The World of Handgun Attachments

Discussion in 'Training & Safety' started by SGT-MILLER, Aug 25, 2009.


    SGT-MILLER New Member

    In this day and age, you see tons of ads in the popular gun magazines regarding the newest development in tactical lights, lasers, and even bayonets. There are almost as many companies offering these cool little gizmos as AR manufacturers now. You may think "What use do I have with these fancy add-ons, and what are the differences between them?". I hope this little thread will help you out.

    Tactical Lights:

    These are a very common add-on to handguns these days and are very popular in the operator circles (SWAT, HRT, Military, LEO, etc...). The purpose of these attachments is to lighten up a darkened area, and at the same time, dis-orient the threat. This is usually accomplished by a heavy output light buld / LED bulb. The quality of these attachments range from very, very poor to outstanding. I won't get into each brand because that would take forever, and would defeat the inital purpose of this thread. The ability to provide light in a darkened area without using your weak hand is a great positive aspect of these attachments. Most brand come with a standard on/off switch and a monetary switch which allows you to create a strobe effect, that can disorient a threat rather quickly.


    Tactical Lasers:

    These are a popular and well thought out attachment to today's sidearm. The advantage of the laser is the user does not have to acquire a sight picture when engaging a target in low-light conditions. If the laser is properly sighted in, the user can put the beam where he/she wants the bullet to go, then pull the trigger. It greatly simplifies the shooting mechanics. There are two main types of lasers. The standard red laser,and the green laser. There are more official terms for these two lasers, but I don't want you to worry about fancy dictionary terms right now, just the difference between the two. The main difference, other than the color, is the brightness, and how easy they are to see in daylight. That is where the green laser (or viridian) excels over the standard red lasers. Care should be taken not to rely on the laser attachment too much. They can be finicky to sight in, and the quality will vary between manufacturers. They also have standard on/off switches and momentary switches.


    Tactical Bayonet:

    These have only surfaced recently for the handgun market, and the opinions vary greatly on the validity of such an attachment for a sidearm. Most people view this as a gimmick, but when used correctly, it is possible to employ a small sidearm bayonet in a useful fashion. One could employ these with great effectiveness is extreme close quarters engagements. The verdict is still undecided on these, but I believe they could play a role in home defense tactics. The training and safety factors increase with this attachment because not only do you have to worry about safety handling a firearm, you have to safely handle a sharp blade at the same time. You will have to be paying utmost attention whenever handling a sidearm with such an attachment equipped.


    The Laser/Light Combo:

    This attachment takes the tactical light and the tactical laser and combines them into a nice package for your use. These are normally more expensive, but you get the disorienting effect of the bright light and the excellent quick-aim potential of the laser all at once. Care must be taken to not depend on these attachments too much. These are prone to failures on occasion, and usually at the worst times.


    This post covered a very basic overview of the more common attachments for handguns out there. I hope this spurs some more detailed discussion on the positives and negatives for each attachment, and I hope some of you may learn something or teach something on this thread.
  2. ta1588

    ta1588 New Member

    The XD on the cover of that magazine looks amazing! I can also see how that dual-purpose attachment would come in very handy! Light for finding the target in low-to-no-light and laser for taking it out!

  3. falseharmonix

    falseharmonix New Member

    I'm not so sure a judge and jury would be so lenient upon someone with a bayonet attached to their firearm, if the event would ever arise that it was used in a HD situation. To me, that just screams "Rambo".....

    just MHO.
  4. Mark F

    Mark F Active Member Supporter

    This stuff may have some reasonable application, somewhere, sometime, in law enforcement. But from my civilian occasional-use applications, this stuff is nothing more than gimmicks. or items conjured up for SALES.

    LE has time to test and setup their equipment prior to use. We, on the other hand will likely only have a few seconds (at best) to grab our weapon and defend ourselves.

    My goal is to have my weapon READILY AVAILABLE, EASY TO WHEELD, and READY TO FIRE. Anything other than this is gimmicks... for me anyway.
  5. spittinfire

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

    Thanks for the information SGT. I would like to add my thoughts on lasers as they are the only one I have personal experience with. I bought a Taurus 650 with Crimson Trace grips for my wife thinking the laser would help her get the pistol on target faster. I personally had no use for it and didn't want it but I thought it would help her and I wanted her to be safe when I'm gone for whatever reason. So we go out and I get her used to the gun and she is shooting well with it. Then we try the laser.....FAIL, bordering on epic. Everything slowed down or got worse. She couldn't find the target as fast, groups got bigger(still acceptable but bigger), shot speed slowed down. I tried to work with her on it but she was so focused on the little red dot that everything else suffered. I ended up selling the gun and buying her current HD gun, a Ruger SP101.

    Am I saying lasers don't have a use? No, not at all but for me, I perfer muscle memory and some nice night sites. Muscle memory takes time and practice but I believe it is the best method for quick taget acquisition. Night sights for a low light environment but also work well during the day. In MOST(certainly not all) self defense situations the only thing you need to find is the front post, the ranges will be so close that you have the front post on an attackers torso, you're going to hit it.
  6. hydrashok

    hydrashok New Member

    My opinion of lasers has changed dramatically. Not trying to brag, but I can shoot the wings off a fly in mid-air. However, the advantage of having a laser is when you're shooting in positions and platforms that aren't in line with what you've practiced and developed muscle memory for...

    I balked at lasers for YEARS, having never used them. However, when I went through SWAT school in '06, another student had the guide-rod laser in his Glock. I was killing clays from anchor point at 30 feet!

    Using a ballistic shield?? You'll make money with a laser!!!
  7. jordeur

    jordeur New Member

    I would have to say from experience that using some of these attachments are a good thing. But like anything new you have to practice with it and get used to the additional weight and balance, as well as the different shooting styles you can use with them. I have done night fighting for real and in training and flashing a bright light at a target with disorientate them for a second or two. Time enough to finish the sight picture and fire a controlled pair. A laser is also useful because you don't have to rely on muscle memory to get a hit and you can fire it from the hip. But when you use a laser you must realize that it is only as accurate as the mount will allow it to be and only at the precise range you zeroed it at. One thing not mentioned in the thread is the the physcological effect of having a red or green dot appear on your chest can be just as good as shooting someone to make them stop, assuming you are not using a IR aiming light:). And the shock of having your night vision, either aided or unaided ruined by a bright light is disorentating to say the least. Are these attachments for everyone? No, But if you're willing to use them remember to have them attached when you go to the range for practice.
  8. Don Davis

    Don Davis New Member

    I added Crimson Trace Laser Grips to my Glock and to my Kimber and they are very good to get on target fast.

    Fun to shoot w/o even looking through the sights.

    If at the range I'm more accurate using the sights.