Guns are a lot of fun and serve many practical applications. However, just like a guitar needs to be tuned to sound good, a gun needs to be sighted in to shoot accurately. This procedure can be time-consuming, expensive, and not much fun. Luckily, the process can be made as painless as possible with a laser bore sight.
Comparison of the Best Laser Bore Sights
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What is a Laser Bore Sight?
Laser bore sights are basically glorified laser pointers that are shaped to align their laser beams with the center of your firearm's bore. This allows you to adjust your sights or scope to the laser projected on a surface a set distance away. Rather than wasting ammo by shooting a few groups to sight-in your rifle, with a laser bore sight, you only need one or two shots to confirm zero. This can save a lot of time and money, especially if you often have to sight-in new guns.
Are All Laser Bore Sights the Same?
There are a few key differences among laser bore sights. Newer, better quality models tend to have green lasers rather than the standard red because these are clearer to see.
The main division, however, is between models that fit into the chamber of your firearm and those that fit into the muzzle. The former tend to work with only one or two calibers, reducing versatility.
On the plus side, they are safer because there is no chance you can fire your weapon with them still blocking the bore. Models that fit into the muzzle are often universal and are able to be used with nearly all calibers.
How to Choose Laser Bore Sights
The best advice for choosing a laser bore sight is to choose one from a manufacturer with a good reputation. If the laser is not perfectly centered or can be knocked out of alignment, the unit will be completely useless.
If you are a big AR-15 person or that rare breed of shooter who sticks with one caliber, you may benefit from the relative safety and ease of use of a chamber-seated laser bore sight. For most of us, a muzzle-mounted laser bore sight will give us our money's worth out of versatility alone.
Generally, a green laser is considered to be an improvement over the standard red laser. In reality, red still performs well, and possibly better in lower light conditions. If you want the brightest and clearest, go green. If you want to save a buck or two, red will do the job.
Battery life is not mission-critical for a laser bore sight because, unless you are a gunsmith, you tend to use it rarely and only for a few minutes at a time. Still, you don't want to waste money on batteries, nor do you want to waste time trying to find rare batteries.
Review of the Best Laser Bore Sights
Here, we’ve taken the guesswork out of choosing a laser bore sight that will do what it purports to. Our list details some of the top offerings on the market today to allow you to choose one that fits your preference and use.
This is a universal muzzle-mounted laser bore sight that works with any caliber from .22 to .50, as long as the barrel is at least three inches long. This means you can use it with practically any handgun or rifle.
The laser includes four adapters for different bore diameters. You center the laser by attaching the correct adapter to the laser's tail and insert it into the muzzle. Then, aim the laser at the included target fixed twenty-five yards away and align your iron sights, reflex sight, or scope to the laser.
The on/off switch is a tactile thumb roll switch. The unit comes with batteries which last for about an hour and a half. This is plenty, as you only use the laser rarely and for a few minutes at a time. LaserLyte boasts that the laser is as bright as it is legal to make.
This is a popular product due to its high versatility. The top feature is the universal design that works not only in rifles, but also in handguns with barrels three inches and longer. Some of the components are a little bit chintzy, but if you take care, this model can last a lifetime. Just remember to remove the laser bore sight before trying to take a shot.
Best for 5.56:
SightMark Laser Bore Sight
If you need to sight-in a 5.56 or .223 rifle or two, you can't go wrong with the Sightmark. This item resembles an empty shell. The casing is even made of brass. Although this model only works with one caliber, the benefits are that it is easy and safe to use.
You simply turn the laser on and chamber it as you would chamber a round. Since it is not possible to fire the weapon while the laser is blocking the bore, there is no danger of rupturing your barrel. SightMark rates the laser as having a 100-yard range, though this will depend on local conditions.
Battery life is only listed as one hour, but this is not a major issue for a laser bore sight. SightMark boasts that the National Tactical Officers Association recommends this model.
The safety and ease of use are the major benefits of this product. It might be easy to mix this unit up with live rounds or empty shells, although it is dimpled to differentiate it. The problem with a caliber-specific laser bore sight is that they are not economical unless you have a lot of rifles in the same caliber to sight-in or often change your sighting or optic solution for whatever reason. This may be the case with competitive shooters, such as those in three gun competitions.
