I was at the range the other day and the guy in the lane next to me had a laser sight fixed to his pistol. Before every shot I could see that laser darting all over the target as he struggled to find the red dot with his eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder how useful that laser would be in an emergency life of death situation.
First of all, that red dot is hard to see. If you are nervous, the dot is going to be bouncing all over the place and you may never actually find it, even if it is sitting on your target. Second, every class I’ve taken, and every book I read keeps telling me that you are going to experience tunnel vision when you get into a gun fight. You will be focused intently on the threat and not much else. So unless you have had some serious real world training, you are going to have trouble finding that laser.
Third, all these classes and books keep telling me that most gun fights last less than 3 seconds. Chances are you’ll be done firing before you ever find that little red dot. I’m told the green laser is easier for human eyes to acquire, but still, it’s a tiny dot and you are hopped up on the mother of all adrenaline rushes. I just don’t know how useful this tiny dot will be to you under these conditions.
I tend to think that night sights will be more useful than a laser, and that tons of training will be more useful than either a laser or night sights. In any case, a lot of these pocket pistols are being used with laser sights. The Ruger LC9 is commonly found with a Crimson Trace Laser Sight. The Smith & Wesson Bodyguard is commonly found with an Insight Technology laser. These guns are very small, and there is a short distance between the rear sights and the front sights, making it difficult to shoot these guns accurately.
I think that if you are going to carry one of these pocket pistols then you ought to train with it enough so that you can do target focused shooting without having to rely heavily on the sights, and without having to consciously acquire sight picture in an emergency situation. That’s in a perfect world where we all have $500 per day ammo budgets. In the real world, it’s possible that a laser sight on these pocket pistols will mean the difference between life and death.
One popular laser sight manufacturer is LaserLyte. The LaserLyte Rear Sight Laser (RSL) solves the problem of having to get a special holster to adapt to your laser sight. LaserLyte just mounts the Rear Sight Laser…in the rear of the gun, on the rear sights. As an added bonus, the RSL does double duty as a traditional rear sight, which is great because you don’t lose that functionality and can still take traditional shots if the laser fails you.
If you get shot in the hand, and you have to rack the slide one-handed, the RSL will not be damaged if you use it to rack the slide.
Crimson Trace is also one of the most popular laser sight manufacturers. When all these new pocket .380s and pocket 9s started coming out, each laser company rushed to get an accommodating product to market. Crimson Trace produced the Laserguard series, which mounts in front of the trigger guard, thereby preserving valuable real estate on the small pocket pistol grips. The Laserguard is instinctively activated. Just grip the gun and the laser activates.
I still don’t know how much help a laser will be in an emergency situation, but I know that these tiny pocket pistols are difficult to shoot accurately, and if you are forced to carry one of these, then you should train like your life depends on it, and you should look into getting a laser sight for your weapon.