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SNIPER 101- LASER Rangefinder Advantages and Limitations


TiborasaurusRex – Are there any limitations when using a LASER rangefinder? This video discusses the employment of LASER range finders in detail.

L.A.S.E.R. Definition: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation

A LASER Rangefinder Operates on simple time of flight principle. Distance = Rate x Time

Advantages:
Very quick and easy to use
Can give very precise measurements to the target (+ or — 3m)
Does not require knowledge the objects dimensions to range accurately — can range trees, hills, etc…

Limitations:
Beam Divergence: is an angular measure of the increase in beam diameter or radius with distance from the optical aperture or antenna aperture from which the electromagnetic beam emerges.

Scintillation and Beam Wander Effects: occur due to different air densities along the way… this essentially turns the air into a lens which can deflect the path of the beam.

Beam Grazing: can prove to be problematic when ranging targets that are either only partially exposed OR when ranging targets that are located in front of a somewhat undefined backstop. When the beam of the LASER is grazing the target from a low angle (whether it be through grass or brush, or maybe even across a long smoothly sloping area like unobscured desert terrain, the level of confidence you have that the target itself is actually being bracketed (and NOT the ground in front of it or behind it), drops dramatically. This is one area, where optical rang finding methods (such as milling the target with a reticle) are superior.

Unseen Obstructions: Some of the beam might reflect off leaves or branches in front of the target, giving an early return and a reading which is short.

Mirage: At longer ranges, the target may vanish into a mirage, caused by temperature gradients in the air.

OTHER LIMITATIONS:
Risk of enemy detection.
Performance is Dependent upon Power Supply.

When to use LASERs:
When determining ranges to TRPs at extreme long ranges
When high value targets of opportunity present themselves outside your predetermined range (off the card) and time is limited.
When enemy is not equipped with LASER detection equipment
Or anytime when your location is no mystery and you need ranges in a hurry.

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