7 Best AR-15 Lasers [Hands-On 2018]: Budget to Pro

Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? Check out our Best Gifts for Gun Lovers [All Budgets]!

Want the quickest target acquisition in low light?

You need an AR-15 mounted laser.

PWS Diablo with Lots of Lasers
PWS Diablo with Lots of Lasers

We tested the most popular green and red lasers for brightness, zero hold, overall build, worth-it-ness, and more.

Some Tested AR-15 Lasers
Some Tested AR-15 Lasers

By the end of this post you’ll know the best laser for your budget and purpose…from range plinking to professional night-time activities.

Steiner DBAL
Steiner DBAL

Best AR-15 Lasers

1. Ade Advanced Red Laser

Let’s start off with something affordable like the Ade Advanced ($34) that can double for use on both pistols and AR-15s.

Ade Advanced Laser
Ade Advanced Laser

It’s tiny and doesn’t add much weight for a rifle.

Mounted Ade Advanced on AR-15
Mounted Ade Advanced on AR-15

Plus makes its home on a custom Glock.

Pistol Mounted Ade Advanced
Pistol Mounted Ade Advanced

The side button takes some thought to activate…so you’re not going to inadvertently activate it.

Not that you can really go on and off quickly with this model.  The first click turns on a constant laser while a second click makes it strobe.

Something I wish it didn’t do since it takes another click to turn it off…and a strobing laser is pretty useless to me.

How’s it hold under shooting?

I attached five of the lasers to my 7″ piston AR pistol, zeroed it to my holographic sight at 15 yards, and brought it to the range.

PWS Diablo and Lasers at Range
PWS Diablo and Lasers at Range

I chose my super short piston upper for its increased recoil that will test the zero holds of the lasers.  I shot 100 full power rounds.

Then brought it back to see the deviation from the center dot..

Ade Advanced Zero Shift
Ade Advanced Zero Shift

It’s hard to see…but the Ade Advanced red laser is very slightly lower than the center reticle.

Great zero hold in my book.

Brightness is decent too in this picture before all the lasers were zeroed to one dot at 15 yards.

Laser Intensities
Laser Intensities

I thought this little optic would suck…but besides the button strobe “feature”…it’s pretty good for a start rifle or pistol laser.

Most Affordable Red Laser
Ade Advanced Red Laser

Ade Advanced Red Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

There’s also the green laser version ($45) too for a little more.

2. Pinty Green Laser

Now what’s this fascination with green lasers?

The color green is supposedly 6x easier to pick up for the human eye.  And for lasers they are easier to see in both day and night.

I chose the Pinty Green Laser ($20) since it was the most affordable one with great reviews…even though I’ve never heard of the name.

Pinty Green Laser
Pinty Green Laser

The size and mounting style leave something to be desired…but I’m going to let the results speak for themselves.

Pinty Laser on AR-15
Pinty Laser on AR-15

It’s large, has knobs for windage and elevation adjustment, and has either a button endcap or pressure pad.

Pinty Laser Accessories
Pinty Laser Accessories

The adjustment knobs are marked and actually have a nice audible click with a “correct” amount of resistance I’d expected in something more expensive.

Still…everything made me think that it would unzero after some shots.

Pinty Laser Zero Shift
Pinty Laser Zero Shift

However I was pleasantly surprised that it was only slightly more of a shift (upwards this time) compared to the Ade.

Plus…it was the brightest of all and more visible than its more well-known competitor…the Ozark Armament.

Laser Intensities
Laser Intensities

A decent pick at around $20 if you want something that actually seems more expensive and holds zero.

Entry Level Green Laser
Pinty Green Laser

Pinty Green Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Ozark Armament Green Laser

I had high hopes for the Ozark Armament ($40) since I liked their budget option in my Best AR-15 Lights.

Pinty vs Ozark Armament Green Laser
Pinty (L) vs Ozark Armament Green Laser (R)

You can see that it’s quite a bit chunkier than the Pinty…but along the same lines in design.

Mounted Ozark Armament Laser
Mounted Ozark Armament Laser

It also comes with the same accessories as the Pinty that seem to be made from the same place.

Ozark Armament Accessories
Ozark Armament Accessories

However…the windage and elevation adjustments were not marked and felt really spongy.  If they were on the Pinty at a $20 price point I wouldn’t complain.

Brightness we’ve already seen as slightly less bright than the Pinty…but overall much more visible than the red lasers.

Laser Intensities
Laser Intensities

How about zero?

Ozark Armament Zero Shift
Ozark Armament Zero Shift

Not that great…you can see it shifted to the 10 o’clock position a good deal away from the center dot.

If you’re ok with this form factor of laser…avoid the Ozark and go with the Pinty.

Ozark Armament Green Laser

Ozark Armament Green Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Streamlight TLR-8

My go-to brand for handgun lights…we tested the TLR-8 ($197) light/laser combo out in Best Handgun Lights.

Streamlight TLR-8 Light and Laser Combo
Streamlight TLR-8 Light and Laser Combo

It’s small enough for handguns (even compacts)…

Streamlight TLR-8 on Glock
Streamlight TLR-8 on Glock 17 P80

And hides away on an AR-15.

