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Do I Need Laser or Tritium on My EDC?

Discussion in 'Handguns' started by bsquared, Feb 3, 2010.

  1. bsquared

    bsquared Empty Pockets

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    I have a full size semi-auto for home defense...if I get something smaller for an edc do I need to spend the extra $ for tritium night sights on a kahr or a crimson trace grip on an lcr? I just don't see the need for htose aids as I expect any encounter to be at short range.
     
  2. solocanoe

    solocanoe Empty Pockets

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    its up to you, it's really about as personal as you are and choice of what you choose to carry...brand, caliber, rev. vs pistol, etc...

    all that said...if you ever want to order the free CD (recommended) from Crimson Trace...it may forever change your perception. You'd be hard pressed to find any holdouts amoung the well known gun writers/trainers/academies who wouldn't recommend a laser for a self defense handgun.

    It just gives you too many advantages. It's not a crutch, it has to be trained with...but it makes possible accurate shots on target that just couldn't be done without a laser.

    Around cover, under, off hand, not being able to obtain an accurate sight picture alignment, a huge number of incidents occur in low light/no light...yet most train in a static pose on a daylight range...etc...

    now, I am sure others still feel lasers are not something to have...that's why you always say "everyone has to choose"...but seriously...at least order the free CD. ;)
     
  3. Jean

    Jean Loaded Pockets

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    Lot of guy miss in short range encounters. The smaller weapons may also lead you to consider a change in technique for which the lasers are more suited then tritium sights. I would fire the weapon a significant number of times from various stances before making the decision, despite the modest savings you would see from buying the sights/laser as a package.
     
  4. MartinTravels

    MartinTravels Empty Pockets

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    I can't fathom the reasons why somebody would not want laser sights on their weapon. To me, it is an absolute no brainer.

    I just installed Crimson Trace Laser grips on my Kel Tec P32. Many people would scoff at putting a laser sight on such a small short range weapon. But If I ever need to pull the thing out, I need every edge I can get. Laser sights are a HUGE adventage. The benefits far outweigh the cons.

    Benefits:

    1) Night Shooting Capability
    2) Extra Intimidation Factor
    3) Shooting behind cover
    4) Shooting Offhand
    5) Shooting with your non-dominant hand
    6) Less of a gun-like print in your pocket
    7) Shooting with impaired vision (blurry, one eye, etc)...
    8) Laser can temporarily blind the person you at shooting at
    9) Great tracking on a moving target
    10) You now EDC a laser pointer also


    Cons:

    1) Expensive
    2) May malfunction
    3) May develop bad shooting habits if you train improperly

    Worst case scenerio, your laser sight doesn't work. What are you left with? Just a regular gun like everyone else. If you can afford it, GET A LASER (and get tritium sights also)!
     
  5. Rob72

    Rob72 Loaded Pockets

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    As noted, it will depend much on you and your training practices. My personal preference is for an XS Standard trit front, with a wide-notch no-trit rear.

    I have lasers, but they are a "confirmation" more than a sighting tool, per se. I do wear glasses, so in that context, yeah, it would probably be more of a primary.

    Don't get wrapped up in the "close range" stuff. Odds are, you'll never need a defensive weapon, but if you do you're already (comparatively) a statistical outlier. It would suck to be on outlier for an even smaller sampling, without the means or training to respond to the demands of the situation, wouldn't it?
     
  6. revs
    • In Omnia Paratus

    revs Loaded Pockets

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    I am looking at getting a laser on my Glock 19. The reason for me is, I wear contacts/glasses. If someone were to break in to my house at night, I would grab the pistol and run, not waiting to put in my contacts. Being near sighted, the sights would be difficult to make out to make certain my aim. But that nice red dot would stand out. I know I can see the red dot in the dark, tried it with a laser pointer :lolhammer:
     
  7. Exmasonite

    Exmasonite Loaded Pockets

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    if you are able to afford it, go for the laser.

    but before you do that, i'd make sure you have either a weapon mounted light or a good flashlight and train to use it in your offhand.

    for one, you always want to be able to properly evaluate the target.

    From a legal standpoint, it's safer to have the light even if you don't use it. If you don't have the light, a sly attorney will make the case that you couldn't properly identify your target and in the wrong.
     
  8. bsquared

    bsquared Empty Pockets

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    all good responses...all well thought out...all appreciated. i think a dot is in order. thanks all.
     
  9. MartinTravels

    MartinTravels Empty Pockets

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    So I gotta know... what gun are you going leaning toward purchasing? Have you handled/shot any yet? I've had my eye on the Kahr PM9 for a while; if I didn't already carry a P32 I would highly consider the PM9.
     
