s more common these days for everyday shooters and gun enthusiasts to use them as well.

Here are just a few ways you can make use of a laser sight with your firearm:

  • Hunting: Whether it’s small game or large and dangerous ones, a rifle or a handgun, the pinpoint accuracy and target acquisition that a laser sight allows for will make all of the difference.
  • Target practice: Even if used just for fun, the addition of a laser sight at target practice can give your skills a major boost and help you improve accuracy.
  • Self-defense: Although a laser sight might not be that effective in close range like a self-defense situation, it can be of assistance if an attacker is coming towards you from far away.
  • Home defense: In a home defense situation where you want to ensure an accurate hit in as few shots as possible, being able to acquire a target with a laser sight will save you precious moments.
  • Combat: When used in combat, a laser sight can enable you to lock onto a target quickly and quietly so that you’re able to deliver the shot right away.

Red vs Green Lasers: What’s the Difference?

Red vs Green Lasers: What’s the Difference?

One of the biggest considerations to make when choosing a laser sight is whether to go with a red or green.

Although sometimes misunderstood as being much the same, they offer different benefits and setbacks that might impact your final choice.

Red Lasers

  • A red laser sight is usually cheaper to produce, thus cheaper to purchase.
  • These lasers are considered the more durable of the two because the red laser itself is strong, it’s able to stand up to high levels of recoil.
  • If you’re hunting or shooting in extreme weather conditions, the chance that your red laser will stand up to the heat or cold is higher, giving you visibility no matter what.
  • The technology behind producing a red laser beam requires less energy than it does for a green laser and the battery life of these sights will be longer.

Green Lasers

  • If you plan on using the laser sight during the daytime as well as night, a green laser may be best. They’re more visible in bright conditions and therefore more versatile.
  • The range of a green laser is far superior and they’re capable of seeing up to 100 yards without an issue, compared to only 30 yards or so with a red laser.
  • A green laser is more expensive because it has greater capabilities, so if you don’t need anything too extreme, you can get away with a more affordable red laser sight.

Laser Precision With Every Shot

The laser sight has become just as popular with civilian shooters as they are with the military and police, and now that they’re more accurate and affordable than ever, this popularity will continue to grow.

Although they aren’t right for every situation, they’re still a lot of fun to utilize, so improve your target acquisition and give one a try.

There’s no shortage of options when it comes to improving your accuracy with a firearm, whether it’s a traditional iron sight or the newer laser devices that you fancy.

To find out more about what these accessories are all about, we’ve answered some FAQs that can help.

What is the Most Accurate Sight?

The telescopic sight is considered the most accurate device made for firearms today, for all purposes from target shooting to hunting.

With a telescopic sight attached to your weapon, you get a magnified view of the target and an aiming device that helps you line it up perfectly.

What Sight Is Most Standard on Handguns?

It’s common for a handgun to come with a sight included and integrated with the weapon itself, and the most popular one is an iron or open sight.

However, more expensive or specialized weapons might utilize laser sights, telescopic sights, and others, as well as the option to replace or remove them.

What is a Ghost Ring Sight?

A ghost ring sight is a specific type of open rifle sight that’s commonly used for hunting.

This device falls into the category of two-part sights and features a circle-shaped aperture, also known as a ghost ring, that’s connected to the top of the gun and located near the stock.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.