The Best AR 15 Laser For Fast, Short Range Hits

Last Updated on August 22, 2022.
Should You Use a Laser for Your AR-15

My philosophy on AR-15 lasers is to use them only when you need them.

Red dot optics work so well on AR-15 rifles that a laser is best as a backup sighting system or in situations where your red dot is functional, but not practical.However, backup sighting systems are important

Who needs a laser, anyway?

There are contexts where an AR-15 laser might be the right tool. Also, you can put whatever sighting system you want on your rifle, regardless of what I say.

Regardless of WHY you’re getting an AR-15 laser, you may as well get the best AR-15 laser you can afford.

We’ve run through a few lasers using our rental guns at the shop (spoiler alert: almost nothing survives the rental range).This article will show the highest quality AR-15 lasers I’ve found, based on my range and gunsmithing experience.

Best Choice

EOTECH ATPIAL-C Laser Aiming System

Specifications:

Laser Type:

.6 mW

Wavelength:

840 nm

Range:

600 m IR Illuminator

Pros:

  • EOTECH durable– the biggest selling point of this laser is that it’s durable.
  • Molded metal mounting hardware into the body– there’s no significant failure point where the laser mounts to the rail.
  • The IR laser- produces a nice, focused point that doesn’t cause much glare under night vision.

Comparison Table

Skip Straight to Product Reviews

Table of Contents

Should I get a laser for my AR-15?

There’s nothing wrong with getting a laser for your AR-15. However, a red dot and a flashlight are more important. Get those first. Additionally, AR-15 lasers are best as an infrared aiming system for shooting with night vision. If you don’t use night vision, a laser may not be necessary.

Where is the best place to mount a laser on an AR-15?

The best place to mount a laser on an AR-15 is near the muzzle. It’s slightly easier to zero your laser when it’s closer to the muzzle. However, you can mount your laser wherever it fits. You can zero your laser, even if it’s set back from the muzzle.

Basically, prioritize your AR-15 light, if you have one. Then mount your laser where it fits with respect to your other attachments.

Also, make sure that you can turn both your light and laser on and off without moving your support hand too much.

That way you can use everything that’s on your AR-15, without juggling your rifle too much.

Do Navy SEALs use laser sights?

Yes. Navy SEALs use laser sights as their aiming system for shooting under night vision. Some SEALs may use visible lasers. However, this is not preferable because the visible laser can give away a team’s position, and a red dot is a better daylight aiming device.

What’s a good laser for an AR-15?

The best laser for any AR-15 is one that fits on your rail next to any other attachments you have and gives you access to the controls, so you can operate the laser. EOTECH, SureFire, Steiner Optics, and Holosun all make good lasers for AR-15 rifles.

The Best AR-15 Laser Reviews: Connecting the Dots

You’ll probably notice that a lot of these (though not all) have an IR laser or illuminator.

An IR laser is often the best sighting system if you're shooting with night vision, which is the context where an AR-15 laser is the most applicable.

However, I’ve also been somewhat unimpressed with the durability of many visible lasers.

Units with an IR laser are often the most durable since they’re usually military grade equipment.There’s something here for everyone, though. On with the AR-15 laser reviews.

Overall

1. EOTECH ATPIAL-C Laser Aiming System

Pros:

  • EOTECH-grade durability
  • Outstanding laser power
  • Both the visible laser and IR laser are nicely focused

Cons:

  • Polymer housing
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

EOTECH is one of the premier manufacturers of things that use light for aiming. They’re known for their holographic sights. In any case, they make high quality equipment.

The EOTECH ATPIAL-C Laser Aiming System is literally the EOTECH of AR-15 lasers.

The biggest selling point of this laser is that it’s durable—EOTECH durable…

Being familiar with the metal construction of EOTECH holographic sights, I was a little skeptical of the polymer construction at first. It seemed odd that EOTECH would use polymer over aluminum.

As it turns out, this is an impressively durable unit.

EOTECH did a good job of molding the metal mounting hardware into the body. There’s no significant failure point where the laser mounts to the rail.

Also, the laser quality is excellent.

The red laser is visible for about as far as you can reasonably shoot with a laser. The IR laser produces a nice, focused point that doesn’t cause much glare under night vision.

Additionally, this laser comes with a remote switch and a bunch of laser-focusing lens covers. It’s a useful accessory package.The unit itself is a little bulky. Also—like most EOTECH stuff—a bit expensive. The durability and performance are hard to beat, though.

For the money

2. Holosun CA Visible Red Laser & IR/IR Illuminator

Pros:

  • Impressively compact for an integrated IR laser, illuminator, and visible laser
  • Simple zeroing mechanism zeroes both the visible and IR laser
  • Includes quick detach mount and remote switch

Cons:

  • Zeroing adjustments are backward compared to most other lasers
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The Holosun CA Visible Red Laser & IR/IR Illuminator is a good choice for more tactically minded shooters who still have to operate within a reasonable budget.

