You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out…with A 1MW Laser Pulse Pistol

G.I. Joe used them to battle Cobra’s evil forces. Han solo shot his first in the Mos Eisley Cantina. For years, hand-held pulse laser guns have been something that existed only in the realm of cartoons and movies…until now.

German hacker [Patrick Priebe] recently constructed a laser pulse gun that looks so good, it could have easily come off a Hollywood movie set. Its sleek white and black exterior adds intrigue, but offers little warning as to how powerful the gun actually is.

Fitted with a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser, it fires off a 1 MW blast of infrared light once the capacitors have fully charged. The duration of the laser pulse is somewhere near 100ns, so he was unable to catch it on camera, but its effects are easily visible in whatever medium he has fired upon. The laser can burst balloons, shoot through plastic, and even blow a hole right through a razor blade.

[Patrick] says that he is more than happy to help out anyone looking to source parts and build one for their own use, so what are you waiting for?

Stick around for a quick demo video of the gun in action.

144 thoughts on “You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out…with A 1MW Laser Pulse Pistol

  1. Really don’t think things like this should be sold on the open market. Everybody pretty much understands how dangerous firearms are and how to hurt/kill with them. It’s a lot less obvious with lasers.

    You really don’t want an entire family getting permanently blinded because some douchebag next door was shooting their “toy” at shiny objects. And the more powerful the laser the less shiny it really has to be for that kind of crap.

  2. Oh whoops, major mathematics fail. A 1kW pulse for 100ns (this laser) is equal to a 20mW pulse (BD laser) for just 0.005s, or 5 milliseconds. His pulse repetition rate is nowhere near high enough for anything more impressive than a sustained 405nm diode output. Doesn’t make the casing look any less nifty, though.

  3. Being Qswitched plus firing from the caps is the key to the small size and big power. Big props to this hacker. I’m also curious to what he would charge to build one of these. I know from my experience that real lasers are not (were not) cheap…

  4. @DigitalKlepto I wouldn’t worry about the original site it just had a short 2 paragraphs and a video. There actually more information about the build in HAD’s description (taken from the video I assume) then on the original site

  5. @Jeff You are correct that the laser is unseen because it is in the infrared. The laser used is a Q-switched Nd:Yag which has a fundimental wavelength of 1064nm. CCD or CMOS cameras can see into the near-infrared (if unfilterd), but their response at 1064 nm is so low that you won’t see the laser.

  6. @mt11

    Laser Coherence has nothing to do with divergence. Divergence is a property of laser cavity design. The laser diodes used in BD drives typically diverge at 30 degrees and thus need a lens for focusing. Coherence is something completely different, check out the wiki article for the best possible graphical explaination


    Not likely. If this laser can punch through a razor it can likely punch through the reflective layer on the back of a mirror too. This is why high power lasers are directed not by mirrors but by penta-prisms using the principles of total internal reflection, just like optic fibres.

  7. Is it just me or does this thing look a little too finished to be a ‘hacker’ project. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my garage is not outfitted with injection molding equipment.

  8. lol@ psuedonymous

    you’re jelly.

    Also, you don’t seem to grasp the difference between power and energy.

    This becomes important with high intensity light and small timescales.

  9. This has another danger that makes it even more dangerous. Pulsed lasers can have really sharp rise times on the output. A near-IR laser is going to cause heating – that’s what it does – in the target.

    Get even a small amount of stray light from a pulse in your eye and the sharp rise time on the pulse means a sharp rise time on the shock wave that forms in the eye due to the heating.

    The shock wave can rip the retina loose from the back of the eye.

    Pulsed lasers have a much lower power threshold for eye damage than continuous wave (CW) lasers because of the shock wave effects.

    Anyone playing with these should wear protective laser goggles. They should not be used anywhere where people without proper protection or notice are present.

    This is neat but it can easily blind. Anyone watching any of the shots in person that were in the video, without proper protection, would probably have suffered eye damage.

  10. Garbz – you don’t usually use pentaprisms for steering high power lasers either. It’s usually done with dielectric front surface mirrors. Prisms tend to dissipate way too much power in the bulk and that really degrades beam quality from thermal effects, but it is true that metallic mirrors are avoided as well.
    I agree that the reason it’s not visible is the wavelength – conventional digital cameras will not respond very well to 1064 nm, although they will work at shorter IR wavelengths. The pulse duration is really irrelevant to whether the imager can see it since the exposure is much, much longer than the pulse duration.

