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Self-Defense ~ Bear with me for a moment!

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Hi All,

I have been on this forum for a while and while I have had quite a few private conversations, this is my first official thread. I know that this issue is a bit taboo, and it should be for a variety of reasons, but after reading everything that I can find on the subject, there is very little information that is of any use. Not sure exactly where to start, but bear with me for a bit as I have a lot of experience with both lethal and less-than-lethal weaponry. I cringe at even using the word "weaponry" here, as I don't want to get into a discussion that even suggests lasers as weapons, but the fact remains that anything can be a weapon, I could slap someone with this laptop if I had too.

My interest here is in any information regarding a high powered handheld laser, let's say 2.5w - 3w 445nm (blue) laser, and it's ability to deter someone at a reasonable distance, let's say at least 10 - 15 meters away while being de-focused, perhaps a spot (rectangle) 5'-7' wide by maybe 2'-3' high? Would this be enough to stop them in their tracks, and more importantly, would this be overkill to the point of doing serious damage?

My interest in all of this comes from a point of practicality. I am a legal firearm owner, I have a carry permit, and a few pistols to choose from. More interestingly, I also own a variety of less-than-lethal weaponry. I currently own:

Taser X26 (legal for civilian to own and carry with FID Card in my state)
Tiberius Arms Tac 8 (w/Pepperball Kit) not legal for me to carry
Various Pepper Sprays, up to 1lb can of Bear Spray and 9oz can PepperGEL
JPX Jet Protector (A Tazer substitute, fires pepper spray 20' @ 400mph)
Lots of high power, quality flashlights including my favorite, the
Surefire UB3T Invictus (1000 lumens and strobe mode)-will mess you up!
I also have firearms in the home, I tend to lean towards my Remington 870 short barrel and have a variety of ammo including these special rounds Multiple Impact Ammunition Which if you haven't seen...you have to check it out...uber cool!

After having experience with all of these different types of defensive "tools", I have found that while each has their strengths, they also all suffer from a variety of limitations. For example, lethal force can be a sticky subject in court if you ever have to use it, especially outside of your home. Chemical sprays can be effective without risking legal issues over lethal force, however, if you're inside or very close, you may not want to use chemical sprays. Ditto on the Pepperball gun, great outside, not for use inside, and may lead to legal issues. All in all, if I am out and about, not at home, I have been most comfortable with the idea of using a very powerful flashlight, like my Surefire 1000 lumens on strobe. It is however rather large and heavy compared with my lasers of which I have quite a few. My favorite is my homemade 445 which has one of DTR's 9mm diodes and one of his 2.4 amp X-Drives with a G2 lens. I used a beautiful Gerber TX 3.0 flashlight for the host, and made an exceptional focusing ring offering very quick focusing.

It has occurred to me on several occasions that this laser, de-focused to maybe a 5' to 7' rectangle would be a very effective deterrent, but I am afraid to try it even at much greater distances because I don't know what kind of damage it could do, and I have no way of measuring it short of asking one of my buddies to hit me in the face from 100' feet away, which is not something I am about to do. Is it possible to get data on the power of a de-focused beam from a distance? If so, I would gladly pay someone to do some research if they have the equipment. Of course I am expecting to get a lot of replies about safety and being nuts etc., but I am serious, I really think there is some value in having some data on de-focused beam strength at known distances. I should add that I am very careful with all of my lasers and never let anyone else even touch them, I mean that. My friends are welcome to come over and go shooting all they want in my backyard (I live in the middle of nowhere), but my lasers are always off limits. I don't mess around with safety and I'm not some yahoo trying to figure out if I can hurt someone with my laser. I am very serious about getting some information and hopefully some data.

Sorry this was so long, but I felt it necessary to fully explain my interest, and also explain that I am a responsible adult with a legitimate interest in the topic.

Thanks All ~ Crash
 
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10fenny

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My friends always ask me if I would ever use one in home self defense. I usually say: "Oh hell ya.. zap zap go away", but to tell ya the truth I don't know if I could/would. I am pretty interested in the vast range of replies this will get.
I know I am no help right now, but I feel it will be a pretty touchy subject.

But what if the intruder is wearing eagles???!!! hehe
 

upaa27

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Interesting. Although it would be very practical , I feel it might bring more legal attention here if people are starting to use them as weapons.

We are trying to keep eyes off lasers as weapons so that we don't ban them. In the US we are pretty lucky. But if we misuse the privilege it could be taken away.

Just my perspective.
 
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I know this is a really touchy subject, and as a responsible and safety conscious laser enthusiast myself, I am just dreading the day that I hear in the news about someone getting hit with a powerful laser. I honestly don't know how we have been so fortunate thus far and I am "knocking on wood" as I write this. I do want to say to anyone and everyone here, especially the admins, please voice your opinions about whether or not we should be discussing this. If the general feeling is that it isn't in our best interest as a group / forum to be discussing this, then we should delete the post entirely.

best ~ Crash
 

Lazerbeak

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You would probably blind someone permanently and get sued at the least. If there is a reflective surface you might blind yourself as well. The Laser might be classified as AOW (Any Other Weapon) Not a lawyer but the law is sticky.