It’s the same laser sight that you’d get in a dedicated visible laser from Holosun.

However, it has the added benefit of integrated IR aiming and illumination for shooting under night vision, if you’re into that sort of thing.

This laser is impressively compact for a unit that houses both visible and IR technology. It’s handy if you have limited rail space or want to mount this laser alongside a flashlight.

Additionally, all three lasers are zeroed using a single adjustment.

This means zeroing the visible laser also zeroes the infrared laser. It’s a simple and convenient adjustment system.

However, the adjustments are backward, if you mount this laser on top of your rail.

It’s not a big deal, because you only zero the laser once when you mount it. It’s just worth being aware of.That’s hardly a deal breaker, though. This is an excellent laser for those who already have a light or just want a compact and affordable AR-15 laser.

Laser/light combo

3. SureFire M640V Scout Light Pro

Pros:

  • Super compact—about the size of a regular flashlight
  • Includes white light and IR laser
  • Incredibly durable

Cons:

  • Battery life isn’t great
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The SureFire Scout Light is one of the most beloved AR-15 lights on the market. The SureFire M640V Scout Light Pro is just a SureFire Scout Light with an integrated IR laser.

This is by far the most compact IR laser aiming solution. Coupling it with a white light gives you everything you need for shooting in the dark, with or without night vision.

The main downside is that the battery life isn’t great, because it uses the same battery as a standard scout light. IR lasers require a little bit more juice than a white LED.

Also, you have to purchase the SureFire remote switch separately.Regardless, this is the most compact and simplest solution if you want white light illumination and IR aiming without mounting any more than a flashlight on your rail.

Tactical

4. Steiner Optics DBAL-D2 Dual Beam Visible and IR Aiming Laser

Pros:

  • Integrated IR and IR illumination
  • Visible laser is bright green and easy to see
  • Comes with a remote switch

Cons:

  • A bit bulky
Check on Brownells
Other Options

Steiner Optics produces some of the best optics on the market—both visible light and glass optics. Admittedly, the Steiner Optics DBAL-D2 Dual Beam Visible and IR Aiming Laser is a bit pricey, but Steiner has a reputation for being worth the money.

This is a good all-in-one laser if you need a night vision aiming system and a visible laser.

It has an IR laser and an IR illuminator, with a green aiming laser to boot.

It’s kind of a bulky piece of equipment, though. It can crowd out your white light.

However, it’s compact enough that you can mount your DBAL on top, with enough room for your white light on the side.

It comes with a remote switch.

You might have to choose between using a remote switch for your IR laser and using a remote switch for your light, if you have both. It’s a few too many switches and buttons if you use remote switches for everything.

Though, this is a laser built by a company that makes equipment for the military. They likely assume that you’ll be prioritizing your IR aiming, if you’re using this laser.All in all, it’s a Steiner laser. It’s incredibly durable, reliable, and it delivers excellent night vision performance.

Integrated

5. Viridian Weapon Technologies HS1 Laser Hand Stop

Pros:

  • Available in green and red laser models
  • Laser is reasonably powerful
  • Handstop is comfortable

Cons:

  • Handstop design limits laser placement
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The Viridian Weapon Technologies HS1 Lasser Hand Stop matches up with my idea of using a laser only as a backup sighting system.

A backup sighting system should take up very little space on your rifle. Tucking your laser into your hand stop makes a lot of sense, since you might put a hand stop on your rifle, anyway.

However, this approach comes with a tradeoff or two…

Before we get to the tradeoffs, the laser in this unit is pretty strong.

It’s available in both green and red. In either color, the laser is powerful enough to produce a visible aiming point out to between 30 and 50 meters, depending on your eyes and environmental conditions.

All in all, it’s a decent AR-15 laser sight, from an optics perspective.

As a handstop, this is also a decent piece of hardware.

The handstop is relatively comfortable, despite the lump that houses the laser sight. It works well for adding stability to your offhand grip.

This unit is a perfectly good laser sight and a solid hand stop.

Now, how does this unit function as a laser hand stop?

Just decently.

If you use this as a proper handstop, it’s likely that your fingers will cover the laser. You may need to adjust your grip to use the laser.

Additionally, you must mount this hand stop relatively close to the muzzle of your rifle, otherwise your handguard will get in the way when you zero the laser. This presents some limitations in offhand grip placement.

Many people prefer to put their offhand closer to the end of their handguard, though. You can also adjust your grip to keep your fingers out of the way of the laser.

Add to that the fact that there are very few laser hand stops available that include a good laser and a decent handstop design, and you can see why this is the best integrated AR-15 laser out there.

Budget

6. Leapers UTG Instant Target Aiming BullDot Green Laser

Pros:

  • Simple, crude aiming device
  • Provides a visible aiming area out to about 30 yards
  • Green laser is relatively bright and easy to see

Cons:

  • Not good for precision shooting
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

If you want a more powerful visible laser without overpowering your budget, the Leapers UTG Instant Target Aiming BullDot Green Laser is a good fit.

