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5 Best Handgun Laser Sights: Light Up Your Targets

Laser sights make aiming your handgun easier, especially in high-stress situations. Here are some of the best and useful ones out there.

    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

    Lasers can be very helpful in different scenarios.

    We’ve tested out a few different options and put them together, so you don’t have to shop around — get ready for the light show!

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. Best Integrated Laser

      Crimson Trace Lasergrips

      These grips make adding a laser to any gun extremely easy. This is a great option for guns like revolvers or small pistols that don't have rails or guide rods.

    2. Editor's Pick

      Streamlight TLR-8

      The TLR-8 is a great combo at a great value. The price to performance ratio is hard to beat here.

    3. Runner Up Light/Laser Combo

      Crimson Trace CMR-207G Rail Master Pro

      The Rail Master Pro is a great alternative if budget is a concern.

    4. Best Low-Profile Option

      LaserMax Guide Rod Lasers

      This option allows you to mount a laser without changing the grips or any other parts that alter the profile of your gun.

    5. Best Light/Laser Combo

      SureFire X400 Ultra Light/Laser Combo

      If you want the best, SureFire is it. This high-output light and laser combo is built to withstand the harshest use.

    Table of Contents


    Best Handgun Lasers

    1. Crimson Trace Lasergrips Series

    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-$500) might be perfect for you.

    EMP with Crimson Trace Laser Grip
    EMP with Crimson Trace Laser Grip

    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.

    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.

    A Ruger LCR-22 with a set of LaserGrips. (Photo: Lucky Gunner)

    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 85 models, 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.

    Best Integrated Laser
    at Crimson Trace

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    What do you think about Crimson Trace’s options?

    Readers' Ratings

    4.98/5 (1343)

    Your Rating?

    2. Streamlight TLR-8

    If beefing up home defense is your top priority, then the Streamlight TLR-8 is right for you. It can deliver pinpoint accuracy in tactical situations without completely shattering your budget.

    Streamlight TLR-8 on Glock
    Streamlight TLR-8 on Glock

    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-8 for home defense.

    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 500 lumens as well as a coaxial red or green 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.

    Target Acquired

    With the TLR-8, 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.

    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro

    The Crimson Trace CMR-207G Rail Master Pro is a flashlight/laser combo with a couple of great features that make it ideal for lights-out work.

    Crimson Trace RAD Pro Gunsite Glock G19
    Rail Master Pro on a Glock 19

    First, it has two paddle switches in the rear accessible from either side of the trigger guard.

    A quick stab would turn the light on, and holding the button down would allow momentary control of the 400-lumen beam.

    Crimson Trace RAD Pro Gunsite Night Shoot
    You can see the laser and light working together.

    That might be fun enough for some, but the Rail Master Pro also has a laser (red or green, depending on your preference).

    This allows you to do some solid nightwork while also staying on target. We found this model to be pretty easy to use and a great alternative to the Streamlight if you need to save a few extra bucks.

    Runner Up Light/Laser Combo
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    4. LaserMax Guide Rod Lasers

    If you’re looking for something that’s lightweight and completely out of the way, LaserMax’s Guide Rod Lasers are able to give you pinpoint accuracy without any of the unnecessary bulk.

    lasermax guide rod laser
    Lasermax Guide Rod laser sight on 1911.

    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.

    VP9 LaserMax
    LaserMax guide rod of an HK VP9 (Photo: Officer.com)

    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.

    Best Low-Profile Option
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    LaserMax makes models for various guns, including Berettas, Sig Sauers, and Glocks. With each model, you get the choice to pick between a red and a green laser.

    5. SureFire M400 Ultra Light/Laser Combo

    If you want the best, look no further than the Surefire X400 Ultra.

    The SureFire X400U is at home on any duty gun.

    The X400U is available with either a 5-milliwatt, high-visibility red or green laser. Speaking of high visibility, the light on this unit is an eye-scorching 1000 lumens with a precision TIR lens that produces a tight beam.

    A standard Picatinny mount means the X400U can mount to almost any weapon. The high-grade aluminum housing and recoil-proof design mean the SureFire is ready for even the most extreme duty use.

    Best Light/Laser Combo
    at OpticsPlanet

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Why Mount a Laser On Your Pistol?

    These days, laser sights are sleek, compact, and more powerful than ever.

    And since they work great with open and concealed carry pistols, the real question is: why haven’t you considered one yet?

    EMP TLR-6, On

    Here are some reasons to consider one of these on your pistol:

    • 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.
    No substitute for training

    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.

    Final Thoughts

    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.

    Crimson Trace RAD Pro Gunsite Glock G19
    Crimson Trace RAD and Rail Master

    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.

    Now that we’ve touched on different sights for your pistol, which one do you fancy getting for your gun? Let us know in the comments below and if you’re looking for a light, check out our Best Pistol Lights.

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    26 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike W.

      The Crimson Trace cmr207g is a battery hog when using the light and laser.

      It also creates a phantom drain on the battery, so you have to unscrew the light lens when not using it.

      A bit impractical if you need it at a moments notice, to have to screw down the light lens.

      August 28, 2023 1:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have the TLR-8 on my home defense gun. It really makes it easy to get on target. My eye sight isn't what it used to be. Blurry on the iron sights and stars on the red dot due to the stigmatism. The laser also changed the way I shoot as well. I don't push out too far from my chest anymore. #pewpewlife

      June 21, 2023 1:36 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brian Collins

      Brandon, desperate to find a pistol laser to fit my .454 Alaskan that won't misalign due to recoil...any possibles?

      February 21, 2023 8:57 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Edward Echlin

      which laser is best for my Glock 19, Laser Max or a Crimson trace. Thank you.

