At a Glance: The Best Laser Sights for AR-15s in 2020
Comparison of the Best Laser Sights for AR15
Our Top Pick
|Steiner Optics – DBAL-I2 dual-beam visible and IR aiming laser||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|Crimson Trace Corporation – LiNQ wireless green laser sight and tactical light||View Latest Price|
Our Top Pick
|TruGlo – MICRO-TAC tactical micro lase||View Latest Price|
A laser sight is a worthwhile addition to your AR15 if you ever intend to shoot in the dark. They are extremely helpful for acquiring your target in all lighting conditions, but especially in low- or no-light situations.
Laser sights have been used by law enforcement and the army for many years, and are now becoming popular with AR15 shooters, particularly hunters.
Laser sights are easy-to-use products that require minimal setup however, not all laser sights give the same performance. Read on to learn the key factors to consider when choosing the best laser sight for your needs.
In this article, I compare the 7 best laser sights for AR15s on the market today. I’ve tested and reviewed each of these products to help make sure that you find just the right model for your rifle and shooting needs.
Steiner Optics – DBAL-I2 dual-beam visible and IR aiming laser
The DBAL-I2 dual-beam from Steiner Optics uses both a visible laser and an IR pointer to provide extreme accuracy in low-light and no-light conditions. It’s available as either a visible green or red laser depending on your preference and is Steiner’s most lightweight model weighing in at just 8 ounces.
I was impressed with the vast array of features the DBAL-I2 has on offer. This model boasts fully adjustable windage and elevation and can be easily attached to any Picatinny rail using the patented, self-adjusting quick release HT Mount.
It has two modes, high and low power. However, when testing I found the power outage is near enough the same for both modes, so it doesn’t necessarily save battery to use the low mode.
Steiner has created an extremely easy to operate device. Its high tech manufacturing integrates a push-button switch plus a remote cable pressure-pad switch which can be released for momentary activation, or tapped twice for 5-minute continuous operation. Moreover, it includes a remote cable port and a low battery indicator light.
I tested out the green laser’s visibility range. During the night I could reach 750 meters however in the day time, only 15 meters. Overall, this is a very well built, lightweight, and compact option with a clear beam and a cool design combination of a visible laser and an IR pointer.
- Visible laser and IR pointer combo
- Lightweight and compact
- You can choose either a red or green laser
- Easy to mount on any Picatinny rail
- Fully adjustable windage and elevation
- Many cool additional features
- Waterproof up to 5 meters
- One of the easiest laser sights to use
- Battery compartment cap can be tricky to reinstall after the first time
- There is no Illuminator
Crimson Trace Corporation – LiNQ wireless green laser sight and tactical light
The LiNQ from Crimson Trace combines a green laser sight with a 300 Lumen LED white light and Instinctive Activation™ to give you impressive visibility in all lighting conditions including day time. This makes the LiNQ the ultimate illumination and targeting solution for many.
LiNQ utilizes a secure, individual wireless connection by offering complete wireless control of the laser and light module. There are 4 modes of operation to choose from, making it a versatile product.
- Laser & Light
- Laser Only
- Light Only
- Laser + Light Strobe
I was impressed by the brightness of the flashlight, and the laser visibility allowed me to shoot as far as I could have desired to. However, one downfall of the LiNQ is the activation button. It seems too small and shallow to be depressed easily, making it difficult to operate. This negatively impacted my performance when moving from target to target.
Although I like the various modes of operation this sight offers and I feel this is a brilliant option for brightness and visibility, it’s not the best laser sight for ease of use or battery life which did put me off slightly.
- Powerful brightness and laser visibility thanks to the addition of LED flashlight
- 4 modes of operation
- Complete wireless control
- Difficult to operate due to the badly designed activation button
- The grip is not the most comfortable
- Poor battery life
TruGlo – MICRO-TAC tactical micro laser
The MICRO-TAC tactical micro laser from TruGlo is a compact, universal fit laser unit designed to be easily mounted to any Picatinny or Weaver-style rail. It features easy ambidextrous push-button activation, and is one of the most lightweight lasers on the list, weighing less than 1 oz.