  11. @Bork: Not even close to unlimited range, unless you’re in space. Not only do lasers disperse in the atmosphere, but they heat the air that they pass through which causes a lensing effect.

    @everybody who thinks this is dangerous: yes, lasers are dangerous. No shit. It’s a weapon. It even looks like one. Anybody who uses a weapon without understanding the risks involved is an idiot who deserves what’s coming to them.

  12. For anybody that wants to build one of these, search “SSY-1” on ebay.
    With that said, this is a very dangerous thing to have and could easily blind you, or anybody in close proximity to you regardless of what it’s being shot at.
    iirc, these laser assemblies were originally used for range-finding on M1 tanks.

  13. @tom No Lasers are not weapons just like kitchen knives are not weapons. A gun is a weapon because it is purpose built to be a weapon, You can take a hammer and use it as a weapon but it does not make it a weapon.

  14. Measuring a 100ns pulse in watts is nonsense, what it matters is the energy delivered in a single pulse (measured in Joules)

    My job involves Q-Switched lasers, likes those used for tattoo removal. These deliver up to 1.5 Joules, in pulses no longer than 10ns, that is 100MW (yes, 100 Megawatt) but just during that small amount of time. It does not go through almost anything but thin (and black!) paper.

  15. So. To sum it up.

    it does less damage than a pellet gun, at less than five feet.

    Neat toy…and a step in the right direction, but still far from functional. When a product made by daisy is a infinitely superior weapon…you’ve got problems.

  16. But someone could be killed by a spork. Not very easily, but if the person was quite determined a spork could be used to do harm. The spork, hammer, laser, ballpoint pen, axe, scissors, pipe wrench, etc becomes a weapon when it is used as such…

  17. He seems to avoid answering the question about how he calculated 1MW: (from youtube comments)


    what about a power of pulse ? it’s rather 1mW than 1 MW, is’t it ?
    R0SYN 10 hours ago


    I wont delete this, because I want other to have a laugh today ;-)

    Seriously: 1mW pulse…1mW constant should slicce a bydriving train then?

    THINK before posting….no offense ;-)
    AnselmoFanZero 10 hours ago


    you did say 1 MEGA watt pulse in the video though
    OKtheband 10 hours ago


    Not even Tony Stark can calculate without havin all values needed. Some say its ONLY 10kW…others estimate 800kW.

    It blasts holes in stuff…who cares :)
    AnselmoFanZero 9 hours ago

    @AnselmoFanZero I’m a physicist so i do, a 1 milliwatt laser can cut through plastic if you use it right, a 1 MEGA watt laster is 1,000,000 times more powerful, so which one is it?
    OKtheband 9 hours ago


    Well I am not! Never heard you can cut something with 1mW….whats the pulse-duration? What kind of laser?
    AnselmoFanZero 9 hours ago


    – well, tell me then what is a source of that “mega” power, 4 li-jon battery ? How much of water can boil this all of power 4 li-jon battery ?
    R0SYN 9 hours ago


    You know the difference between both of us? I have answers to YOUR question. A physician answering with a question….I am sceptical.

    The energy is stored in capacitors…then released in a <100ns PULSE. Go ahead and calculate.
    AnselmoFanZero 8 hours ago

    He's also mixing up the two users posting, that's why he complains to R0SYN about being a "physician" (sic) when it's OKtheband who is the physicist. Frustrating/skeptical that he won't explain his 1MW calculations.

  18. Delved deeper through the youtube comments to find:



    I read somewhere that you actually used 10Kw, is that right?
    thewiseoldguy 1 day ago


    You cant calculate the actual output. I admit I ROUGHLY estimated.
    AnselmoFanZero 1 day ago

    Which explains why he doesn’t have an answer

  19. Laser weapons very much like this are produced by the north koreans and chinese. Automatic sniper blinding systems effective for miles are available for sale on international arms markets also. Slight problem in that their use as blinding systems is against the laws of war.

  20. @mt11 – I think you’re confusing coherence with collimation. Collimation was originally part of the definition of a laser, but is an effect of type of cavity used in the original gas and crystal lasers. It is no longer considered a defining factor for lasers. Sadly, the light from laser diodes is not collimated by any stretch of the imagination.

  21. I feel that you tried to construct this gun to get an awe effect. But really, What is this worth other than glamorize yourself saying “that was really cool”?
    or, Did you have any particular use in mind?

    Also, have you considered the consequences for you and for others for constructing this sort of thing. Can’t you see a kid grabbing this and thinking that this is the coolest thing he’s ever had and accidently shooting someone?