      February 17, 2023 9:37 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I have a few glocks and I have 1 Laser Max (LM) on a 26 and a Crimson Trace (CT) on my 19. I also have a few 1911s with CTs on them.
        The LM is on the same plane as the barrel so you could argue that it is more accurate. I think it is factory sighted at 20 yards. However, you have to take the weapon apart and replace (all parts are included) the takedown lever. To activate the laser you have to press the takedown lever. This lever is slightly bigger that the original. I can carry this gun in a leather holster but with a Blackhawk holster, the gun becomes harder to draw. Would even say it gets stuck.
        The CT fits in all of my holsters and is activated by squeezing your grip. You can also sight your gun in at different ranges.
        I have probably had my lasers for approximately 20 years. The LM appears to be aming high now and I can’t get it to re-zero.
        I have never had any problems dealing with either company but if I had to pick one of these I would go with a CT.
        Hope this helps if you have not already bought one.

        July 21, 2023 6:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      You have ignored a very large portion of the market, that being the sub-compact semi-autos without a picatenny or weaver rail. Prime example is the S&W M&P 9 Shield and Shield Plus.

      December 4, 2022 6:10 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        I have the Green Crimson Trace Laser Guard on my S & W Performance Center .40 cal Shield.
        I've had it for 6 year's. I believe it's the best laser for the Shield.

        April 9, 2023 8:22 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Sadly the Laser Grips for the EMP like the one in the photo above are no longer available. Should’ve gotten some when I had the chance…

      October 6, 2022 8:24 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Chuck Cochran

        Same for my Walther PPK/S. CT discontinued them 7 or 8 years ago, and on EBAY they sell for more than the gun cost now.

        My bad. I snoozer and lost out.

        October 7, 2022 5:20 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        For anyone with a Springfield EMP that’s interested I went out on a limb and purchased the Crimson Trace Master Series LG-902 grips (they are marked as being for Compact 1911’s) to see if they’d fit. Happy to report that they are ALMOST a perfect fit on my 3” EMP. The only issue is that the right grip panel isn’t relieved quite enough to clear the EMP’s mag release. After I installed the grips I inserted a magazine and when I tried to eject it I found that the weight of a thousand suns wouldn’t budge it. So I took the grip off and used a Dremel to sand down the relief cut for the mag release button on that right grip. After a bit of sanding, testing, sanding, testing, sanding, and more testing it finally fit just perfect. The factory grip screws work but just barely. If you have some grip screws that are a bit longer then they will go on a bit easier, but the factory screws will work just fine once you catch the threads.

        I will say that the gun feels chonky with the Laser Grips on but it’s hardly a deal breaker. Having a laser that I don’t have to consciously try to activate makes it worth it to me.

        October 10, 2022 5:20 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I have the SureFire X400 with green laser on my FN Fiveseven and love it. The laser is easily seen and the light is very powerful. The toggle switch is easy to operate and it can be set for light only, laser only or both. It's on the expensive side but I'm very happy with it.

      October 5, 2022 8:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I had a Lasermax in a G27 years ago. It would activate in the holder because the take down lever was easy to slide over to "on". I've since moved onto Crimson Trace units with comparable holsters.

      October 5, 2022 3:50 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Old Dude Knows Stuff

      A weapon mounted light is an absolute necessity! Seeing your target in the dark will prevent a tragedy! None of these Laser gimmicks will make you a better shooter. Only range time, practice and patience. Spend the money on ammo or reloading components. I've been carrying a handgun for self defense for 53 years. There is NO substitution for range time and practicing the BASICS.

      February 17, 2022 5:18 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        No one said a laser makes you a better shooter but they aren’t a gimmick. It’s a legitimate way to register a hit on a torso sized target from a weird angle/position or more quickly than bringing a gun to eye level and lining up the sights. I agree with you about training though. There are guys that have carried their entire lives but don’t even have the skill of someone that purchased a first gun this year. It’s common for many people to feel overly confident after reaching a reasonable level of proficiency, but you got to use or you lose it! So to add to what you said, make sure to stay current and train at regular intervals.

        February 18, 2022 4:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Armalaser for the win! Natural grip pressure turns it on, no awkward movements or funky grip attachments. Total game changer. Great company. I've trained extensively with just irons, and continue to do so. Adding the Armalaser as a backup site for those 'less than ideal' shooting situations - or if my glasses get knocked off - is a no-brainer for me. And no, you don't 'shoot the laser' like some people assume. It merely gives you a solid indication of where your muzzle is pointed when you don't have the capacity to make the perfect shot.

      February 17, 2022 5:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Stephen Mitchell

      Crimsom Trace lasers was great on all three of my carry pistols but finally fuzzy and not as powerful. Just replace all three lazer grips and wow sharper plus stronger than I remember! Then. As I put away the boxes I found old sales ticket. 2000 was when purchased and two pistols are 3 inch barrel 629 shooting 1000 of full power loads. They never stop working and thru hot, cold, dust, rain, and hundreds of gun cleaning I wish they made cars too! I could have any products but found none better than Crimson Trace. A lazer sight that I grew old with and I too became less powerful and fuzzy in the 21 years of hard everyday service. Great article thank you for sharing with everyone. P.S. worn-out was 3 holsters during this time on the N frame pistols...lol! Severe duty great performance!

      January 25, 2022 11:15 pm
    • 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
        Old Dude Knows Stuff

        Save your money for ammo! Lasers are a gimmick. They will not make you a better shooter. Get good weapon light for your SIG instead. Practice, Practice, Practice!

        February 17, 2022 8:10 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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