Best for AR-15:
GoZier Tactical 223 Laser Bore Sight
Today, AR15 rifles come in a variety of calibers, but the most common is still the .223/5.56 NATO. Many of us have a little collection of ARs and their uppers laying around, so sacrifice the versatility of a universal laser bore sight for the ease of use and safety of a chamber-set version.
This model does include a number of serious advantages. First, it comes with an extra set of batteries. A greater benefit, however, is that GoZier covers this laser bore sight with a lifetime warranty. They recommend sighting in at 25 yards but claim that the laser will cover a two-inch dot at a hundred yards.
Like the Sightmark above, you simply seat the laser in the chamber and adjust your sighting solution to meet the laser at 25 yards. There is no need for adjustments, tools, or small and breakable components that often come with universal laser bore sights. It is also safer because it is not possible to fire a weapon with this laser bore sight in place.
The top feature of this laser bore sight is the lifetime warranty. If you have a lot of .223 or 5.56 NATO chambered rifles, especially AR15s, to sight-in, this can cut down some of the time and cost in ammo.
Best for 9mm:
Sightmark 9mm Luger Laser Boresight
The 9mm is a perfect candidate for use with this kind of laser bore sight. This is by far the most common handgun caliber around, so even if you don't have a collection of nine millimeters of your own to sight-in with this device, chances are your friends do. Besides, while these products reduce the number of shots you must take to zero a gun, at longer ranges the laser covers an area of a few inches.
For long range accuracy, you still have to finish sighting-in using the traditional method. Handguns are usually sighted-in at 10 or 25 yards, so the laser bore sight is closer to being completely sufficient.
This model provides many of the same benefits of the GoZier and the other SightMark above. It is safe and easy to use and requires no tools or finicky components. It can also be used to train quick-draw aiming with most handguns.
This is a handy device to have around if you want to cut down on the shots needed to sight-in a 9mm handgun or submachine gun. It works very well in almost all cases, but the odd chamber may not center the laser as needed. The top feature is the overall ease of use.
This is an excellent choice if you need a universal laser bore sight for use with many different firearms. Although it is a muzzle-mounted model, this laser bore sight is about as safe and easy to use as the chamber-mounted models.
Wheeler takes advantage of the fact that muzzle crowns are nearly all machined perfectly perpendicular with the bore. They use a high-powered magnet to fix the laser to the muzzle. This negates the need for any small parts or tools. If you forget to remove it, it will probably get shot off rather than causing your barrel to explode if you take a shot, as with models that fit inside the muzzle.
This laser bore sight comes in two versions, a green or red laser. Green is recommended for greater effectiveness in bright sunlight. It comes with a lithium 123A battery and a nice padded case. It is constructed of high-grade rubberized aluminum.
This product combines the best of the caliber-specific, chamber-mounted varieties with the muzzle-mounted universal types. Its best features are that it is safe and easy to use without tools or small components. It works better for rifles and shotguns than handguns, but generally, does a good job there too.
Accuracy Tips For Using Laser Bore Sights
The way you use a laser bore sight will depend heavily on which model you choose, which kind of firearm you use it on, and with which kind of primary sighting option (e.g. iron sights or a scope).
Whether it is chamber-mounted or muzzle-mounted, ensure that it is seated securely with no wiggle or variation in the laser's terminus at a given range, probably 25 yards.
If the sight comes with a target, use it! It is probably made of reflective material to increase the laser's visibility. Don't shoot it!
Make sure you have the tools, if necessary, and the know-how to correctly adjust your primary sighting option. A gun rest is a great way to keep your firearm in place during this process.
Always follow the cardinal rules of gun safety. Once your sight or scope lines up with the laser, ensure that the bore is clear and that there is nothing down range that you don't want to destroy before taking a confirmation shot.
Most laser bore sights will only help you zero your rifle at a short distance. You will probably still have to make adjustments the traditional way, by firing groups, to get accuracy if you are shooting hundreds of yards out.
Check out the video for a demonstration on how to sight-in a rifle using the LaserLyte Universal laser bore sight. Many of the principles involved will be transferable to other models.
Laser bore sights can be a great way to save a bit of money on spent rounds and save some time in sighting in your firearm. There are many different designs to choose from depending on your needs, but we're confident that you can find the best one for you in our list.