  22. Being in the laser business, it’s always fun to see these projects come out. I think what’s more fun is to see all of the largely imaginative claims and counter-claims to the capabilities of these devices. That said, I have enjoyed this release probably more than any of the others to date.

    For those who wish to build this: Meredith Instruments sells the laser head used in this project for [currently] $195. On the same website, you will see a more accurate representation of what the laser head is capable of [150-200-milli-joules, or 50kW at 4nS 1064nm at 15-Joules of electrical input, 4mm beam].

    My only complaint with this device is that I think it would be more effective if a LBO crystal were aligned at the output to produce a green pulse. Maybe I’m over-thinking it though.

  23. i didn’t see the part where it blasted through a razorblade, but i would like to see it blasted at a sheet of paper, a sheet of bologna, and a mirror. I would also like to see the batteries in ammunition-clip format.
    are you sure you didn’t stumble upon alien tech with a spent powercell, and build your own human power cell, resulting in greatly diminished output? The reason i would like to see it fired at a sheet of paper is that it appears to emit compressed gas, or some other form of shockwave, which i didn’t know was present with lasers, unless you shot something containing water.

  24. Seriously, why wouldnt you make this inside a cordless drill case? The decent ones cost $100, and often come with 2 18v lipo packs.

    Amazing build, I think the lower end models will become more popular however…

  25. There are a few salient points here.

    The 1 MW figure is plausible because of the concept of “duty cycle.” A device can do a lot, lot more work than it’s rated power if you keep the power pulse to much shorter than the time that power output would take to burn the device out and allow the device enough time to cool down after firing.

    An energy weapon need only deliver a short, high-intensity pulse to be effective. The idea of a ray gun that’s on as long as the trigger is on is wasteful. If you want to kill a target, you don’t need to cut it in half like a great, big, long sword, you need only blast a tiny hole through them with a very short, but extremely intense, burst of energy.

    Most effective use of military use of firearms is to wound rather than kill, as a dead person is one person removed from battle, while an injured person requires at least another 2 to carry them to the medic, taking 3 people from the battle. This weapon could be more very good for this.

    Finally, this is a first-ever, home-built weapon in this class. Henry Ford’s T-Model was no Ferarri. The Wright brothers’ first plane, the first, true powered, heavier-than-air flight was barely capable of a few minute’s flight, yet less than a decade later, planes were weapons of war.

    We should celebrate the arrival of the ray gun because it is the birth of the 21st century but we should mourn the lives that will be lost in war if this weapon is not heavily regulated.

  26. @Wolfram, It isn’t 20mw CW. Psuedonymous might have calculated that the equivolent energy put out by the module is the same as a 20mw CW over 5 secs, but here all of the energy is put out in pico secs.

    The equivolent output CW is therefore in the hundreds of watts of CW range.

    This is what makes pulsed lasers so dangerous.

    They can appear low powered but in actual fact in terms of energy over time are the equivolent of hundreds of watts of CW.

    Make no mistake, that thing will blind you from a single pulse. Looking at the wood damage, it will also instantly vapourise skin. The nearest equivolent is a medical surgical laser for comparison.

  27. research your claims on military weaponry again. naval ships of the US are employing high power rail guns as well as laser weaponry. though the laser is used to shoot missles outa the sky it has yet to be used for ship to ship.

  28. @trolls..Oh look I’m a troll, I can only use things not make them, so when ever I see things being made I’m going to say it sucks because I can’t do anything cool.

    @keysan Actually some do. I know several Makers that have either managed to afford or get possesen of some really impressive industrial tools.

  29. @qwerty

    “Great technical achievement and gorgeous build, but…

    more than half the people who are asking this guy to build one for them are bullied teens who will bring it at school to take revenge and impress friends the wrong way, or idiots who will point it to the neighbor’s dog because it barks too much. Others will use it to pop vehicles tires, etc.

    This thing is seriously dangerous. The author should publish free plans but refuse to build it for strangers. Being able to understand the electronics behind this device and building it succesfully usually means one has enough maturity, both in age and brain, to be able to use it with extreme caution.
    But offering it with no check for the buyer’s age and attitude is plainly stupid.”

    Well said, I couldn’t agree more.

    This guy shouldn’t making them for others, let those people make their own if they truly want one… Those who can’t make one really doesn’t need one. There are just way too many idiot kids out there who would use this to harm others and/or animals. It’s like giving a loaded gun to a 5 year old…

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