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Laser Sight

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"I didn't know you were a Hindu!"
"I'm not."
"Then what's that on your forehead?"

A little laser pointer mounted to a firearm. Allows a marksman to accurately point a weapon in the dark. Also tips off the target (and audience) that someone has a firearm aimed at them.

Much more common in fiction than in reality, but Hollywood loves them due to the Rule of Cool. Red dots appearing on the villain's chest looks cool on screen. In Real Life, the laser sight is a only useful in some situations, but it's expensive, can break, many holsters can't accommodate it, it needs batteries, it isn't bright enough to be visible in bright sunlight, and in dim light it reveals the shooter's position and intent immediately to everyone who may happen to be looking in that direction (unless it's an infrared laser and the shooter is wearing infrared goggles, but those are even more expensive and require more maintenance), etc. It does nonetheless decrease the time needed to aim reliably at a target — especially in the dark.

Law enforcement uses laser sights for their psychological value: advertising that they are, in fact, pointing their gun directly at the person may encourage that person to give themselves up without a fight.

Totally ridiculous, however, is the inclusion of these contraptions on military weapons, especially sniper rifles, since for the shooter it does no more good than what his scope's crosshairs are already doing, and it merely serves to identify the target to the audience. Additionally, at long range the laser beam doesn't reflect factors such as gravity or wind that will throw the bullets off-target — the laser can be useful for estimating the distance to target, so the sniper can adjust his telescopic sight to compensate for gravity, but that's about it. And again, a visible laser sight also reveals the shooter's location and intent to the target, who can then use the opportunity to escape for cover since they know somebody is gunning for them. As this is the only effective means to escape from enemy snipers, every television sniper rifle is shown using one.

However, that same ostentation makes them very popular as a Weapon for Intimidation. Someone thinks they're safe? Just give the word, and your embedded team of marksmen will switch on the lights, and the target will look like he suddenly contracted chicken pox. Cue Oh, Crap! moment. Or, just point down at his chest, towards the little red dot that's been trained unswervingly on his left ventricle the whole time he's been talking. Yeah, you could just tell him your snipers have him in their sights, but (a) you could be lying and (b) it just doesn't have that visceral punch of seeing visible evidence of the fact.

The best (and most common) use for laser sights is in night combat, where the lasers are visible only through night-vision goggles. This is because night vision goggles are often too big and bulky to allow the shooter to use the iron sights, and a laser is required in order to hit anything. There are, however, night-vision compatible reflex and holographic sights. The laser is also useful for telling where other people on your side are aiming while using night-vision, allowing multiple shooters to aim at the same target and lay down bullets without anyone needing to give complicated instructions as to where to shoot.

Laser sights also allow the shooter to precisely shoot a weapon (most likely an assault rifle or a pistol) from the hip without relying on the iron sights or other optics. This is useful if the shooter needs to fire quickly, but it is limited to short range combat only.

In video games, a highly visible laser sight is one of a number of ways often used to cue players to the existence of snipers; similar to the classic version, Crosshair Aware, the player is able to see they're being targeted, and (for a third time) allows them to quickly identify the sniper's location (by simply tracing the laser to its source). While this is done to balance gameplay, it's not in itself a justification for the trope; that would imply there were some reason for the sniper to use a visible laser sight, and their presence or visibility is rarely explained in-game.

Oftentimes used as a *Click* Hello alternative for ranged weapons. Sister Trope of Helmet-Mounted Sight, when a similar mechanism is incorporated into a character's helmet/vision.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex used this trope repeatedly. For the most part the usage is justified, as Section 9 uses laser sights on their pistols and assault rifles mostly to intimidate the subject into submitting. It gets less justifiable when the show has snipers use them, and visible ones at that.
    • Especially given that Saitou, being the team's sniper, has what amounts to a full sighting set, complete with a telescope, laser rangefinder and weather lidar, built into his eyes.
    • There was also one episode where they wanted to use an Anti-Tank rocket on an advanced tank. When they pointed the laser at the tank, it promptly noticed and added dozens more identical laser dots to itself. Justified in this case by the rocket itself being laser-guided (it homes in on the dot projected by the person firing it) which also justifies the tank's projecting additional dots as electronic counter-measures.
    • At the end of the original Ghost in the Shell (1995), snipers use infrared lasers for an extremely difficult shot. They are only visible to Batou's Electronic Eyes, but don't show up to the naked eye.
  • Whole teams of snipers use infra-red laser sights in Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Justified in that they're used at fairly close range against a small target and there are more lasers than shooters (and some shooters aren't using lasers) to throw off possible counter-sniping.
  • In a scene in Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke gets into trouble with his teacher when a red dot appears on her forehead through a window, causing him to tackle her to the floor. Subverted by the fact that it was, in fact, a prank played with a laser pen that depended on Sousuke's paranoid nature — sniper rifles in Full Metal Panic! avoid this trope entirely, so it's a bit of a stretch why Sousuke, being a professional soldier, would react to it at all. Then again, Sousuke is, as previously mentioned, paranoid and might have suspected Reverse Psychology, or could've just not wanted to take any chances. In this case, he was probably acting more on reflex than anything else; when you suspect you are being targeted the first thing to do is Take Cover! and figure out the rest of the situation from there.
  • Kino's Journey: In "A Tale of Feeding off Others", Kino uses a laser sight while hunting rabbits. Used again in the same episode to show that her knife is also a gun.
  • Kishin Corps has aliens with a single eye permanently emitting a laser. It's apparently only to make them look more intimidating, or as rangefinder to compensate for their lack of binocular vision, since the tommy guns grafted to their arms don't have laser sights. Nowadays it makes them look a bit like Portal turrets, but they came first by almost fifteen years.
  • Played with by Teana in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, where she uses a laser purely as a distraction from one of her illusions while the real her sneaks up on her target. Snipers in the world of Nanoha generally avoid this trope.
    • However, having the search spells hover over their targets and loudly announce "wide area search successful" lives up to the spirit of this trope, especially when said target is about to be sniped by a Gundam-scale death-ray.
      • Said target was watching Nanoha live on a Magical Security Cam so the announcement didn't really spoil the surprise much. And her reaction was priceless.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Wing: In Episode 8, the pilots break into a facility and are confronted by a dark bunker full of "explosives with infrared red sensors", which pretty much look like the classic red laser-lines booby traps.
  • Masako in Penguindrum uses a laser-sighted slingshot.
  • Used as a joke in one episode of Seitokai Yakuindomo when a photographer for the school paper uses one to set up a shot of the main characters sleeping.
  • Serial Experiments Lain:
    • A teenager hopped up on nanotech goofballs shoots up a nightclub with a laser sight-equipped handgun. Just before he commits suicide, there is a camera shot where all you can see in the dim lighting are his teeth, and the laser dot on the roof of his mouth — a very striking image.
    • The "Men in Black" have laser sights on their high-tech eyepieces. It's never explained what function the laser sights serve, other than tipping people off that they're being watched and generally creeping them out.
  • Trigun shows that pistols from the colony ships all appear to have built in laser sights.
  • Sword Art Online: The VRMMORPG that serves as the setting for the first half of the second season, Gun Gale Online, has a variation form of this trope built right in to the gameplay engine. When you put your finger on the trigger, GGO generates a "Bullet Prediction Line" that shows the path your bullet will take from the end of your barrel to the target. The shooter doesn't see it - they instead see a "Bullet Circle" that expands and contracts with their heartbeat, within which the bullet will randomly hit when fired - but anyone reasonably near the receiving end will, and it's just about the only warning they get. The exception is with a sniper's first shot from a prone position, which does not generate a Prediction Line. Kirito quickly learns to use the Prediction Lines in order to deflect shots with his Photon Sword.

