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Old 07-23-2016, 12:31 AM #1
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Exclamation 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Hey all,

Coming here look for an opinion from the experts. Lately there have been numerous terrorist attacks all over the country, with many of them being people who take firearms into public places and go on shooting sprees. I see in videos of these attacks that nobody has any means of defending themselves and subduing the shooter, so they either run or get shot down.

I live in the US, but not in a state or city where I can legally carry a firearm on me, so I got to thinking...what would be legal to carry, yet extremely effective in subduing someone who started open firing at me and everyone nearby?

I keep coming back to my 1W blue laser. I feel like if I got to cover and was within a hundred feet or so of the shooter, than I'd be able to hit them in the face with it and (hopefully) stop them, at least long enough for more people to get away.

Is there any validity to this thinking? Would 1W of blue directly to the face/eyes from about 100-200ft be enough to stop someone like this? Very curious to hear your guys' feedback.

I want to clarify that I would never use my laser to harm anyone unless it was a life or death situation.

Thanks!


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Old 07-23-2016, 01:03 AM #2
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

No. This is an extremely suicidal idea and WILL get you killed. You can't hit both of someone's eyes at 200 feet. What will happen instead is that you will anger the attacker and cause him to start shooting at you.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:08 AM #3
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Thanks for your reply. Okay fair enough, let's say they're at 100ft. Is it painful when you get hit in the eye? Or is it something you can't feel? Is blindness instant? Even blinding one eye will severely impact a shooter's accuracy!
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:13 AM #4
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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No. This is an extremely suicidal idea and WILL get you killed. You can't hit both of someone's eyes at 200 feet. What will happen instead is that you will anger the attacker and cause him to start shooting at you.
you can totally hit both. either due to bad divergence or defocusing...

that is all I have to say. isnt blinding an opponent on the battlefield a war crime though? thought I remembered reading that somewhere. could be wrong.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:14 AM #5
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Yeah my laser usually stays defocused so it's about 6 inches wide at about 100ft, I try to keep it a little more focused than that though. And the Geneva Conventions don't apply to terrorism
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:15 AM #6
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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Originally Posted by Nyquist View Post
Thanks for your reply. Okay fair enough, let's say they're at 100ft. Is it painful when you get hit in the eye? Or is it something you can't feel? Is blindness instant? Even blinding one eye will severely impact a shooter's accuracy!
There are no pain receptors in the retina. Even at 100ft you may not blind him. And regardless of whether you succeed or fail, you will have his attention, which leads to him shooting you.

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you can totally hit both. either due to bad divergence or defocusing...

that is all I have to say. isnt blinding an opponent on the battlefield a war crime though? thought I remembered reading that somewhere. could be wrong.
If you defocus the beam, you will nullify all of its effectiveness.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:20 AM #7
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Permanently blinding (or maiming instead of killing) enemy soldiers is a war crime, but those only apply in war.

In a battle between civilians these rules don't really apply, but trying to blind an attacker using a laser could be a bad idea regardless. The laser might impair vision, but also give away your exact location and allowing the assailant to fire at you with decent precision even if he can see little else.

You might set yourself up for more harm trying this: if the laser origin is the only thing someone can still see, chances are they will fire at the general direction the light is coming from. Since you just reduced yourself to the only viable target they could just empty clip after clip onto you just to get rid of that annoying light, which is not very good for the life expectancy of the person operating that light.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:20 AM #8
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Ah ok, so no pain, but the damage/possible blindness would be pretty instant? Or does that develop slowly after getting hit? I've read that people have saved their eyes by going to the hospital soon enough after taking a hit, so not sure how it works.

I wonder how focused the 1W beam would have to be to really mess someone's eyesight up and up to what distance this would work. Maybe the military has released this info, might look into that.

And yeah I hear you on the 'getting their attention' risk, but I wouldn't be doing this until I was at a safe distance (at least 100' away from shooter), if I'm behind cover and have an escape route I should be fine, it's not easy to his moving targets at that distance, I don't care how much practice with a firearm you've had

Thanks for the info Sta!
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:25 AM #9
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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In a battle between civilians these rules don't really apply, but trying to blind an attacker using a laser could be a bad idea regardless. The laser might impair vision, but also give away your exact location and allowing the assailant to fire at you with decent precision even if he can see little else.

