Sighting Aids- Lights, Lasers, Red Dots, Night Sights

Take our Advanced Handgun Course and learn how to use all of these tools.  We have each of these available on training pistols you can shoot during different scenarios.  Ask our instructors for descriptions and experience using all of these.      



LIGHTS:   

60% of aggravated assaults in America happen at night.   Low light shootings are extremely common and in fact are more common than bright light shootings. Having enough light to identify your target and  what's in front of and behind your target is a requirement.      

LOW LIGHT OPTIONS:   

1. Non-Weapon Mounted Light   

Pros: 

Flashlights not connected to your weapon allow you to use the light without having to draw or point your weapon.  In conditions where drawing your weapon may not be an option or legal, you can add light to the environment to increase your situational awareness.   

Cons: 

Operating both your weapon and an independent light is complicated and changes your combat grip.  This will decrease your shooting effectiveness even if practiced regularly.

2. Weapon Mounted Light   

Pros:  

Pointing your weapon where you're looking also lights up the area and allows you to maintain your combat grip and normal shooting habits.    

Cons: 

There will be times where you require light but are not legal to draw your weapon. Also, many weapon lights do not provide either enough light or a switch that allows you to turn it on and off immediately. Picking a light that is bright enough and has the right amount of spread and focused brightness is limiting and expensive. Custom holsters are also required.      


With either option a high quality, durable light with lots of lumens, focus and spread and easily controllable activation is a must.  Practice turning on and off your light during tactical night training.   Extremely high lumen strobe features are unbelievably useful during clearing scenarios in disorienting targets.      


A common complaint is that lights give away your position. Two arguments against this complaint are that over 80% of shootings are directed towards a person not a place, so your position is already given away and secondly you should have complete control of the activation of your light and turning it on and off as required.  In the example of a home invasion where your position may not be known by the attacker you should activate your light only as you encounter a new room or an unknown entity.  Leaving your light on the entire time you clear your house is not smart.      


Lastly, practice with all the tools you have.  No matter how good of a gun or flashlight you have if you don't practice regularly with it you will fail to use it properly.         



LASERS

A laser projects a narrow colored beam of light from your pistol to the target. Laser activation should not be automatic as you grip the weapon and yet should not be difficult to activate when required.   

Pros:   

1. The laser allows you to keep both eyes open and focus only on the target which is natural in a life or death situation. Using the laser Point of Impact (POI) as your focus point is easy and natural.   

2. Pistol alignment is faster as you can track the POI as the pistol is coming up to the proper shooting position.   

3. More than 50% of all civilian shootings in America happen with the pistol not in position 4 (High in-line sighted position). Weapon position is out of the traditional shooting position either because of close proximity to the target ie. the pistol stays in position 3 (low ready), grappling with the pistol, moving with the pistol or shooting around/over/under cover/concealment.   

The only aiming device that works with the pistol out of line is the laser.   

4. The laser is a deterrent.  Many assaults have ended when a laser was put on a target.   

5. Lasers make fantastic training aids for dry fire drills.  Seeing the laser steady and unmoving on a target at the trigger squeeze confirms proper non-jerking technique.   

Cons:   

1. If the laser is on all the time it could give away your position.  Like the light, only activate your laser when it is required immediately prior to shooting to eliminate this con.

2. Overreliance of a laser may make for a lazy shooter.  Train equally with and without the laser to ensure your shooting technique is proper and will work when the laser fails.   

3. Lasers don't work in bright lighting conditions. Lasers are bright enough to see in all but the brightest outdoor conditions. Green lasers are easier to see than red lasers. With 60% of all aggravated assaults happening at night, over 60% of all shootings happening during low light conditions, over half of all shootings happening indoors and over 90% of all shooting take place inside of 15yards the actual percentage of long range outdoor, bright lighting conditions shootings is less than 5%.   Our green lasers are visible easily out to 15 yards in bright day light.

4. Laser POI is only accurate at one range. Since most lasers are mounted below the boreline and pointed slightly up and the bullet exits the pistol and slightly curves down, the intersection of those two paths only occurs at one range. Zero in your laser for 10-15 yards to neutralize most of the error and realize that your POI will be within 2 inches at all tactical ranges from 0 to over 70 feet.      


Remember almost all Elite military units have lasers on their weapons and that lasers are not allowed in any competition shooting because of the extreme ease of use and accuracy creating an unfair advantage.   Lastly, practice with all the tools you have.  No matter how good of a gun or laser you have if you don't practice regularly with it you will fail to use it properly.      



LIGHT / LASER COMBINATIONS

Combining a light and laser is a great idea because it simplifies activation and can remove confusion and aid in training.          



RED DOTS    

Red dot sights project a red dot onto a clear glass on top of a pistol that allows you to maintain the proper focus on the target and still accurately sight your pistol.   

Pros:   

1. Allows easier two eyes open shooting and targetcentric focus.   

2. Requires only putting the dot on the target and not having to align front and rear sights.   

3. Doesn't emit any light away from the gun which could possibly give away your position.   

Cons:   

1. Requires a lot of training. Many shooters find it takes them longer to align the pistol, find the dot and take their first shot even with co-witness sights.  Also, few shooters pick up the red dot on follow on shots and rely more on point shooting during controlled pairs / triples.  Adjustments to brightness takes a great deal of practice and thought.   

2. Vulnerability.  Red dots rely on a battery and are prone to scratching and breaking when banged into / dropped on.    

3. Restricted vision.  Some red dots restrict your line of sight and may have a colored coating on the display which is distractive.   

4. Cannot be used in any shooting position other than position 4, your normal shooting position. Requires you to still present the gun, point and completely align the pistol to pick up the red dot. 5. May require pistol modification, sticks up high on the pistol changing the way some people carry and requires a modified holster.   

6. Functionality. Many red dots require intensity and brightness to be changed depending on background lighting.  Too bright and the target is hard to see past the dot, too dim and the dot is not visible.  Many red dots require a button to be pushed to turn it on and off.         



NIGHT SIGHTS   Tritium inserts on sights allow them to glow for years and are easy to see during low light situations. These are highly recommended by all our instructors.  We offer night training during some Advanced Handgun Courses or when requested.   

Pros:   

1. Allows you to easily align your pistol in dark conditions without changing any grip, technique, holster, batteries or training. Night training is extremely valuable and recommended but the use of the sights remains the same.   

Cons:   

1. Some night sights are quite dark and more difficult to see during bright conditions.