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5 Best Handgun Laser Sights: Light Up Your Targets

Thinking about mounting a laser sight on your handgun?  

It’s a great way to improve your accuracy, especially when squeezing off a round or two on the fly.  Plus, they’re fun to operate and look really cool.

Crimson Trace EMP, Activation
Crimson Trace EMP, Activation

I mean, who didn’t love that .45 longslide with a mounted laser that Arnold was sporting in The Terminator?

terminator with laser sight
Thankfully, they’re a little smaller now.

But laser technology has come a long way since 1984, when The Terminator was released.

These days, laser sights are sleek, compact, and more effective than ever.  And since they work great with open and concealed carry pistols, the real question is: why haven’t you considered one yet?

fn 57 with green laser
Laser and white light mounted on and FN 57.

Why Mount a Laser On Your Pistol?

Before we cover some different types of lasers for your pistol, let’s look at some reasons why you’d want to mount one to your gun:

  • Lasers help with zeroing on the target, especially in situations where you can’t see your sights clearly.
  • They make shooting easier for people with eye-dominance issues.
  • The visual feedback provided by lasers after each shot reduces accuracy problems from mashing the trigger.
  • They allow for easier target acquisition from awkward shooting positions or from behind cover.

With that said, laser sights should never be a crutch for poor marksmanship.  If you’re new to the world of handguns, you still need to become comfortable with your gun and learn how to properly aim it and manage recoil – with and without the laser sight.

Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s take a look at some kickass handgun laser sights.

1. Crimson Trace Lasergrips Series ($220 to $400)

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’re looking for a laser sight that is easy to use and won’t make concealed carry a hassle then Lasergrips by Crimson Trace ($200-$400) is perfect for you.

Unlike most laser sights that mount under the barrel, the Lasergrips sight mounts to the rear of your grip and projects the beam from the base of the slide.

Crimson Trace EMP, Activation Button
Crimson Trace EMP, Activation Button

One of the coolest things about the Lasergrips sight is that you don’t have to worry about fumbling with pressure switches in strange places to activate the laser.  All you need to do is hold the grip of your gun naturally and the beam switches on automatically.

The Lasergrips sight is designed to fit snugly onto your grip, where it is pinned into place.  Because of how it mounts to the gun, there’s no way that a one-size-fits-all model would work.  Fortunately, Crimson Trace has made 70 different versions of the Lasergrips, each compatible with a specific type of handgun.

Along with some of the most common handguns, like 1911s and Glocks, there are also a number of different revolver models that support Lasergrips as well, and even some guns like this awesome Kimber that come with CT Lasergrips built-in.

What do you think about Crimson Trace’s options?

Readers' Ratings

4.97/5 (689)

Your Rating?

2. Streamlight TLR-4 ($120)

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If beefing up home defense is your top priority then the Streamlight TLR-4 ($120) is right for you. It can deliver pinpoint accuracy in tactical situations without completely shattering your budget.

There’s a common misconception that laser sights help you see better in the dark.  While they certainly make it easier to aim in low-light situations, if you can’t make out your target with iron signs, a laser sight isn’t going to make it any brighter.  And this is precisely why you’d want the TLR-4 for home defense.

streamlight tlr-4 handgun light and laser
TLR-4 mounted on Glock.

What makes this laser sight special is its ability to give the shooter the best of both worlds.  You get a LED white light that kicks out 125 lumens as well as a coaxial red laser.  And you have the choice of switching between the white light and the laser, or you can use them together in the same situation.

As a gun safety expert, you already know that you should never fire on a target that you’ve not identified – especially in a home defense situation.  With the TLR-4, you’re able to not only improve your aiming and target acquisition, but you can also use the white light to distinguish between friend and foe.

The sight comes with a key kit that makes it compatible with a variety of different handguns, and it also fits on the Picatinny rail as well.

3. LaserMax Guide Rod Lasers ($300 to $400)

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you’re looking for something that’s lightweight and completely out of the way, LaserMax’s Laser Guide Rods ($300-$400) are able to give you pinpoint accuracy without any of the unnecessary bulk.

LaserMax’s laser system is nothing new – it’s been around for quite some time and continues to be one of the best internal laser systems out there.

Conventional laser sights are mounted to the handgun, usually on a rail system.  Guide rod lasers, however, are installed directly into the gun by swapping the factory guide rod with a fully-functioning version that’s capable of projecting a laser beam.

The sight comes with an additional takedown lever and spring. And in case you’re wondering, activating your guide rod laser is simple and easy.  All you have to do is push the takedown lever to activate and deactivate the laser.

The biggest advantage of the internal sight system comes with holstering your gun.  Because there are no objects being mounted to the outside of the gun, don’t have to worry about any special type of holsters when using the guide rod laser system.

lasermax guide rod
Lasermax Guide Rod laser sight on a Glock.

LaserMax makes various guide rod lasers for most of the popular handguns out there on the market, including Berettas, Sig Sauers, and Glocks. With each model, you get the choice to pick between a red and a green laser.

4. LaserLyte FSL-4 ($80.00)

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Laserlyte FLS-4 ($80.00) may not be a built-in laser sight like the guide rod system, but it’s the next best thing.  Not only is it one of the slimmest laser sights on the market, it’s also one of the most affordable.

