US police trial ‘laser gun’ as alternative to Taser

The Dazer Laser, a powerful laser gun that can temporarily blind and disorient a suspect using a large modulating pool of green light, is the latest less-than-lethal weapon currently being trialled by police officers in the US.

Aug 26, 2010
By Paul Jacques

The Dazer Laser, a powerful laser gun that can temporarily blind and disorient a suspect using a large modulating pool of green light, is the latest less-than-lethal weapon currently being trialled by police officers in the US.

It is being promoted as a safe alternative to Tasers and pepper spray. The devices require minimal training and are said to be equally effective for day and night use, from distances ranging from 3ft to 1.5 miles.

The manufacturer, Laser Energetics, says the device does not cause eye damage, even from close range. Dazer Lasers require a security code to activate and will not be sold to the public.

Two types of laser will be available – the Guardian and the Defender. The Defender looks like a handgun. Weighing less than 1.5lbs and requiring four 3V lithium batteries, it is about 6in high and 6in long. Its maximum beam range is 1.5 miles. The Guardian, which resembles a torch, is 6.6in long, weighs one pound with its two 3V lithium batteries and is designed for close encounters, with a maximum range of around 300m. Each consists of a visible green laser light, which is difficult to see in daylight, and each meets the American National Standard Institute standard for the safe use of lasers.

Police in Seattle were among the first to try the Dazer Laser, the only device of its kind that uses variable range and variable focus that allows the operator to adjust the range based on the range of the target. For instance if someone is 5m away, the user simply sets the range to 5m and is then safe to engage at distances from 1m up to 5m.

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