  10. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    A few thoughts:  if you can't see and visually confirm your target, you'd best not be firing on it.  I am very nearsighted as well, but I can always focus on that front sight and get pretty good hits without my glasses.  If I don't have my glasses on, I can see the front sight 2 feet from my eyeballs better than a blurry red dot on a blurry target 25 ft away.

    At a 4-day defensive handgun course I attended, the one guy who brought a laser couldn't get his shots off on the timed targets -- he was too busy trying to locate and chase the dot around.  At 3yds, 5yds, 7yds, 10yds, and 15yrds, it was all the same.  Followup shots were hopeless.  The shots he did get off in time were all over the place.  His night shoots were a circus (well, maybe more like a disco) :spotlight::pirate::spotlight::yikes::spotlight::stars:  On Day 3, the instructors finally convinced him to turn it off and focus on the front sight.  Instantly, his groups were on-paper and he could get all his shots off before the targets turned away.  It was pretty dramatic. 


    I've trained at Front Sight, one of the largest schools by attendance, and InSights, a popular NW regional school.  My Front Sight instructors explicitly discouraged lasers and the InSights instructor mostly dismissed them as a gimmick.

    A buddy of mine doesn't have much time or interest to train, formally or informally.  He got a 642 and a P3AT and couldn't put groups on a pizza box at 5yds.  Of course, the problem must be the lack of a laser, so he put a laser on both guns.  Same result, except now he preceeded each shot with several seconds of waving the pistol around to try to find the dot.  It's touchy for men to advise other men, so I just waited.  Eventually he asked me what he was doing wrong.  I gently coached him through 3 minutes of dry fire drills to address his significant flinch, and his groups shrank onto the target.  I suggested that he use the lasers for dry-fire practice to watch for flinch, but mostly to turn them off and focus on the front sight.  When I shoot with his guns, I get faster and more accurate shots (especially followups) with the lasers off.  MartinTravels has a few interesting points that I haven't considered before - I should try non-dominant hand with and without the lasers.

    To be frank, the $350 my buddy spent on lasers would have yielded better results if he had spent it on a good multiday class.  Time, family, interest, and travel were restrictions in his case, and I understand that. 

    I'm unconvinced by most of the purported "non-line-of-sight" advantages of lasers.  If I have eyes on the target, then I can put the front sight in that line of sight.  There are probably rare exceptions to this that would make a laser valuable, but none that I've encountered in my training or at-home evaluations.  My last rifle class spent a lot of time on firing ARs around corners exposing almost none of your body or melon.  Really neat exercises and results, and eye-opening.

    I don't doubt that the CT DVD is very convincing.  Most advertising is.  I mean to get around to ordering one sometime.  With both my buddy and the guy at the class (as well as other shooters at the range), it just seems like people spend WAY too much time and effort searching for and fighting the laser, overcompensating and jerking it around.  I haven't observed it being any kind of "extra edge", but merely a distraction.  This might not be the deal, but it is my observation so far.  Sure, you can tell me it's a training issue.  I'd like the opportunity to observe an Average Joe (vs, say, a CT employee) who has trained with a laser.

    I don't have a light on my pistols but I have trained a good bit with the Harries technique and like it.  A light on a defensive handgun makes sense as far as positive target identification.  I really don't like that it requires pointing your gun at the target in order to identify the target in the first place, though.  I do like that the gun has a flashlight attached, so you can use your normal two-hand firing grip and you don't have one tool without the other.  However, this is an EDC forum, so I reckon there's no shortage of good flashlights on us.   ;)

    I haven't been too blown away by night sights yet but want to shoot with them more.  If it's light enough to identify the target, then I can still see the big white dot on my stock Glock front sights.  If it's too dark to identify the target, then I have no business firing on it.  If I'm using a flashlight to light up the target, then my front sight stands out in pretty sharp silouhette.  In timed drills, I've found that I can identify, acquire, and get good shots on a target using just a handheld light with Harries or Rogers ("cigar") techniques.  I'd love to try the drills with a weapon-mounted light and night sights.  I bet the grip advantage makes a difference.

    Of any of the common bolt-on gimmicks, night sights are probably the most valuable, with no disadvantage.  They're not even that expensive.  If you want to hit, you should be looking at your front sight anyway.  It might as well be easy to see.

    I know that these are minority opinions when it comes to lasers, but just wanted to throw them out there.  A low-light shooting class would be a great way to research this question.  It was for me.  Another good way to find out would be to get a laser and measure if it helps YOU get multiple shots on target quickly in a variety of stances and lighting conditions, or at least quicker than without.  You can always sell it.
     
  11. Rob72

    Rob72 Loaded Pockets

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    I would agree with you, tradja, improperly applied, lasers can be a HUGE waste of time. However... if you've trained using irons, and getting knocked on your butt, you develop an appreciation for them.

