Why Use a Laser with a Scope?

Why Use a Laser with a Scope?

You’ve heard it before: snipers with lasers are dumb. If you haven’t, here’s why: the purpose of a sniper is to remain undetected while killing targets at long ranges. If a sniper has a powerful beam of light leading directly to himself, every living thing he tries to shoot will know exactly where he is.

Not only is a laser a dead giveaway, but it also doesn’t follow the same laws of physics that apply to solid objects like bullets. A laser will fly in a continuous straight line, while a bullet’s drop is dependent on its mass, the effective range of the weapon firing it, gravity, wind, and several other factors dependent on the environment and the shooter.

Point being: the laser should never be used for long range. So why do three different Firefield Barrage scopes have lasers on them? The Class IIIA lasers on these optics have very long ranges but are normally drowned out by other light sources in bright areas. During nighttime, when the laser has no other lights to compete with, it’s visible up to several hundred yards away, however, it should not be used to aim at that range.

The laser on your Firefield Barrage has two uses: it serves as a short-range aiming device for firing from the hip and it helps you when you’re aiming with a night vision device. Although it’s not limited to these two roles, they are the most practical uses of the laser.

You should not expect your laser to line up with the crosshairs of your reticle. The Barrage’s manual explicitly states that the built-in 5mW laser is used for “target acquisition in close range, rapidly changing environments.” This means your laser should be “zeroed” independently of your riflescope.

Firefield recommends adjusting your laser to be accurate at no more than 15 yards, since at this range, you’ll be able to both see your laser’s dot and accurately fire from the hip, which is what the laser is meant for. At longer ranges, targets become smaller and much harder to hit without careful aiming, so shots from the hip are no longer as fast or accurate.

The Barrage’s riflescope component, meanwhile, should be zeroed for as far as you intend to shoot. Its mil-dot reticle can be used to measure the distance of a target, and if you’re familiar enough with your scope and your rifle, you can engage any target within your rifle’s effective range using your reticle’s measuring system.

However, in instances where you’re wearing a gas mask, night vision goggles, or other types of headwear that hinder you from using your optic, using your laser as an aiming device is a valid option.

The British SAS famously used weapon-mounted flashlights during their 1980 hostage rescue mission in the Iranian Embassy in London. The S10 gas mask was a large and cumbersome thing, making proper cheek weld with their MP5 submachine guns nearly impossible. Instead, enormous Maglite flashlights mounted on the tops of their weapons’ receivers functioned as ad hoc “sights.” Anything within the center of their flashlight beams was “on target.”

In the same way, a rifle-mounted laser doesn’t need to be 100% precise. Despite the phrase “laser precision,” waiting for your laser to be over exactly the right spot on a target might slow down your shooting time. Instead, it’s enough to merely see that the dot is on your target to guarantee a hit.

In combat, the act of hitting your target (accuracy) matters more than hitting your target where you want (precision). A single, precisely aimed shot is a luxury given to someone who shoots unseen from the shadows, like a sniper or a hunter.

The most important thing to take away from this article is that a Firefield Barrage’s laser and riflescope are not zeroed at the same distances and are not truly meant to cowitness. Your laser is meant for short range pointing and shooting, and your riflescope is meant for long-range accurate fire. Together, the two systems provide the versatility you need to take down targets at any distance, maximizing your combat effectiveness.

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