~ LB
 
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It's not like the unfocused light will push someone away. Eye damage is the only thing it will do but that depends. Fear of a visible laser beam might "deter" them if aimed at the feat and warned but I agree with everyone else: Please do not consider lasers as a self defensive option.
We only have one chance to protect this hobby. Once that's done it's done. There's many ways to frighten an attacker so it would be best to consider all of those and not involve lasers.
Hope that helps
 
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It's not like the unfocused light will push someone away. Eye damage is the only thing it will do but that depends. Fear of a visible laser beam might "deter" them if aimed at the feat and warned but I agree with everyone else: Please do not consider lasers as a self defensive option.
We only have one chance to protect this hobby. Once that's done it's done. There's many ways to frighten an attacker so it would be best to consider all of those and not involve lasers.
Hope that helps
You make a good point about protecting the hobby. I hadn't considered the legal precedent that would be set if a person were to use a laser for self-defense. While it may be effective, it may lead to the demise of our hobby...?
 

Jstr

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Lasers are sold for this purpose, I believe. They are called "dazzlers." I would not recommend using them as a "weapon" per say, but if you live in the woods or someplace isolated, you could justify use of an unfocused (like, very unfocused) beam as an "illuminator" i.e. flashlight-substitute (it lights up an area pretty well without obliterating night vision like some flashlights). And there's the plus side that it will be VERY bright in the intruder's eyes without causing damage (they can squint/blink). Indoors, it may be less practical, but Idk, best not risk it. A knife or gun is more intimidating IMO.

Although... It might freak someone out if their shirt suddenly started smoking (using a 405nm) lol



Personally, lasers would be my very last resort in a situation of self defense.
 
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So your saying you would use this if some one was coming at you to do you harm, how far away are they when you pull it out and dazzle them with it ?

if they are like 20 feet and unarmed wouldn't it be safe to say you are not in immediate danger ?

And if they are armed wouldn't you rather have a fire arm ? nothing like taking a knife to a gun fight :whistle:

What if the guy was wearing dark sunglasses would your laser have any effect on him ?

And since you don't have a gun a knife or a bat with you and only a laser what's to stop him from walking right up and giving you a karate chop to the jugular ?

I think you better start carrying one of your guns around if you are that paranoid and remember just because your paranoid doesn't mean there not after you :crackup:

I mean really using a laser as a weapon is not a good idea in any case.

leave the laser in it's case and we won't have to worry about some one else making the laws even more restrictive than they are now :tinfoil:
 
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I'm glad this post is generating some intelligent feedback. After reading the last post, suggesting a knife or a firearm as a better alternative, while I know that most of what I have read here, as well as on other forums would agree, I am not sure that I do. Lots of people own firearms and knives, but I find that few people have actual experience with less-than-lethal weapons. I can tell you right off that a knife is without a doubt probably the worst weapon for personal defense besides maybe a marshmallow. I have been collecting knives for decades, I made a living for a while as a custom knifemaker, and I have a fair amount of tactical training with knives, and I can honestly say that unless you are well trained in knife fighting techniques, you are basically just wasting a hand. Even with my experience, I would never use a knife even if I had it on me. You'd do much better with a stick, a rock, or just having 2 hands to swing with. A Firearm on the other hand is an entirely different story. However, it's not really as effective as people assume it to be. I shoot a fair amount, probably more than most civilians as I can shoot in my backyard. It takes a lot of practice to be proficient with a handgun. Even if you are a decent shot, you have to consider the fact that in a threatening situation, you're heart rate jumps, your blood pressure rises, your adrenaline kicks in and your emotional reaction is unfamiliar. The fact is that people using a handgun in defense miss the first shot on average around 93% of the time....that's a big number. I can tell you that I have only had to draw my sidearm one time, and thankfully, didn't need to use it....but with all my experience and preparations, I was terrified. There is just something about escalating a situation to the point of deadly force that is scary for a civilian, even many officers will tell you the same thing. I like the idea of using a "dazzler" because it's almost a no-brainer. If I can pull it out before the encounter gets to the level of lethal force, and I can use it without too much concern for permanently disabling someone, and the area of effect is huge so I can't miss.....that seems like a great solution for personal defense. Especially being that most incidents occur at random and the attacker isn't likely to risk much on the encounter. Now if you are being targeted personally by some bad people who are intent on doing you serious harm, that's a different story all together and doesn't really apply to this discussion...
 