    Comic Books 
  • In Marvel Comics Presents #39-41, a sniper aims main character Hercules as a cliffhanger in one issue. In the following one, Hercules notices the laser sight in his chest, and dodges it easily. The story takes place circa 2385 AD, and still they make the same mistake.
  • This Trope was used, in part, to kill Captain America.
    • Although, it was largely subverted in the process. A sniper with a laser sight aimed, not at Cap, but at the cop in front of Cap. Captain America, having seen the dot, took the bullet for the police officer. In the ensuing chaos, the real assassin "killed" Cap.
  • This shows up in Preacher, though it's for the intimidation factor to let The Klan members Jesse was meeting up with know that he's covered by an ally. Later on it's averted when a hitman tries a snipe, but using his scope rather than a laser sight.
  • Averted in the Doctor Who graphic novel Agent Provocateur; when Martha gets shot, she notes that there was no laser dot and her only warning was a glint off the scope.
  • In The Incredible Hulk, this trope is invoked by The Avengers on the entire Hulk Family for intimdation purposes. The Hulk, knowing that everyone on his team is Nigh-Invulnerable, doesn't fall for it—until Steve Rogers reveals that the guns are actually teleportation devices for sending them to the Negative Zone.
  • Suicide Squad featured a confusing example: A laser pistol with a laser sight.
  • A laser sight in The Wicked + The Divine is mistaken for a regular laser pointer before the bullets start flying.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used realistically in Act of Valor since Chief Dave is an actual Navy SEAL. He turns his sight on and off as he moves through the terrorist compound in the climax, only keeping it on longer than a moment if he's firing at a target.
  • Alien: Covenant: The futuristic rifles use green targeting lazers.
  • Kind of a typical scene in Assault on Precinct 13 (2005) when a multitudes of laser pointers cross the entire interior. Apparently, pulling the shades on windows is adequate defense.
  • Belly: An entire hit squad sent to kill a rival Jamaican drug lord uses these attached to some weapons during their mission.
  • Blade in Blade II has a little competition with one of the Blood Pack; he draws his pistol and aims at Blade's heart, thinking how easy it would be to shoot him. Turns out Blade has already done the same to him. We're let in on exactly what they're thinking by their laser sights.
  • In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Sam threatens Agent Sitwell into coming with him by pointing out that a laser sight is aimed at him.
  • Cobra. The cop played by Sylvester Stallone uses a Jati submachine gun with laser sight. While in a factory he uses the sight to distract some mooks by detaching it and leaving it switched on in a dark room. While the mooks are sneaking up on where they think Stallone is, he jumps them from behind.
  • Colombiana. An FBI agent is trying to convince a CIA Jerkass to hand over information on the Columbian cartel member the hitwoman protagonist wants revenge on. The CIA dude refuses, even when the FBI guy says she's threatening his family. CIA dude then gets a red dot on his chest, but isn't impressed as the windows are armoured glass. Cue a bullet punching through the glass into a picture of the President. The CIA dude has a sudden attitude adjustment.
  • In The Dark Knight, several of the Joker's hostages disguised as terrorist clowns are targeted by snipers, and red dots pop up like chicken pox on one of them. They're rightfully freaked out.
  • Manu has a laser sight mounted on his sniper rifle in Dobermann. The first time it is used, he puts a red dot on Dobermann's forehead at the junkyard, which is just him showing off. However, when the same red dot appears on the rookie cop's forehead during the bank job, the audience knows something bad is about to happen.
  • EO: EO the donkey has wandered into a forest and is standing in a clearing at night when a bunch of laser sights appear out of nowhere. It's hunters, shooting wolves in the forest at night.
  • In the Action Prologue of The Expendables, Somali pirates are about execute their hostages when a bag of ransom money drops in their midst. The pirate leader immediately shouts at his men not to shoot at the protagonists whom they see covering them with their rifles, because he's got several laser beams specifically on his chest. So justified, though he turns out to be Too Dumb to Live anyway.
  • Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives: Deputy Rick's gun has a mail order laser sight that he's quite proud of. Megan steals it to hold Rick at gunpoint and make him release Tommy from the jail cell, and then lock himself in. An amused Tommy makes an Ironic Echo to a comment Rick made earlier while pointing the gun at him.
    Rick: Wherever the red dot goes, you bang.
  • The Great White Hype has Jamie Foxx and a couple friends burst in on Samuel L. Jackson and his entourage with guns drawn on them. Foxx starts making loud demands which very quickly become toned down and then completely backtracked when Jackson's security detail (about 10 guys) walk in with handguns all equipped with lasers. Said lasers migrate from Foxx's chest to his groin to emphasis how badly he screwed up.
  • James Bond
    • The World Is Not Enough. In the Action Prologue in Bilbao, Bond is about to be shot by a mook when he sees a laser dot on the man's chest just before an unseen sniper shoots him. This tells him someone out there wants him alive, but only for now. After MI6 headquarters is bombed and James is looking out the hole in the building wall, he sees a laser sight just in time to duck out of the way. The shooter was located on a boat, about 300-400 meters away, with G36 equipped with a scope. And she missed (in that case not on purpose).
    • Bond has a laser module on his weapon in the opening sequence of Spectre, but it's actually a laser microphone that he uses to listen in on a conversation and he's using iron sights to aim. He's spotted when the mooks spot the beam in a cloud of cigarette smoke.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: The Indoraptor, though normally uncontrollable, has been conditioned to identify anything marked with a Laser Sight when a particular sound goes off as an immediate target.
  • Used by the antagonists in Kate during the finale after the defenders cut the lights. Users are much easier to target in the dark.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Riggs adds a laser sight to his gun despite his already Improbable Aiming Skills. Early in the film he uses it to accurately plot a ricochet —off a rusted pipe!— and take out a mook who's taken cover. Later he uses it to intimidate Jet Li and force his gang to stand down.
  • Used in the 2006 Geoffrey Wright version of Macbeth in which the Shakespearean villain is an Australian crime boss. Macduff's forces have laser sights on their assault rifles, switched on while sneaking through the woods towards Macbeth's house in the middle of the night, yet for some reason none of the guards see them.
  • The Peacemaker during the hijacking of the nuclear train a team of assassins take a position on one side of a train car to gun down at least a dozen sleeping soldiers. It's dark enough that the only light in the car are the lasers and the assassins are wearing night vision goggles. The troops suddenly wake up and the bright red dots are their only indication of what's about to happen.
  • Used in Phone Booth, like Dramatic Gun Cock, for very effective psychological reasons on Stu. It also works against the Sniper, as the lead cop sees it and begins to understand the situation.
  • Predator
    • The Predator from Predator uses a cluster of three laser pointers built into his helmet, presumably for triangulation. These are arranged in a triangular pattern, make a distinctive sound, and are used to target its shoulder cannon. From the POV of the Predator's helmet, they appear as three red lines that come together in a triangle when the target is locked.
    • Used to the extreme in the trailer for Predators when a character is bathed in these marks. It's only one of them in the actual movie, though.
  • Leon / The Professional, where Laser Sights appear like cutting beams through a window, to be avoided by the Anti-Hero protagonist and his Little Miss Badass tag-along.
  • In the climax of The Recruit James Clayton exits the building to find an army of CIA agents with weapons pointed at him emphasized by at least a half a dozen red dots on his chest. Then it is revealed that his mentor Walter Burke, who had been trying to kill him, is The Mole, and all of the red dots move conspicuously from James' chest to Walter's.
  • RoboCop 3: A criminal enters a cafe/doughnut shop, unaware that the old cliche about doughnut shops being a standard hangout for cops actually applies to this establishment. As soon as he pulls out his piece and demands money from the cashier, there is what could be called a *Click* Hello on steroids, followed by three laser sights pointed at the poor sap's face. Donut Mess with a Cop!
    What's it like, being a rocket scientist?
  • Scarred City the police use laser-equipped rifles as part of an initiation ceremony for a new member of the team. They chain him to a chair and shoot hundreds of rounds around him. His restraints are then shot off with the laser-aimed bullet. Later that cop enlists the help of a prostitute to take down a mobster and the bad cops by revealing she has one of these rifles. When the cop dismisses her abilities, she lampshades the trope by reminding them "Where the red dot aims, the bullet goes. Kinda takes all the skill out of shooting." She was close enough that real-world ballistics wouldn't have affected her shot that badly.
  • Star Trek: First Contact: The Borg all laser sights. Given that the don't use guns, they probably act as a scanner.
  • The Substitute 2: School's Out invokes this trope to intimidate a group of gang-members by making them believe they are being covered by a like-number of hidden snipers, they are actually being covered by a single man with a gimbal-rig holding several laser-pointers.
  • The trademark weapon of Kurt Russell's character in Tango and Cash is a revolver with a laser sight mounted on top. However, since the movie is from the eighties, the laser-pointer is about as big as the weapon itself.
  • The Terminator: "The .45 longslide, with laser sighting." At the time, laser sights were nowhere near as common as they are now, and Arnold Schwarzenegger had to hide the battery up his sleeve. It gives a cool Impending Doom P.O.V. when Sarah Connor's vision goes red as the Terminator puts the laser dot right between her eyes.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah uses one with her rifle when she goes to kill Miles Dyson. Of course, Dyson's back is turned, so he can't see the laser.
  • Used for Anachronism Stew effect in the opening scene of Timecop, in which criminals are using time travel for personal gain. A lone man confronts five American Civil War soldiers escorting a Confederate gold shipment; when they draw their revolvers, he guns them down with laser-sighted Guns Akimbo machine pistols.
  • Transformers (2007), surprisingly enough, uses it realistically in the final battle when the US forces try to destroy Megatron's loyal underling Blackout. Surprisingly Realistic Outcome occurs when said Decepticon sees the targeting laser on his arm.
  • Transporter 2: Rule of Cool when attached to The Dragon's Guns Akimbo machine-pistols, but justified in two scenes where it's used to force the protagonist into doing what they want (the first time a laser dot is on the head of the kid he's protecting, the second it's on Frank's chest to make him get into a car he knows is rigged with a bomb).
  • Vigilante Diaries: When the Vigilante emerges from his Trash Landing in the dumpster, he finds a dozen laser sights on him and realises he has run straight into a trap.
  • Wanted: Towards the beginning of the movie, a man is shown talking with a woman, and a laser-point appears on her forehead prior to a Boom, Headshot!. Possible lampshade, however, as she was Indian, she had a bindi, which was naturally where the sniper aimed anyway. The man doesn't realize it's a laser sight until she moves her head (meaning the laser is no longer on the bindi), but by that point it's too late. On subsequent viewings, it's pretty obviously a laser sight.

