Lasers are the Future
Once I got a laser mounted on my Vz 58 rifle, I had a moment of lucidity and realized all short-range weapons are incomplete without lasers. It’s a simple fact. There are a lot of people who hate lasers, calling them “crutches” and so on, but their ancestors probably whined about rifling and sights. Back when people fought by poking each other with sticks, there were probably stick gurus who said it was crazy to sharpen the sticks. Lasers just plain work. End of discussion.
Yes, the batteries can poop out. Yes, other things can go wrong, preventing a laser from working. What happens then? You’re right back where you were before you got it. You’re no worse off, so why not do it?
On the 99+% of occasions when your laser does work, you’ll shoot much better and much faster, without the need to use the sights, hold the gun with both hands, or even raise the gun. If the dot is where you want the bullet to go when you pull the trigger, you will score a hit. On top of that, you might even be able to think about shot placement, which is a gigantic advantage. A person who shoots a .22 accurately is ten times as threatening as a person who shoots a 10mm badly.
The only thing I can think of that could improve your survival chances more than a laser is practicing offhand shooting. If you can shoot well without aiming, you will rule any gunfight, because most people who get into gunfights forget their training and shoot that way. But you’ll have to use the same gun every time, and you’ll have to buy 5,000 rounds of ammunition to get there. You’ll also have to find a place where they let you practice. A lot of ranges do not like anything other than slow fire, so you might have trouble if you go to your local joint and start emptying magazines while shooting Mozambique drills from the hip.
A long time ago, I got my dad a Crimson Trace for his 9mm. It’s a nice thing to have. It turns on and off automatically when you grab and release the grip. But it’s hard to get the beam lined up with the sights, and it’s easy to block the beam with your hand while shooting. I’m told replacing the batteries is a pain, too. I decided the Crimson Trace was not for me.
I decided to try a Lasermax guide rod laser. This is a laser mounted in a guide rod assembly. You take the guide rod out of your pistol and replace it with the Lasermax. If you have a Glock, you have to spend fifteen minutes replacing the thing that releases the slide, but that’s not a big deal.
When I saw the Lasermax online, I figured it was going to be way out of alignment with the barrel. I decided I could accept a dot that was a few inches off-target at twenty feet, if it saved my life in a difficult moment. But when I installed the Lasermax, I found that it was surprisingly accurate. When I use the sights and turn on the laser, the dot is right at the top of the sights, in the middle, at self-defense distances. I haven’t tried it at the range yet, but I would guess that it will keep my shots within a 3″ circle at 7 yards. Maybe better. That’s as good as it needs to be.
The Lasermax dot goes on and off. There are two good things about this. First, it gets your attention much faster than a steady beam. Second, it makes the batteries last longer. The literature says they should run between one and five hours, continuously, and that you should have a set you use for practice, plus a fresh set for self-defense.
You turn the laser on by pushing the slide release to the left or right. This is very easy. You can do it with your index finger. Unfortunately, you may find that it turns on too easily, so you have to make sure your favorite holster doesn’t mash the release when you put the gun in it.
I had a problem when I installed it. The Lasermax is not very long. It doesn’t put much pressure on the barrel and slide when the gun is at rest. This means it tends to slip. This can make the gun hard to reassemble, and it can cause the laser to turn on when it shouldn’t. The solution is to rack the gun a number of times and release it. Supposedly, this settles the Lasermax in place and somehow makes it function correctly. It worked for me.
The dot is clearly visible forty feet away in a house in the daytime. At night, it should be considerably better.
This has me rethinking my truck gun needs. I believe the laser will extend my useful range with the Glock. Maybe that means I won’t need to keep a longer gun in the vehicle. But pistol rounds are not that powerful, regardless of whether you hit the perp. Can I hope the laser will improve my shot placement so much, the weakness of the rounds won’t matter? I don’t know.
Right now a really neat long gun is available. It’s called a PPS-43C. It’s a new semiautomatic pistol made in Poland. By “new,” I mean it’s not used. These things start life as 7.62x25mm submachine guns with folding stocks. Then they’re converted to semi-auto, and the stocks are tack-welded shut. That makes them pistols, as far as Uncle Sam is concerned.
They have 35-round magazines. They’re supposed to be super reliable.
The caliber is a little weird. It’s a .30-caliber round that can be pushed as high as 2000 fps. If you use FMJ bullets, they will zip through two thicknesses of body armor. Not all body armor, of course. But most. They go through things like car doors really well. They don’t expand or tumble, but 35 rounds with good placement…nothing to be sneezed at.
As I have said before, I am not overly concerned with “overpenetration.” Most shots fired in gunfights miss completely, which is like overpenetrating by as much as a mile. Every time you use a firearm in self-defense, you are taking a chance on hitting an innocent person. That’s just a fact of life. And the general rule is that a round that won’t “overpenetrate” won’t penetrate enough.
If I get a 7.62x39mm pistol or rifle, the rounds will move at about 2200 fps. That’s better than the 1500-2000 (probably more like 1600) you can get from the Polish gun. But I’ll also have to deal with muzzle flash. I guess that’s not a big deal. Flash hiders can help. The noise would be worse, but the sound of a 7.62x25mm round going off is not exactly therapeutic, either.
The really nice thing about the PPS-43C is that it’s very cheap. It won’t ruin your life to have one stolen. They cost about $270. Wolf makes pretty good hollowpoint ammunition for it. Presumably you lose some penetration with that.
Anyway, this is a good puzzle to have. It’s not a bad choice to deal with. In many countries (and some states), people have to choose between hiding under the bed or in the closet.Stumble it! Save This Page