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View Full Version : Green Lasers a Tactical No-no?


jg0001
July 16, 2009, 01:32 PM
See title.

As I ponder a RED or GREEN laser for my upcoming LWRC M6A3 (AR15 style, piston based) I spent a good deal of time checking out ViridianLaser.com 's lineup.

One thing I noticed (and this has been repeated in user comments elsewhere, including on this board) is that unlike it's RED brethren, the GREEN laser is a lot quicker to actually show up (I'm referring to the beam, not the dot) with even just a mild amount of dust/darkness. Look at their own videos in fact... the beam is fully visible. Are their videos just setup a bit too much to show the beam (note: they show a red laser at the same time and it's beam is not visible at all)?

Would this not be a tactical disadvantage in giving away your location, effectively painting a line back to you? I suppose as a deterrent, in close quarters, it may be an asset... but in a firefight, I imagine this would be bad... no? [The Viridian brand doesn't seem to offer a switch on an extension pad (pressure switch), near as I could tell, anyway... LaserMax makes a green laser (the Uni-Max) that offers a pressure pad...]

stargazer65
July 16, 2009, 02:03 PM
I would think it would be a tactical disadvantage. I use a 5mW green laser for pointing out stars to people from the back yard. It definitely draws a distinct, highly visible line to infinity and right back to your location. That's what makes the green laser beneficial for public demonstrations. Our eyes are much more sensitive to the green light than the red, a red beam must be much, much more powerful before the beam becomes visible.

neon
July 16, 2009, 02:09 PM
I still believe either one would make a BG crap his pants.

stargazer65
July 16, 2009, 02:16 PM
I still believe either one would make a BG crap his pants.

Well...I don't know about that, but the cool factor is definitely much higher for the green than the red. So I guess it depends on whether you want to go for the cool and scary effect or the sneaky effect.:D

pax
July 16, 2009, 02:50 PM
When used properly, the laser does not activate until the shooter is in the very act of firing the weapon; it is an alternate sighting device to be used while actively shooting and not otherwise. In that circumstance, the muzzle flash will give away your position just as thoroughly as the laser will.

pax

stargazer65
July 16, 2009, 03:03 PM
When used properly, the laser does not activate until the shooter is in the very act of firing the weapon

I should comment that I've only used lasers as a public demo starpointers, so I don't know much about the proper tactical use of them on a gun. Still, I thought people activated them to get a line of sight to the target, or is that only a movie thing?

pax
July 16, 2009, 03:06 PM
stargazer,

Nope. You activate 'em to put a dot on the target, and immediately fire when the dot is there.

Some people find lasers to be "slow"; this is almost invariably because they are trying to look through the iron sights to the dot, or because they don't trust the dot when they see it.

A line is unnecessary and not really helpful. You just have to see the dot and fire immediately when it's there.

pax

MauiDoc
July 16, 2009, 03:46 PM
I use red and green lasers for therapy in my practice, not for shooting, but I have had fun at night and in dark rooms with them. Any dust or mist in the air and the red beam will show-otherwise it's just a dot on the target. The green, OTOH, has a very bright shaft of light that shows under almost all conditions and throws a LOT of light off to the sides--seems to be a much less coherent beam. I've actually used it as an ad-hoc flashlight at times, which I'm sure perturbs my neighbors. It is much brighter (and has a higher tacticool factor:D!), but there is that disadvantage of a very bright line leading directly back to your shootin' iron. It's fun to practice sighting-in on street signs--they light up good!

jg0001
July 16, 2009, 03:49 PM
When used properly, the laser does not activate until the shooter is in the very act of firing the weapon; it is an alternate sighting device to be used while actively shooting and not otherwise. In that circumstance, the muzzle flash will give away your position just as thoroughly as the laser will.

In a scenario where you'd be popping in and out of cover to fire, a continuously on laser with a visible beam just seems like a bad idea (as you'd be broadcasting your movements, though otherwise behind cover)... not having it 'on' (until you pop out) seems like it would rendered less useful...

Hrm....

Magi
July 16, 2009, 03:51 PM
Unless you're a grand master mall ninja, this seriously is not something to get wrapped around the axle about.

pax
July 16, 2009, 04:00 PM
In a scenario where you'd be popping in and out of cover to fire, a continuously on laser with a visible beam just seems like a bad idea (as you'd be broadcasting your movements, though otherwise behind cover)... not having it 'on' (until you pop out) seems like it would rendered less useful...

Any form of continuously-on light can get you into trouble, visible beam or no.

Having worked around cover in the dark many times in classes and practice, including an occasional run with moving targets, it's not a concern. You learn to activate the laser as you bring the gun to bear on target, and to leave it off otherwise. It is not difficult. If you can see the target, you can hit it.

pax

Slopemeno
July 16, 2009, 05:08 PM
...exactly how I've employed a weapon-mounted light. Works really, really well.

