The advancement of modern technology has forever changed the way we hunt. Hunting is a sport born out of traditions centuries old, but as humanity becomes more capable of manipulating our environment, so too does the sport of hunting change. One of the more recent developments in the sport is the advent of laser sights . Laser guidance allows a rifle to be aimed extremely accurately over immense distances, making it an incredibly useful tool for a modern day hunter.
Lasers come in different colours. The two most commonly used for guided sights are red and green, and wide selections of which can be found on the online auction website, eBay. However, it can be difficult to know which one to choose. This guide aims to help any prospective buyer decide which colour of laser is right for them, and explain how to use eBay effectively to purchase one.
To understand which laser sights are best suited to their needs, a hunter must first have a basic understanding of the laser technology itself.
What is a Laser?
- Lasers are electronic devices that were developed over the course of the 20th century. It was Albert Einstein, in 1917, conceived the idea, and over a number of years the possibility of a laser was confirmed and experimented upon. The word laser began life as an acronym, which stood for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation'. Soon though, the acronym became a word in its own right, due to its frequency of use.
- A laser omits light. However, unlike a torch or a lamp, the light of a laser does not spread out from its point of origin. Whilst most light travels in all directions from its source, the laser is designed to project the light it omits into a single beam. The light is amplified using radiation, and then focused into a narrow ray.
- The light of a laser is concentrated, and so, if powerful enough, can produce extreme levels of heat, capable of cutting through most materials. More commonly, though, low powered lasers are used, due to their lower expense. Because their energy spreads out only very minimally, a laser pointed at an object a long way away will still only appear as a small dot. However, due to the amplification necessary to create a laser, the light contains a lot of energy, and is thus very bright. This means that the point of a laser can be seen from a great distance, in a variety of different lighting conditions.
Usage on Firearms
As aforementioned, lasers operate effectively over a long distance. This fact, amongst others, has led to its usage on firearms.
A laser is attached to the telescopic sight of a rifle. Several conditions must be met for the laser to be of use. Firstly, along with the sight, the laser must be perfectly aligned with the barrel of the gun. This is to ensure that what the laser points to is also what the barrel points to. Secondly, the laser must be powerful enough to be seen from whatever distance the marksman expects to be shooting from. If the laser is not visible, it is useless.
However, if the above conditions are met, a laser is an excellent addition to any scope. It enables the marksman to see exactly where their rifle is pointing from a huge distance. The simple act of lining the laser up with the intended target greatly enhances the chances of a successful kill. This method is not perfect; the laser's placement is unaffected my many things that can affect the trajectory of a bullet, namely bullet drop (caused by a bullet losing momentum) and crosswinds.
It is also unable to account for target movement, and if not correctly aligned will point to a place where the bullet is not in fact travelling. However, many scopes and sights will also be equipped with reticles, which feature markings designed to aid the marksman in calculating the possibility of the above-mentioned things occurring. If these things are taken into consideration, then a laser can still be used as a highly effective sighting aid.
Laser output is measured in two ways: wavelength and power output.
- Wavelength is a measurement of the size of the light wave being produced by a laser. Wavelength directly affects the colour of a laser. It is measured in nanometres (nm). The human eye can see roughly between 400 and 700 nanometres. The optimal wavelength for the human eye to perceive is 555 nm. Lasers of this wavelength will appear brightest, and the further to either side from this number the wavelength is, the duller it will seem.
- Power output is measured in milliwats (mw), and represents how powerful a laser is. Laser pointers, like the ones used in laser guidance for rifles, are generally low powered lasers, omitting less than a milliwat. Higher-powered lasers are capable of causing damage to materials.
The colour red appears at a higher wavelength than green. A red laser is normally measured at around 650 nm. This means that the brightness is not at the optimal level for a laser. Red lasers used in scopes and sights will only have a power output of less than one milliwat, which represents very little to no danger to the human eye. Further, such a low level of power is a very simple matter to generate. This means that red lasers can be produced cheaply and efficiently, which lowers the general cost, and also that the devices are smaller and lighter, which makes them more practical for attaching to rifles. There are more red lasers than green available on the market, due partly to the lower cost, and partly to the fact that the technology has been available for longer, and thus has been mass-produced more.
As the wavelength at which a laser appears green is approximately 532 nm, green is the brightest possible colour for a laser to be. This means green lasers are visible from greater distances, and are easier to see at all distances. They also work more effectively in most lighting conditions, normally visible even in bright sunlight. However, there is a payoff in a number of areas. For one, the amount of power needed to generate a green laser is higher. This results in the laser being more dangerous for humans. It also means bulkier, heavier housing, resulting in decreased practicality for use in the field, as well as both a higher initial cost and maintenance cost. They are also less widely available, as they have only been on the mass market since as recently as 2007.
To summarise the comparison:
- Green lasers are more powerful and more visible than red, and thus make better guidance aids.
- Red lasers are smaller and lighter, making them easier to transport and protect.
- Green lasers are more dangerous.
- Red lasers are cheaper and more widely available
On balance, a red laser is the more practical and economical choice for many hunters and marksmen, although a green laser will provide clearer guidance.
How to Buy Green or Red Lasers for Hunting Scopes on eBay
eBay, the online auctioning website, is the perfect place to shop for lasers and laser guided scopes. It features a massive selection of products, allowing the user to find just the right product to suit their needs.
Laser guided scopes can be found under the sights & scopes section. To navigate to this section is a simple matter:
Start from the eBay homepage. The margin at the left of the page contains a tab entitled Sports & Leisure. Hovering the cursor over this tab will open a list of categories. Select the sporting goods category. Next, select the hunting sub-category, and the sights & scopes section will be listed in the left hand margin.
To specify laser guided sights, and which colour of laser you prefer the search engine is the simple and elegant solution. From sights & scopes, simply type ‘red laser' or ‘green laser' into the search bar.
The search can be filtered using several criteria to meet the user's needs, found in the left margin of the page, including condition, price and item location. Simply clicks the option required, or, in the case of price, adjust the sliding scale, and the search engine will automatically filter out products that do not satisfy the user's demands, allowing for high levels of search customisation. Choosing between the auction and ‘buy it now' options allows the user to either try their hand at finding a lower price, or to buy the product at a fixed price.
Key information about the product is displayed in the item listings, but further information can be found on the item's individual information page, along with the details of the seller (such as feedback, ratings and contact information), along with the option found near the bottom of the page to ask the seller a question directly, in the case that the user requires information from them that is not displayed.
A modern hunter needs modern hunting equipment. Laser sighting is the epitome of commercially available hunting technology, and any hunter should seriously consider equipping their rifle with it.
When choosing which colour the laser should be, consider budget, and what sort of performance is required of the laser; red is cheaper, and is the more practical option, whereas green is more powerful and is generally required only by specialists.
Using eBay to buy a laser sight is highly recommended, due to their broad selection, simple-to-operate user interface, and many other helpful features.