  • An early version occurs in Wild Justice (published 1979) by Wilbur Smith. A terrorist hijacker gets a laser dot on her chest when she goes outside to meet the negotiator, but just laughs it off as she knows they won't shoot while she's holding several hundred hostages.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Averted with the AM-280 which has a frequency-hopping ultraviolet laser-sight. Without an EV-helmet keyed to the same codes as the rifle it's impossible to see the laser except as a subliminal flash. However later novels drop the helmet and feature the trope straight when the AM-280 is used.
  • In the BattleTech novel "Lost Destiny", a Clan elemental who is hunting Kai Allard-Liao with as few resources as possible uses a laser pointer aimed at Deidre, Kai's love interest, to convince him to come into the open. Kai does so, and the elemental mocks him for falling for it. Kai challenges him to a duel and breaks his neck, no small feat.
    • Averted by another novel, "Assumption of Risk." Here, an entire chapter is devoted to the death of a major political player in the Inner Sphere. Ryan Steiner, the Skye Separatist faction leader, is assassinated by a highly competent sniper. As pointed out above, the universe does have some weapons with laser sights (especially targeting acquisition gear, which actually sends targeting data to artillery as opposed to being mounted on a gun), but for once, they aren't mentioned or used in any major sniping events in the course of the 'Classic' series of books.
  • In the Wraith Squadron novels, Myn Donos - a professional sniper, no less - is accused of not being in position to cover the accuser. The laser sight is never mentioned again, not even on a later mission where the viewpoint character is right next to two people who are subsequently sniped, so it's quite possible that he normally doesn't use it. note 
    "Look at your chest." Face glanced down. Dancing around on his chest was a bright red spot, the wrong end of the laser targeting sight from Donos's sniper rifle. Face half crawled out of the chair before he could bring himself under control. "All right. They're ready." The red light disappeared. "I'm going to get him for that."
  • In the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class, Pavel Kazakov's men use these to keep some would-be enemies from attacking their principal.
  • In The Dresden Files, an assassin targeting Duke Ortega in"Death Masks uses a sniper rifle with a laser sight. It does little but tip off the intended target.
  • Used on the pistols issued to Treecats in Honor Harrington. Treecats have a lot of difficulty using normal sights but since the primary reason for giving them guns is to increase their effectiveness as bodyguards a pistol equipped with a laser sight is an effective weapon for the short ranges that they might need to use it for.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad has these used as a Weapon for Intimidation, when Walt tells Elliot and Gretchen that two professional hitmen are at the other end of the sights with orders to kill them should they ever deviate from his demands for the handling of his money. In fact, it's just Badger and Skinny Pete with laser pointers.
  • One episode of Burn Notice had them being used specifically for the intimidation factor. Once the target knew he was being aimed at, he became a lot less inclined to shoot Michael.
  • John Casey on Chuck has a laser sight mounted on his Sig pistol.
  • CSI: In "Keep Calm and Carry On", Sara tackles Nick to the ground when a red dot appears on his chest while they are investigating a crime scene outside the airport. It turns out just to be Jerkass with a laser pointer.
  • In a notable exception, an episode of CSI: Miami features a military-trained sniper shooting random civilians, with absolutely no warning as to where or when he was going to strike... not even a laser sight. He even used a Ghillie Suit to avoid being spotted from the air.
  • There was an episode of The Equalizer where a professional hitman is trying to kill a murderous thug who'd taken hostages in a building which only happened because the thug had seen the hitman's laser sight waving about on the wall next to him and ran for it.
  • Firefly: Mal spots a laser dot on his business partner's forehead just moments before someone takes a shot at him. Unlike above, he's unable to save him.
    • There is also a scene where the crew are performing a Gunship Rescue on Simon and River and Jayne uses a laser sight on a pistol grip shotgun to intimidate the leader of the mob of ignorant villagers.
  • In an episode of The Flash (1990), an assassin uses a laser-equipped rifle to aim at a target. The target's girlfriend tries to brush off the red-colored "smudge" on his shirt and takes the bullet instead.
  • Played with in Fortune Hunter. The hero points out a red dot on a guard's chest, warning the man not to move or raise the alarm lest he be shot by a hidden sniper. The dot, however, comes from an off-the-shelf laser pointer taped to a tree.
  • In F/X: The Series, used by law-enforcement when ambushing a criminal-hostage pair after forcing them to a different location in a simulated fire.
    • In a related usage of laser pointers, a laser sight was used to detect the location of a sniper in real time based by aiming it through two bullet holes. However, the sniper spotted the laser dot and managed to avoid capture.
  • Heroes series 4 — Noah Bennet is taking aim with a sniper rifle (complete with bipod) and how does said target avoid it? Someone spots the red dot!
  • In the Jonathan Creek episode "The Curious Tale of Mr Spearfish", Jonathan solves a mysterious death when he realises what Maddie described as a "red birthmark" on the victim's face was actually a laser. He wasn't shot, though, so it's not quite that simple.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto's Kunai Gun has a triple laser sight; in the first episode, Tendou somehow uses the sight in conjunction with smoke and mirrors (literally) to thwart a Worm in Clock Up.
  • Leverage: The red dots of multiple laser sights appear on Hardison's chest when he and Eliot are captured by Right Wing Militia Fanatics in "The Gone-Fishin' Job".
    • A Russian mobster has a sniper highlight Nate with a laser sight in "The Carnival Job", probably more for the intimidation factor than actual aiming. However, Nate, unfazed, pulls a silent Three... Two... One..., counting down on his fingers, and the red dot shifts to the mobster, as Parker had intercepted and neutralized the sniper.
  • Subverted on Mystery Woman, "In The Shadows"; Philby and Cassie escape a sniper when he notices the red dot. The dot was actually created by a friendly party warning them about the sniper.
  • The MythBusters would use a laser sight whenever a precision shot needed to be made for a myth, one episode even had Grant putting a laser sight on a blowgun.
    • During the series they also demonstrated repeatedly why laser sights are so impractical for long range combat. It turns out that bullets do not travel straight, so the laser will always just give you an estimation on where it will land, not an absolute. Their favorite method to compensate for this was to instead fire several bullets at the exact same point and then use the laser sight to aim at the middle of the spread.
  • NCIS: They whip this out pretty frequently. Notably in one episode where they have some sort of automated gun system thingy. There must have a dozen dots hovering around.
    • Notably averted though when Kate is killed. The first indication that she was in a sniper's sights was the bullet hole in her head.
    • Used at least once in NCIS: Los Angeles in the "I've got you in my sights so don't try anything funny" way.
  • Person of Interest.
    • Played straight in several examples involving so-called professional killers, but "Critical" has a different take. In a I Have Your Wife ploy, an Evil Brit shows the Victim of the Week an infra-red camera image of their wife being covered by an infra-red laser from a sniper. This avoids the problem of people seeing it, though Reese is still able to work out the position of the shooter from the image.
    • Subverted in "Guilty". Finch has an Oh, Crap! reaction on seeing a laser dot on his window, but it's just Reese trying to communicate via a laser pointer and Morse code.
  • The Professionals. The intimidation factor of a Laser-Lok sight (at the time a cutting-edge technology) is a major theme in the episode "Hunter/Hunted", with the villain using a stolen rifle (based on the American 180) to conduct a war of nerves on Doyle. But when the villain sees a laser dot on his chest, he realises the game is up and surrenders peacefully. The Danger Room Cold Open has Cowley shining the laser in someone's eyes to dazzle him so he'll fall from the roof (into a pool of water which is conveniently underneath).
    • The Sweeney episode "Nightmare" came out at the same time and featured a couple of renegade ex-IRA trying to get hold of some experimental laser-sighted rifles stolen from a factory in Utah (another reference to the AM-180, though they're AR-10's on screen).
  • The Punisher (2017). In "Crossfire", a private security SWAT Team bursts into a room where Frank Castle has just let off a couple of smoke grenades, with the smoke clearly revealing the laser sights on their submachine guns. Their leader is smart enough to turn his off as Frank takes down his men one by one and then when Frank picks up a submachine gun the team leader opens fire on where the gun's laser shows Frank must be standing. Turns out the SMG is just lying on a table as a distraction...
  • Red Dwarf: At the end of The Promised Land, Diamond-Rimmer generates one of these and splashes it across the chest of the villain Rodon.. not to shoot him, but to compel the target's fellow humanoid cats into attacking him, causing their ship to crash.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: The end-of-season cliffhanger for season 6 has the main characters leaving The Dirty Robber after Korsak's wedding. The dot of a laser sweeps across the group. The characters spot it, then the screen goes back and a shot rings out.
  • Played straight in RoboCop: The Series, where a criminal is knocked to the ground. When his head clears, he has about a dozen laser dots on his chest.
  • Played with in an episode of The Sentinel, where the hero's friend protected him from angry mobsters by using a laser pointer and a pair of binoculars to simulate a sniper, forcing them to back down.
  • In Sherlock, this is used to intimidate Moriarty's hostages whom he is using to communicate via phone and pager with Sherlock.
  • The members of SG-1 all use P90s that come equipped with laser sights, but they are almost never used. One time a laser sight was used it was to mark a target for a missile strike.
  • Supernatural: In "Nightshifter", Sam sees a Laser Sight on Ron's back right before he's shot by the SWAT team.
  • Double Subverted in an episode of Weeds. Nancy is speaking at an outdoor family gathering when suddenly a red laser dot appears on her forehead. It's her niece playing with a laser pointer. The actual sniper aiming at her was using a standard optical sight.
  • Whoniverse:
    • Doctor Who: In "The Magician's Apprentice", eight UNIT snipers train their laser-sights on Missy. This is justified on two levels: as she is a Time Lady, very specific spots on Missy's body need to be hit to stop her in case she does something funny, so precision is required; and it was Missy herself who requested the snipers, so that seeing her visibly targeted would have made Clara and the rest of UNIT willing to meet with her.
    • Torchwood: Children of Earth. Both Ianto and Gwen see the laser-sight of a sniper in time to avoid the bullet. Ironically this could have been a chance to introduce some realism to this trope, as the smoke from the explosion which just destroyed Torchwood 3 could have revealed the beam.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Games Workshop once released a limited edition laser pointer styled after a laser sight to check true line of sight during games.
    • Closely related games like Necromunda have 'red dot sights' as wargear that can be fitted to a weapon to make it a little easier to aim, but also give the target a small chance to spot the dot and dodge. Similar items may be available in some versions of the main 40k game itself, too.note 
  • GURPS is a little crazy with this. Red sights are good at night, orange sights are a little better than red during the day, green sights have better range during the day than night, infrared sights always have the same range. Oh, and did you want first generation version, modern version or integral targeting laser?
    • Anyone who sees a laser dot on them may require a "fright check".
  • Mutants & Masterminds makes them available for all ranged weapons, but all they do is add a +1 to your accuracy.
  • They're a possible weapon mod in Shadowrun, but they're only useful at close range and the bonus they give doesn't stack with the much more effective Smartgun System (which not only improves your accuracy, it allows you to do all sorts of other cool tricks like blind-firing around corners without penalties or firing the gun when it isn't even in your hand).