MisterPX
July 17, 2009, 05:40 AM
you'll be fine as long as you ignore that hollywood crap of leaving it on constantly. This goes for both light and laser. One of the flip sides to the laser beam being more visible, is daylight operation whereas teh green is easier to pick up than red.

rshanneck2002
July 17, 2009, 05:47 AM
i will take green over red anyday,red washes out in brite sunlight fast.i the idea is speed on target,paint it pull trigger then off until another target presnts an oppertunity.

csmsss
July 17, 2009, 06:35 AM
If a target is sufficiently visible to bring my sights upon it, I'm not sure of the necessity for the laser. To me, it's just one more unnecessary thing to have to worry about. No lasers for me.

oldkim
July 17, 2009, 12:50 PM
If you are looking at a laser go for the green.

It's brighter and you can actually use it during daylight and see the dot for some distance out to 100 yards.

So, the title says it all... I'm too cheap to buy a laser. Man, they are expensive and not worth my time. With that said. It's all about practice.

If you have one you must practice with it. As mentioned by Pax the proper way to deploy a laser is to activate it when you are going to shoot.

Just like carrying a 1911 you have to get used to the functions of what system you have. In the case of a 1911 you have to drop the safety. If you carry a laser you have to activate it by some means and depending on your system... simply gripping your gun will activate it or some button or knob.

I do hear a lot about "Oh, the bad guy will s**t his pants when he see's a laser on his chest." Hmm... I don't think the BG is looking at his chest when he's aiming or shooting at you. I know we see it on TV but it only works when No one is shooting and you make the BG look down. Like a hostage scenario on TV.

A laser is great when shooting in low light or very little light but let's think about that. You need to identify your target! So you got to be able to see, at the very least a silhouette of some kind. Shooting in the dark is exactly that shooting in the dark. So what if you can put a dot someplace.... if it's not on the target your still shooting in the total dark. A laser is also good when shooting in awkward positions, upside down or sideways or whatever you can imagine the scenario to be.

If you have it or not. It all comes down to practice.

As for the original OP - the "beam" is brighter and you got to be in one dusty place to follow that beam back. Of course, most shootings are within 50 feet so it's more than likely you'll be able to see each other anyways. I guess if you want to convince yourself the red is just as good. It's a lot cheaper.

The green is better though IMHO. But I'm too cheap. :D

davebig
July 17, 2009, 01:53 PM
Green are of course brighter (like everyone says) but if you are trying to stay covert in a dark area most of the time, stick with the red. Now if civilians could only get a hold of the Inf beams... :rolleyes:

hogdogs
July 17, 2009, 06:13 PM
Whatsa laser?
:D
Brent

Swampghost
July 17, 2009, 07:10 PM
hogdogs, A laser is a teeny flashlite that you can buy at the JiffyMart for about $3, it can also get you in a heap of trouble.

One ol' boy around here got drunk and started pointing it at airplanes on take off, that was a REALLY bad move and he won't be drinkin' for a few years.

A kid was playing with one and thought it would be fun to 'scare the cops', another plan gone wrong.

I bought a real one for my S&W 9mm about 13 yrs. ago. It was so unreliable that I took it off and used it to drive the ol' lady's cat nutz. She just got a new cat the first of this year and it's still fun to watch a cat try to climb a wall.

jg0001
July 17, 2009, 09:50 PM
I have two Crimson Trace grips (red lasers) so am familiar with the red variety.

I ordered up a Viridian X5L (green) laser+light combo. I chose that over the Lasermax b/c the Lasermax lacks a constant on mode. A pulsing beam would prob give me a headache under some circumstances (including using the laser to help sight-in other optics once the laser itself is setup.

Old Wanderer
July 18, 2009, 12:07 AM
I have several green laser on gun I own.

While the green trace does lead back too you,,,there is another factor nobody has mentioned.....If you have a "Target" hitting him in the eyes with the green laser will blind him for a few minutes...so not to worry about being targeted. He can no longer see you.

Some of the guys running road block in Iraq, found it was way easier to get the cars stopped for road blocks when the driver was blind...(saved a lot of ammo and bad press).

Nice thing is it does no permanent damage. That is what the trigger finger is for.

So you maybe want to re-think the red/green applications and adjust you tactics to take advantage of this factor.

T. O'Heir
July 18, 2009, 01:23 AM
"...referring to the beam, not the dot..." If you're using a laser sight as your only sight, the dot is the only thing that matters. The beam means nothing.

