Laser grips elevate night vision

In the July issue of LET I wrote that night vision equipment provides our law enforcement officers with tactical advantages. (Read “IR aiming lasers: a love story” in LET July 2011, Page 50 or online at At this point in...

The laser housing is necessarily larger on the dual laser unit than the single laser models because it houses two laser diodes. I did not find the larger size of the housing to interfere with the handling, feel or operation of the handgun. Sighting in the unit was the same as sighting in any Crimson Trace laser grip. The IR laser automatically “co-sights” with the red laser. This makes it unnecessary to sight in the lasers individually, and you do not have to try and sight it in using night vision equipment. CTC does recommend though that you confirm the IR laser is zeroed with night vision equipment before using it.

The IR laser that CTC Defense uses is a class 1a 850 nm laser. Once sighted in, I tested the red and IR lasers to see if they were both zeroed. I found that I was making my hits with both lasers and did not need to make any further adjustments. Using my personal set of ITT PVS-14 Pinnacle night vision goggles to test the IR laser, I tested the laser in several buildings (including at my own home and in open farmland completed with an almond orchard) to see how useful it was. I found that after adjusting to the night vision, the use of the IR laser was comparable to using a red CTC laser indoors. I was able to pick up the laser well past 200 yards. Like all lasers, the “brightness” of the laser was dependent on what type of surface it was aimed at. Overall I was very impressed with the performance of this IR laser.

Using this unit with the red laser and my Surefire X200 light with the DG switch was a dream. The pressure activation pads worked together very well. Unfortunately the X200 does not have an on/off switch. When shooting I was unable to control the pressure pads well enough to isolate the IR laser and the X200 light. This caused me to activate the white light when I was using my night vision goggles, losing any tactical advantage the goggles gave me at that point. To use this handgun properly with night vision goggles I needed to remove the DG switch or remove the light. By the end of my evaluation this was my only complaint, and it was one of compatibility with another manufacturer’s accessory.

Overall the CTC Defense dual laser grips meet my needs for an IR laser for my handgun. The fit and finish was great and did not add that much to the overall size of the grip. The controls were easy to operate with and without gloves. I have used Crimson Trace laser grips on other handguns and this unit was the best I have ever seen.

I still believe what I wrote in July: As the future presses on we’ll see more night vision devices in the hands of law enforcement, and the need for IR aiming lasers will follow. Crimson Trace’s CTC Defense line meets this impending need. I highly recommend that if your team or agency issues or uses night vision devices, you strongly consider the excellent CTC Defense line of IR laser grips.


Dennis Haworth is an officer with a California state agency. He has been a range master and armorer for over a decade and served as a police academy instructor. Much of his free time is spent as an advisor to the Shooting Sports Club at his local University of California campus.

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