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How to Sight a Laser on a Pistol (8 Tips & Tricks)

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pistol aimed at a round target

A laser sight can be a great addition that makes aiming and shooting a pistol much easier in the right environment. But while it can be a great tool, you must sight it in properly.

While that might seem like a straightforward task, there are a few things that can derail the entire experience. We want to make things as easy as possible for you, so here, we highlighted eight different tips and tricks that you should follow to make the sighting process seamless. We also broke down exactly how you should zero a laser sight too!

Topics discussed in this article:

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How to Sight a Laser on a Pistol (8 Tips)

Before you move on to sighting in the laser, you should know various tips and tricks to ensure that you’re doing it right. Here are eight different things that you should do here.

1. Safety First

No matter how or where you plan on zeroing in your laser sight, you need to keep safety as your top priority. While this is the number-one tip for any time that you handle your weapon, it’s particularly crucial here.

.22 pistol ammo pack magazine
Image Credit: GoBOb, Shutterstock

2. Professionally Install the Laser

If you already know what you’re doing and are confident in your abilities, you can install the laser yourself. But plenty of people think that they know what they’re doing and then waste hours “sighting in” their laser at the range.

If you know that it’s on your pistol correctly, you can save yourself a great deal of frustration. Even more importantly, you’ll know that you zeroed it accurately when you actually need to use it.

3. Use Shooting Fundamentals

Just because you’re zeroing in a laser sight doesn’t mean you can ditch all the shooting fundamentals. A laser sight makes things a bit easier for you, but bad fundamentals will still cause you to miss your shot.

This can lead to faulty adjustments when you’re zeroing in the laser sight, and this will cause you to miss all sorts of shots and have a difficult time figuring everything out.

a pistol with a laser sight aimed at a round target
Image Credit: Alex44ARH, Shutterstock

4. Use the Right Distance

When you’re zeroing in your laser sight, it is imperative that you sight it in at the right distance. Go for the distance that you plan on using the most. Since the laser sight points in a straight line and isn’t coming right out of the barrel, it’ll never be accurate at every distance.

So, the more your shooting distance varies from the distance that you zeroed it at, the more off your shot will be.

5. Clean Your Pistol

a man cleaning his gun
Image Credit;: PeopleImages.com – Yuri A, Shutterstock

If you want accurate results when you sight everything in, you need to ensure that you’re firing out of a clean chamber. Even the smallest debris can have a big impact on the final location of the bullet, which isn’t what you want when you’re zeroing in your sight.

6. Use the Right Ammo

For experienced shooters, this goes without saying. But anytime you zero in scope, you need to use the exact same ammo that you plan on using when you shoot.

Changing the round will drastically throw off the trajectory, which will mean you don’t have an accurately sighted laser sight on your pistol.

7. Consider a Bore Sighter

While going to the range is ideal, if you can’t fire your pistol, that doesn’t mean you can’t sight in the laser right away. A laser bore sighter enables you to sight in your pistol laser without ever firing a shot.

But remember that even if you’re not firing your weapon, you should always treat it like it’s loaded, so ensure that you follow proper safety precautions even with this method.


8. Doublecheck Everything

Sometimes the smallest thing can throw off your entire experience at the range. Double-check that you’re making the adjustments the right way, the distance you’re shooting at, the installation of the laser sight, and everything else that you can think of.

A few extra minutes going over your equipment can save you hours of frustration and confusion while at the range.

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How to Zero a Laser Sight on a Pistol

Now that you know more about the tips and tricks to follow to sight in your laser sight, it’s time to learn how to zero it in! The good news is that zeroing a laser sight is a straightforward process.

There are four steps that you need to follow.

1. Set Up the Range

Get a target, preferably with an “X” on it, and set it at the distance that you want. Ensure that the range is clear and get your pistol ready. This is all about preparation here, and taking a few extra minutes to prepare everything properly can make a big difference.

paper bullseye target
Image Credit: Prath, Shutterstock

2. Fire a Round

Turn on the laser, aim it at the “X” on the target, and fire a round at it. While you only need to fire one round, we recommend firing three. If the rounds are close together on the target, you know that you’re following the proper shooting techniques.

3. Make Adjustments

Unless you’re extremely lucky, the rounds won’t hit the center of the “X” your first time. Make the necessary windage and elevation adjustments during this step to bring the rounds to the center of the “X.”

You don’t need to make extreme adjustments during this process. Keep them small, and it’s less likely that you’ll “jump” over the target and need to adjust it back the other way.

man in the shooting range
Image Credit: CC7, Shutterstock

4. Go Back to Step 2

After you make your adjustments, you need to head back to the second step. Fire your rounds, make your adjustments, fire rounds, adjust, and repeat until the rounds consistently hit the “X” on the target.

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Final Thoughts

Now that you know how to zero your laser sight, all that’s left is for you to get out to the range and do it for yourself. It’s a great excuse to go shoot for a bit, for a great experience and a great day!

Featured Image Credit: Alex44ARH, Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.