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Generally Lasers are to be focused to infinity with the best beam specs keeping a low divergence etc, thats how alot of us love them, with you talking of defocusing the beam for your dazzle effect makes me think maybe you should think of a different option, not only to protect our hobby but also to use the right tool for the job,

Have you seen how good a aspheric XRE or De-Domed XPG2 can throw light when focused to a tight square? might give you current flashlight a run for its money in concentration even in the smaller builds, throw a High-Med-Strobe driver in there and your made! and the closer they get the more concentrated the brightness will be at a certain point, also you have a more suitable Light Source for whatever the outcome is from the situation, some torches have strike bezels too, you could even mount it to your sidearm too for a 2 In 1 self defence option,

Anyway I guess with me being in this laser hobby that im not going to support Lasers for self defence in anyway and i will tell you look for other options no matter what way we look at it, But thats just me......
Your quite lucky with the approach from the boys here too, its a touchy subject for some of us, I think some may just keep there mouths shut here.... then again some of our hitmen havent seen this thread yet, haha

Its a forum so were all here to discuss!
 
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Well firstly a knife is extremely dangerous in a fight. Not sure why you said it isn't. Secondly with the suggestion, a strobe flashlight is very easy to get a hold of. PM me if you want some suggestions. That would be better than a laser. A laser has no added benefit in a fight. I don't get why you're still focusing on it.
The usual stuff like tazers, pepper spray, bright flashlights and heck even hand thrown bolas are good enough. If you want something crazy why not a paintball gun :D
 

Shadowsix

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I agree with most here, a diode laser is not a practical weapon. Too easy to permanently hurt someones eyes and will bring unnecessary & unwanted attention to our hobby.

I was curious as to the practicality of a diode laser weapon when I built my 405nm 930mW Star Trek Classic Phaser mod. Although I already knew from reading this site that it wouldn't be I still wanted to see it's capabilities in burning objects at a distance. De-focused it would still probably be a retina burner and that is not desirable in any way (or cause nasty cataracts). It is a fun toy around the house and puts out a pretty purple beam outside late at night and although easily aimed (Phaser form factor gives a good gun feel) I would in no way use it as a weapon.

For a non lethal dazzler even a good Cree XML-T6 flashlight that has a strobe function will do the trick. I have a few (they use 18650s too) that not only have a strobe function but are focus-able and with the beam focused tight and the strobe going make it near impossible for someone to get close to me if I don't want them to!
 

Shakenawake

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Gun type Dazzler Laser, non lethal, focusable, pulse mode

as others said, such a system already exists, though you'll notice it's 800mW max, and I believe intended for greater distances than you mention. looks like uniformed types use it to point at people entering restricted areas.

I've no doubt a person in uniform could use one with no consequenses, as we all know they can do no wrong. a regular guy though is sure to stir up a fuss

jetlaser's site states they are for "Securiy, police, military and others law enforcement uses only"

for use in places like:

Maritime Port Security
Exclusion zone enforcement
Nuclear plant perimeter security
Aviation Airport perimeter security
Oil and Gas Critical infrastructure protection
Anywhere nonlethal deterence is desirable!
Industrial Petrochemical plant perimeter security

though the second to last one surely does not apply to regular people. me thinks even though 3W of 445nm would not be brighter, it would be more damaging. pretty sure these are simply defocused 532s, not sure how defocused, the site says 1-10mrad, that's a really huge range, jetlasers should strive to be more accurate in that measurement, unless it's adjustable. in which case, the user would need to know the minimum safe distance at various levels of defocus. sounds like a tricky situation to me, I would not want to use one.

seems there's no question of if it's effective non-lethal, only it's one of those "toys" we arent mature enough to use responsibly, though uniformed individuals are. I really hope there is some training required to use them. there must be a minimum safe distance, hopefully they dont just hand them over to the security peopel and say, "hey laser anyone that gets too close"

I'd say, don't do it, unless you have no other nonlethal weapons or lethal ones to threaten with, and you genuinely fear for your immediate physical safety or that of another innocent. basically, a last resort. even then you may need to defend your use of it in court. may this never happen
 

Alaskan

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I've no doubt a person in uniform could use one with no consequenses, as we all know they can do no wrong. a regular guy though is sure to stir up a fuss...
Yep, they can get away with cold blooded murder, if wearing a badge, a very dangerous animal they can be. If I were you, and wanted something like that, I'd buy something commercially available for that instead. I don't know if dazzlers can be purchased outside of the military or law enforcement, but if they can, I'd buy one of those to reduce the liability of using something you have built yourself. I like the idea of a focused strobe light, that ought to do the job very well, but not at the distances a dazzler can do.

Edit: Found this commercially available Dazzler web site for military and security:

http://www.laserdazzler.net

Their unit shows 500mw output and some ANSI limits, but those limits tell me nothing without knowing the beamwidth:

ANSI NOHD - *29 meters for 0.25 second exposure duration.
ANSI NOHD - *45 meters for 10.0 second exposure duration.
 
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