The MICRO-TAC has many features I liked including the laser consistency settings allowing you to choose a pulse or constant beam. There’s also an automatic switch-off after 5 minutes to preserve battery life. The laser requires minimal rail space when mounting, giving plenty of space for other accessories. Furthermore, it’s water and shock-resistant too.
I found the laser easy to install and I liked how you can adjust its windage and elevation using the side buttons however, I didn’t like the adjustment screws as they didn’t give enough resistance to be able to finely adjust the device.
The brightness it gives is very good, but perhaps not quite as impressive as other models I tested. Overall, this durable laser sight is easy to use and has some great features.
- Easy to mount
- Ultra-compact size & lightweight design
- Next-generation, high-efficiency semiconductor laser diode
- Easy ambidextrous push-button activation
- Constant and pulse laser settings
- Battery saving feature with automatic shut off
- Uses minimal rail space
- The adjustment screws do not give enough resistance, making it hard to finely adjust
- Not the brightest laser and it doesn’t give a great daytime range.
Holosun – LS221 visible and IR laser sight
The addition of an IR laser to the LS221 visible sight creates a high performing and versatile device for AR15 shooters. Built as a coaxial unit, each laser is adjusted with elevation and windage adjustments. The lasers are protected by a tough, machined aluminum housing and are operated through a cable switch.
You can choose between a red or green laser depending on your preference. I was greatly impressed with the construction of the sight, which felt super strong and sturdy. It’s extremely easy to use and mount, it can be attached to any Picatinny rail without difficulty, and the included manual is easy to read and understand.
There are some useful additions included with this sight such as a Torx tool to adjust the tension screw on the QD mount and a high-quality CR123 battery. There are a couple of minor improvements that could make the device even better such a better quality remote cable, along with improved velcro tape.
Other than those minor details the quality construction, high performance, and durability of this unit easily make it a worthy contender for the best laser sight for AR15s.
- Easy to mount
- Combined visible and IR laser
- Strong and sturdy construction
- Elevation and windage adjustments
- Choice of red or green laser
- Easy to use and mount
- Comes with a CR123 battery
- Remote cable quality could be stronger
- Velcro tape is low-quality
Burris – T.M.P.R. 5 prism sight & ballistic AR reticle
The T.M.P.R. SYSTEM by Burris is a complete, purpose-specific optic system that can be used individually or together to create the ultimate sight for any situation.
The Tri-Modular Prism Riflescope gives impressively fast target acquisition in a compact prism sight. This is perhaps the most high-tech device on the list, featuring 5x magnification, a ballistic AR reticle addition, and digital illumination control with red, green, and even blue options. Each component has its own battery but when connected to the prism sight, they can be powered by the prism sight’s high-capacity CR123 battery. The trajectory compensation reaches out to 600 yards with a large field of view and it’s compatible with 3 different night vision settings.
Other features include an extremely long eye relief and an improved quick detach base. You can manually adjust the brightness settings of the FastFire M3, and find precise accuracy with the windage and elevation adjustments.
Of course, with all of these advanced features, it is an expensive option, but in my opinion, if you’re looking to invest in only the best laser sight for your AR15, the T.M.P.R. System is for you.
- Digital Illumination control with 3 color options
- The circular reticle provides ultra-fast engagement at close distances
- Large field of view
- Ballistic reticle with 7 illumination levels and three colors
- Includes power-sharing connectors and a CR123 battery
Steiner Optics – DBAL-A4 laser sight
The Steiner Optics DBAL-A4 combines 4 different functions in our unit. This ultimate laser sight provides a visible green laser, an infrared laser, an infrared illuminator, and a bright, white light creating a truly versatile device for use in numerous possible scenarios.
