Adding a laser sight to your handgun or air pistol is a great way to speed up target acquisition and improve your shooting accuracy. Because laser sights are so easy to use, they make a nice addition to home defense or personal protection weapons. They also look super cool and can make shooting a lot more fun.
If you’re looking for the best pistol laser sight for the money, you’ve come to the right place. In this article we review options for every budget and shooting application.
If you don’t have time for the details, check out the list below for the best rated pistol laser sights:
- Crimson Trace Lasergrips – Best Laser Sight for Concealed Carry
- Streamlight TLR-4 – Best Laser Sight for Home Defense
- Pinty Red Laser – Best Budget Option
- Crimson Trace CMR-201 Universal Laser
- Viridian C5L Universal Green Laser Sight
- Sightmark ReadyFire G5 Green Pistol Laser
- ArmaLaser TR Series
- Olight BALDR Pro Tactical Weaponlight
- HiLight P3GL Flashlight & Green Laser Sight Combo
- BattleBeam V1 Laser Sight
Table of Contents
- Why Use a Laser Sight?
- Choosing the Best Laser Sight
- Best Pistol Laser Sight on the Market Reviews
- 1 Crimson Trace Lasergrips – Best Laser Sight for Concealed Carry
- 2 Streamlight TLR-4 – Best Laser Sight for Home Defense
- 3 Pinty Red Laser – Best Budget Option
- 4 Crimson Trace CMR-201 Universal Laser
- 5 Viridian C5L Universal Green Laser Sight
- 6 Sightmark ReadyFire G5 Green Pistol Laser
- 7 ArmaLaser TR Series
- 8 Olight BALDR Pro Tactical Weaponlight
- 9 HiLight P3GL Flashlight & Green Laser Sight Combo
- 10 BattleBeam V1 Laser Sight
- Final Thoughts
Why Use a Laser Sight?
Laser sights are infinitely easier to use than iron sights. Instead of having to achieve careful sight picture and picture-perfect alignment, you simply place the red dot on your target and you’re good to go.
In self-defense scenarios or other high-stress situations, a laser sight makes shooting easier. They are particularly useful in low light environments or situations where you may need to shoot from an unconventional stance.
A laser sight also provides an element of intimidation during self-defense situations. Research conducted by law enforcement shows armed suspects that encounter officers with pistol laser sights are more likely to surrender. There is certainly something terrifying about having a red laser dot hit your chest during an armed confrontation.
Additionally, laser sights make a great training tool, especially for new shooters. Having visual confirmation of your point of impact can help reinforce proper shooting fundamentals. While training with a laser sight can help increase accuracy, it is important to also train without them to prevent dependence.
Choosing the Best Laser Sight
There are a ton of quality laser sights on the market today. The sheer number of options can make choosing one seem like an impossible task. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking for the best option for your shooting needs.
Rail-Mount or Model-Specific?
Modern laser sights can be easily divided into two main categories – those that mount on a standard Weaver or Picatinny rail and those that are designed for a specific handgun model.
Rail-mounted lasers work well with a wide variety of firearms. If you need to swap out your sight, or use the same one on different firearms, a rail-mounted model will work best.
The biggest drawback to a rail-mounted laser is that they add some bulk to your weapon. Adding a hefty laser to your sidearm can make carrying it in a holster particularly problematic.
Model-specific lasers are designed to fit specific firearms. If your laser will live on a single pistol, choosing a model-specific option is a smart choice. These designs also tend to be the lightest and most compact options, making them popular for CCW.
Red or Green Lasers?
The vast majority of modern laser sights are available in either red or green. Some companies offer models in each color, allowing you to choose which will work best for you.
Red lasers are generally less expensive than green sights. Because red laser sights are cheaper to make, most companies pass the savings on to their customers. However, red lasers are usually less visible than green, especially when used outdoors or in bright shooting environments.
Green lasers are easier to see because of the way our eyes perceive different wavelengths of light. The rods and cones in the human eye are most sensitive to light waves that fall between 500 and 550 nanometers. That means humans have a peak color sensitivity to the color green.
If you need to use your laser sight outdoors in bright sunshine, a green laser will not only be easier to see, but you will also be able to see the aiming dot on targets much further away.
Laser sights require some serious power and can drain batteries pretty quickly. Most models only offer a few hours of use on a single battery.
Because you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you need your sight and the battery fails, you should seriously consider battery life when making a purchase.
To make sure your laser sight is always ready to go when you need it, you should pop in fresh batteries after a long range session.
If your handgun goes unused for long periods of time, you should periodically check the batteries to make sure everything is in good working order.
Best Pistol Laser Sight on the Market Reviews
Not sure which laser sight will work best for your individual shooting needs? Here are a few of our favorite models to get you started.
1 Crimson Trace Lasergrips – Best Laser Sight for Concealed Carry
Many modern laser sights mount under the barrel, are bulky, and don’t fit easily into a holster, making concealed carry problematic. Crimson Trace solved this problem by creating a product that mounts to the rear of the handgun’s grip.
The Lasergrip fits snugly against the grip of your pistol and is held in place with pins. It projects the beam from the base of the slide. This allows you to use most standard holsters.
Because of the way the Lasergrip is designed, there is no one-size-fits-all model. Crimson Trace manufactures over 70 different model-specific Lasergrips. They have something to fit most popular handgun models, including everything from the Glock 17 to the Kimber 1911 to the Sig P238.