Playboypenguin
July 18, 2009, 01:38 AM
When used properly, the laser does not activate until the shooter is in the very act of firing the weapon; it is an alternate sighting device to be used while actively shooting and not otherwise. In that circumstance, the muzzle flash will give away your position just as thoroughly as the laser will
I agree with this statement. One of the downside to lasers is I have noticed they tend to make people a little too cavalier about pointing a weapon at someone as a means of intimidation. Just when would I be feeling threatened enough to put a laser dot on someone when they are not aware of my position but not threatened enough to shoot?

Venom1956
July 18, 2009, 04:00 AM
Green 110%. I have both. one I got one used when I bought a 1911 (Red) and I ordered a Viridian Laser for my SR9 (Green) I find the red one unless in almost perfect darkness can get "lost" while moving it around. The whole point of a laser is to increase the speed and accuracy of shots in high stress situations, IMHO. So time searching for where your laser is... thats time wasted... Might as well use your sights. :rolleyes:

Now the green laser is the exact opposite. Day or night, indoors or outdoors I can see it easily its zeroed right above my front sight in the longest part of my house so its mostly for close range. 30ft roughly. If I'm fighting for my life I wanna have something I can see immediately on my side. Odds are if he can see it there is already a bullet on the way.:D

It's piece of mind as well. My Girlfriend is becoming an avid shooter but if I am not around and she needs a weapon for self-defense my SR9 is all ready to go 17rds and a green laser, is mine shes not familiar with it, but between her knowledge and the Viridian I am confident she can handle herself.

brickeyee
July 18, 2009, 04:04 PM
One of the advantage of green lasers is the eyes sensitivity.

It is not uniform across colors, and green is the most sensitive color in human vision.

At equal power levels green will appear brighter than red.

Peptobismol9
July 19, 2009, 03:07 AM
Im sure its been said, But Radio shack carries Greenies handheld. I had one. Its great fun, But you can easily blind yourself cause the light is intense. It probally wont permanatley damage your eyes, but You only see green for about 5 or 6 minutes. So it would be good to blind the target.

Skan21
July 19, 2009, 03:35 AM
When I was in Iraq, we got issued 10 of these green lasers per platoon. Then we were yelled at for about 20 minutes because they were so expensive and we, and I quote, " Had better not lose or break them, because if you do you had better hope AIF gets you!" As quoted directly from my platoon sergeant. The were ridiculously expensive, apparently. So we rode around with them for a few months. They did excel at one thing. At night, they are WAAAAY more effective than warning shots! We would have cars that wouldn't see us at night, and they'd get lit up with greenbeams. Boy would you hear brakes squeal then! Mostly they were just tailgaters and curfew violators. Those things blind the hell out of you. We finally dumped them after the novelty wore off. I preferred my Surefire vertical foregrip/tac-light.

Manning Munitions
July 19, 2009, 06:24 AM
Guys havent you heard, amatuers talk hardware........professionals talk software!!:cool:

Double Naught Spy
July 19, 2009, 07:05 AM
Would this not be a tactical disadvantage in giving away your location, effectively painting a line back to you?

Something tells me that if I am shooting at somebody, then I have given away my position, chances are. Given that I am not a sniper or involved in deep cover mafia kills, then the bad guy probably already knows my position.

Lasers??
Guys havent you heard, amatuers talk hardware........professionals talk software!!

Either you don't know any professionals or the professionals I know were never instructed on talk protocol.

G-man 26
July 19, 2009, 07:10 PM
Man am I glad this was asked. I was thinking of putting a laser on my AR. I will look at the green ones after hearing all of this. Thanks all.

IZZY
July 21, 2009, 09:56 PM
When I was in Iraq, we got issued 10 of these green lasers per platoon. Then we were yelled at for about 20 minutes because they were so expensive and we, and I quote, " Had better not lose or break them, because if you do you had better hope AIF gets you!" As quoted directly from my platoon sergeant. The were ridiculously expensive, apparently. So we rode around with them for a few months. They did excel at one thing. At night, they are WAAAAY more effective than warning shots! We would have cars that wouldn't see us at night, and they'd get lit up with greenbeams. Boy would you hear brakes squeal then! Mostly they were just tailgaters and curfew violators. Those things blind the hell out of you. We finally dumped them after the novelty wore off. I preferred my Surefire vertical foregrip/tac-light.

Skan,

Any idea on the milliwats (mw) for those green lasers? I'm not sure a 5mw would be as effective....

jg0001
July 23, 2009, 01:39 PM
Quick notes on the Viridian X5L (now that I've received it):

(1) regarding the DOT (end point of the beam only): in near complete darkness, INSIDE my house, the DOT is superbright and will light up the entire area it hits IF it hits a non-reflective surface (Hit something like a picture frame and it diffuses a bit); it is far far brighter than my Crimson Trace red lasers (in appearance to the human eye anyway)
-- with the above, there is NO WAY someone wearing normal clothes and in an enclosed environment (car or house) isn't going to notice the dot on themselves and the light spreading from it

(2) regarding the BEAM: in a DIMLY lit room, if you look very hard, you can see the beam if you are very close to it -- otherwise, it may as well not be visible; in a DARK room, you can more easily discern the beam, even from a distance (I could only go as far as 10' from it before hitting a wall); the BEAM itself does not scatter enough light to light up its path in any meaningful way; the tiny amount of particulate inside my house (i.e. dust) sparkled occasionally in the beam -- I imagine outside in remotely dusty environment and the beam would really put on a show (similar to what Viridian's own video shows on their website).

