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7 Things You Learn Shooting Lasers In the Dark

By Tom McHale
Tom Mchale has fun busting the myths behind shooting laser gun sights in the dark.

Here's what you mostly likely WON'T see when using laser gun sights - unless the air is filled with smoke or dust.
Here’s what you most likely WON’T see when using laser gun sights , ‘laser line’ – unless like in this photo the air is filled with smoke or dust.
We gun people have a terrible habit of arguing to the death over trivial theoretical debates like the whether using the wrong stance will cause painful bunions, adopting anything other than appendix carry will disqualify you from the cool kids club, or choosing the wrong caliber will result in your immediate, spontaneous combustion.
One of my favorite topics of endless theoretical debate by us gun nuts involves the use of laser gun sights on defensive guns in the dark.

In the interest of full disclosure, I like them. While they seemed like a good idea before I ever tried them, what cemented my support of the idea was using them to do a lot of shooting in dark conditions over the past several years. That’s when the light bulb really went off, and I saw, through trial and error, the value. Over the years, I’ve heard all the theoretical arguments against them, so I thought it might be fun to talk about some of my learnings from actually using them in low light conditions. After all, The best way to deal with theoretical “gun arguments” is just go out and try stuff yourself.

1. Don’t Forego Use of Laser Gun Sights Because it Might ‘Give Away Your Position.’

When you use a laser gun sights in the dark, two things are visible: a small bright spot on the front of your gun and a dot on whatever surface it impacts. What’s NOT visible is a glowing beam [laser line] that can be seen from the International Space Station. Unless your environment is filled with smoke or other airborne dust, there’s no visible beam. For that to happen, the laser needs to reflect on material in the air. Without that, the beam is invisible except at its origin and destination.

If you’re worried about your attacker “finding you” by seeing the red or green glowing spot on your gun, then you probably shouldn’t be pulling the trigger anyway. If it’s so dark that you can only be seen by that pinpoint of colored light, then how on earth can you possibly see what you’re shooting at?

Here's what you WILL see when using a laser - just a dot on the target.
Here’s what you WILL see when using a laser – just a dot on the target.

Oh, and if you’re aiming a gun and laser at something or someone, you’re already in a gunfight so you’re better off improving your odds of hitting whatever you’re aiming at quickly, like with a laser.

Unless you’re in the business of offensive Ninja games and late night snatches of evil dudes from their beds, you don’t want to be playing a cat and mouse game where victors are determined by spotting laser beams anyway.