    Video Games 
  • ANNO: Mutationem: The Consortium's Class II security team, Lightning, utilizes laser sight for their weapons when attacking from a distance for direct attacks.
  • Subverted in the comedy game Armed & Dangerous, where the sniper rifle explicitly has a red light as opposed to a laser sight. This is even less useful than a laser sight for all the reasons above.
  • Ashes Afterglow: The first workbench upgrade to the semi-automatic Glock pistol is, among general touch-ups and cleaning of the gun, a laser sight — which, according to the blueprints, is just a regular old laser pointer attached under the barrel. This makes the pistol a lot more accurate, on par with the .45 revolver. It even changes name from "9mm Autoloader" to "Tacticool Autoloader".
  • Being quite inspired by RE4, Cold Fear has these, though only for the longer-ranged weapons.
  • Dead Space also does this, being Resident Evil 4 Recycled In Space, although they're nice bright, blue laser sights. Seeing as (all but one of) the "weapons" are re-purposed mining tools, and as such concealability was a much lesser design concern than precision and ease of use. Knowing where the plasma cutting beam will go would be a tremendous help when carving up rocks.
  • In Deadhunt, your Steyr IWS 2000 Sniper Rifle lacks a scope, but has a fine re dlaser-line attached to the barrel to help you aim at zombies, knights and other monsters.
  • In Deus Ex, a laser sight is one of several modifications that can be added to your guns. It completely negates spread in the weapon it's attached to, making it as accurate as when you have max skill in its weapon class.
  • Ghostrunner: Some sniper enemies have massive red-laser sights, conveniently telling you when you need to run and hide to avoid getting one-shot by them.
  • Half-Life:
    • Averted in the first Half-Life where occasional snipers can only be spotted by the presence of camouflage netting and a dot on the ground.
    • In Half-Life 2, the Combine snipers not only have laser sights, but unlike real lasers, the beam is visible from the side.
    • And somewhat played with in Opposing Force - Adrian's Desert Eagle uses a laser sight in place of any ironsights, but it's only visible to him.
  • Blaster users in Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel will have a laser guide or a crosshair projecting from their weapons when using the Sniper Shot skill.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
  • Metal Gear is possibly the Trope Maker of the laser sight mechanic in video games. Several weapons in the games use a laser sight to show the direction in which the gun is shooting.
    • In Metal Gear Solid, Sniper Wolf targets Meryl, and a red dot appears on her chest. Meryl notices it and just stands there for several seconds as if she doesn't realize what's happening, only to get shot — multiple times — by Wolf. Admittedly Meryl is a rookie, but hero Snake is standing right next to her and fails to react quickly enough to push her into safety. One possible interpretation is that Wolf was using the sight to send a message (effectively taunting Snake and Meryl), and Snake felt that if he acted it might make Wolf shoot while the gun was still aimed at something vital. Another is that the laser sight is only there for the player's benefit, since the graphics were too primitive to really allow the player to see where Sniper Wolf was aiming in the ensuing boss fight.
    • Most weapons in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty have laser sights attached, which are useful because you can't aim down their sights in first-person view. The SOCOM from the previous game does use its ironsights, however, blocking your view of its laser.
    • The EZ Gun in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has one of these. But then, it is the EZ Gun, after all. If you call The Boss while you have it equipped she'll chew you out for using it. The Scorpion machine pistol also features a laser sight, which makes it very accurate in single-shot mode.
    • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, you can purchase laser sights for some of your firearms in order to improve your aim, as well as the distance at which you can Lock On to a target with the weapon; however, in both single-player and multi-player the beam itself can be seen.
    • Enemy snipers use laser sights in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, giving the player a couple seconds to get to cover when targeted. In the sniper battle with Quiet, Miller will point out that a sniper of her skill shouldn't need a laser, so she must just be toying with you, showing that if she really wanted you dead, you'd be dead.
  • In Resident Evil 4, Leon Kennedy, Ada, and Krauser (the game's main characters who use guns) all have their close-range firearms (handguns, SMGs, bows) equipped with laser sights, usually tiny ones mounted just under the barrel. This is a great help to the player, as it's the only way to tell where . However, their rifles, as long-range weapons, lack these sights and rely upon conventional ones.
    • Leon's laser sight is absent in the Wii version. Instead, the player gets a traditional FPS crosshair that is moved around by the Wiimote. Ada and Krauser keep their lasers, though.
    • The Predator-esque Verdugo has laser Glowing Eyes of Doom.
    • Resident Evil 5 does this with nearly all of Chris and Sheva's weapons, even ones with scopes, to both show both you and your partner what you're aiming at. The one exception is the longbow. Enemies with machine guns or rocket launchers also have laser sights, though theirs are bright green.
    • Alfred Ashford from Resident Evil – Code: Veronica uses both a scope and laser sight on his rifle, and he still can't shoot worth beans.
    • The Resident Evil remakes, despite using the same over-the-shoulder camera as Resident Evil 4, use a traditional crosshair sight for shooting. Many guns, however, have a laser sight upgrade, which eliminates the "focus" time for the crosshairs: the gun will always shoot at the red dot. While helpful for the basic handguns, it's almost essential for magnums, where the focus time can be as long as a full second.
  • Spark the Battle Dog: You can buy laser sights for Spark's weapons in-between levels.
  • Featured as a joke in Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. Sam Fisher is told that the snipers sent to support him "can only kill the people with red dots on them". Fisher himself also gets one attached to his pistol in that game, which tells you exactly where a bullet will hit rather than having to work with guessing via the crosshair - which, within the range that you can see the dot, turns the pistol from a Little Useless Gun only good for saving rifle ammo in extreme close range to the hand of God smiting all of your enemies. Some mooks across the series use them as well, and they return as an available attachment for your guns in Conviction.
  • Team Fortress Classic: The easiest way to tell a Sniper is watching is if he's charging his shot, which causes a laser dot to show on a wall. Having one show up on your vision means you're pretty much fucked. The rocket launcher in both games uses a laser sight to guide the projectile.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The Sniper displays a team-colored dot whenever his scope is engaged as a game balance measure. The game is Troperrific to the extreme, so it's about par for the course. Another of the Sniper's possible weapons, the Machina, emits a bright beam of light when fired, and so does the Hitman's Heatmaker when Focus is engaged.
    • One of the Engineer update's new toys is the Wrangler, a remote control for the Engineer's Sentry Gun which wraps it in a Deflector Shield and allows them to selectively target and attack opponents. This is indicated by a helpful laser sight that shows everyone where the Engie is aiming at that moment, and when it's safe to cross—or safe for a Spy to creep up behind the Engineer and shiv him.
    • Robot Snipers in Mann vs. Machine mode have full-length visible laser beams (unless they're carrying Huntsmen, obviously). They take quite a while to line up their shots, even if you're charging them head-on.
  • The snipers in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune have laser sights too.
  • Unreal Tournament 2004 includes a pair of superweapons, the "Ion Painter" and "Target Painter". Both are, on their own, totally-harmless laser pointers - but point that laser at a specific spot for long enough and they will call in, respectively, an orbital strike from a satellite and a bomber plane dropping its payload. The AVRiL and Mine Layer weapons also have lasers activated with secondary fire, the former to guide its missiles towards vehicles and the latter to direct its robotic spider-mines.
  • Present (as a Laser Designator) in Starcraft, where a sufficiently observant player can identify the target of an incoming Nuclear Missile by the pretty (and very small) red dot dancing around on it. In fact, spotting the red dot and using it to locate and kill the ghost is the only way to stop a nuclear strike (Presumably with the target designator lost the nuke self destructs). If the laser designator disappears on its own, that means the trajectory is locked and its too late to stop.
  • Modern Warfare:
    • In Call of Duty 4, M4A1 SOPMOD kits have laser sights of the infra-red variety, so you only see them when you activate your Night-Vision Goggles. There is a crazy nighttime firefight early on in "The Bog" where everyone has them.note 
    • Many of the guns feature a "red dot sight", in which a red dot is in the center of the holographic scope. Again you'd need night vision goggles to see the entire laser, but the red dot itself is an excellent aiming assit.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2:
      • Some of the enemies in the gulag and Site Hotel Bravo have visible laser sights.
      • In another level you get to use your gun's laser sight as a targeting pointer for the Stryker. Which carries a .50 caliber HMG. There are few sights more satisfying than watching three choppers being blown of the air in quick succession as you pass your Laser Sight over them.
      • In the Spec-Ops level "Overwatch", a remake of CoD4's "Death from Above", with the second player in place of the SAS team, the player on the ground gets a laser sight with which he can tell the player in the AC-130 where to hand out the ordnance.
    • Two levels of the game are set in the immediate aftermath of a nuke caused EMP, and as such no electronics work. This includes all laser and red dot sights. These guns are now actually less effective, and you'll be better off with a standard scope or ironsights.
    • Call of Duty: Black Ops II turns the Laser Sight into an actual attachment available on most weapons, increasing your hip-firing accuracy. Strangely, despite the clearly-visible beam emitted from the module, and the dot it produces for you, it's hardly noticeable to other players.
  • In Rainbow Six: Vegas and its sequel, most of the firearms except for sniper rifles can accept a laser sight as the attachment, increasing accuracy when it's on at but with a greater chance of the user being spotted.
  • Ghost Recon: Future Soldier features the same attachment for most weapons, increasing your control over the weapon when firing; you can't turn it off in this game, but enemies can't notice you aiming at them with it, either. Setting up sync-shots also results in each teammate's gun emitting a blue laser through the Cross-com when they're ready to fire. Enemy snipers have the more traditional fully-visible laser so the player knows where they're about to be shot from; at one point in a cutscene, the player character warns the team that they're about to be ambushed because the enemy snipers are using said lasers.
    • Ghost Recon Wildlands, which is even more Gun Porn-heavy than Future Soldier, offers a wide variety of laser sights as part of its Gun Accessories repertoire. Most are single-beam models, but a few actually have Predator-style triple beams instead. All laser sights increase a gun's accuracy (and sometimes its effective range) by a margin dependent on their respective tier/quality, but many of them are also quite bulky and therefore make the weapon more unwieldy. Strangely, despite most models being compatible with standardized rail systems like Picatinny or Weaver, laser sights aren't interchangeable between weapon classes - a handgun sight can only be fitted to handguns, never to submachine guns or assault rifles even if they use the same rail system. In keeping with the rather downplayed realism, no enemy in Wildlands will ever notice being lasered even when you shine the dot(s) straight into a sicario's or soldier's eyes. Conversely, hostile snipers are smart enough to not use them, making those suckers exceedingly dangerous if you didn't spot and tag them before they spot you.
  • In Pikmin 2, a half-robot, half-spider monstrosity known as the Man-At-Legs has a giant laser sight emerge from its underbelly and throw a bright red laser beam to target any threats, whch it then proceeds to pulp down with what can only be described as a rapid-fire autocannon.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day features a laser-sighted crossbow.
  • One of the two sniper rifles in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City sports a laser sight. It's not all that good at distance.
  • In Portal, the adorable-yet-deadly gun turrets have laser sights emitted from their single red eye. This makes it easier to avoid them, and also aids in a couple puzzles where you have to use portals to redirect the turrets' fire. The rocket turrets also have laser sights, but they're blue.
  • Lunar Knights has a take on this. The Spotters in the various stealth missions patrol a given region and come after you if you are in their line of vision. They stick to you almost like glue (but you can run to get far enough away from them to force them back to patrol mode), but they have no visible attack. This is explained in that they are broadcasting your location to sniper turrets conveniently placed in the region, and if you stick around for a ten-count (that hastens as you are reacquired as a target), both characters get a headshot. Unless you're packing Wild Cards or the Burning Headband with healing items, this results in an instant Game Over.
  • Averted in Deus Ex, in which none of the weapons have laser sights as standard, but the player can acquire them elsewhere in the game. There's nothing to stop you sticking one on a sniper rifle if you really want to, but it will provide no benefit unless you are firing it without zooming in. An oddity with the game's laser sight mod is that if a weapon doesn't have a scope, attaching a laser sight will make the weapon perfectly accurate regardless of skill or movement. The prototype plasma rifle (more accurately described as a cannon) is capable of using a laser sight (a character even requests such at one point).
  • Several weapon skins in City of Heroes (for the bow, the assault rifle and the twin pistols used in the Thugs powerset) include laser sights. However, like all of the weapon skins this is purely a cosmetic change and has no effect on the actual performance of the weapon. You can also adjust the color of the laser.
  • Halo:
    • The Spartan Laser, introduced in Halo 3, is an example of a laser sight on a laser weapon, shining for several seconds (the exact time depending on the game) while the weapon is charging. It makes up for this by being a one-hit kill, though it's not really a sniping weapon, being rather unwieldy at long range.
    • The Forerunner-designed Binary Rifle, introduced in Halo 4, is one of the most powerful man-portable weapons in the entire series. When it's zoomed in, its scope emits a very distinct red beam. This is all for gameplay balance, as it is always a one-hit-kill in against human opponents in multiplayer, while only the most powerful AI enemies can take more than one shot.
    • Halo 5: Guardians's Warzone mode also allows you to put a Laser Targeter on your basic loadout weapons, which reduces bullet spread.
  • Most of Crysis' guns have a laser sight. It's somewhat justified for the homing system of the rocket launcher, as this weapon is laser-guided.
    • Especially notable in that, owing to the game's weapon customization system, a player could potentially put a laser sight on virtually anything, regardless of actual practical value. But then, a player can also do things like put a sniper scope on a shotgun firing buckshot with a wide choke, so how realistically they are used is really up to how the player chooses to accessorize their weapons.
  • In Jagged Alliance, while no guns except the rocket rifle have laser sights as standard (but in the same game, sniper rifles don't have scopes by the default), they can be equipped to most weapons (including sniper rifles) for a boost in accuracy. A laser sight in poor condition will actually lower your accuracy.
  • In Crysis 2, laser sights are typically mounted to carbines and allow CELL troops a higher chance of spotting a cloaked player if the laser hits the player. Players who shine laser sights into CELL trooper eyes will also alert said mooks to their presence.
  • The Morph Gun in the latter part of the Jak and Daxter series has a laser sight. Since the game has no first- or third-person aiming modes, it's good to have something to let you know where your shots are going.
    • To be fair, Jak also automatically aims at the nearest enemy, so that helps, too.
  • The snipers in Mirror's Edge use laser sights that are visible along the entire length of the beam, not just as a red dot on the target. It makes it very easy to find the source.
  • Kai's crossbow in Heavenly Sword is equipped with some sort of contraption of mirrors to create a sunbeam sight.
  • Sniper Rifles in Dawn of War 1 and 2 have a laser sight mounted underneath the barrel.
    • This is an RTS game though, so this is probably to help the player see which of his guys are snipers and which ones have bolters (And in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm, helps to spot cloaked scouts attacking, especially on snow).
    • The game's other sniper unit, the Vindicare, doesn't use them. However, using his scope makes a huge sound audible to all players.
    • Tau Markerlights leave the target with a great big red icon on them (but doesn't actually require the Pathfinders to keep aiming at them).
  • Far Point grants you a laser-sighted rocket launcher. It's really handy when targeting enemies who's weak spots are blatantly marked.
  • In FEAR 2: Project Origin, enemy snipers have visible laser sights which are fully visible along their entire length. Enemies with RPGs get the same for the sections where you get to take a stolen power armor for a spin.
  • Captain Cross from [PROTOTYPE] has a yellowish-green fully-visible sight emitting from his fancy arm-mounted RPG-thingy. In [PROTOTYPE 2] all explosive weapons, including helicopter missiles and tank cannons, have flashing blue laser sights (accompanied by an audible beeping sound).
  • In Left 4 Dead 2 the survivors can pick up laser sights for their weapons. While they do make your weapons more accurate, they're mostly used for letting other players know where you're aiming. Since you're fighting zombies, the visibility of the beam by enemies isn't exactly a concern.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding has the first boss, Wang, who sic turrets on you equipped with laser-sights that you need to avoid or take damage. In 1900s Taiwan, somehow.