(3) DAYLIGHT -- in a brightly lit room (daylight through windows + overhead lights), picking up on the green dot remained near instantaneous (from the shooter's perspective) whereas the crimson trace dot could get lost if focused on a non-dark end point; both were still quite capable of being useful at the max distance I had a chance to try them (about 45 feet)

(4) NIGHT/DARK -- here's where it is interesting... where the Crimson Trace red dot is just as useful in targeting as it's green brethren, the one major difference here is that it ISN'T too bright to be a problem in tight quarters... while I understand you shouldn't go with constant on beams in a tactical situation, I would note that if you are in the dark and scanning a room with the green laser, if/as you lase over a nearby wall/door, the intensity of the green light may impact your own night vision; the red doesn't have the same impact... of couse, used properly, the extreme brightness in the dark of the green is a great weapon/deterrent in and of itself... splash it over someone's eyes at night and they'll be seeing spots [note: not tested nor recommended] I imagine the same thing would hold true for a flashlight... a super bright beam thrown down range is fine, but bounce that off of a wall 3 feet from your own face (in the dark) and it could be a problem.

The rifle I plan to mount this on is due in shortly. I'll follow up with a more hands-on range report once I get the chance to take 'er out. In case I opt for another laser for the rifle, I also bought a holster that can be used with this light mounted on my SigP226 (a Blackhawk Omega VI holster).

Edward429451
July 23, 2009, 02:26 PM
Ah they're just toys to me. I could run the dog I used to have into the wall with it, but my new dog is too smart for that.

I did get to use mine as a deterrent one time. A group of "homies" were bothering my son and kept driving by or sitting in front of the house to intimidate him so I put the laser inside with them one time and voila' they wanted to leave and never saw them again for some reason???:D

Skans
July 27, 2009, 03:50 PM
I like night sights. But, don't like lasers. Night sights are just there if you need them - no switches, no batteries, and nothing to give away your position. For home defense, I want to be as stealthy as possible and let the BG give away his position. That means no shotgun "cha-chink", no racking the slide, no lasers and no flashlights. Just me and my gun.

Skans
July 27, 2009, 03:52 PM
I like night sights. But, don't like lasers. Night sights are just there if you need them - no switches, no batteries, and nothing to give away your position. To me, a handgun with lasers and/or flashlights is like a Harley with loud pipes. Great for letting people know you're there....but doesn't do a damn thing for getting the job done any faster.

For home defense, I want to be as stealthy as possible and let the BG give away his position. That means no shotgun "cha-chink", no racking the slide, no lasers and no flashlights. Just me and my gun.

Housezealot
July 28, 2009, 01:21 PM
now if only crimson trace would release green lasers i would be all over them!:D

Glenn E. Meyer
July 29, 2009, 11:41 AM
Obviously, a green laser company would have to call itself the Green Lantern Corps but then it would get sued by DC and Warner Brothers.

When I can hang a power ring on my AR - that will be something.

I wonder if folks suffer from gadet choice in a crisis? Makes sense from a human factors point - too many controls to choose from.

seeker_two
August 4, 2009, 06:17 PM
I prefer the bright, white lasers.... :D

Old Wanderer
August 8, 2009, 01:00 AM
splash it over someone's eyes at night and they'll be seeing spots [note: not tested nor recommended] I imagine the same thing would hold true for a flashlight.

There is a real difference between the green laser and flashlight. I have the military version of the green laser, and with the flashlight you just loose night vision, with the green laser, you are blind for 5 to 20 minutes...nothing permanent, but it truly panics the heck out of your opponent.

Also in a very dark room, the "splatter" effect of the green laser, while putting it in the eyes of your target, it allows visibility to determine if he/she has an accomplice. Then a quick move to that smiling face, and you own the night.

Move quietly, and if you know any basic marshal arts, put them on the ground, (remember they are blind). If they have weapons, do not endanger yourself, unless you have the training. Remember the old saying...."Violence and sex, you can't enjoy one if you don't survive the other"

In my home I have some industrial strength zip ties...2 for the wrists, in a figure 8, 1 for the ankles, 1 for the throat and a few Daisey chained together to connect the throat zip to the ankle zip and bow tie them...