Open-Source Laser Shooting Simulator

Looking to practice your marksmanship skills at home? Check out the homeLESS (Home LasEr Shooting Simulator), an open-source tool for marksmanship practice. [Laabicz] developed this system as a cheaper alternative to commercial laser shooting simulators, which are just as simple but very expensive.

[Laabicz]’s simulator primarily uses modified airsoft pistols that are fitted with batteries (installed in the magazine) and a laser in the chamber. Any gun can be used with the system as long as you can figure out how to attach a laser and trigger switch. To power the laser, a small capacitor is charged from batteries when the trigger switch is off. Once the trigger is pressed, the capacitor discharges through the laser and makes a short pulse of light.

The simulator is written in Processing and requires a projector and a webcam. The Processing sketch projects configurable moving targets on a screen or wall, and the webcam detects when a laser is triggered over any of the targets. The software supports multiple target types (including moving targets) and is quite configurable. Check out the video after the break to see the system in use.

43 thoughts on “Open-Source Laser Shooting Simulator

  1. The more expensive trainers have the same weight as the actual model of pistol or rifle, and use C02 to kick back the bolt for actual realism. I’ve always wanted to build a linear actuator that would emulate a bolt being thrown back instead of using the CO2 method,

    1. CO2 has the benefit of being light, fast, and powerful. Finding a linear actuator that combines all that and doesn’t throw off the balance of the sim gun would probably be pretty hard. Good luck!

    1. The main group behind this is connected to the local University of Defence (military university in Brno, Czech Republic). So they have legit reasons for the research. Moreover the actual goal is to make it easier and cheaper to practice air pistol and air rifle target shooting. And that is an official Olympic sport.

      Btw you do not need projector if you use paper target. It works with just a webcam and laser pointer. The projector is needed for the fancy moving stuff.

    2. I beg to differ with you and where I live I can do that today, tomorrow our self proclaimed emperor may change that also.

      I own guns and i shoot, at a legal range, at targets. It is something that my spouse and I like to do. It is a great way to have fun and release stress, while doing this you are not focused on other stuff like that bug you have been tracking down for a week.

      Based on your line of thinking we should ban all beer sales and cars, because some fools drink and drive and kill people.

      Do you live in a grass hut and eat wheat grass and walk everywhere you go? I think not…

    3. Life is rough. You should pray to Carl Segan that your state may always be interested in and present to protect you. Historically speaking, it has certainly not done so. My opinion is that you can’t get much more sociopathic than waiting for someone else to do the protecting.

    4. It is hard for rabid anti-gun people to accept or tolerate those who believe differently. It is nearly impossible for them to actually support safety, the laser to them is no different than a bullet, they just want everyone helpless. Reason is not a trait they know or accept.

  2. How about people like you stop protesting about something you obviously know nothing about.

    I hate to break this to you, but the fact is 99.99% of gun owners are normal, everyday people that are of great benefit to their communities and society.

    Your unfounded, ill-informed, and frankly ridiculous comments calling firearms hobbyist “vile” and “evil” and referring to the hobby / lifestyle as a “fetish” is hilarious and really shows how much you lack in education on the matter. The vast, overwhelming majority of gun owners are not “training” to kill people.

    You post comments insulting people, and then proudly proclaim the backlash as “proving” your point. Your logic is supremely flawed, and any point you are attempting to make is immediately invalidated by your one-sided hypocrisy.

    I don’t know where in the world you hail from, but before you harbor such feelings of hate towards a group of people maybe you should understand what you are talking about.

    If you have a local shooting range you should go, and observe. I would love to see the look on your face when you realize the people there are completely normal, law-abiding, and probably a large portion of them are people you deal with on a daily basis and had no clue.

    I have been in the firearms hobby / lifestyle for over 20 years. I have never met, dealt, or encountered anyone that probably fits your “made-for-media” image of gun owners. Nor have I ever met anyone who has used a firearm for violence. My firearms are for personal defense, and mainly shooting sports – just the same as the vast majority of firearms owners.

    This debate could go on for ages. You could post whatever hand-picked numbers from whatever special interest anti-2A group you like, and I could do the same for pro-2A stats. The truth is – No one knows if “gun control” has any effect on anything. This is why so much conflicting information exists.

