...With Much More Powerful Lasers Available
The laser used by Banach had five milliwatts of lasing power, the most allowed without a license. Although potentially harmful to the retina, such lasers aren't powerful enough to damage much else. Much more powerful hand-held devices are available, however, and the licensing issue is skirted by calling them "laser components" rather than finished products. Wicked Lasers is based outside the U.S. (hence not bound by the licensing requirements) and tells all its customers that it's their responsibility to comply with those laws. Wicked Lasers will sell you a "laser component" that's ten times more powerful than the current FDA limit, will burn holes in black plastic and has a range, they claim, of 20 miles. All the laser pointer companies AVweb visited had prominent disclaimers warning against pointing the devices at airplanes, vehicles, people and animals. Much more powerful lasers are available for much more money and some beams are invisible (infrared) ... but stinger-type missiles are probably substantially more effective.