The elements of this high tech device allow you to easily identify your target and aim quickly in any defensive or offensive situation. The DBAL-A4 was designed primarily for law enforcement and military units, which makes it a trustworthy, high-quality, and durable option that serves as a useful defensive tool too.
Each output features both high and low power modes, and the unit easily attaches to any standard Picatinny rail. It’s powered by a CR123A battery with 3-hour battery life. Other features include spot (narrow field of view) and flood (wide field of view) illumination, fully adjustable windage and elevation, an integrated fire button, and remote cable pressure pad switch activation.
Aside from the short battery life, the only bad aspect of this model is the price, as it is perhaps the most expensive model on this list. That being said, the DBAL is certainly a reliable and trustworthy unit that will serve you in many shooting situations.
- Combination of 4 functions in one unit
- High quality and durable build
- Produced for the military and police
- Easy to mount
- Gives both spot and flood illumination
- An ultimate unit for versatile shooting situations
- Very expensive
- Short battery life
Steiner Optics – OTAL-C offset aiming laser
Another laser sight from Steiner, the OTAL-C is an awesome compact aiming red laser designed primarily for the M-4 platform. It securely mounts behind your rifle’s front sight, then projects a laser beam along the line of fire for precise aiming.
The recessed windage and elevation dials prevent any bumping or accidental altering of the laser’s alignment, yet are still easy to adjust when needed. The rear-facing toggle on/off switch provides easy operation while the remote pressure pad enables activation of the OTAL-C in the firing position.
Also integrated with the unit is a quick release HT Picatinny rail mount for fast, repeatable installation or removal. As the mount is low profile, it doesn’t interfere with scopes or other night-vision optics.
The visible red class-3 laser is cased in rugged aircraft aluminum which is waterproof up to 5 meters and the AA battery provides up to 5 hours of use. The OTAL-C is a lightweight, rugged, and reliable choice for your rifle.
- Lightweight and compact design
- Specifically designed for M-4 rifles
- Recessed windage and elevation dials
- Easy operation with a toggle switch
- Quick-release HT Picatinny rail mount
- Not available as a green laser
What is an AR15 laser sight?
- Laser sights are small devices that attach to your AR-15 to project a laser beam onto your target.
- They work by creating a visible dot of colored light on the intended target’s surface.
- Laser sights give an additional lighting reference in the sight picture which results in faster sight alignment and target acquisition.
- Lasers are extremely useful in letting you know where your bullet will impact, and acquiring a target quickly without having to spend much time lining up the iron sights.
- They can also help to retarget your rifle for accurate follow-up shots.
- They can be used during the day, but they are particularly useful for shooting at night or in low light conditions.
- Additionally, laser sights are handy training aids, helping novice shooters see how their rifle is moving during target practice.
How to choose the best AR15 laser sight
Finding the best laser sight for your AR-15 should be pretty straight forward if you know what to look for. Here are some key factors that should be taken into consideration when determining which model is the best fit for your rifle.
- Brightness – Brighter beams increase visibility during the day and night time.
- Size – Lightweight and compact sights are more convenient.
- Battery life – The higher the brightness, the shorter the battery life.
- Ease of use – Your laser sight should be easy to operate and mount.
- Cost – How much you have to spend will restrict your buying options.
- Environmental considerations – Red lasers are more resilient in certain environmental conditions, performing better in extreme weather than green lasers.
In the sections below we will explore some of these factors in more detail.
AR15 laser sight brightness
Most rifle shooters who purchase a laser sight are looking to use it for night time shooting, meaning it needs to rate high in brightness.
Not only will a bright laser sight make night shooting easier, but the laser will be more visible during the day too. While even a bright laser sight might not allow you to see long distances during the day, it can still be effectively used for short-range shots. But, if the brightness is low, you’ll not be able to spot it at all on a sunny day.
This won’t be so much of a problem for you if you use other sighting systems, such as iron sights or AR scopes along with your laser sight.
AR15 laser sight battery life
Unfortunately, the downfall of having a bright laser light is reduced battery life. In general, the brighter the laser, the shorter the battery lifespan, although it does depend on the intensity setting that you use, too.