  • The guards in The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay have laser sights attached to their helmets, which serve no apparent purpose other than to indicate to escaping inmates which direction the guard is currently looking.
    • All the guns in the game also seem to have laser sights when wielded by the player, but this seems to be a unique crosshair rather than an actual in-universe feature, since the exact same laser dot appears on all the weapons (including a WWI rifle!) in The Darkness by the same developer.
  • Averted in Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising. Laser sights in the game are IR-only and thus are only visible when using IR goggles. Given that it's a realistic military FPS, their primary use in the game is the same as in real life.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect generates a laser sight beam whenever an NPC uses the 'Assassination' skill with a Sniper Rifle. Seeing the beam paint Shepard gives you a half second window to throw up a Barrier or Immunity, or else...
    • The same effect, albeit with several years of graphical improvements, returns with a vengeance for the Cerberus Nemeses in Mass Effect 3.
    • Very well done in Mass Effect 2 with the Phalanx pistol, which comes standard with a laser sight. The blue laser is easy to see in both light and dark environments, perfectly predicts where the slug will hit, and allows for long-range shots that would otherwise be difficult to make with a pistol. The laser only appears when Shepard aims down the sight, so it never gets in the way during combat.
    • Also in Mass Effect 3, Shepard spends the better part of "Priority: Rannoch" with a huge laser-scoped target designator strapped to his/her back. It's tied into the quarian fleet in orbit of Rannoch, allowing Shepard to call in orbital bombardments at will and helping him/her when they go mano a mano with a Reaper.
  • The 2009 Bionic Commando remake is a MAJOR offender. There's a level where you leap from rooftop to rooftop taking out snipers by tracing the beams back to their source (not only is the dot visible, but the actual beams are as well).
  • When the inmates take over the guard towers in Batman: Arkham Asylum, the mook snipers in them use infrared lasers only visible in Detective Mode. Since the rifles were stolen from the armory of the asylum, thus meant for the guards' use, they're there for intimidation. However, if you look closely, you can see they are also wearing infrared goggles - trope cleverly averted. The sequel also manages to use laser sights while still technically averting the trope. The Joker's rifle, has a bright green laser in the shape of a smiley face, but only because he follows the Rule of Funny. When actual-assassin Deadshot snipes people, there's no warning whatsoever.
    • In Batman: Arkham Origins, Deadshot does have a sweeping laser sight. All of these are ultimately for your benefit, as they let you know when someone is aiming at you.
  • You could attach a laser sight to FN FALs' in Fallout 2 to increase your accuracy. Enemies couldn't see it, with combat working the way it did.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, the Courier may purchase Gun Accessories for various weapons found in the wasteland. Only two explicit laser sights exist, however, and both reduce the spread (effectively helping aim the weapon by preventing rounds from going off target). One is for the 10mm pistol, while the other is for the 12.7mm SMG. They kind of need it.
  • Command & Conquer: Generals Zero Hour and Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 have them. Generals has Avenger vehicles who can improve the rate of fire of friendly units. Red Alert 3 has the Guardian Tank, whose secondary does the same as the Avenger.
    • Averted with Natasha who is a sniper, and does have a laser sight attached to her rifle, but it's used to target buildings and vehicles for air strikes. When she targets infantry or snipes pilots, she doesn't use the laser.
  • Alan Wake has a variation: Alan has no significant experience in firearms, and the game lacks crosshairs to represent this. Instead, both Alan and the player use Alan's flashlight to see where he's aiming.
  • Battlefield 3 lets you attach laser sights on most guns after you unlock them, which makes shooting from the hip easier and lets you temporarily blind enemies, but also makes it easy for them to spot you while you're hiding unless you turn it off. You can even attach them on sniper rifles, but as the game simulates bullet drop at high ranges, they can be very misleading like in the trope description as your shots will not hit where the dot is. Battlefield 4 adds on to this with several different variations, including ones that emit a green beam instead, ones that emit three beams at once, and versions that are bundled together with a flashlight, meaning turning off the laser turns on the light and vice versa.
  • Battlezone II: Combat Commander has hull-mounted lasers on its Hover Tanks to assist with aiming when in third person. However, other players cannot see the beam.
  • All of the player's weapons in WinBack use one, befitting its heavy inspiration from Metal Gear Solid.
  • PlanetSide 2 has laser sights as an optional attachment on handheld guns. Using a laser sight makes the gun more accurate when hip-firing, but the laser can give away your position, though a design oversight allows users to retain the accuracy bonus even with the laser turned off.
  • A laser sight replaces the traditional crosshairs in Doom³: BFG Edition if you're playing in 3D mode. It's Awesome, but Impractical, as it looks cool, but is absolutely awful to aim with; the laser sways with the weapon, and doesn't actually point to where the gun actually fires.
  • In the Metro series, laser sights are very useful in Ranger Mode, where you never have crosshairs to begin with. Unless you want to waste your (all-too-limited) ammo, they're essential for accurate hip-shooting.
    • In Metro 2033, the VSV, the Kalash 2012 and a few variants of some other weapons have these, but they differ a little from the usual video game example: they don't make the guns any more accurate when hip-firing – if anything, the bobbing of the dot can be rather disconcerting during rapid fire, as it flashes up almost to the top of the screen while the shots keep hitting the center. The Volt Driver has no sights, and is aimed exclusively by its laser sight.
    • In Metro: Last Light, laser sights are a common accessory you can purchase for most of your weapons. Aside from being useful in Ranger difficulties, they're the only way to aim the Dupletnote  and the Hellbreath effectively if you're not playing with crosshairs enabled, since neither has usable iron sights.
  • Done realistically in ArmA: laser sights are only visible with night vision goggles, and are used because looking into a scope forces you to take the goggles off (though the scope itself might be starlight scope or infrared capable).
  • The rifles used by enemy snipers in Far Cry 3 are fitted with laser sights; this often works to the player's benefit, as they can be used to figure out where snipers are standing when scouting an enemy outpost, and where they're aiming when they attack. This can turn into a major Oh, Crap! moment for the player if they're discovered and a whole bunch of bright-red beams suddenly converges on them, considering that snipers (especially the elite versions) never miss and deal a crapton of damage, ranking them among the most dangerous combatants in the game.
    • Far Cry 4, being built on the same engine, graphics and AI as its predecessor, reuses the exact same mechanics for its snipers as well.
  • Morningstar specialists and police snipers in Saints Row: The Third have these on their sniper rifles. It helps remind you of their presence.
  • The Mass Driver in Tread Marks, being the only long-ranged unguided weapon in the game, has a laser sight to assist with aiming; all other weapons have to be eyeballed.
  • In A Blurred Line, the Agency Guards have those attached to their guns. Since the game is a turn-based JPRG, it has no actual influence, and it doesn't even help to make the Guards more accurate.
  • One of the available gun upgrades in Dex.
  • In The Fall (2014), ARID's pistol has both a dual laser sight/flashlight module attached. When the laser sight is active, the gun is ready to fire.
  • In Splatoon, Charger-type weapons display a laser sight while they're being charged.
  • PAYDAY 2 doesn't have crosshairs; instead, it has laser sights unlockable for almost every gun in the game. You can even set them to whatever color you like. There's no justification for why enemies can't see the beam, even in stealth. Enemy snipers, SWAT Van Turrets, and Trip Mines or sentries will also have laser sights; in the turret's case, it will even change color depending on its status (red means it can and will fire, a yellow beam that turns off and on repeatedly means it's reloading).
  • SpyParty has a laser sight on the sniper's rifle, which serves to inform the spy player of which guest the sniper player is currently focused on.
  • The Laser Sight is a Gun Accessory in XCOM 2, appearing in the weapon as a holographic sight. It increases the base Critical Hit chance, and even more if the user is close to the target. It's more or less ideal to put in the Ranger's Short-Range Shotgun.
  • SCP: Secret Laboratory: Laser sights are available as an attachment for most weapons. They bring a significant boost to hipfire accuracy, though the laser is visible to other players.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: When Team RWBY fights a Paladin being controlled by Roman Torchwick, Yang explodes Weiss's ice to create a dense fog that obscures everyone's vision. Torchwick responds by activating several laser sights to see through it.

