View Full Version : Laser target range

1 February 2002, 03:57 PM
Does anyone know how far a laser target beam could reach, I have one on top of my characters sub-machine gun (Which has a max range of 100 meters)
I used to work in a food factory were they used a smart little gun type heat sensor to check how cold wagons were prior to loading and you could see the red dot over 50 meters away.

Could a laser sight mounted on a rifle / carbine reach 300 meters, and 500+ for sniper rifles.

Thank you in advance


Donovan Morningfire
1 February 2002, 05:25 PM
Speaking Star Wars theory (my sniper buddy isn't available for questioning right now, or I'd have a real-world based answer for ya) the range for a laser sight would be pretty much the maximum effective range of the weapon it's designed for. 100 meters would be no problem; I'd suggest game stats, but I don't know which Star Wars system you use. Hmm, maybe reduces range penalties one level in d6 and cuts total range penalty in half for d20.

As for blaster carbines/rifles, it would be possible to have laser sighting (though it might be considered a tad primitive by Star Wars standards) that extends out to the weapons maximum effective range.

Durian Keldrona
1 February 2002, 06:27 PM
well i can take a laser pointer and see it on a mountain about at least a mile a way.

1 February 2002, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by S.L.A.M.
Could a laser sight mounted on a rifle / carbine reach 300 meters, and 500+ for sniper rifles.

I would think those figures are more than likely possible. However I would think a real sniper wouldn't want to use one. First, snipers survive by having their victims, and their victim's friends not have a clue that they're even there until the job is done. A little red dot on someone's heart tends to give it away.

Second, I don't know how visible a laser sight is unless you're looking right down the light at it, but I would think the emission from the sight could give away a clue as to the location of the sniper. Again, snipers survive by using hit and run tactics. Broadcasting your position by having a red light shining out of the woods a kilometer away wouldn't be healthy.

And last, snipers tend to pride themselves on their skill. It doesn't take much skill to point a laser at someone's cranium and pull the trigger. A real sniper would more than likely view a laser sight as a tool of amateurs.

If I were playing a sniper in a game like this, I would want nothing to do with a laser sight. If I couldn't hit the target on my own I should be in another line of work.

Durian Keldrona
1 February 2002, 11:41 PM
another draw back to laser sights is they are slow to aquire your target. try whipping a laser on to a target. then try aquireing a target using iron sights. the iron sight will be faster.

2 February 2002, 03:28 AM
One of the interesting things about lasers is that their 'range' is theoretically unlimited. They measured the distance to the moon by shining a laser on a mirror there and waiting for the beam to get back (the return trip took about two seconds). So there you have an example of a minimum range for a laser: two light-seconds (600 000 km or so). To be sure, the beam was a bit widened out when it got back, but with SW tech, this shouldn't be a problem.
Hope this helps.

2 February 2002, 04:50 AM
I would have to agree with the above comments that a laser bead is not generally the best idea for a skilled espionage agent. I would suggest instead either an electrobinocular, macrobinocular, infrared, ultraviolet, etc sight mounted to thr top of the gun. That way the sniper suffers no penalties for his tech, and the in game effect is effectively the same.

2 February 2002, 09:39 AM
The difficulty with using a laser sight for a slugthrower sniper rifle is that bullets do not travel with a flat trajectory. Though changes to the sight could be made, it woulld be easier to do so with a regular cross-hair sight, i think, though not positive. Yet if a blaster bolt travels with a flat trajectory then it is perfect for sighting, but not perfect for secrecy.

Also when we projected a class 4 laser on the moon it made a 10m dot. So though distance is theortically infinite, the laser would have a limited range for accuracy, but i doubt anyone is shooting from here to the moon anyways.

Finnaly, I believe tough i am not expert, that a laser sight is used for only close combat situations because with a little practice it is easy to "light up" a target at close range, and much harder at long range. Also, there probably isn't much scarier in those situations than seeing a dark smoke-filled room with a few laser beam projecting out at you. So it would be neat to transfer that to the game. Probably best to leave it with close range though.

2 February 2002, 12:00 PM
Before this goes completely over to a 'what would I use as a sniper' thread, let me try and answer the question about laser sight ranges.

First off, if our technology can do it, I'll bet SW tech can too.

Next, remember that the range of the laser will probably be farther than your ability to see the little red dot. That is, how likely are you to be able to perceive a 1cm red dot at 300 meters? Probably not very well.

Unless, of course, you've got a spotter with macrobinocs, or you've got a telescoping sight, or IR macrobinoc sight, or whatever to allow you to 'see' farther. In that case, you'd be able to see the dot, but you would no longer 'need' the laser. :) 'Cuz if you've got one of the toys that lets you see far enough to perceive the laser, you could aim with that toy instead.

So Ralzma's bit about laser sights being for close range stands to reason. Since at close ranges you're not aiming through sights, you're aiming with the laser dot instead.

Ultimately, pick a range with your GM, and say that the laser is useful out to range X, and beyond that you'd need a scope to aim carefully. In d6 I might be inclined to use laser sights out to medium range, and in d20 out to 3 or 4 range increments.

YMMV, of course.



The Admiral
2 February 2002, 08:08 PM
Well, well, since SW is space opera, the quick and easy answer is 'yep'

A couple of other notes though;

Snipers use lasers for determining range to target. Knowing exactly how far away your target is means you can properly focus your sights on it. This is dashed handy. However, leading on to point 2, if you're using sights in the first place (Ie, not firing from the hip) laser dots are no more use than normal sights anyway, it's just as easy to keep a corsshairs on a target as a little dot. The normal sights have the additional advantage of having increments right there which helps with your windage and elevation.

Far as I can tell, the only benefit of having a laser dot projector is to look flash, and to demonstrate that you're incapable of aiming your weapon.

5 February 2002, 11:37 AM
Thanks for the replys

I don't have laser sights beacause I can't aim (Honest)
I have laser sights on my sub-machine guns to scare the s..t out of people I am hunting, like the clips in the film Predator where Arnies Army see the 3 red dots on their bodys from the Predators laser cannon just before they get wasted.
I just wanted to know how far the beams would reach out curiosity.

:D S.L.A.M.


Durian Keldrona

what is an IRON SIGHT:?

The Admiral
5 February 2002, 02:00 PM
Iron sight? Heh, s'your basic common or garden sights. Usually three lil' bits of metal, where if you line 'em all up, the bullet will hit whatever they're covering. Whatever the configuration, however, an iron sight is made of metal. As opposed to say, glass, or porridge.

6 February 2002, 04:55 PM
I was having a discussion elsewhere about this sort of thing in real life, and as for lasers, some can theoretically stretch to the maximum range of the weapon, and machinegunnners in the army sometimes use such sights (although I think the beam is IR, not laser) in order to shoot their weapons while wearing night vision goggles. The thing with NVGs is that you can't use them with iron sights, they won't resolve the sight picture. So you either use an IR/laser, or some sort of special "reflex" sight. This is the only realy application for using a laser at long range, but in SW I'm betting NVGs would have no problem seeing anything seen at daytime, so iron sights would be ok. As for using a laser sight at closer ranges, all I'll say is that it is apparently a topic of debate.