The dimensions of the FSL-4 are 1.11”L x 1.08”W x 0.76” H and it has a total weight of 0.75 ounces. I t also mounts to any firearm with at least 0.70” of Picatinny rail space, making it the perfect laser sight for that compact gun you like to conceal carry.

The biggest selling point for this sight is its size.  The FSL-4’s slim body is proof that technology has come a long way since the big, bulky battery-sucking laser sights of yesteryear.  If you’re in the market for a sight that won’t snag in your holster, affecting your draw time, then this one might just give you the most bang for your buck.

The battery life of the FLS-4 is another one of its stronger points.  Powered by a four 392 lithium batteries, the FSL-4 is capable of staying on for a total of five hours uninterrupted – ten hours if you opt for pulse mode over a steady beam.  

5. LaserLyte Rear Sight Laser ($75)

at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

LaserLyte’s rear laser system ($100.00) is an easy and cost-effective way to install a laser sight without having to buy a special holster, and it looks just Sci-Fi enough for us to forgive its slightly goofy appearance. 

This type of laser sight takes a little more time to install than some of the other red beams.  This is because you have to actually switch out the rear sights and replace them with the laser.  Your right rear sight actually becomes the laser, while the left sight serves as the switch that you push to activate and deactivate the beam.

Despite its unorthodox design, LaserLyte’s rear sight laser system is incredibly lightweight and easy to use.  Thanks to its small size, you’ll barely even notice it on your gun.  So you definitely don’t have to worry about it throwing off the feel of your handgun.

The rear sight laser is powered by four 377 batteries and is able to stay on for five uninterrupted hours, or ten hours when used in pulse mode.  It currently works with all Glock models, and there is also a version that’s designed specifically for Springfield XD and XD(M) handguns as well.

And That’s a Wrap

As you can see, there are a number of great laser sights on the market for virtually every type of budget.

Selecting the right one to suit your needs means finding a system that you’re comfortable with using that doesn’t throw the balance or weight distribution of your gun off.

You’ll also want a sight that’s easy to switch on and off – because having to fumble around to find the on/off switch during a tense situation is the last thing you want to worry about.

Also, it’s important for you to spend time shooting with your sight until operating it feels like second nature.  Once you become accustomed to your new handgun sight, you might find that aiming becomes not only easier, but quicker as well.

Just don’t allow yourself to depend on the sight, there might be times when you need to hit a target without it.

With or without a laser, I would highly recommend running night sights on your pistol. But Why You Need Night Sights is another article!

Now that we’ve touched on different sights for your pistol, which one do you fancy getting for your gun?  And if you’re looking for a light…check out our Best Pistol Lights.

Best Pistol Lights
Best Pistol Lights

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9 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Kayla Bryant

    In order to buy the gun do I need a permit?

    May 18, 2021 5:57 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Federally no, some states have extra requirements though. The easiest way is to call a local gun store and have them walk you through the process!

      May 18, 2021 9:11 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tom Eyman

    I have a Kimber Micro Raptor, Does anyone have any experience with a laser on this particular pistol?
    I am looking for recommendations

    December 23, 2020 9:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Hi. What a great article, very interesting. I never knew about a lot of these different types and integrated lasers.

    I'm new to guns, am enjoying learning all I can.

    December 20, 2020 4:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I recently purchased a Crimson Trace LG-422 for my SigXL. It stopped working after about 4 trips to the range. I have tried multiple times to get in touch with Crimson Trace to get an RMA to get it repaired, but have never received a response. I do not want to deal with a company with such poor customer service for my CCW. I returned the CT to OpticsPlanet and am thinking about a Viridian laser.

    September 6, 2020 3:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I was thrilled to purchase a LaserMax for my Kimber Custom 2. I had very high hopes. It was among the worst product experiences I have ever had and to this day I have negative associations to the LaserMax brand. The concept is genius, but the fit and finish were exceptionally bad to the point of almost being a statement by LaserMax along the lines of "we don't care what you think now that you've given us your money". The laser did work, but the activation switch had to be installed backward. Even if the product had been perfect, the activation switch would still have have been a deal killer. If you buy one, you'll see for yourself. I can't imagine the training that you'd need to go through to be able to use this in a fluid, natural way. Not good. Stay away if only for the dreadful activation mechanism. I Still have mine, sitting in a box somewhere. It won't be used, ever. Go with Streamlight (amazing product) or Steiner. The fact that you don't mention the awful activation switch on the LaserMax indicates that nobody involved with this review has ever held, touched, seen, or used the product. Lazy journalism will hurt your brand. I wish you well but I hope you will raise your standards.

    March 14, 2020 11:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have installed a Lasermax laser about 20 years ago on my SIG 225 and it has worked flawlessly ever since. The activating switch is integrated in the takedown lever and can be
      activated with the thumb on one side or the index finger on the other side of the gun, while
      aiming at the target. Maybe the design of your custom pistol required some redesigning of the "activation mechanism" which made it less simple and reliable?

      July 26, 2020 1:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    CT grip and guide rod both suck.
    Where's Steiner and viridian? Aren't those the top 2? OR purposefully left out because you can't get any kick back links to Amazon for them???
    Write a true review or don't write at all..

    May 1, 2018 5:23 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eric Hung

      Hi Slash, thanks for commenting. These were simply what our writers chose based on their experience. I checked and both Steiner and Veridian are on Amazon, and when we go through and update this article we'll be sure to check those out too.

      May 1, 2018 6:28 pm
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