Using a Laser to Improve your Shooting Technique
By: Trevor Thrasher, Senior Instructor & COO
One thing you can do to make your dynamic shooting technique very good very quickly is to simply use a laser as an aiming device. I know this sounds like cheating to a lot of people and in a way, it is. Of course, it does come with some trade-offs.
How using a laser improves shooting technique
Lasers historically have the best accuracy or hit rates in actual encounters. They work with our instinct to focus on the threat and not draw our vision away to something non-threatening like a front sight.
They allow you to clearly see where your gun is pointed with a high level of confidence even in very dynamic situations such as:
- in reduced light
- when the target is moving
- or when you are moving
I can attest first hand to their ability to de-escalate and control a situation when a bad guy sees the beam on their chest.
Lasers are also great training tools. With the help of slow motion video or a good eye, you can easily see if your draw is direct to the threat or contains the wasted effort of a scooping or casting motion. You can see anticipation of recoil and even judge trigger direction right before firing. It is even useful for assessing an efficient transition from target to target during recoil, and it will very quickly demonstrate your level of recoil control as you adjust your grip and posture.
I use a laser as much as possible to demonstrate during my firearms courses because it clearly provides positive and easily visible feedback when I work with my firearms to present my muzzle efficiently in a variety of situations. It gets the point across to students very simply and quickly.
Integrated lasers built into the frame solve some inherent problems of other laser systems.
- Easy to zero and hold the zero well.
- Fairly easy to safely activate
Although automatic grip activation is probably the best method, the integrated frame laser is a good second choice without the trade-off of a slight change to your grip. Having this packaged together with the handgun makes it very easy to conceal with a holster built for the design. It hardly takes up any extra space at all.
Pistols with Lasers
There are some great options out there for both live-fire and dry-fire pistols with integrated lasers.
One of the most popular pistols with a Crimson Trace Laser built into the frame is the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield 2.0. It’s a great tool in a home defense or concealed carry situation. The laser may even give you the edge you need to improve your training, provide a second level of deterrence to stop a threat, or in a worst-case scenario, make the hits you need to keep you and your loved ones safe.
For a limited time, you can receive a FREE Smith & Wesson M&P®9 Shield M2.0™ pistol with an integrated Crimson Trace® Red Laser when you sign up for a Founders Club membership. Click here for details.
What if you can’t get to the range regularly to practice? I have been a proud user of SIRT pistols for many years. SIRT stands for “Shot Indicating Resetting Trigger.” Basically, they are dry-fire pistols that fire a laser pulse each time you press the trigger while allowing you to press the trigger repeatedly without having to rack the slide. They have several features that can markedly improve your shooting speed, accuracy, and precision without having to fire a single round. The laser will not only indicate where you hit, but will also indicate when and how you pressed the trigger.
The feedback it provides is similar if not better than that of a laser on a live fire handgun. It is a brilliant and efficient training tool that has literally saved me $1000 in the cost of ammunition. They come with numerous options, and range in price from just over $200 to $400. I have had nearly 10 years of use out of my original SIRT pistol. The top two things I recommend for people to improve their shooting are a shot timer and a SIRT pistol.
Train Smart, Train Hard.