This laser seems specifically designed as a backup aiming tool, because it doesn’t provide an aiming point, but an aiming area.

At 10 yards, it produces a 2 inch circle (yes, two INCHES) and at 30 yards it produces a 5 inch circle.

It doesn’t give you an aiming point so much as a relatively accurate approximation of the area where your bullets are likely to go. It works well for quick shooting when you don’t need tremendously high levels of precision.

However, this design does mean that you’ll need some sort of precision aiming device.

Also, the unit itself is a little bit bulky when you consider that it’s only a visible green laser.

Also, it’s only technically a laser, since it uses the same technology as a laser, even though it functions more like a green light with a narrowly focused beam.Anyway, this is an excellent laser sight, assuming that you intend to use your laser as a backup sighting system or as a supplementary aiming device for non-precision shooting.

Value

7. Holosun LS117 Red Laser Sight

Pros:

  • Powerful visible laser
  • Durable aluminum housing
  • Includes quick detach mount and remote switch

Cons:

  • A little bulky for just a visible laser
Check on Brownells
Other Options

The Holosun LS117 Red Laser Sight is a solid solution if you need a visible laser. It’s not quite as streamlined as a handstop laser. It’s more powerful, though.

The laser is visible at relatively long distances, probably about as far as you’d want to shoot with a laser. That’s largely thanks to the larger battery and laser unit.

The Holosun Green Laser Sight is a bit easier to see at long distances. Although, green lasers are known for shorter battery life.

Regardless of the laser color, the larger battery and laser unit comes at the expense of size.

This laser is a relatively large unit for something that’s only a laser.

Now, it’s not terribly bulky, but it’s only a visible laser. Your rail will get pretty crowded if you want to add a white light and an IR laser, though.

It’s not bad if you're just running this laser with a white light. A combo laser and white light unit is still more space efficient.

This is one of the few lasers with an entirely aluminum housing, though. It also comes with a quick detach mount and remote switch.Ultimately, this is a cost-efficient option if you just need a visible laser, without the IR capabilities, and you prioritize durability.

Compact infrared

8. Steiner eOptics OTAL-C IR Offset Tactical Aiming Laser

Pros:

  • Reasonably compact unit
  • Includes offset mount to give you more mounting options
  • Military-grade durability

Cons:

  • Only includes an IR laser
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The Steiner eOptics OTAL-C IR Offset Tactical Aiming Laser might be the most compact unit that Steiner makes. That’s probably because it only has an IR laser.

On one hand, this is nice because it’s small enough to mount alongside a flashlight without making your rifle crazy bulky. It’s also fitted with an offset mount specifically for mounting this laser next to other devices.

Plus, you get Steiner-grade durability and an incredibly powerful IR laser.

On the other hand, you have to mount additional hardware on your forend if you want a light or visible laser.

Depending on your needs, this might be right for you. It’s an incredibly well-constructed laser that delivers excellent IR aiming capabilities.

Tactical infrared laser

9. Steiner Optics DBAL-A3 Civilian Dual Beam Laser Sight

Pros:

  • Provides a visible and IR laser
  • IR laser has a flood setting for some IR illumination
  • Incredible durability

Cons:

  • Rather bulky
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

The Steiner Optics DBAL-A3 Civilian Dual Beam Laser Sight is essentially a military clone laser. It has all the rugged durability and aiming capabilities of a military issue IR laser sight.

I’ll start with my main gripe about this laser: it’s a pretty bulky laser, even though it has no IR illuminator (technically, the IR laser has a flood setting. It’s just not as good as a dedicated illuminator). It’s only a visible and IR laser.

The benefit of the design is that it simplifies things…

You’ll have fewer buttons on your rifle. You can also pretty easily use night vision without an IR illuminator on your rifle. In fact, some night vision goggles have built-in illuminators.Basically, this laser is a high powered IR aiming solution for anyone who needs a strong visible laser and IR aiming laser. Plus, they simplified the operation a little by paring down how much this one unit does.

Final Shot

EOTECH ATPIAL-C Laser Aiming System

Pros:

  • EOTECH-grade durability
  • Outstanding laser power
  • Both the visible laser and IR laser are nicely focused

Cons:

  • Polymer housing
Check on OpticsPlanet
Other Options

Laser sights are hard to beat for close quarters aiming devices. If you know how to use one, a laser can make your close quarters and night vision shooting life much easier.

For those who are still a little iffy on which laser to get, the EOTECH ATPIAL-C Laser Aiming System delivers best-in-class durability and laser performance. You can’t go wrong.

If you’re in the market for a nice laser aiming device, now you’ve got the knowledge to get the right AR-15 laser for your shooting context. Get a laser and start aiming with a dot.

You can also check:

AR 15 Iron Sights Reviews

Ultimate Guide to Bore Sight a Rifle

Great AR-15 Attachment Ideas

Guide on How to Sight-in Laser on Pistol