Crimson Trace: Closing the Accuracy Gap

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The primary requisite to hitting the target is being able to identify the target, acquire the target with the sights, and hit the target after getting a good sight picture and properly pressing the trigger. It is simple, but it isn’t easy. Crimson Trace Lasergrips go a long way toward closing the accuracy gap.

This is a rather nice wood-stocked lasergrip.

The use of the sights, in daylight, isn’t difficult. In dim light or when the sights are below eye level in a very close range situation the problem is more severe. Crimson Trace Lasergrips are the answer for many. The grips are easily mounted on the pistol or revolver. Once mounted, they sometimes are closely zeroed for close range combat, sometimes they need adjustment for precision shooting.

The Lasergrips fit easily and offer a superior firing grip to many factory set-ups. Be certain to use the inner cover that covers the grip frame; it is essential for proper installation. There is a small on and off switch on the grip to conserve the battery. For my personal setup on the Kimber Micro 9, the pressure switch is in the center of the front strap. The laser is easily activated by simply grasping and bringing the pistol on target. As for adjustment, a tiny wrench is used to adjust the laser. It is possible to get the laser beam dead on the point of impact for the point of aim to at least 15 yards.

I recently grooved into the Crimson Trace and the Kimber Micro 9 by firing more than 300 cartridges over a two-week period. This included the American Eagle Syntech 115– and 124-grain loads, CCI Blazer 115-grain FMJ, Federal 135-grain Hydra-Shok Deep Penetration, and the Federal HST 147-grain HST. I chose the 922 fps 147-grain HST load based on an excellent balance of expansion and penetration, and perfect reliability, although none of the loads failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject.

Revolver with green Crimson Trace Lasergrip

Crimson Trace offers both red and green lasers.

I had the Crimson Trace sighted in easily to a precise point of impact related to the point of aim at 10 yards. It took perhaps a couple of tries and a dozen cartridges. I found that the Crimson Trace offers a high hit probability at close range. However, if you need to make a precise hit and take your time, you need to use the sights.

The red laser is actually slower to a precision hit, but faster to a coarse hit. In other words this is what is needed in personal defense at close range and in dim light. At ranges past seven yards, you need to use the sights. If you cannot see the sights, then the red dot may be a good trick. The laser sight did not go out of zero during the test, even though there is a lot of momentum firing the 9mm Luger in a Micro 9.

The laser is emitted from the right upper side of the grip. There is a small hump on the grip and you need to be certain you do not get the firing finger in the way of the laser beam. If you use the generally adopted technique of keeping the finger out of the trigger guard in a ready position you may meet the light beams path. Some practice is needed in this regard. The Crimson Trace Lasergrip integrates the laser with a handgun grip, so the concept is good with firearms that do not have a rail for mounting lasers. Handguns with a rail may be mounted with a combat light for good all around utility.

Kimber Micro 9 pistol with Crimson Trace Lasergrip

The Kimber Micro 9 is an excellent carry gun. Note unobtrusive laser grip.

My evaluation and long term experience indicates the Lasergrip is useful in training, low light situations, rapid sight index, and may make target acquisition easier if you are in a non-standard firing position. You may find that muzzle awareness and discipline are enhanced. There may be a certain deterrent to the laser as well. I am not certain the deterrent is more than simply pointing any other firearm, and I am pretty certain those not frightened by a firearm being aimed at them will also not hesitate to charge into the face of a laser grip pistol.

I am not going to use the laser sight to control a subject. If they need to be shot, the gun is drawn so quickly that there is scant seconds of time for them to desist or the decision to shoot is made. I am not going to brandish a firearm as a threat.

As for training, the laser gives an instant feedback of a less than perfect trigger press—if you practice with the piece during dry fire and laser on. No one can hold the handgun completely steady. However, flinching or milking the trigger shows with a laser.

pistol with combat light and Crimson Trace Lasergrip installed

If you own a pistol with a light rail, the Crimson Trace remains a useful addition.

Those with visual problems may find the laser sight works well for them. As I have stated, I would use iron sights for a precise shot, but the laser sight allows good aiming when you are firing at moderate to close range. In dim light, you may need a flashlight, especially for target identification, but if there is any light at all, the Crimson Trace is highly visible on the target.

You need to use the front sight on the target, press the trigger technique whenever possible. Looking for the bobbing red dot at close range has defeated several students and slowed them down. But in a low light, fast shooting situation, the laser works like nothing else.

One advantage that isn’t difficult to qualify is that the shooter must always keep his head behind the sights to aim with conventional sights, but this isn’t true with the laser-sighting device. You may fire around cover or around a corner and connect the eye with the red dot if the eye is not behind the sights. It is important to note, laser sights cannot replace iron sights or marksmanship training.

The lasergrip’s dot size is about a half-inch at 15 yards. The unit uses two 2032 batteries with a life of four hours. The sights seem impervious to water, oil, and solvent. They are service grade. They need to be cleaned occasionally as the aperture that emits the laser may become occluded with dirt dust and other material. Overall, Crimson Trace Lasergrips are a good kit worth its price to save your life.

Do you have Crimson Trace Lasergrips installed on any of your handguns? What has your experience been? Do you have a training tip for laser-equipped handguns? Share your answers in the comment section.


Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.

View all articles by Bob Campbell

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The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information-not opinions-to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

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