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If you’re worried that someone’s about to attack you, but not completely sure of their intent, it’s a good idea to give them a warning before pulling the trigger. Green laser pointers are a great way to extend that courtesy. The Marines like to call them “ocular interruption devices.”
Shine one in someone’s face, and your target should immediately get the message that it’s time to back off. The LA-9/P, made by B.E. Meyers, can warn people from up to 4 kilometers (2½ miles) away. It fires a 250-milliwatt beam. That’s roughly 1/4,000 the strength of the smallest anti-aircraft lasers.
Even so, you’ve got to be careful when handling the thing. Over a few months in Iraq, a dozen soldiers were wounded in dazzler “friendly fire.” Several troops may have been injured while monkeying around with laser target designators, which are substantially more powerful than the less-lethal devices.
Photo courtesy B.E. Meyers