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Laser Sights Provide a Tactical Advantage

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 52 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2004 Pages: 44-46
Eugene Nielsen
Date Published
April 2004
3 pages
This article discusses the benefits of laser sights on police handguns.
During the late 1980’s, the development of the laser diode made laser sights for handguns practical. Law enforcement agencies, however, have been slow to adopt laser sights on police handguns, although an increasing number of agencies are beginning to understand the advantages to their use. Among the benefits of laser sights are liability reduction and officer safety. In terms of liability, laser sights have been shown to be an effective threat de-escalation tool that can be valuable in hostile situations; and they provide a court-defensible alternate sighting technique. Officer safety is enhanced because laser sights allow officers to focus on threats beyond their sights by offering enhanced peripheral vision. The use of laser threats can also enhance officer communication by designating the location of a threat. Moreover, they help officers maintain awareness of muzzle direction, further enhancing officer safety. Laser sights also aid officers in low-light conditions when employed in combination with white light for threat identification. Two of the main criticisms of laser sights are that they can cause confusion in a team environment and they can tip suspects to an officer’s location. The author answers these criticisms by claiming that the proper and conscientious use of laser sights can side-step both potential problems. Laser sights are not intended to replace traditional sighting methods, but rather are meant to be used as a supplement to the usual iron sights. The use of laser sights does not diminish basic shooting skills, but indeed may improve shooting skills. Finally, the author discusses how laser sights work and describes various laser sights currently on the market.