POLICE Magazine

JUN 2019

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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96 P O L I C E J U N E 2 019 T he effectiveness and sim- plicity of using lasers as sighting tools is hard to deny. Most shooters using a laser for the first time quickly under- stand that putting a projected laser dot on target should result in a hit close to that point of aim if the trigger press doesn't move the gun significantly. We have also seen the other practical benefits lasers have in use-of-force confrontations. Agitated or potentially violent subjects sometimes become compliant at the sight of laser that signifies the activation of an electronic control device (ECD). But as with many hand- gun accessories such as weap- on-mounted lights or red-dot sights we may have pre-con- ceived ideas about the useful- ness of laser sights before being properly trained in their use. I became a fan of laser sighting when I took Marshall Schmidt's Laser Sight Instructor Course at the Annual Training Conference for the International Association of Law Enforcement Instructors in 2005. I went into that class with all the pre-conceived objections about why lasers wouldn't be useful. But I quickly learned that I could still detect which laser was mine in a swarm of other red beams when sighting the same target. I also saw that I could fo- cus on the target itself and not my front sight and make accurate hits. Finally, I discovered that when using a laser sight I could hold my gun in unconven- tional positions and deliver accurate fire. LASER BASICS I have now carried a variety of red laser systems on my duty pistols and rifles for several years, and I have noticed how suspects react differently when the laser sight is activated in confrontations. ere is certainly a psychological deterrence effect when a person begins to think "if they shoot, they won't miss," even if that is true or not. Training on reflexive activation of the laser is critical if it is going to be used on a defensive pistol. If a user is not going to be smooth, fast, and natural when it comes to turning it on, then don't mess with the laser, "unless you have enough time to talk." In a confrontation when deadly force is imminent, aim your gun by whatever method is fastest and most effective. As Marshall Schmidt put it, "use enough sight to take the shot," whether that is a flash front sight, the front sight focus, a point shot, the hot spot of a weapon light, or the laser. If the laser requires fumbling, then only use it when you have time to activate it during verbal com- mands. GOING GREEN I've talked primarily about red lasers; now let's look at green. It's long been known that green lasers are better for daylight op- erations because they are more visible in sunlight. But they used to be comparatively expensive, so red was the only option for many officers. Now, green laser systems have become more affordable and are being used by more and more officers. I can recall my first duty application of a green laser sight. Our SWAT team had stacked on a house where a suspect was barricaded. We had just deployed CS/CN gas into the home. When the suspect emerged, I was able to easily target him using the laser sight (instead of the iron sights on my AR-15) with the gas mask on and not break the seal on my mask. Over time I began to see more bene- fits of green laser sighting. When run- ning a ballistic shield, operators often extend their forearms in front of the Green laser sighting systems offer better daylight visibili- ty than red laser systems. PHOTO: BRIAN MARSHALL THE CASE FOR LASER SIGHTING NOT ONLY DOES A LASER SIGHTING SYSTEM ENHANCE FIREARM ACCURACY WHEN AN OFFICER IS UNDER ATTACK, IT CAN ALSO HELP DE-ESCALATE VIOLENT CONFRONTATIONS. H BRIAN MARSHALL THE WINNING EDGE

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