Crimson Trace: Getting a Grip on Laser Sights

By Bob Campbell published on in Lasers

To hit the target, you must align the handgun on a plane with the target. I do not believe in any type of point shooting or instinctive shooting. Even at very close range, the handgun is aimed. It may be aimed by using the silhouette of the handgun over the target or by using only the front sight, but the pistol will be aimed. The exception is using it at contact range by pressing the muzzle into the target.

Young lady pointing a handgun with a Crimson Trace lasergrip toward you the viewer

For rapid-reactive fire, the Lasergrip is an excellent choice, with the activation switch well placed for rapid manipulation.

When you have sufficient light, iron sights work great. In dim light, self-luminous iron sights with Tritium inserts work well. In certain situations, laser sights work best. I think one of those situations is when the light is dim and the target is not clearly defined but is identifiable as a threat. The laser unit should be rugged, reliable and accurate. That just may mean the Crimson Trace.

Is it Complicated?

Mounting the Crimson Trace Lasergrip is simple:

  1. Remove the old grip.
  2. Install the new grip.

The batteries are internal, and the pressure switch is mounted on the grips, which are surprisingly slim for the technology they hold. And the grip is comfortable. The actual laser is on the right side of the grip, fairly close to the bore line when the grips are installed. Minor adjustments with the supplied tool puts the laser dead on the money.

The pressure switch is ergonomically designed and leaves little to be desired in tactical function. I seldom use the switch at the bottom of the grip to turn off the battery, except for long-term storage. When you grip the handgun firmly, the laser comes on as it should. When sighting in the piece, I first dry fire and align the sights and red dot on a nearby wall (using a triple-checked, unloaded handgun against a suitable backstop and with every family member accounted for in a safe direction). Adjustment is easy, and most often, the sight is close enough for good combat shooting as assembled.

The silver Crimson Trace Laser

The Lasergrip laser is unobtrusive and allows the use of a standard holster.

After using the Crimson Trace for some time, I find it is a good choice for most shooters. When moving in a defensive situation, under stress and in less-than-perfect light, the Crimson Trace laser gives you a good option.

I am faster and more accurate with iron sights when I have good light. When I do not have light and cannot see the sights, I can see the red laser. As for durability, I have not seen one break, and in any case, Crimson Trace offers a full lifetime warranty.

Cautions

There are a few cautions.

  • Do not use a strong aerosol cleaner as you may damage the lens.
    Camo handled handgun with the focus on switch that shuts the unit down, on a white background

    The switch of this 1911 unit is on the lower left, out of the way. This is not the activation switch but the switch that shuts down the unit.

    The lens could become occluded.

  • Occasionally use the supplied swab.
    It looks like a tiny cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the lens and keeps the beam cohesive and sharp.

I fitted my personal .357 Magnum 627SS revolver with the Crimson Trace. I have fired heavy Magnum loads, including the 180-grain Federal Cast Core, in that revolver and have not suffered a shift in the point-of-impact or any other problems.

The Crimson Trace Lasergrip gets a clean bill of health.

 

What is your favorite laser sight? Share in the comment section.

Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

 

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Comments (5)

  • M

    |

    I have an S&W J frame that I recently installed a Crimson Trace – I love it.
    I want to put a Crimson Trace on my S&W Shield but I am having a problem finding a good outside holster that will work with it. Any suggestions ?

    Reply

  • Oregonian69

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    One of my Crimson Trace Laser grips for a J frame S&W stopped working and an employee at CTC told me it was out of warranty, so much for their lifetime warranty. That being the case, I still own eleven other sets of CT Grips installed on handguns. They work very well in low light situations when other so called night sights are a joke. My thought on the use of lasers sights is they are expensive for what you get, but what price can you put on a life? Especially if that life you save is your own.

    Reply

  • Rock Hobbs

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    Can I put one of these Crimson Trace sites/grips on a 9m Bareta Storm?

    Reply

    • mactex

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      If you go to the Crimson Trace Corp website they show all the models they make lasers for, and even if they don’t currently make one for you weapon, keep checking as they are always coming out with new models.

      Reply

  • Retired Spook

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    I have a Glock 17 equipped with the CT Defender Series laser. Quite a bit less expensive than the grip models, and, although it’s not grip activated, the on/off switch is on the side, just in front of the trigger guard, which, if anyone is familiar with Glocks, is where you want your trigger finger until you’re ready to fire. I sighted it in for 7 yards, which is the distance across my family room. Tests at the range (over 100 rounds) have consistently yielded 2″ groups, and I’m 70 and wear trifocals.

    Reply

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