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How far should I sight a laser for a handgun for self defense?

Discussion in 'Education & Training' started by 9mm guy, Apr 23, 2015.

  1. 9mm guy

    9mm guy Tualatin Active Member

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    As a newer person to firearms, I started carrying a handgun for self-defense purpose about 2 years ago. (I'm in my 40's now.) I made a decision that I am going to attach a light/laser combo device to both my handguns that I will carry. What distance do you all recommend that I should sight the laser for? Obviously self-defense is most likely to occur at a pretty close distance. And perhaps at that close of a distance, the sighting won't matter since the range of the laser adjustment would be so small. Still I have to sight it for some distance. I was thinking 10 feet? Any answer would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
    albin25 likes this.
  2. Mr.B

    Mr.B Hippyville Active Member

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    I usually set mine for about 20 feet. That's almost 7 yards. Any closer or farther than the set distance, and the laser will be off some, but still close enough to be on target. Practice with it at different ranges once set, so you will have an idea how the distances affect point of aim/impact.
  3. Morpheus

    Morpheus Columbia Gorge Anyway, back on the farm.

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    If you follow LEO training, when they cross 21 feet with lethal intent draw sidearm and shoot to stop.
    CoastRange57 and Mr.B like this.
  4. SHPD_Retired

    SHPD_Retired Saint Helens Well-Known Member

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    I would say not more than 10 yards. 7 to 10 is what most people consider as a self defense distance.
  5. 308

    308 ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ ΜOΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ Platinum Supporter Silver Supporter

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    I agree with the above posts. I have mine sighted at 20ft.

    If you ever want to find out how much distance to keep between yourself and the intended target, hoslter an empty gun and have a friend charge you from 20+ ft....I can pretty much guarantee the gun will barely exit the holster before your bud is on you. My wife and I practice this for perspective.
    CoastRange57 and Sgt Nambu like this.
  6. Stomper

    Stomper Oceania Rising White Is The New Brown Silver Supporter

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    20' is a good distance, and/or the distance across your living room is another good range to consider.

    The elevation will vary up and down further and closer than that, but that's OK... it's the windage that's narrower on a human sized target.

    Riot and orygun like this.
  7. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I would sight it for no less than 7 yards and most likely a bit further. Let's say that I sighted it at 25 yards. At point blank the bullet will be off less than 2" (more likely 1") vertically and in a high stress situation, close range situation, 2" is nothing.
    Stomper likes this.
  8. Deebow

    Deebow Portland Well-Known Member

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    7 yards (21 feet) is a good spot to have that dialed in. It isn't a sniper rifle, so just putting rounds on target is your only concern.

    Bullet drop or rise will be of little concern at that distance.
  9. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    I figure the laser is a low light site so I put the red dot right on the front site of my site picture. Odds are it will be used in the house under low light conditions that there is still enough light to identified the target but not enough light to get a clear site picture.
  10. Classic

    Classic Federal Way WA Well-Known Member

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    Whether you do 7 yards or 20 yards, the difference if you shoot center mass might be 3"?
    If you site at 7 yards and your laser is 1" away from the barrel then at 21 yards you'll be 3" off. If you site at 21 yards and shoot at 7 you should only be 2" off. 2" when shooting center mass will still do the job. The closer the laser is to the barrel the less variance there will be at distances. Site it where you feel the most comfortable.
    You'll find it impossible to keep the laser in one spot which always makes me smile as I watch people site them in at the range ;)
  11. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The only laser we have in on my wife's 38 snubbie. She shoots the gun more accurately with sights than with the laser, but it is fun to watch the laser "dot" when she's shooting indoors. You'll see it wiggling around on the target then head for the ceiling as she shoots. Looks almost like a heartbeat on an EKG machine.:D
  12. scott_see

    scott_see White Salmon, WA Member

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    Or just sight it in for X" below the POI so distance doesn't matter.
  13. pokerace

    pokerace Newberg Well-Known Member

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    21' is where I'm set.
  14. 8ball

    8ball WA Quit talkin' and start chalking!

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    My SIG 938 pocket pistol is sighted for 5 yards but my full size XDM for 10 for use around my property.

    Tip: if you buy a laser bore sight you can sight it in at home (just converge the two lasers) and also get an idea of the elevation change at distance. It's not enough to matter in my experience.
  15. Ironbar

    Ironbar Tigard, OR Well-Known Member

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    Take the laser, place it under the tires of your car and drive over it. The only place a laser does any good in a stress-fire situation is.......no place.

    If laser sighting was worth a damn, they'd be on all police pistols. Take classes. Learn to shoot the right way.
    SmawGunner and ConcreteJungle like this.
  16. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I only have one, an essentially free CT that came with my favorite fighting type handgun. I've regulated for it to hit at around 50' which is about 16 yards. For stuff closer than that, I can actually just hit how it'll hurt ya with my eyes closed. lol
    A "point blank" setup might be smarter.. meaning for the cartridge in question to hit in the middle of +/-4" elevation.
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2015