A comprehensive resource for safe and responsible laser use

US: Marines to buy 1,653 eye-safe laser dazzlers

B.E. Meyers & Co. on May 29 2018 announced that the U.S. Marine Corps will be buying 1,653 “Glare Recoil” LA-22/U laser dazzlers. It contains a 250 mW 532nm green laser, with variable divergence from 4 to 70 milliradians. It uses three technologies to ensure the beam is eye-safe at any distance:

  • An infrared (1535nm) laser rangefinder determines the distance to a person or object. The closer the distance, the lower the laser power output.
  • Near-field detection shuts off laser emission if a person or object is too close to the laser output aperture.
  • A 3-axis gyroscope detects motion. If the Glare Recoil is suddenly moved, the laser shuts off until stability is resumed and an accurate determination of the distance to a person or object can be re-established: “This prevents hazardous irradiance in situations where Glare Recoil is moving faster than the laser rangefinder can detect objects and dose power output. This results in the prevention of eye hazard danger caused by rapid movement of the device (example: flagging) or improper situational awareness of the operator.”

With these technologies, the laser detects objects or people in the proximity of the beam and then self-adjusts the power output to maintain eye safety. The Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance is said to be 0 meters; the range is 10 feet to 10 miles.

Suggested uses include urban patrolling, cordon and search, crowd control, clearing facilities and security checkpoints.

BE Meyers Glare Recoil laser dazzler
The Glare Recoil is about the size of a Walkman tape player at 5.5” x 3” x 2”. It can mount on a rifle or be handheld.


Meyers also sells a Class 1M “Glare Helios” which has an FDA variance allowing sales to U.S. local, state and federal law enforcement, and U.S. flagged vessels.

From Marine Corps Times, Soldier Systems, and B.E. Meyers. A video produced by the company goes into detail about the specifications and how the person/object detection works.

US: Coast Guard seeks FDA waiver; wants to use laser illuminators on helicopters

The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking a waiver from Food and Drug Administration laser safety regulations, so that CG helicopters can use laser illuminators to enhance video vision. The problem is that the laser illuminators do not have a minimum altitude interlock. This prevents use when the laser is used so close to a person that the irradiance is above the FDA’s Maximum Permissible Exposure levels, and thus could cause eye injury.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense is permitted to self-certify their laser equipment and usage. The DoD’s Army, Air Force and Navy agencies do not need FDA approval of their helicopter-based laser illuminators. However, the Coast Guard is part of the Department of Homeland Security, which does not have a self-certification waiver. The Coast Guard must currently apply for FDA approval.

On April 14 2016, Rep. Duncan Hunter sent a letter to FDA, asking that the Coast Guard be permitted to self-certify their laser systems. Hunter called FDA’s policy “onerous and burdensome”.

One issue may be that the helicopter-based video system already has low-light and infrared capabilities. Although the laser illumination can further enhance the image, it may not be considered a necessity for operations.

From Seapower magazine