    Kinda like Paul Howe's new C-SAT sight, I can see the utility, I'm just not sophisticated (ie, genuinely experienced) enough to realize its full potential. There aren't many geegaws and googaws I'll say that about. ;) Some gadgets are junk; on the other hand, there are some folks thinking the AK-47 was ordained by God, and there no technological advances that can be applied to it. :rolleyes:

    Weapon mounted lights and Harries technique are two other things to be cautious with, light draws fire, and both of these modalities put light COM on the user. With a tactical team, when a BG sees light, he can expect incoming fire, in short order, if he's non-compliant, with a single-officer or homeowner, not so much. YM and experiences may vary, but simmunitions and airsoft are reasonable tests of concept.
     
  12. Versatek

    Versatek Loaded Pockets

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    I am also nearsighted. I know if I could not identify my target I would not shoot unless grave danger was imminent.

    I am a big believer in the XS 24/7 Big Dot sight. For a self defense sight, I believe there is nothing better. With my 48 year-old eyes, I don't have to concentrate to get a sight picture - it is right there. I can concentrate on the threat and the gun flows into position when I bring it up.

    I have no time with lasers, so can't speak to them directly. However, depending on technology that can fail is not high on my things to do list.
     
  13. bsquared

    bsquared Empty Pockets

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    tradja - you sound like my chl instructor, lasers are a "distraction" & relying on them means you "miss" them when they're not there; i.e. you can't shoot without them. i can see this is not an on the fence topic & the only way to know for sure is probably to try it myself & see...like most things.

    MartinTravels - i'm thinking kahr cw9, feels great but i haven't fired one yet...ct makes a laser that rigs onto the trigger guard...of course that means a second holster...one mod leads to another...& so it goes.
     
  14. tradja

    tradja Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah, but mods are fun at least! :roof:

    Good point. I've experimented a bit with FBI technique just to get the light away from my own COM, but the balance and shot-to-shot recovery takes more getting used to. I feel all splayed out.
     
  15. P35

    P35 Loaded Pockets

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    no....... practice........... training.............a good flashlight
     
  16. newtothis007

    newtothis007 Loaded Pockets

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    Tritium does not use batteries. Keeps Murphy out some.
     
  17. bawb

    bawb Empty Pockets

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    sounds good to me
     
  18. chaosmagnet
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    chaosmagnet Loaded Pockets

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    Without nightsights it becomes difficult or impossible to obtain any sort of sight picture in low-light conditions. Since I've been trained to shoot with the sights, defensive handguns have to have nightsights for me to be able to shoot accurately with them.

    While a weapon-mounted light is darn handy, if you train with and carry a tactical flashlight that's a very good option. Personally, I prefer to have a tactical flashlight and a weaponlight for flexibility; there are times I want to illuminate something without pointing a gun at it, and I might also want to turn the light on at arm's length to make it harder for someone shooting at the light to hit me.

    Three things have prevented me from putting a laser on my guns. If I train with the laser and it breaks, that's potentially a far more serious problem for me than if my flashlight or weaponlight goes down. While weapon-mounted lasers may be very reliable, you can't convince me that they're as reliable as the sights. Second, they make you more visible than you might otherwise be, without the compensating illumination and potential for temporarily blinding an attacker that a light gives you. Third, I am privileged to shoot and train with police officers and armed professionals, none of whom use lasers. While that might be more about institutional inertia than the merits of the technology, the consequence is that the training available to me doesn't include lasers.
     
  19. tpd223

    tpd223 Empty Pockets

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    A few random thoughts;

    After carrying serious pistols at work for serious problems for many years, I find that I have tritium sights on every gun I can get them on, and I'm trying to figure out how to get night sights on my S&W J frames.
    There are no disadvantages outside of cost for night sights, and many advantages.

    I have Crimson Trace laser grips on all my J frames. They have been totally reliable for many years, with no shift in zero. I don't worry about the laser quitting, if it should I will immediately revert to my iron sights, just like I would with my AR if the Aimpoint quit.

    The CT laserfrips are a very good idea for carry weapons, particularly BUGs, since one may be hurt or down when they have to shoot/return fire.

    I also like the laser dot being immediately visible when one is looking AT the bad guy, which one will often do in ambiguous situations often encountered by cops (a big deal to me since I are one ;)). I know, we are supposed to look at our sights, but watching the bad guy's hands has so often gotten in the way of that for me.

    I had always dismissed the effects of the laser dot on a bad guy's attitude, until we got Tasers, then I immediately noted folks who shifted gears and had a definite channel change when they were "dotted".


    To the question of; Tritium or Lasers? My reply is "Yes".
     
  20. jwhite75

    jwhite75 Loaded Pockets

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    I am an advocate of tritium sights ALWAYS. Its not just a luxury anymore. The lasers I can take or leave spend the extra money on ammo and/or range time.