You might set yourself up for more harm trying this: if the laser origin is the only thing someone can still see, chances are they will fire at the general direction the light is coming from. Since you just reduced yourself to the only viable target they could just empty clip after clip onto you just to get rid of that annoying light, which is not very good for the life expectancy of the person operating that light.
Yeah I've ran this through my head, maybe I should build a more powerful and accurate laser so they are 100% blinded :P

1W seems to be a bit of a gray area, especially with how unfocused blues can be.
I wouldn't try to blind him without being behind solid cover though of course, at atleast 100'. I'd like to think I'd take the risk of him targeting me to save everyone else, but I guess no one knows how they would truly act until the situation actually happens to them
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:31 AM #10
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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Yeah I've ran this through my head, maybe I should build a more powerful and accurate laser so they are 100% blinded :P

1W seems to be a bit of a gray area, especially with how unfocused blues can be.
I wouldn't try to blind him without being behind solid cover though of course, at atleast 100'. I'd like to think I'd take the risk of him targeting me to save everyone else, but I guess no one knows how they would truly act until the situation actually happens to them
Even if you did succeed, it would be reported in the media and lead to increased scrutiny of the laser community. Think of them saying "this guy blinded somebody with a laser, we have to ban lasers!" You might win the battle but lose the war, and that's a risk we shouldn't take.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:35 AM #11
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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Even if you did succeed, it would be reported in the media and lead to increased scrutiny of the laser community. Think of them saying "this guy blinded somebody with a laser, we have to ban lasers!" You might win the battle but lose the war, and that's a risk we shouldn't take.
Hmm..I disagree, but I respect your opinion. IMO It would be hailed as an act of courage, and it would save lives...which is 100% definitely worth the risk of laser legislation, in my view.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:38 AM #12
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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Hmm..I disagree, but I respect your opinion. IMO It would be hailed as an act of courage, and it would save lives...which is 100% definitely worth the risk of laser legislation, in my view.
The problem is, we don't know if it would save lives. The blindness isn't immediate, and someone hit by a laser can still shoot with ease. Have you considered carrying a taser or pepper spray?
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:43 AM #13
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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The problem is, we don't know if it would save lives. The blindness isn't immediate, and someone hit by a laser can still shoot with ease. Have you considered carrying a taser or pepper spray?
Definitely a fair point! And yeah I have, currently I carry a pretty high-powered tactical flashlight with an intense strobe, and my benchmade 943. My problem with using these or mace/tacer is it's only effective at a close range, where a firearm would clearly be the winning weapon.

Laser seems so ideal if it works from 100'+, where you're not in as immediate of a danger of being shot. I wonder how powerful of a laser I'd need to 100% surely blind them upon direct impact.

Sorry, I know this is probably so off-kilter from what you guys usually chat about at this site I promise I'm totally responsible with my beam and am not trying to make them become recognized as weapons. Just....screw these public shootings you know??
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:45 AM #14
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

Blinding someone with a laser is a war crime, even if they are shooting at you and you survive, if you blinded them with a laser you still go to prison, and what you just now said here will be used against you as proof of pre meditation, IT IS A WAR CRIME, it's actually on the books.
You are well advised to get that idea out of your head.
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Old 07-23-2016, 01:49 AM #15
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

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Originally Posted by RedCowboy View Post
Blinding someone with a laser is a war crime, even if they are shooting at you and you survive, if you blinded them with a laser you still go to prison, and what you just now said here will be used against you as proof of pre meditation, IT IS A WAR CRIME, it's actually on the books.
You are well advised to get that idea out of your head.

No offense man, but I can say with certainty you are incorrect. Killing civilians is a war crime. Standing up to an active shooter in a nightclub (for example) and blinding them to get them to stop shooting civilians will do many things...but land someone in prison isn't one of them.

War crimes apply to soldiers fighting soldiers in "legitimate" warfare. Pretty obvious no?
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Old 07-23-2016, 02:38 AM #16
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Default Re: 1W Laser for Self Defense in an Active Shooter Situation

What are the odds of you actually encountering a terrorist?

Most likely you will carry your laser and never meet a terrorist, but if you use a laser to blind a guy shaking his fist at you from 20 feet away you are going to get into big trouble.

But to answer your question there are many factors, the distance, divergence, pupil size, is the beam moving, is the target moving.

Here is what happens if you shine a laser into your eye at arms reach.

Your eye's lens focuses the beam to a tiny spot on your retina usually at or near the fovea, but also it could strike your optic nerve.

Chances are you will hit your retina on or near the fovea and if it burns through then blood from the brooks layer floods into the viscous humor making everything look all muddy maroon.

Eye surgery will be needed to prevent retina detachment and complications.

But at a 100 feat a 1 watt 445 laser aimed at a moving target that may not be looking in your direction could well cause you to get shot before the blinding effect sets in, add in adrenaline and the killers training/muscle memory - reflex shooting and you could make yourself a target before he is blinded.

Also blue light does not cause the light sensing nerves to bleach out like green or white light will, so you don't get the instant flash blindness with blue, this makes it more dangerous for us hobbyist as we can do chemical retina damage and not even know it until a day later, this also makes blue light much less effective as a dazzler.

Dazzlers are typically 532nm and produce the bleaching of the nerves resulting in instant flash blindness and if done right can be only temporary.

I share this for information purposes only, you should never shine a laser at anyones face.

Swat team robots have green dazzler lasers, not blue.

You should read and understand the NOHD before ever attempting to use a dazzler, if you focus it too tight you can cause permeant damage.
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Last edited by RedCowboy; 07-23-2016 at 03:25 AM.
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