Thinking Tech

'Laser rifle' is latest U.S. weapon against enemies

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The TR3 Threat Deterrent Laser Rifle is compact and the laser settings can be adjusted to inflict some serious pain.

Last month, a British defense company demonstrated how a non-lethal laser weapon can be used to ward off pirates. Now, American researchers have created a laser gun that sea bandits really wouldn't want to mess with.

While the crystalline Neodymium Yttrium Aluminium Garnet laser canon, developed by BAE Systems, can temporarily disorient an assailant with a pulse of blinding light, another prototype called the TR3 Threat Deterrent Laser Rifle is compact and the laser settings can be adjusted to inflict some serious pain.

(To learn more about BAE Systems' laser canon, check out my colleague John Herrman's post here)

The TR3, developed by Xtreme Alternative Defense Systems and SPA Defense, can deliver a pretty intense 3-watt green laser at targets stationed up to one and a half miles away when operated at night. The rifle's re-chargeable lithium-ion battery allows for up to 30 plus minutes of continuous firing.

David Crane of DefenseReview.com got to test out a prototype during the recent Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show and Conference or SHOT show and described the experience on his website:

We actually got to T&E the TR3 ourselves, and came away very impressed with it. You can adjust the intense green laser beam’s focus using a dial that surrounds the weapon’s emitter (“barrel”/”muzzle”). You can disperse the beam so that it’s eye-safe for hitting bad guys in the face, or dial the beam into a retina-frying focus.

Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot video of the TR3 operating, during the demo. We went back to the SPA Defense booth on that last day to do just that, but were unsuccessful.

A company-produced video of the TR3 in action may exist and Crane plans to upload footage if he ever gets his hands on it.

The TR3 is intended for military and defense markets only.

Photo: David Crane, DefenseReview.com (DR)

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Tuan Nguyen

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Tuan C. Nguyen is a freelance science journalist based in New York City. He has written for the U.S. News and World Report, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC News, AOL, Yahoo! News and LiveScience. Formerly, he was reporter and producer for the technology section of ABCNews.com. He holds degrees from the University of California Los Angeles and the City University of New York's Graduate School of Journalism. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure