Thursday, December 31, 2009


For about ten years, one of my handguns has been equipped with Crimson Trace grips. For those of you who might not know, these are laser sights, though that is something of a misnomer. You don't really get a sight-picture, you look downrange for a little red dot, and in dim lighting or darkness, these things offer a really fast way to see where the bullet will hit.

Also means the housebreaker who had plans to come in and cut your throat while you slept who looks down and sees a little red spot centered on his chest knows where the bullet is about to go. Might give him pause.

For a long time, laser sights for handguns were iffy, at best. One worried about the batteries dying at the wrong moment, the laser going kaput at the wrong moment, or it being a bright and sunny summer day and not being able to see the dot. You still had the sights, but there would be that second of searching for the dot before you realized it wasn't there and shifted back to manual. That could be a bad mistake.

For those reasons, I held off getting one.

Eventually, they got better reviews, so I broke down and did it, and for a decade, mine worked fine. Squeeze the grip, there was the red spot.

It was a good tool for checking on your point-shooting hold. Bring the empty revolver up to where you thought you were on-target, then light the laser to see if you were.

I replaced the battery after about six years, though it was still working.

But the other day while I was mink-oiling the holster, I checked the laser and it was dead.

Oh, well, needs a new battery. But -- no. New battery didn't make it come back to life. Probably the switch, or maybe the wiring, and eventually maybe I'll pull it apart to fiddle with.

Of course, what it made me realize was that the old-fashioned way of using the sights had some advantages, too. They don't burn out. And if it is so dark I can't see the sights, I can index the whole gun. (If it is so dark I can't see the gun? Chances are the bad guy and I can't see each other, either ...)

So, it's back to the wooden boot-grips and grandpappy's method.

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