It was a long time ago when lasers were considered exotic devices, unique only to Hollywood movies. However, laser technology has come a long way since the eighties, and today, it is pretty normal to find guys at shooting range practicing either with a mounted laser or small laser/light combos on their handguns.
Though firearm laser attachments are not perfect and suffer from some design flaws, in the world of home-defense and concealed carry, laser sights have become increasingly popular.
Statistics claim the most significant number of robberies and burglaries take place at night and are the main reason why the laser and weapon light would be the first obvious accessory to purchase.
In this post, we`ll try to explain what to look for in a laser sight for your M&P Shield and recommend several top picks for the best lasers for the MP Shield.
LaserMax S&W Shield Centerfire Laser Sight
TLR-6 Subcompact Gun Mounted Light w/Red Laser
Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguard Red Laser Sight
Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguard Red Laser Sight
Crimson Trace Lg-808 Red Laser Sight with Tactical Flashlight
ArmaLaser Smith & Wesson S&W Shield TR4G Super-Bright Green Laser with Grip Activation
Are All Lasers the Same?
Despite the fact that lasers have been around for years, there are still a host of misunderstandings about laser types and classifications. There are three main types of laser installations for your handgun:
- The laser sight can be mounted to, or in front of, the trigger guard.
- It can replace or mount on the backstrap.
- Or the newest design is the guide rod laser.
With many different laser sights available for most firearms, the most critical laser feature that should be considered is its visibility.
In short, the traditional red lasers operate in the visible spectrum in wavelengths ranging from 620 to 750 nanometers, whereas the green light is close to the center of the visible light spectrum at about 532 Nanometers.
Hence, our eye is better able to recognize colors in the green spectrum, making the green laser more visible in broad daylight than red.
In practical terms, it means that a red laser may only be visible up to 25 or 30 yards away, making them suitable for indoor use, or outside use from dusk to dawn.
On the other hand, the recently developed green laser sight family can be used to engage outside targets at a much greater distance, as well under a wide variety of lighting conditions.
Since green lasers are more visible in daylight than red, they are great for target shooters. For example, in the daytime, a green laser can be visible at 100 yards or more.
Of course, since there is no free dinner, the qualities of green lasers come with a higher price, more delicate construction, and more narrow operational temperature range than red lasers.
By some manufacturer’s manuals, a red laser is generally operational between 15 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit (9.4-49°C), while a green laser is operational between 40 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5-38°C).
Pros and Cons of Using a Laser on Your M&P Shield
Besides having many advantages, the lasers also have some weakness and limitations. It is useful to know them, especially if you plan on using a laser sight on your M&P Shield.
Also, consider when and where you'll be shooting your self-defense M&P Shield gun.
- For use during the day, a red light will be less effective than green one, but during late nights or darkened areas, your M&P Shield, whether equipped with a red or green laser, will provide an advantage.
- A very important advantage of the laser is that untrained and inexperienced people can easily point and shoot a laser-equipped M&P Shield.
- Other than that, the laser sight on your M&P Shield is useful for people with poor vision.
- The laser enables easier target acquisition from awkward shooting positions or from behind cover.
- Arguably, the laser ray may have a psychological effect on bad guys.
- Laser sights give away your location in the same manner as the light from a flashlight.
- Lasers require power supplies and the possibility of failing batteries
What Makes a Great M&P Shield Laser?
The Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield is one of the most popular concealed carry pistols and its compact dimensions deserve only small, smartly designed attachments. Therefore our selection encompasses only trigger guard laser sights as the most compatible solution for a Shield.
This technological advancement offers even smaller and more compact integrated light and laser solutions for improved illumination and targeting in all lighting conditions.
For an everyday carry gun, simplicity is must, so we are presenting several easy laser beam activation systems that engage the laser immediately when the handgun is held in a normal firing grip.
Since the S&W MP Shield is a lightweight, modern firearm, another highlight of laser sights is their weight and materials. All of the lasers in this guide are made from durable, synthetic materials and add almost no weight or bulk to the already light and compact M&P Shield.
Finally, easy installation of an M&P Shield Laser is assumed, so you can mount the laser unit without permanent alterations or the help of a qualified gunsmith.
