Training with Laser Sights

Training With Laser Sights

Crimson Trace has put together a series of training videos about the use of laser sights. These videos were produced with the help of the Education and Training Division of the National Rifle Association. Instructors from the Gunsite Academy are featured in the videos, as is the Gunsite training facility.

There is no cost to view any of the training videos. Videos are available in high definition (720p). Topics covered include:

  • muzzle awareness
  • sight alignment
  • sight picture
  • trigger control
  • safety
  • low light conditions

The first video in the series is below. View the entire training video series on the Crimson Trace site here.

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is


  • Don Miles

    Seems the only people interested in training with lasers are the people making them.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    I have a couple of lasers and I like them but if you need one to be able to tell where your gun is pointed then you probably shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.

  • Cal S.

    The only time I see lasers being useful is when you’re firing from cover and not shooting with your firearm shouldered. Seems this would be most practical with a rifle, not a handgun. I’d prefer a light on my pistol, so I can clearly ID my target and see more than just a light dot.

    Just my $0.02.

    • They’re extremely useful when shooting while moving (especially moving rapidly off the X), firing from below eye level (ie right out of the holster) and firing under extreme stress.

      I’m baffled that they’re not in wider use, but in general there seems to be a 50 year gap when it comes to accepting new tech in the shooting community.

      • Cal S.

        I get it, I do. For me, though, I’d rather not chase a dot around on someone’s chest when I can train with unsighted fire. Not only does a flashlight yield you more functionality, but it can act like a laser at shorter distances (like knowing when your light is on them then you’re probably good).

        As for why they’re not in wider use? Maybe like me people don’t exactly have $200 to spare on a CT grip laser, and it’s really hard to find compact/practical front-mounted lasers.

        • Most of the pistol mounted lights are running around $110-$210 online. A green Crimson Trace CMR 206 (the latest rail mounted model) is going for $159.

          As far as functionality goes, I ditched my rail mounted flashlights for green lasers. For me, the laser offered a much higher level of utility; upon closer analysis, it was hard to find a scenario where I would feel in imminent enough harm to point a loaded weapon at someone, yet at the same time it was so dark that I was unable to identify them without a light.

          I concluded a green laser equipped pistol and a separate hand held flashlight offered a more versatile and safer option.

  • TechnoTriticale

    Lasers have a role to play.

    They may reduce the need to pull the trigger. A perp wearing a laser spot may or may not be intimidated per se, but at least knows that’s where the bullet would go, and that they can’t count on you being a poor marksman. Anything that reduces the need to shoot works for me.

    For handguns in particular, if you are over 42½, and your eye accommodation has frozen at an inconvenient focal length, with or without glasses/contacts, obtaining a decent sight picture on target may be a challenge. Lighting conditions and range permitting, a laser eases that problem (but then so does a parallax optic, but they aren’t as common for your specific weapon as lasers are, and are not as compact).

  • John Yossarian

    Self-defense with a laser is like point shooting, in that you get to keep your eyes on the target, but like aiming with sights, in that you know the true point of impact. Why anyone would diss that is beyond my comprehension.

    • iksnilol

      Back in my day we learnt point shooting without a fancy schmancy laser.

  • stephen

    I just put a red laser on my Tavor for CQB zombie ops, so maybe these videos will have some good info. However here is a quote from this video…

    “lasers allow the shooter to see any errors in sight alignment”

    Seriously? I thought the point of lasers was to do away with obtaining a perfect sight picture so you can quickly acquire and engage the threat/target.

    • whskee

      Lasers should never be your primary means of sighting. You still try for the fundamentals, and the laser comes into useful play when in less than ideal conditions. Examples being when it is too dark to actually see your sights effectively, or your helmet/comms prevent getting on them (rifle), or you have injuries preventing you from presenting the weapon normally. You are correct in that they allow keeping eyes on target, which comes very naturally in high stress situations.

    • Cymond

      This is for training, to help teach a person on a static range.

      Hand a random handgun to an inexperienced shooter.
      Shooter: “I keep missing, I think these sights need adjusted.”

      Hand a random laser-equipped handgun to the same shooter.
      Shooter: “The laser is perfectly accurate, but I keep missing with the sights.” *shooter compares laser to sights* “Oh, I see, the bullet goes right above the front sight, not behind it.”

      For example, I once saw a guy at the range who was jerking the trigger and hitting low on every shot. I could actually see the laser dip down an instant before I heard his muzzle blast.

  • Budogunner

    Admittedly not a laser fan either. While I agree with using a tool to emphasize muzzle discipline when training new shooters, a weapon light is more appropriate. It gives them the sense of how much the cone of error grows with more distant targets if you don’t have a good grip and trigger squeeze.

    Also, lasers can still damage eyes if you get a super careless newbie. Of course, at that point you should probably recommend said newbie never handle a gun again…

  • Matt

    there has to be a learning curve with it the same as the red dot sight. A lot of times you’ll just look for the red dot rather than concentrate on proper sight alignment, which leads to a terrible experience with the red dot. But if you focus on proper sight alignment first, the red dot is there and a bit easier to pick up.

    With that being said, I don’t use either but I see the merit.