Gear, Parts and Accessories

Crimson Trace: Getting a Grip on Laser Sights

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

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.


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.


About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. 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.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 ?

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