Laser sights for handguns have become so commonplace, one often fails to notice them until they are used. That phenomenon did not occur in a vacuum, though. No matter the brand of laser, their acceptance as an incredibly useful tool for self-defense is a recent phenomenon, and no manufacturer has done more to make that a reality than Crimson Trace.
The Oregon-based company turned 20 this year, which speaks volumes about the category it created. In 1994, laser sights on guns in general were almost exclusively a military thing, and even then primarily reserved for elite units. The first commercial models did not exactly please old-school gun guys, who saw (and some still see) the lasers as an unreliable crutch for shooters with below-average ability. Crimson Trace changed that with reliable products and most importantly a training program that has evolved into a class at Gunsite.
There are a bunch of quality lasers on the market, several of which are featured in the November issue of Shooting Illustrated. But, Crimson Trace created the commercial laser sight category through its product design and emphasis on training. Knowing how to use a laser sight is every bit as important as owning one, and once you see the benefit of a laser, all of your defensive handguns—like all of mine—will wear one.
The acceptance of laser sights by the shooting community over the past two decades comes primarily from Crimson Trace's efforts. Considering the relatively short time the company has existed, that is certainly remarkable.