    Web Comics 
  • Funny Farm - Mileena uses an ordinary laser pointer to convince Pete that there is a sniper trained on him.
  • In Commander Kitty, the Triple-I use laser sights at point blank range. Showoffs.
  • In Adventures of Fifine ambassador Schwartz (who insists he's neither) uses a sniper's laser sight to threaten his opponent. (Possible anachronism as the story is set in 1926. Sure, parallel world and all that, but...)
  • In The Last Days of Foxhound, Sniper Wolf has a laser sight on her sniper rifle, just like in Metal Gear Solid. It accidentally gives her away on more than one occasion.
  • In Spacetrawler, Yuri gets a laser sight installed. When she proudly shows it off, it makes the entire room glow bright red. It's not a malfunction, it's indicating that she's capable of blowing up everything in eyesight.
  • Parodied in this page of Exterminatus Now, where an unnamed inquisitor uses a laser pointer in order to scare off an extremely nosy reporter.
  • Vexxarr discovered just about the only situation when these things are really indispensable.
  • Lethal: Death Squad Rising features several assassins who should not quit their day jobs, but the one hired to kill the mayor in #4 goes above and beyond. Specifically, he uses a handgun with a laser sight. While disguised as a window washer on a scaffolding just outside the victim's office. In other words, aside from having no way to escape after the job, he is well within range that even an average gunman would score a hit without a sight, and all the red dot does is alert the victim so he can quip and get shoved out of the way.
  • Parodied in Darths & Droids, where the second Death Star, er, Peace Moon is so powerful its Laser Sight blows up ships by itself.
    "Goddammit. I'm never gonna to get to fire this weapon."
  • Shows up in Starslip, when an assassin gunning for Obdrath von Lucifuge gets found out by Lucifuge's assistant when he draws the sight across her. (She quickly tracks down and dismembers the assassin, because she's that kind of assistant.) He even remarks how useless the scope is, since his species "sees" by pheromones.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Bats spots a laser dot on Catwoman's head just moments before a cultist takes a shot at her.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, when Nyancy Chan was able to enthral Ben when he inadvertently transformed into Rath in her presence, Rook was able to help him break away from her control by using the laser sight on his weapon to get Rath to press on the Omnitrix insignia on his chest to revert him back to human form.
    Rath: Ooooh! Hey, come back here! Now I got- huh? Where'd you go? [continues to paw at the moving red dot] Lemme tell ya somethin', little red dot which is curiously devoid of mass or volume!
  • The Boondocks:
    • In "The Garden Party", Huey tries to shoot Ed Wuncler I with Riley's airsoft gun. Robert notices the laser sight, and keeps blocking it and/or pulling Wuncler out of range.
    • In "A Huey Freeman Christmas", a little girl notices a laser dot on a Mall Santa's head, just before Riley bursts into the scene with a pair of airsoft guns.
  • In Family Guy, the page quote's joke is inverted in "The Father, The Son, and the Holy Fonz" when Peter is trying to find a new religion and goes to a local Hindu temple. He ends up tackling the person he's speaking to because he mistakes his bindi for a laser from a sniper rifle. Then Double Subverted in a deleted scene, where the man knocks on their door later, bleeding from the forehead and revealing there really was a sniper aiming for him.
  • In the second season of The Venture Bros., every character with a gun used the exact same kind, down to the laser sight. The creators actually complain about this on the DVD Commentary when sadistic maniac Ted's gun has it, since they figured he wouldn't need one.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons when Fat Tony threatens Homer with an ice pick...with a built-in laser sight.
  • All of the energy weapons the bad guys use in Gargoyles use laser sights — odd, since it's explicitly stated that the laser is just for aiming, and that the energy beam itself is invisible.
  • Batman: Under the Red Hood. Black Mask has the standard "What's that red dot on my chest... Oh, Crap!" moment when Red Hood attacks his base. Red Hood apparently fitted a laser sight solely in order to provide that moment, since he blatantly waits for Black Mask to notice the red dot before he fires, and the weapon the sight is attached to turns out to be a rocket launcher, which hardly requires pinpoint precision. Justified in that the Red Hood is running a Batman Gambit which requires Black Mask to remain alive.
  • In one episode of The PJs, a street gang has taken over the Hilton-Jacobs projects and all of the residents are barricaded in their apartments out of fear. Thurgood resolves to go and get help and steps out into the dark hallways. He immediately sees several red dots appear on his chest, but he uses them to his advantage in order to dodge the gunfire of the gangsters.

