Picture this: A carbine with an IR laser mounted not at the traditional 12 o’clock top rail but instead toward the rear, right in front of your optic. Wait, what? You might be raising an eyebrow, perhaps envisioning this setup as counterintuitive or even prone to obstruction. That’s precisely why we’re here – to shatter myths, question the norm, and delve into the tactical brilliance of an alternative approach.

Step into the shoes of an operator, Jeff Gurwitch, who walks the uncharted path, a mere 5 percent of those who march to a different beat. Gurwitch has served twenty-six years in the US Army, nineteen of which he spent in the Special Forces. This article tackles why unconventional doesn’t necessarily mean ineffective and how a seemingly bizarre placement can lead to an unmatched combat advantage.

Like any other thing in the world, innovation often thrives on pushing boundaries and challenging conventional wisdom. Such is the case with the placement of infrared (IR) lasers on carbines and rifles. While most Special Operations personnel opt for the tried-and-true 12 o’clock top rail positioning, a distinct minority, including Gurwitch himself, have found triumph by mounting their IR lasers towards the rear, right in front of the optic. This unorthodox approach, which initially sparks confusion and skepticism, has proven advantageous for certain combat scenarios.


The prevailing rationale for the traditional placement of IR lasers at the front is to prevent obstruction by the front sight post or backup iron sights. This arrangement aligns well with the preference of many shooters who utilize the laser’s onboard button, allowing them to position the laser where their support hand naturally grips the carbine. However, a smaller cohort, approximately 5 percent (at the time of Gurwitch’s writing) of Special Operations, has discovered that mounting the IR laser towards the receiver end offers several distinct advantages.

Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions

Critics of the rear-mounted IR laser configuration often raise concerns about its functionality and effectiveness. Some common myths include believing that the laser will be obscured by the front sight post or that proper zeroing becomes an insurmountable challenge. However, a closer examination reveals that these concerns are largely unfounded.

The notion that the front sight post will obstruct the IR laser stems from older models with less defined beams. Modern aiming lasers are designed to avoid such obstructions, making the front sight post interference a non-issue, regardless of whether the laser is mounted towards the front or rear. While the IR flood can still experience some shadowing, this can be managed by adjusting the IR flood settings. For Gurwitch, a narrow six-foot-wide beam set for 50 yards strikes the optimal balance between illumination and shadowing.

Contrary to conventional practice, Gurwitch has moved away from live-fire zeroing of the IR laser. Instead, he advocates co-witnessing the IR laser to the primary optic at a longer distance, typically around 200 yards. This method offers practical combat accuracy and compensates for bullet drop from gravity, resulting in an acceptable level of precision for engagements beyond the short range.