Are Laser Sights Useful? Pros & Cons [+ Video Demo]

How useful is a visible aiming laser on a firearm? Whether it's a red laser or a highly visible green laser, is it that much useful than companies claim them to be?

Let's find it out in this comparison guide including some short video demos.

Top 7 Reasons A Visible Aiming Laser Is Helpful & Fun To Use

  • Show new shooters how sensitive point of aim can shift due to grip tremor & recoil anticipation
  • Training for steady aim & better trigger control
green laser viridian c5l
  • Use for signaling
  • Great shooting experience for new shooters & for plinking on a flat range

olight baldr s in action
  • Great shooting experience for new shooters plinking on a flat range
  • Can use to assist optic zeroing process (Different than using a laser bore sight)
  • Laser pointer can add fear factor in personal defense situation
olight baldr mini vs baldr s body profile

Top 5 Reasons A Visible Aiming Is Useless In The Real World

See more laser device setups like the DBAL here

  • The laser pointer may not be visible enough to the shooter if aiming through tree lines, crowds, lot of movements, or long distance
  • Compromises the shooter's position at night in real world applications
  • Hard to reacquire the laser pointer during fast follow up shots (Easier to use iron sight or red dot)
  • Very hard to acquire & reacquire the laser pointer during the day or in any lit up environments at night
  • Can lose zero over time

Common FAQ

Flat Range VS Outdoor Range VS Real World


On a flat range, using an aiming laser such as the Streamlight TLR8A, Crimson Trace, DBAL and whatnot can enhance the shooting experience.

For anyone new to shooting, it's a blast to see the laser beam during a course of fire.

For real world use, there are so many factors that we have covered in the section above that makes a visible laser not as effective.

How Useful Is An IR Laser Pointer ?

IR laser under night vision

The infrared aiming laser works only visible under night vision goggles. It's much more visible and easier to pick up in total darkness than picking up a visible laser with the naked eye.

Getting into night vision can be expensive - See cost breakdown here.