Quick Take - The Best Lasers For M&P Shields
These are our recommendations for the best lasers for M&P shields:
Review of the Best Lasers For M&P Shields
The following list highlights some of the best laser sights and the features and benefits of each.
The LaserMax Centerfire Laser is highly compatible S&W M&P Shield accessory designed in a polymer configuration that will match the style and contour of your M&P pistol perfectly. While the CF-SHIELD laser sight sports the same textured grip pattern on the M&P Shield, it mounts to the frame without changing out parts or altering your firearm.
The LaserMax CF laser sight comes in two pieces, which fit over the Shield trigger guard, snap tightly into place, and are held together by two screws.
Mounted to the trigger guard, the unit is very sturdy, with no movement, weighing in at 3.2 ounces. The CF-SHIELD sits just under the bore for pinpoint accuracy and user-adjusts for windage and elevation.
The red laser has 5mW of power output, which provides a maximum range of 300 yards, though the common range for a constant, red beam is less than 20 yards. Utilizing a simple pressure of the trigger finger on an ambidextrous on/off button, this laser projects a bright red aiming point downrange. The side-activated button may need some practice, to easily switch your laser on and off.
This Class IIIA laser product operates in 650 nm wavelengths and uses a one-lithium CR 1/3N battery to power it. There is a complaint that the laser really drains the battery, and the lithium battery is quite expensive.
Since the LaserMax is a well-known name in the industry of compact pistols, their laser sights are the perfect complement to Smith & Wesson's easily concealed M&P Shield.
The LaserMax CenterFire laser sight is offered at a decently low price compared to some of their competitors, while the bright red laser fits the Shield well and looks seamless.
The Streamlight 69273 model is a subcompact pistol combination of both a laser and a flashlight, specifically designed to attach to the trigger guard of Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 and 40.
The compact, lightweight polymer housing comprises of gun-mounted C4 tactical light, which delivers 100-Lumens and an 89-meter beam distance allowing for easier identification of potential threats before taking action. Along with a C4 LED illuminator, the impact-resistant body keeps an integrated 640-660nm, a 5mW peak red aiming laser that is plenty bright and very sharp, even at 25 yards.
You can operate the entire flashlight and laser combo using left and right-hand switches for ambidextrous function. Furthermore, using this light/laser combination on subcompact M&P Shield handguns will allow you access to three modes, either light, laser, or dual mode, making this versatile weapon light an ideal choice for identifying potential threats. The light uses two 3-volt CR1/3N lithium coin batteries with a ten-minute auto shut-off and provides one hour of regulated runtime in dual light/laser mode.
In addition, windage and elevation adjustment screws come mounted in brass bushing for long life. The ultra-compact Streamlight TLR-6 combination adds barely an ounce of additional weight to your small M&P Shield.
On the other hand, this Streamlight accessory configuration has a few drawbacks, such as the necessity of purchasing a specific holster for the laser-equipped M&P Shield. Some users also complain of the insufficiency of the C4 flashlight, though it should still be enough to stun an intruder.
The Streamlight TLR-6 kit is a whole new lighting category featuring both an LED illuminator and a laser. For owners of weapon as small as the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, this may be the best solution to combine laser and light in the same setup.
Another leading company in laser sighting systems is the Crimson Trace, known for their lasers that replace the backstrap on a handgun. Their new Laserguard series is designed to fit onto the Shield`s trigger guard and add little, if any, weight to the firearm.
The Crimson Trace LG-489 Laserguard mounts a 5mW peak, 620-670nm red laser sight onto the frame of the Shield over the trigger guard without any gunsmithing or permanent gun altering, anchoring easily with a two-screw system.
The CT Laserguard laser sight comes with the activation switch placed right on the grip's front strap. Since there are no switches or buttons to push, the Crimson Trace “Instinctive Activation” activates the laser instantly upon grasping the handgun with a small activation switch that falls comfortably and naturally under the middle finger.
This polymer-made trigger guard attachment comes with a rubber overmold activation-pad, while the sight is scalloped to match the Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield’s fish scale slide serrations.