    The more intelligent approach is to realize the facts (99.99% of all gun owners are normal people that will never use their firearms in a illegal manner) and not force your views/beliefs on people who choose to legally pursue and lead a lifestyle that is allowed by law in most places in the US, and quite a few in the rest of the world. Nothing is more ignorant that trying to push your views on other law abiding people, especially when your views are based on nothing other than personal opinion and you present your OPINION as fact and do so maliciously.

    I applaud HAD for covering stories like this. It as a wide appeal, and let us be honest – firearms are fascinating from a historical, mechanical, art, pop-culture, and maker point of view.

    Yours truly,

    Law-abiding, completely normal, maker-frentic, good neighbor gun owner.

    1. 21 Gun Salute

      The rifles and shotguns in my home are used for hunting. That’s it. I also practice with clay pigeons and targets, just so that elk tag doesn’t go to waste every year (miss your target, and you wont collect meat for your freezer.) Firearms stay locked up when not in use – there are no children in my house, so I’m not worried about kids doing something stupid.

      It’s a privilege to own firearms, and with the practice of gun safety it makes you a more cautious and responsible person…not a wackjob who takes his woes out on the world.

      The “99%” of us are very good people – the 1% are authoritarian sociopaths.

      1. What is hilarious, is every time I talk a anti-2A friend into going to the range. About 15 minutes in they have a new found hobby, and change their views.

        Over the years I have shown over 250 people the joy and challenge of recreational shooting. Out of ~250 people – only 1 didn’t enjoy it. And it wasn’t that she had the typical media-fed-agenda-political view, she just didn’t like all the noise. She made sure to keep her target, as she was glad she went.

        I don’t dislike or hate people that don’t like firearms. I let them make their own choices, it isn’t my job to persuade or convert. However, I will never say “no” when someone who is “anti” asks to go to the range. I applaud them for actually immersing themselves to form an opinion – instead of doing so blindly.

        I do wonder how people can discount the person safety aspect of firearms ownership though. Nearly everyone locks their car doors. Locks the house, even when home – just in case. Cell phones have quick access to 911 even when “locked.” Nearly everyone fastens a seat-belt when driving. It is mind boggling to me that people do all these things to ensure their safety – yet so many are against people carrying a firearm to defend themselves. Unfortunately calling the police is an “after the event” affair, and is not deterrent or available when you really need it.

        We don’t live in a peachy world where all of humanity is warm and fuzzy. The real world is a world where people with criminal intent will follow their desires – regardless of the law, or what is legally available to them. This is why we see people injure and kill others using guns, knives, cars, bombs, shovels, fire, etc. Disarming those who wish and want to carry firearms only makes for easier targets.

        I was once having a chat with an older couple visiting from out of state at a local eatery. They didn’t like that I was carrying a handgun – even though I was well within my rights to do so. I don’t have an issue with that.

        However as I was eating, they chose to interrupt my meal to fill me in on how they disapproved of me carrying a handgun. It was a short conversation after I explained to them (and they did not debate this…) that if someone came in, and started stabbing, shooting, or assaulting the patrons where we were at – who would they be hiding behind? You guessed it, the law-abiding citizen legally carrying a firearm.

        I grew up shooting firearms. I attribute my love of process, engineering, and the outdoors to this hobby. I also attribute growing up shooting to helping me develop my ability to focus, concentrate, and it gifted me with patience. All desirable traits. The same goes for my wife, upon introducing her to the hobby she has seen an increase in her ability to focus on tasks, concentrate, and has become more patient. All these are traits that are quickly disappearing in today’s youth. Funny how that coincides with the decrease in youth shooting sports and rise of gun control……

        1. there’s a difference between someone that uses a rented gun to shot paper targets and the people who chose to own guns and the fact you don’t seem to understand that shows large disconnect from reality.

          even in countries with the strictest gun laws still allow people to rent gun and shot at designated spots because it can be fun. the difference is that those who are for Gun control understand that all real world data shows person gun ownership does nothing to make the society a better place. that most gun violence is not caused by outside forces coming to hurt you but by interfamily accidents and disagreements taken to far just to name one point.

          the whole things comes down too is no amount of gun safety training is going to a country with large amounts of gun ownership safer then a country with less. too say that the world can’t be a completely safe place so we shouldn’t do anything is why people that fight gun control get called sociopaths. its basically saying I don’t care who die as long as I can do what I like.

          I say this as someone that understands the beastly of a gum as a piece of art, mechanical and physics in action but they have no place in a civilized society.

