How to Sight a Gun Laser

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A laser attached to a gun will shine a bright dot of light where the bullet will impact when the gun is fired. However, bullets fly in ballistic trajectories and laser light in projected in a straight line. Adjusting the straight line laser light to intersect the arcing bullet's point of impact is critical if the projected laser dot will be used to select the bullet's target point.

Things You'll Need

  • Gun
  • Laser sight
  • Sand bags
  • Target
  • Screwdriver
  • Shooting glasses

Sighting a Gun with Laser Sights

  • Attach the laser sight to the unloaded gun. For pistols, the laser sight will attach in front of the trigger guard, while for long guns such as rifles and shotguns, the laser sight will usually attach under the barrel.

  • Place a paper target at the approximate distance you expect to engage an actual target using the laser sight. Precise placement of the paper target is not critical, and a good approximation of distance will suffice.

  • Secure the unloaded gun in a stable position on a shooting table or on the ground using sandbags. The gun must be in the correct orientation--that used when actually firing the gun--so as to assure proper alignment of the laser light with the bullet's flight path.

  • Sight along the iron sights or optical sights of the gun and adjust the gun position until the sights are properly aligned with the target. Without moving the gun, make adjustments of the attached laser sight to bring the laser light onto the target.

  • Secure the laser sight once the iron/optical sights of the gun and the laser light of the laser sight intersect on the target. Tighten any screws or nuts and make sure the laser sight does not move or wobble.

  • Load the gun and fire it from a supported position to ensure the bullet impacts at the point illuminated by the laser dot. Small, final adjustments may be required depending on how precisely the shooter wishes the bullet impact and laser illumination to coincide.

Tips & Warnings

  • Each brand of laser sight will attach to the gun in slightly different places.
  • Make sure the laser sight does not obstruct the trigger finger or the shooter's vision.
  • Different weight bullets follow different ballistic trajectories causing the impact point to shift from the illuminated laser dot.
  • Remove the batteries when storing a laser sight.
  • Handle a loaded gun in a safe environment such as a shooting range.
  • Use protective eye wear (shooting glasses) when firing a gun.
  • Use hearing protection when firing a gun.
  • Do not look into the laser beam or shine the laser beam into someone's eyes.

References

  • "Own the night: Selection and use of tactical lights and laser sights;" Scott W. Wagner; 2009
  • "Laser sights and night vision devices;" Duncan Long; 1993
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