Teaching With Laser Grips

I have never been a huge fan of laser sights.  Mostly because I’m a bit of a traditionalist, and believe that getting a clear sight picture on your target needs to be something instinctive, and it’s how folks should train.  When I found out our Para 1911s were going to be equipped with Crimson Trace Laser Grips, my reaction was mostly “Well, that’s cool Crimson Trace did that for us, but I don’t really use laser sights.”  But once I learned how to use them as a training tool, I was pretty enthusiastic about them.

The training use of laser sights is one thing that Todd Jarrett impressed on us at Blackwater.. This is not an angle I had ever considered before, and after seeing his technique demoed, I’m sold.  What the laser helps to do is to amplify movement, so you can immediately get useful feedback on grip, stance, trigger control, and follow through.  The fact that the lasers were activated by the grip safety made problems with grip pretty apparent when you would see the laser disappear, and you could easily see which shooters were thinking too much about their trigger pull.  Todd was pretty tuned in on what the various whisps and movements of the laser meant, and saw something in mine that indicated I was locking my knees.  But most problems were pretty obvious, and next time I take a novice shooter out on the range, I’m going to have to try using a laser sight and see what problems I can correct.  Should be interesting.

UPDATE: I should clarify that for beginners, I will still absolutely eschew the use of a laser to teach sight picture.  I still believe beginners need to know how to use open sights.  But for people who get that part, the laser is a great tool for helping make someone a better shooter.

9 thoughts on “Teaching With Laser Grips”

  1. You do realize that Todd’s pistol didn’t have a laser grip, don’t you?

    The red dot you saw was simply a manifestation of his intensity.

  2. I’m glad you added the update. No reasonable instructor I’ve ever known will use laser grips to teach beginners. I’ve seen it before and those newbies can’t shoot for shit when they don’t have a laser grip.

  3. Interesting post.

    One of the things I’ve always laughed at is when I go to the range and someone has a laser on their gun and you can readily see how poor/unsteady a shooter they are.

    Never really thought of using them to help CORRECT a problem, but it makes perfect sense.

    Still, not really inclined to purchase a set, and its odd that if training is their best use, you would think Crimson Trace and others would make note of that in their marketing, which they don’t.

    But I’m wondering, I’ve got a laser bore sight, maybe I can use that at home to practice grip control, stance, etc.

  4. Countertop – Actually, in the shoot house it took 1/100th of a second to find the red dot and pull the trigger. Target acquisition is amazing with it. However, you need to be able to actually use the sights correctly because all electronics fail at some point and not knowing how to use the irons on your pistol is a recipe for disaster.

    There is another aspect behind lasers and that’s one of intimidation. You can see the red dot emanating from the gun. A bad guy is going to realize that you’ve got not only a bead on him, but that you’re going to have a better chance at putting that round exactly where the little dot is.

    Finally (for this comment at least) when you use iron sights or even red dots, you have to expose your entire head to the target to gain a sight picture. With a laser, all you need is the ability to see the target with one eye.

  5. “I still believe beginners need to know how to use open sights. But for people who get that part, the laser is a great tool for helping make someone a better shooter.”

    How do you know “when” you’ve reached the above state?

    I’ve decided to get a rail laser for my P-345 and also one for my wife’s LCP. The reasons why I’ve decided this are:

    1. Training aid
    2. Intimidation factor
    3. My wife likes the color red?

  6. I’d say you can start diagnosing and correcting with the laser fairly early, just don’t let them use it as a substitute for learning how to use open sights.

  7. A instructor friend of mine has laser grips on his j-frame. A few minutes dry firing with them improved my j-frame shooting dramatically. I think they’re a wonderful tool for small revolvers because they tighten the feedback loop on your trigger technique quite a bit.

  8. i got to try a kimber with crimson trace grips on sunday… i noticed that in my shooting position, i couldnt even see the dot… but then again, if i ever need the laser, i probably wont be needing the sights a whole lot.

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