    2. sorry but your post is complete BS, you go around talking about other using Opinions when you just make up numbers to make yourself feel good that don’t reflex reality.

      first off line like “99.99% of gun owners are normal, everyday people that are of great benefit to their communities and society” complete throw away lines. there’s no studies or facts to back any of that up and it’s been used by every group of hatemongering nut jobs through out history. the truth is “normal” means having some kind of neurological condition and some of the most vile people in history, sociopaths or not, have also been seen as “great benefit to their communities and society” see how the south saw slave owners or how the Nazis saw Hitler for an examples.

      the joke that “bad guys” are different them “normal people” is a complete lie and ones of the biggest hurdles to mankind moving forward. the fact is by federal data something like 49% -51% (can’t remember exact number off the top of my head) of gun violence in the US is domestic, one spouse killing the other or some other member of the family.

      if you really want to move forwards and do what best for every one people like you need to get your feelings and start dealing with real facts. then again real world facts don’t paint gun ownership in a good light and certainly not a better light then those people who don’t own gun.

      1. Actually, since you apparently missed the entire point of my two comments :

        There are numbers. Lots of them. On both sides.

        In fact, the government estimates there are between 200 and 300 MILLION firearms in circulation legally.

        So, if you take the number of firearms and compare to the amount of crimes committed with them – it pretty much affirms my statements (and truth) that 99% of all gun owners are completely nice, normal, productive people by modern standards. In fact most firearms owners have multiple firearms – and yet having more than one does not amplify your theory of “impending villain in waiting.”

        Perhaps your comparison to Hitler and Slavery is some sort of far reaching foray into the mental heath issue that society is battling, but that is another matter completely and not related to firearm ownership. Or maybe you are just one of those people who make irrational comments for shock factor. I don’t know you, so I can’t tell.

        As far as “painting” gun owners – there are no credible numbers either way. That is the truth. That is why this is such a debated subject. If what you claim is true – then there would be substantial and definitive facts everywhere – but there is not. Sorry, but that is truth – cut and dry. Why do you think they call them “Studies” and not “facts?”

        I stand by my comment.

        Gun owners are 99% or greater normal people. We go to work. We pay our taxes. We are good neighbors, and we are an asset to our community. Not because we are gun people, but because we are good people. We just enjoy a hobby / lifestyle that some people don’t understand or choose to judge (like people of various religions, race, and other hobbies/lifestyles.)

  3. This is great, I have been fiddling with projects similar to this for ages but I always get hung up on the transformation part – making the camera’s view of the laser hit match up 1:1 with the logical target (because the camera never sees things the same as the projection this is a problem that needs solving). I browsed the documentation and this is not only solved in their code (though it doesn’t seem to do any complex transformation like perspective shift, it does the job) but that whole part is abstracted away in a separate program that is made to simply send detected hits to some other program for interoperability. I’m so glad I saw this, it’s my missing link!

  4. I’ve yet to shoot a gun (rifle or pistol) that has a perfectly flat trajectory, zero recoil, and is as light as the “simulator” guns (and doesn’t change weight throughout the shooting session). This is a POINTING simulator, not a SHOOTING simulator.

    1. It still helps your aiming mechanics. This helps you get used to quickly and consistently transition to a new target and rebuild your sight picture. After that compensating for recoil and changing gun weight is just an application of the first bit and learning the mechanics of minimizing their effects.

    2. You’re right in the sense that it doesn’t simulate everything about shooting, but that doesn’t mean it is not useful for practice. Dry firing a firearm helps with the fundamentals of trigger control and sight picture. With the right laser emitter, this can do the same but with the added benefit of actually detecting and showing hits, which is really just better feedback.

      Also it is more fun, and the software allows for integrating the hit detection into whatever else you want. So the part about hit detection with a webcam is done for you and ready to integrate into your own project.

    1. lol, I actually don’t own any guns, I prefer swords and staves. So yeah I got everything from a pen knife to a zweihander to compensate with. Thanks for being interested in my package though big guy;)

  5. I have been in Martial Arts for the last 40 years. I have defended myself in two situations with my bare hands. I have practiced techniques that will kill. Should HAD stop posting articles that use your hands to accomplish a task now?

  6. Awesome project. I will try building one once I return home. I’m reading it on a tablet and eagerly await the opportunity to see all of the files on a desktop. Thanks for posting this.

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