Sitting on my nightstand is a rapid-access safe made by GunVault. Also on the nightstand are two flashlights (one made by SureFire and the other by NexTorch) and my cell phone. If I ever experience a home invasion, I plan to quickly roll over, grab one of the flashlights and open my GunVault safe. Inside the safe is my Glock 19, which has a laser mounted to it, along with a spare magazine.

The truth is, for home defense purposes, I think a laser is one of the smartest investments you can make today. After all, if some criminal breaks into your home there’s a good chance he’s high on drugs and willing to do whatever it takes to get your cash, electronics or jewelry. I don’t know about you, but I want to do everything I can to tip the scales in my favor and make it as easy as possible to stop the criminal. That’s exactly what a laser allows you to do. In other words, you and I know we should focus on our front sight. But if some madman is rushing up your stairs with a knife, there’s a good chance you’ll be focusing on him, and the laser will give you a better chance of ensuring he never makes it all the way up to harm you or your family.

The thing is, with so many lasers on the market, how do you decide which one is worth betting your life on? What’s the difference between a $100 laser and a $300 laser? Should you get a red laser or a green laser? And what about systems that come with the laser/light combination? Well, those are the questions I’m going to answer, plus I’ll also share with you the make and model of the laser I have on my own home-defense gun.

Affordable Defense

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Laser Devices DBAL-PL

First, let’s talk about budget. Quite frankly, I’m cheap about a lot of things in life, but not when it comes to my personal protection gear. I always try to buy quality so I only have to buy once, but I certainly realize everyone has different budget limitations. On the lower end of the laser market you’ll spend around $100. Crimson Trace, which has been making lasers for more than 17 years, sells its Rail Master Universal Laser Sight for $169. It’s a red laser that quickly mounts to Picatinny or Weaver rails, and many shooters love this inexpensive laser. The fact of the matter is, if you’re looking for a no-frills laser, this is it. For about $129, you can also get the LaserMax Uni-Max Micro. This is a red laser that mounts to almost any handgun on the market. If you’ve got a pocket gun such as a Ruger LCP, you can get the LaserMax CF-LCP. It’s a red laser that costs roughly the same as the Uni-Max and offers five hours of battery time.

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Another laser manufacturer, Viridian, has its C5-R rail-mounted red laser for $139. ArmaLaser makes the smallest mounted lasers on the market today. So if you don’t want a bulky laser hanging off the end of the gun, you should check out what ArmaLaser has to offer. For about $139 you can get the ArmaLaser Stingray SR1, which is the company’s universal red, mounted laser.

Laser Devices may not be as well known to consumers because its makes a lot of products for the military. Products from Laser Devices are typically more high-end and you’re going to spend $500 or more for one of its devices. For instance, the DBAL-PL model is a laser/light combination that offers a red laser and a 500-lumen white light, which is plenty of light for any home-defense situation.

Combo Benefits

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Crimson Trace CMR-205

Of course, other manufacturers make laser/light combinations that are less expensive than $500, but do you really need one? In my opinion, if you’re going to get a laser, you should definitely buy one that comes with the light, too. After all, if you only get the laser and you think there’s an intruder in your home, your support hand will have to hold the flashlight so you can see. Now, I don’t know about you, but if someone has broken into my home, I’d prefer to have two hands on my gun to give me the best accuracy possible. That’s why, on my own gun, I have it set to have both the flashlight and the laser on at the same time. My flashlight is 100 lumens, and although that may not sound like much, it’s plenty of light for my house, and it’s likely plenty for yours, too.

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One thing to note is that when you have the laser and the light on at the same time, you will be able to clearly see the laser but the person on the other end of the gun won’t. This is because the white light cancels out the laser for the person facing the wrong end of the barrel. So the fact that an intruder can’t see my laser doesn’t bother me at all, because I can and that’s what matters.

If you decide to purchase a laser/light combination, Crimson Trace makes the Rail Master Pro CMR-205. It’s a 100-lumen light and red laser that mounts to any Picatinny or Weaver rail. It has two hours of battery life and automatically turns off after five minutes of non-use. The price point of the CMR-205 is around $275. Laser Devices offers the Blast 2, which includes a red laser and a 200-lumen white light. If you’re really concerned about being able to see in the dark, you should definitely take a closer look at the Blast 2, which sells for around $400. Viridian also makes a green laser/light combination, the C5L. It mounts to almost any handgun, has a 100-lumen light and also has a 140-lumen “strobe mode” to disorient an attacker. The C5L will cost you about $300.

Real-World Utility

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So far we’ve established that there’s a laser for almost any budget and that it’s a good idea to get the laser/light combination. But what about the color of the laser itself? Should you purchase a laser/light combo that includes a red or a green laser? Well, some people’s knee-jerk reaction might be to go with the red laser because it looks more intimidating when pointed at the bad guy. But remember, when you have the light and laser on at the same time, the bad guy won’t be able to see the laser; only you will. Since being able to properly see the laser is clearly of utmost importance, I recommend going with the green laser over the red laser.

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It’s been reported that a green laser is anywhere from five to 50 times more visible than a red laser. Why? Without getting too technical and boring you to death, the color green is closer to the center of the visible spectrum, which means it’s easier for our eyes to see. If you know someone who has both a green and red laser, go outside during the day and point them at an object far away and you’ll quickly see what I mean.

Since a green laser is easier to see, this is what I’ve chosen for my home defense gun. Right now, mounted to my Glock 19, is the Viridian C5L. I’ve been very pleased with this purchase and haven’t had any problems with it. Crimson Trace also recently released a green laser/light combination with its CMR-204 Rail Master Pro. Whatever laser you decide to go with, don’t forget to zero it. Personally, I zero my laser so it’s directly lined up with my front sight. Also, don’t forget to train with the laser. When nobody else is home, and with a safe and empty weapon, practice using your laser so that if a home invasion ever occurs you’ll be better prepared to survive.

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