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4 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 so get ready for the light show!

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-$400) is 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.

Three 1911s
Three 1911s

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.

at Crimson Trace

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Crimson Trace Lasergrips
$264 at Crimson Trace

Prices accurate at time of writing

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2. Streamlight TLR-4

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

streamlight tlr-4 handgun light and laser

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.

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.

Target Acquired

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.

at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Streamlight TLR-4
$127 at Optics Planet

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. 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.

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

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.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

LaserMax Guide Rod Lasers
$259 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

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. Crimson Trace Rail Master

The folks at Crimson Trace realized they needed to offer a light option as well so they combined their impressive laser technology with a 400 lumen light to create the Rail Master.

Crimson Trace Rail Master
Crimson Trace Rail Master

The laser is adjustable for zero and comes in red or green. The housing is made from sturdy aluminum and features ambidextrous switches for activation.

The Rail Master is also programmable so users can set it up to run laser only, light only, or a combination of the two.

at Crimson Trace

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Crimson Trace Rail Master (red)
$249 at Crimson Trace

Prices accurate at time of writing

Why Mount a Laser On Your Pistol?

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

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.


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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14 Leave a Reply

  • 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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