Streamlight TLR-8 on AR-15
Streamlight TLR-8 on AR-15

It’s easier to use than the larger TLR-2 where you can switch between laser only, light only, or combo…since you can only combo here.

The 500 lumen light is very usable but a little yellow.

TLR-8, 25 Yards Outdoors
TLR-8, 25 Yards Outdoors

While the red laser is very visible.

Laser Intensities
Laser Intensities

Its zero hold was the best out of everything.

Streamlight TLR-8 Zero Shift
Streamlight TLR-8 Zero Shift

You can’t even see a difference since the dot still matches up exactly with the reticle.

My recommendation if you don’t want to run an additional light and want something that stays zeroed.

Best Laser/Light Combo
Streamlight TLR-8

Streamlight TLR-8

And if you want something with a little more brightness at a size increase…check out Streamlight’s TLR-2 that comes in 800 lumens and with a red laser or green laser variety.

TLR-2s on Glock 17
TLR-2s on Glock 17

5. Crimson Trace CMR-206

My favorite pick out of the more affordable batch of pure lasers is the CMR-206 ($139) from Crimson Trace which is known for their laser products.

Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser
Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser

It’s tiny and well-built…and lives on my night competition PCC (pistol caliber carbine).

Crimson Trace CMR-206 on Night Competition PCC
Crimson Trace CMR-206 on Night Competition PCC

Otherwise it works great on a handgun…

Crimson Trace CMR-206 on Pistol
Crimson Trace CMR-206 on Pistol

Or an AR-15 on the bottom rail.

Crimson Trace CMR-206 on AR-15
Crimson Trace CMR-206 on AR-15

Check it out in action during one of my recent night matches:

Brightness isn’t as bright as the Pinty and it has a slightly more cyan tinge to it.  But can reach out to 30+ yards for metal target hits fine.

Laser Intensities
Laser Intensities

Plus zero is good at moving a smidge upwards.

Crimson Trace CMR-206 Zero Shift
Crimson Trace CMR-206 Zero Shift

For its size…it’s my favorite and will continue to live on my competition PCC gun.

Editor's Pick Green Laser
Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser

Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Holosun

One laser sight I hope to try out soon is the Holosun LS117 ($220) series which bridges the gap between consumer and professional use products.

I’ve always liked Holosun products…they won our Best Red Dots Under $200.

Crisp Red Dot (Holosun)
Crisp Red Dot (Holosun)

Their laser sight comes in IR (infrared for night vision, red, or green) and has a nice small profile to fit on the front of your rifle.

It also has a QD (quick-disconnect) attachment and can take a standard pressure pad…so you can control your lights and lasers without shifting your grip.

Prosumer Choice
Holosun Laser Sight

Holosun Laser Sight

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Steiner DBAL

Ok…here we go pro with a Steiner.

SureFire M600 Scout
SureFire M600 Scout with Steiner DBAL

This bad boy combines a green laser with an IR laser and IR illuminator.  Essential when combined with night vision.

NVM14-3 with Steiner DBAL-A3
NVM14-3 with Steiner DBAL

The essential windage adjustments (IR and laser are slaved together) plus fire and different power modes.

Steiner DBAL, Top View
Steiner DBAL, Top View

But check out the power on their green laser…

DBAL Green Laser
DBAL Green Laser

Plus, it never shifted zero over the hundreds of rounds we put through it in the desert.

The front end of business…

Steiner DBAL, Front View
Steiner DBAL, Front View

It’s not for everyone…but it’s my pick if you go the night vision route but still want a (very) visible laser.

Professional Choice
Steiner DBAL-I2

Steiner DBAL-I2

Prices accurate at time of writing

Learn more about it in our Best Night Vision Goggles overview.

Steiner DBAL
Steiner DBAL One More Time

Conclusion

If you want to have quick target acquisition in the dark…go with a laser sight (maybe not 5 at a time).

PWS Diablo with Lasers and EOTechPWS Diablo with Lasers and EOTech
PWS Diablo with Lasers and EOTech

To get into the game for either a handgun or rifle, I recommend Ade to start.

Most Affordable Red Laser
Ade Advanced Red Laser

Ade Advanced Red Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you want a super bright green laser for your rifle, get the randomly named but surprisingly decent Pinty.

Entry Level Green Laser
Pinty Green Laser

Pinty Green Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

And if you want a great light and laser combo that stays dead nuts zero…get the Streamlight.

Best Laser/Light Combo
Streamlight TLR-8

Streamlight TLR-8

Or if a pure green laser in a small format is more your thing…my favorite competition laser is the Crimson Trace.

Editor's Pick Green Laser
Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser

Crimson Trace CMR-206 Green Laser

Prices accurate at time of writing

Lastly…if you’re balling out with night vision goggles…you can’t go wrong with Steiner.

Professional Choice
Steiner DBAL-I2

Steiner DBAL-I2

Prices accurate at time of writing

How did we do?  Are you getting your first laser for your AR-15 or handgun?  Once you do…check out our Best Pistol Lights and Best AR-15 Lights to complete your night time dominance.

Tested AR-15 Flashlights
Tested AR-15 Flashlights

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of