As an added bonus, the laser automatically engages with a proper shooting grip. That means you don’t have to fumble with a power switch in a high-adrenaline self defense situation.
2 Streamlight TLR-4 – Best Laser Sight for Home Defense
The ultra-lightweight Streamlight TLR-4 mounts easily under the barrel of your home defense pistol. It provides both a tactical light and an aiming laser. This is a major asset for defensive shooting, where confrontations are likely to take place in the dark.
The TLR-4 facilitates target identification in low light situations. With both a 125-lumen LED white light and a coaxial red laser, this sight gives shooters the best of both worlds. You can easily switch back and forth between the white light and the laser, or opt to use them simultaneously.
The TLR-4 is available for a wide range of handguns. Before you purchase, make sure you’ve selected an option compatible with your specific sidearm.
3 Pinty Red Laser – Best Budget Option
If you don’t have a ton of cash to drop on a laser sight, there’s no need to worry. This economically-priced laser from Pinty is perfect for shooters on a shoestring budget.
Although this one has a price tag well under $100, it is anything but “cheap.” Lightweight, compact, and surprisingly sturdy, the Pinty Laser Sight easily attaches to any pistol with a Weaver or Picatinny rail.
The red laser can be difficult to see in daylight. Shooters can expect the best visibility in low light conditions.
4 Crimson Trace CMR-201 Universal Laser
When Crimson Trace says “Universal”, that’s exactly what they mean. The CMR-201 fits a standard Picatinny rail and comes with all the fitments, inserts, and hardware you need to mount it on any handgun.
With an ultra-low profile, the CMR-201 is a nice option for your EDC gun. The laser runs on a 3N 3V lithium battery, which provides up to four hours of continuous use. It features an automatic shutoff to conserve precious battery power. However, the shut-off time is only five minutes, which may not be enough in some shooting situations.
5 Viridian C5L Universal Green Laser Sight
The Viridian C5L combines a tactical light and a green laser sight into one convenient package. In light mode, the C5L provides 100 lumens of illumination. It also features a strobe mode you can use to blind or confuse an attacker.
The C5L’s laser mode features the maximum legal laser strength, which provides a visible aiming point up to 100 yards distance in daylight conditions. After the sun goes down, the C5L’s laser can be seen up to two miles away.
The Viridian C5L is relatively compact and very lightweight, making it a smart option for concealed carry. Viridian also offers a holster specifically designed to accommodate your handgun/laser sight combination.
6 Sightmark ReadyFire G5 Green Pistol Laser
The Sightmark ReadyFire is a quality budget option for full-size pistols. Providing plenty of bang for your buck, this green pistol laser is readily available for less than $50.
The ReadyFire mounts easily on a Weaver or Picatinny rail. This one is a tad on the bulky side, which makes it a bit cumbersome for EDC use. However, the quality makes the ReadyFire a perfect entry level laser for sport shooters. It even works well on larger caliber handguns used for hunting.
With ambidextrous, easy-to-use controls, the Sightmark ReadyFire works well for both right- and left-handed shooters.
7 ArmaLaser TR Series
The ArmaLaser TR Series laser sights are operated by human touch. Using a True-Touch Activation sensor, the ArmaLaser automatically switches on as soon as you grasp your pistol. That means there are no switches or dials to manipulate when shooting under pressure. The laser also remains on as long as you’re gripping the weapon.
ArmaLaser TR Series sights are custom-fitted to your pistol model. They provide one of the most visible aiming points on the market, and have an impressive battery life.
8 Olight BALDR Pro Tactical Weaponlight
When it comes to tactical weapon lights, Olight is the undisputed industry leader. Their BALDR Pro is one of their best rated accessories and combines a high-performance white LED light with a high-visibility green laser aiming point.
The LED throws a robust light beam for easy target identification, while the green light allows you to get on target quickly and easily.
The BALDR Pro is made from sturdy aluminum alloy, has easy-to-access ambidextrous controls, and is compatible with both Gl and Picatinny rails.
9 HiLight P3GL Flashlight & Green Laser Sight Combo
Another quality tac light/laser combo, the P3GL from HiLight is made from rugged aircraft grade aluminum and comes with a built-in USB rechargeable battery.
Perfect for tactical applications, the HiLight P3GL features a bright, 500-lumen LED light, which is powerful enough to reach targets beyond 100 yards. The light offers both steady and strobe modes, making this a highly versatile weapon light.
The P3GL also has a bright green laser that is easily visible regardless of light condition, providing an accurate aiming point any time of the day or night.
10 BattleBeam V1 Laser Sight
Simple, inexpensive, and insanely durable, the BattleBeam V1 laser sight works well for training, hunting, and home defense. It has a smooth design and a low profile that won’t snag during your draw.
The housing is made from tough, lightweight reinforced polymer. Featuring a magnetically charged lithium-ion battery, the BattleBeam V1 offers several hours of use on a single charge. When power runs low, you can recharge the battery while the sight is mounted. This ensures you never lose your zero and your sight stays spot on every time you use it.
Laser sights can provide a major advantage for self-defense. They also make handy training tools, helping you catch and address errors in form and technique before they become bad habits. However, it’s important not to become too reliant on the dot. Sometimes technology fails, and even the best pistol laser sight is no substitute for proper shooting fundamentals. Make sure you spend plenty of time practicing both with and without your laser.