Before choosing a new laser sight for your AR15, consider what is more important to your shooting style and use case. Can you trade battery life for a super-bright beam or vice versa? Or perhaps find a balance between the two.
AR15 laser sight size and weight
It makes sense to opt for a laser sight that is compact and lightweight to fit perfectly on your AR-15. A lightweight laser will make shooting so much more convenient for you especially on hunting trips and treks with a lot of walking.
A heavy laser sight will add weight to your rifle and negatively affect your accuracy. A large model will take up unnecessary space on your rifle’s forearm, leaving no room for other accessories or optics.
The right sized laser sight will be large enough to withstand recoil energy and small enough so that it doesn’t interfere with your main optic or your grip.
Ease of use, mounting & accessory compatibility with AR15 laser sights
Your rifle laser light should be easy to use and mount easily on your rail, as well as be compatible with your other accessories.
- For easy operation, look for a laser sight that features a simple on/off switch rather than one that requires a long-held press to turn on.
- Check that the sight will work well with the accessories you already own, especially remote pressure pads, as these help you operate the light while in a shooting position.
- Laser sights usually mount easiest with Picatinny rails on your freefloat handguard. A Picatinny adapter is an option if you have M-Lok slots in the right place.
Some shooters like to combine the use of their AR15 laser sight AR15 laser sight with a flashlight. This combination can work well but only if the laser sight is one of the brightest models on the market.A weak sight will struggle to produce a dot that shows up with the flashlight on.
Beam consistency on AR15 laser sights
As well as brightness, you should consider what consistency of the beam suits your shooting needs best. There are two types of laser beams:
- A constant beam will stay on at all times and maintain the same strength and brightness.
- This can help you see your surroundings better and give you a steady dot on your target.
- A constant beam will work well in many situations, especially in close quarters such as home defense, but for shooting at a greater distance, a pulsating laser is a better choice.
- A laser that pulsates, strobes, or flickers is easier for your eye to see. This is because flickering light is unnatural and our eyes are more drawn to unnatural lights.
- ecause of this, a pulsating beam will allow you to find the laser dot quickly and also see the laser at greater distances on varied backgrounds.
- A pulsating laser beam is the best choice for hunting as the beam pulsates making it harder for animals to see that you are there, and easier for you to approach your target.
- Pulsating lasers can also save battery life, as each brief moment the laser is off is another moment that the battery will last for.
What’s better, a red or green AR15 laser sight beam?
You may have noticed that laser sight beams either produce a red beam or a green beam. What are the differences between the two?
|Red lasers||Green Lasers|
For night time shooting, green and red lasers are not too different, however, the green ones still have an edge. Green lasers will be visible over a longer distance, which will give you more accurate shots at long-ranges.
Overall, the green lasers are better than the red ones. Luckily, some green lasers can now use rechargeable batteries, solving the low battery life problem as long as you’re cool with carrying spares when you’re out in the field.
Even though most shooters prefer green lasers, it doesn’t mean red lasers are useless. They are a much more affordable option and still provide a good target, especially if you only use laser sights at night.
Which is the best laser sight for AR15s?
The lasers sights I reviewed are a very diverse selection, all offering unique features and certain benefits over one other. This makes it hard to pick the top laser as each shooter will be drawn to the one that appeals most to their needs.
For me, I’m swayed most towards the T.M.P.R. 5 prism sight & ballistic AR reticle from Burris. With each sight I tested, I found at least one downfall that could impact its performance, except for the T.M.P.R, which seemed flawless.
What I like most about the T.M.P.R is the ability to use the components together or separately, depending on your usage. I also find this unit to have the fastest and most impressive target acquisition. The high tech features and additions of this Burris laser sight such as the 5x magnification and the ballistic AR reticle make it the top choice for me.
By following this guide, you’ll have gained further understanding of what makes the best laser sight for AR15s, and will be able to confidently choose the best option for your unique needs.