    Real Life 
  • At least one incident has been recorded of the "intimidation" method preventing violence in Iraq. In 2005, a US Army infantry unit was conducting a night operation to capture a High Value Target somewhere in Anbar Province. One squad was making their way across the rooftops of neighboring houses when they encountered a man sleeping on the roof. When one of the Americans tripped over a glass bottle, the man awoke and reached for the AKM by his side. But as soon as he grasped his rifle, he noticed a dozen bright red dots dancing on his chest. The Iraqi took his hand off the rifle, made a "Hey, we're cool," gesture at the unseen Americans, and went back to sleep. The HVT was captured and none of his neighbors got shot.
  • There is now a pepper-spray flashlight that also has a laser sight on it. It can help make the target think you have a gun rather than just a flashlight.
  • The SAR-21, standard issue assault rifle of the Singapore Armed Forces, is one of the few assault rifles to come standard with a built in laser sight.
    • There is also a version of the P90 series called the "Laserex" which has a built in laser sight. Two different version exist, LV (Laser Visible) and IR (Infra-Red). LV is typically used in low-light conditions or by SWAT Teams who need intimidation value, while IR is only visible while using night vision equipment
  • Laser sights are available for purchase by civilians for pistols, rifles, bows, and crossbows.
    • They are also used on PEASHOOTERS. There is, of course, a movement calling for them to be banned.
    • Their most common use by far is on pistols, as it's now possible to make a laser sight small enough to fit into a pistol's grip with only minimal increase in weight, and pistols are normally used at very close range where the laser dot can normally be seen just fine even in broad daylight. If you're trying to shoot somebody from more than about 10-20 feet away, it's probably not self-defense.
    • Also useful for developing the ability to shoot well from the hip or other oddball positions, since close-range defense often involves being knocked down or having to keep one's weapon out of the attacker's reach. The old way - shooting thousands of practice rounds and getting used to where the holes went - can get expensive. Even for shooters who don't intend to rely on one to aim, they can be useful as a training aid, revealing flinches and other involuntary movements made as the user aims and pulls the trigger.
    • Lasers can also be useful for those who, due to age-related farsightedness or other medical reasons, cannot properly see standard sights.
    • At least as far back as The '70s, there have also been lasers designed in the shape of a bullet, to fit into the chamber of a weapon and give a line directly down the barrel for adjusting the sights to aim where bullets will actually hit (at least within a certain distance). They've even been used by the manufacturers themselves to sight in weapons during production.
  • Human instincts are to look at sources of danger, at large objects, at moving objects, and at faces. All of these basically work against the use of normal sights for quick action under stress. Since the average person won't have much high-stress practice, the laser on the attacker's chest might be the only kind of aim his brain will notice when he's surprised and terrified.
  • An accessory for NERF blasters, though it's more like a red light with a focus. The Nite-Finder and the Firestrike has one built in. They're quite impractical due to the fact that they're hard to see unless the light is low enough and that it will grow and fade out the farther away you are (this is, of course, due to the fact that putting a real laser on the toy would make it quite dangerous due to the risk of eye damage, and the dangers of causing people to think that a real gun was being pointed at them- see below). However, a few zip ties and a laser pointer later...
  • A few years back, using laser pointers to "dot" a policeman was quite the teen fad. It stopped when the police chief held a press conference to announce that officers were now ordered to treat this as a genuine sniping attempt. For this reason, pointing lasers at law enforcement is now a crime in many jurisdictions.
  • Some courses recommend these for self defense in the home. Not only do they aid in target acquisition at night, they have the added "Oh, Crap! I'm being aimed at" deterrent effect.
  • There's a similar device called a bore sight which is actually placed directly in the barrel of a gun. It's a little more practical than your standard laser sight, because it works the same way, but it's actually intended to be used to help zero a scope. You put the boresight in the chamber, dial the scope onto the dot, then remove the laser and zero as normal. This helps ensure that the first group firing while zeroing will be "on paper", instead of having to work the sights in from dirt splatter if you completely miss the target.
  • During the war in the former Yugoslavia there were numerous tales of journalists sleeping on the floor of wrecked apartments as the dots of laser sights played across their walls at head height. Given the drawbacks of laser sights mentioned in the introduction this was almost certainly for the sake of intimidation. Snipers hired by Muammar Gaddafi have allegedly been using laser sights as well.
  • One episode of the TV series That's Incredible featured a proposed use of a Laser Sight as a way of dealing with hostage takers. The presense of the red dot would tell the hostage taker that he can't use his captive as Human Shield since the red dot would be an easy guide to getting around that problem by aiming at any exposed part of his body.
  • In an episode of Beyond 2000, a laser sight was featured as a standard accessory to the American-180 submachine gun, including the Briefcase Blaster version which had it permanently built-in (in fact, this version won't fire until the laser is turned on as one of its safety features, the other being a combination lock which has to be set first).
  • In real life, soldiers do use laser pointers (called laser designators) to point out targets to friendly troops. While the earlier models, like the PEQ-2 were infrared-only, later models such as the PEQ-15 have a visible setting as well, which is typically used as part of Escalation of Force procedures to show a potential threat that they're being aimed at. The infrared has two parts - a floodlight to illuminate an area for night vision goggles, and a point laser. While on the low setting, the laser can be used to either designate targets for other soldiers wearing NVG's, or to aim the weapon itself, since it's next to impossible to use the sights with a tube hanging off the front of your helmet. On the high setting, the laser is bright enough to be seen by air support, and is used to direct them.
  • A variant of laser sighting is used by some armed forces (The SAS train on it, among others); using a weapon-mounted light can dazzle the target, as well as giving the shooter a pretty good idea where the bullets will go when the trigger is pulled (i.e., into the most brightly-lit part of the target). Obviously, it's ineffective at any sort of range, does not work in daylight, and is even worse than laser sights for giving away the shooter's position, but when used in close-quarter battle and for Dynamic Entry situations it has proved to be effective.
  • For a while it was indeed common for weapons (especially DMRs and sniper rifles) to be issued with a mountable laser accessory, but not for sighting. "Flashers" are barrel mounted lasers that produce the same effect as a laser sight, but are intended for blinding opponents by shinning the beam into their eyes. The practice was incredibly effective but since the blinding was more often then not permanent, these were banned by the Geneva Convention. The US Air Force recently made a flasher that always causes temporary blindness, but it is an entire non-lethal rifle rather than an accessory.
    • The US Navy uses green laser dazzlers not only for blinding the crews of incoming small boats, but also for fire control. At night, the officer in charge of the crew-served weapon mounts can direct the sailor with the dazzler laser to point it at a particular incoming small boat, showing the gunners which target they should be shooting at and providing a convenient point of aim.
  • Tasers often have laser sights as well. However they are more effective than on firearms due to the short range and general inaccuracy of a standard taser. The intimidation factor is also more justified in law enforcement as taser use is much less restricted that firearm use (obviously) and the appearance of a dot on someone along with a threat to use a taser can often get someone to surrender. In UK Police jargon this is known as "red-dotting", and using it is treated as use of force - the officer in question will have to do a substantial amount of paperwork afterwards justifying their actions, and can face reprimand if their reasons aren't up to snuff.
  • While lasers are often depicted in use by hostage-rescue teams, this would be disastrous in real life, and is not done. Imagine you and your teammates burst into a room and find an Ax-Crazy perp holding a gun to the hostage's head. You all raise your weapons, and see two lasers on the perp's face, two on the hostage. You have one second to guess which is yours... oops, too late.
  • Laser-guided missiles are directed to their targets by troops 'painting' the intended destination with a high-powered laser designator. This laser is not usually in the visible spectrum, instead only visible in night vision or infrared cameras. (Good thing too, or enemy troops would be able to confuse the missile's guidance system simply by turning on the lights.)
    • Semi-active radar homing works on the same basic principle, using a radar beam instead of an infrared one. The missile's guidance is simply a radar receiver, made to home in on the reflection of a radar beam emitted from the attacking aircraft; they're often called "beam-riding" missiles for this reason.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Visible Laser Beams


The Annoying Clerk

While paying at the counter, Ryan gets forced to submit an email address to the clerk who communicates with a sniper via earpiece touch.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ObligatoryEarpieceTouch

Media sources: