by B.B. Pelletier

What is a laser, and how is it used on an airgun?

Not really sights
Although lasers are often called sights, they really aren’t. Lasers project light much the same as flashlights. Because the light they project remains in a tightly confined beam, it can be seen at long distances. Years ago, someone discovered that if a laser is aligned with the impact of the bullet from a gun, a shooter only has to shine the laser on his intended target and squeeze off the shot when the light falls on the desired impact point.

HOWEVER…!
What many shooters overlook is that the laser beam goes straight while the bullet falls. If the distance to the target is not the same as the distance at which the laser and gun are set to converge, the impact will not be at the laser point. At close ranges, like 30 feet with tactical firearms, this may be no big thing. A criminal won’t care if a .45 bullet hits his chest an inch away from the laser point, which is why just shining the laser on a target often ends the fight.

Reasons to buy a laser
If your target is always at the same distance, a laser is great. Simply point and shoot when the dot is where you want the pellet to strike. This is great for pest eliminators who have a limited distance to shoot their quarry, like someone shooting under a bridge or in a chicken coop. They can set up the laser and often not even need to use the sights to hit the target. Short rifles, like the AirForce Talon, are ideal for this, as are most air pistols – especially the more powerful models such as the HW 45 or Beeman P1.

Reasons to NOT buy a laser
If your targets are at varying ranges, you won’t get much help from a laser. The impact point of a pellet can move three inches between 30 and 50 yards! If you’re trying to hit a target the size of a nickel at a range somewhere between those distances, just shining a dot of light on it is more confusing than it is helpful.

Which laser should you buy?
If you go to the laser page of Pyramyd’s website, you’ll see a big difference in prices. The AirForce LS-1 sells for $99.95, while the Daisy Laser Sight sells for just $19.99. And, there are plenty of models in-between. They’re all real lasers, and they all do work. So, how do they differ and why are the prices so scattered?

The AirForce laser is a real firearm laser that is bright enough to see at 100 yards on a bright day (only through a scope, however!). It also has an unbreakable aluminum 11mm mount, the same as an airgun scope, plus it is the only one that can be adjusted without tools. The Daisy, Crosman and BSA are either lower-powered, or their laser beams spread faster, making them harder to see at longer ranges. They also need tools to adjust the impact point of the beam, but they’re good lasers just the same. Gamo’s laser is purpose-built for their guns and may be harder to attach to other airguns.

Shop for your needs and budgetary requirements, knowing that any laser you buy will be a marvel of modern technology.