Have you ever gotten all worked up about something only to later figure out that whatever was causing anxiety wasn’t all that big a deal? I have. In fact, I used to spend way too much time and energy thinking about the optimum way to “zero” a laser sight on a pistol.

Since the laser can’t be in the center of the bore itself, it’s (by definition) offset from the path of the bullet. That means that, like a rifle and scope, you have to choose a distance at which the laser beam and bullet path will intersect. Let’s walk through the zeroing thought process using a Beretta APX RDO pistol. This pistol has a rail forward of the trigger guard, so I mounted a Crimson Trace Railmaster Pro.

The Railmaster Pro offers an integrated weapon light and laser. For this specific combination of laser and pistol, the laser itself is offset from the center of the bore by 1.5 inches. More specifically, that translates to 1.43 inches low and .31 inches to the right. Hold this thought for a hot second while we discuss the impacts of the two basic approaches to solve this problem.

Perfection at a Specific Distance

Option one is to adjust your laser, so it intersects the path of the bullet at a certain distance. This is how a scope on a rifle works. Where you might “zero” a rifle at 100 yards, you’ll probably zero a pistol and laser at a much closer distance, maybe somewhere between 10 and 25 yards.

Here are the ramifications of this the specific distance zero. Suppose we zero at 10 yards. At that distance, the bullet will go right through the laser dot on target. When shooting from closer distances, the bullet will hit low and right of the dot. In the worst case, if your target is at point blank range, your shot will be 1.5 inches low and a bit right. The closer you get to 10 yards, the less that impact point difference will be. If your target is beyond 10 yards, then your point of impact will be somewhere high and to the left of the laser dot. That’s because the bullet is moving from its low right starting position, passing through the point of intersection with the laser beam, and continuing upward and slightly left.

Read the rest: How to Zero Your Pistol Laser Sight