In addition to the LG-489 red laser, the Crimson Trace offers another Laserguard model with a green laser, specifically designed to match the design of M&P Shield concealed carry pistol, marked as LG-489G. This 5mW green laser operates in 532 nm wavelengths.
While red lasers are a better solution for nighttime shooting, many handgun owners prefer the green laser for daytime defense, as they are far more visible bright daylight.
The LG-489G also fits onto the Shield trigger guard and utilizes the patented Crimson Trace Instinctive Activation switch for instant on and off.
Besides having the same dimensions and 4 oz. weight as LG-489, the same single 1/3N lithium battery powers the green laser sight. However, as the LG-489G consumes a little more power than a red laser, you won`t have quite the same battery life (four hours of battery life vs two hours for green light).
Both CT Laserguard laser sights are easily adjustable by the user for windage and elevation and are factory-sighted at 50 yards.
The Crimson Trace Laserguard LG-489 lineup seamlessly integrates red/green laser sights for Smith & Wesson's M&P Shield 9mm and .40 S&W concealed carry pistols. Utilizing the newest 5mW peak power laser technology, these sights are quickly gaining traction in the laser sight market.
The second Crimson Trace product on our list is the LG-808 model from Laserguard Pro series. This standard (LL-808) Laserguard Pro comes with a Class 3R red laser diode, projecting a maximum power output of 5mW and 150 Lumen LED white light.
The Crimson Trace single compact unit is built explicitly for Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .45 ACP and is designed to install seamlessly below the barrel of your semi-auto.
Like previous models, Laserguard Pro Combo features Crimson Trace's renowned Instinctive Activation laser-sight engagement system located under the trigger guard.
The LL-808 combines both a tactical weapon light with a classic laser sight and offers four operation modes: light only, laser only, laser and light, and flashing strobe light with constant laser.
Laserguard Pro hardware installs easily in moments by the user, but battery changing requires unscrewing and dismounting unit from the Shield.
One CR2 lithium battery provides over four working hours for the red laser. Housed in a durable polymer body, the CT Laserguard Pro is factory sighted at 50 feet and adjusts for windage and elevation.
While this Crimson Trace illumination and targeting product comes with the compact housing, it does add some bulk to your overall weapon, so you just keep it in mind if you plan to conceal carry.
The LaserGuard Pro 808 is built to follow the contours of a Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, so it boasts the scallop pattern that explicitly matches the slide texture of the M&P Shield.
The ArmaLaser TR4G is another laser representative of trigger guard mounted laser sights built around Class 3R 520nm 5mW green laser.
ArmaLaser not only incorporates green lasers for the highest visibility but they also provide this sight with a choice of either a steady beam or a pulsing beam.
The main selling point of whole TR-Series is how the laser turns on. There is no more fumbling for a button in the most critical situations, as the ArmaLaser utilizes True Touch Technology to integrate a touch sensor into their trigger guard. The ArmaLaser TR green laser unit is seamless and activates a laser on as soon as you grasp your pistol.
The TR4G laser sight is based on Class 3R 520nm <5mW green laser and powered by one CR1/3N lithium battery and a run time up to 2.3 hours. A battery can be changed without laser disassembly.
The ArmaLaser TR4G adds 3/4 of an ounce with battery installed, while the projected laser dot is 1/2" at 50 feet.
ThenTR4G features a master power switch recessed into the housing to enable you to shut off the laser and allow for iron-sight practice or long-term storage.
The electronics on this laser are amazingly reliable and activation failure is sporadic because of moist or wet hands. The body material is made of DuPont's Zytel ST8018 glass-reinforced polymer, very similar to the modern pistol frames, matching up the material, finish, and color as the gun platforms.
Besides visible lasers with a steady beam, there are also lasers with a pulsing beam and IR lasers that can be used with night vision goggles. The pulsating laser produces a highly visible light and attracts the attention of both officers and bad guys. It is particularly useful under stressful conditions or when dealing with people under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Anyway, laser sights are an invaluable addition but as with many things in our lives, we have to make a compromise. Simple, durable, cheap red lasers consume less power than green but have limited usability. On the other hand, green lasers appear brighter but are more expensive and sensitive to the external conditions. The choice boils down to you and your personal preference and budget.