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    Laser Sights — Green or Red?

    It seems like only yesterday, I did not trust lasers. Mainly, I did not wish to own anything that might run out of battery life during a critical incident. Times have changed and products have improved. The new Crimson Trace LiNQ, as an example, is as rugged and reliable as any device may be. But this article is not about which model laser to choose. Instead, it details the differences you should consider when deciding between a red or green laser.

    1911 handgun outfitted with a Crimson Trace red laser
    Many shooters remain tied to the bright red laser.

    I like this combination combat light and laser, and my personal ready rifle is equipped with the LiNQ combat light and a modern red dot sight as well. This gives me a great deal of versatility and the ability to address threats at close range in dim light and reach out well past 100 yards with the red dot. At long range, precision is demanded and the rifle is properly sighted. I know where to put the dot to get a hit.

    The red dot, of course, remains inside the lens while the laser is projected. Just the same, when I have both devices turned on, I see the red dot and a green dot. The green beam is the aiming point for close range work, while the red dot begins at 20 yards or so. When viewing these lights—I may use either as a stand alone depending on the situation—I observed that while both are good choices, the difference between red and green lights may be more than most realize.

    A laser of emerald light from a company with Crimson in its name—there must be something to green lasers. Having the aiming point on a single plane is superior to iron sights and works very well in fast shooting at moderate range. Firing while moving, or when in a nontraditional firing position, shows the advantages of the laser.

    Revolver wearing green Crimson Trace laser grips
    Crimson Trace now offers green lights.

    Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum and the laser is enhanced light that travels in different wavelengths. Different wavelengths project different colors. Red, as an example, runs at 600 to 750 nanometers. Green runs from the high 400s to about 570 nanometers. The green light is easier on the eyes than the red light and usually more visible.

    I prefer the red dot in the red dot sight. However, today there are other choices.

    For use in daylight, I rely on the red dot sight for personal defense and a quality riflescope such as the TruGlo Eminus for use on rifles that are intended for use at longer range. For laser use in dim light the LiNQ has greatly changed by perception on green lasers. It is awesome to understate the situation!

    Red, however, is a fast color to acquire against almost every background. That is why red is used on signs to denote danger. Red Dot sights have been developed to the point they use very little energy to run and are quite durable.

    However, some shooters tell me that during long training sessions red tends to ‘flare’ and become less cohesive to their eyes. The dot hasn’t changed but their eyes are becoming tired of the harsh light. I have experimented with the red laser and green laser in a similar fashion.

    1911 handgun with LaserMax red laser
    This LaserMax tube allows you to center punch in red!

    My wife is a good sport and helps me in some of these experiments. She noted that green seemed color and more visible in a home defense situation than red. At present, for the most part green lights use more battery power than red, but all have came a long way in a decade or so. Simply put, if you are going to use a laser, obtain the best one you are able to afford. Then, consider whether a red laser or green laser is the best option. There is also a shift in reflex sights to a green option. As for myself, I believe that the red dot optical sight and green laser is the hot set up for me.

    When practicing with a laser, train hard and get fast follow up hits. If you are practicing hard you will sometimes see the streak above the target as the firearm recoils and you must bring it back on target. Keep the work up and consider both options—red and green. My setup of a red dot and green laser may not be the hot set up for everyone, but then again, perhaps it is.