Laser Devices Glossary

By having a thorough understanding of the most commonly used laser device terms, you will be better equipped to choose the right product for you. A review of the glossary terms below will help you make an informed decision.

Aerospace Aluminum Housing

Laser housing made from rugged aircraft-grade 6061 aluminum with an applied MIL-SPEC Type III hard coat anodized finish.


Anodizing is an electro-chemical process that converts the metal surface into a durable, corrosion-resistant finish.


A complex surface profile that reduces or eliminates spherical and other optical aberration compared to a simple lens.

Bore sighting

The alignment of a weapon-aiming device with the bore of the weapon. Also see Zeroing.

Class 1 IR Laser Pointer

Class 1 IR Laser is the first Mil Spec infrared aiming laser available to the commercial market. Class 1 IR lasers feature a 0.7mW rating that is eye-safe and not restricted by the FDA. A Class 1 laser is safe under all conditions of normal use


An electrically pumped semiconductor laser where the active medium is formed by a p-n junction of a semiconductor diode similar to that found in a light-emitting diode.


The beam divergence of an electromagnetic beam is an angular measure of the increase in beam diameter or radius with distance from the optical aperture or antenna aperture from which the electromagnetic beam emerges.

Dual Beam Aiming Technology

Co-aligned (slaved) visible and IR aiming lasers which is also referred to as DBAL (Dual Beam Aiming Laser).


The actual light-emitting part of an LED assembly. Can also describe where lumens are measured, for instance whether lumen output is measured at the emitter or OTF (out the front).

Eye-Safe IR LED Illuminator

An eye-safe IR LED Illuminator is safe under normal intended use

Fully Adjustable Mounting Interface

Completely pre-assembled mounting system designed for quick installation.

Fully Adjustable Windage and Elevation

Windage and elevation knobs are used to fine-tune accuracy. The elevation is usually on the top and affects the bullet's point of impact (POI) vertically. Windage is usually on the right side of the unit and affects the bullet's POI horizontally.

Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)

The semiconductor material used to manufacture the Gen 3 photocathode. GaAs photocathodes have a very high photosensitivity in the spectral region of about 450 to 950 nanometers (visible and near-infrared region).

Green Laser Technology (New Temperature Insensitive)

Green or Red laser operating over a wide-temperature spectrum, not physically or chemically sensitive to a set range of temperatures.

Highly Collimated IR Illuminator

An infrared light with rays that are parallel and therefore will spread minimally as it propagates.

IR (Infrared)

Area outside the visible spectrum that cannot be seen by the human eye (between 700 nanometers and 1 millimeter). The visible spectrum is between 400 and 700 nanometers.

Instantly Switch

Allows the user to instantly switch from one mode to another without delay.

Integrated Push Button Switch

An “On” or “Off” switch or other function that is built into the product.


The term "laser" originated as an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” A laser is a device that emits light through a process of optical amplification based on the stimulated emission of electromagnetic radiation.


Light Emitting Diode. An electronic component that produces light.


Typically, a piece of glass or plastic with curved faces that shapes light, but in flashlights the lens can also be the flat piece of glass or plastic at the front of the light that protects the light source.

Microwatts (uW)

A microwatt is equal to one millionth of a watt. A watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units (SI) and measures the rate of energy conversion. One watt is equivalent to 1 joule of energy per second.

MIL-STD-810G Environmental Testing

A United States Military Standard that tailors equipment environmental design and test limits to the conditions that it will experience throughout its service life. It also establishes test methods that replicate the effects of environments on the equipment rather than imitating the environments themselves.


Laser beams expand during travel are subject to divergence, which is measured in milliradians (mrad) or degrees.


The milliwatt is equal to one thousandth of a watt. A typical laser pointer produces about five milliwatts of light power.


A unit of length in the metric system, equal to one billionth of a meter.

Neutral Density Filter

A filter that reduces or modifies the intensity of all wavelengths or colors of light equally, giving no changes in hue of color rendition.

Night Vision Device

An optical instrument that lets the user see object in conditions approaching total darkness.

NATO 1913

A new standard for mounting auxiliary equipment such as telescopic sights, tactical lights, laser aiming modules, night vision devices, reflex sights, foregrips, bipods, and bayonets to small arms such as rifles and pistols.

Optical Diffuser

A device that softens the beam of a flashlight, via a translucent film or material placed over the lens. It is also used to diffuse IR laser light to cause IR illumination.

Output power

The actual amount of power (in milliwatts or watts) of radiant energy that a laser pointer produces at its output.

Picatinny Rails

Also known as a MIL-STD-1913 rail, STANAG 2324 rail, or tactical rail, it is a bracket on some firearms that provides a mounting platform for accessories and attachments, similar to the Weaver rail mount.

Quick Release Battery Cap

A battery cap that can be removed quickly and easily in order to change batteries. Remote Cable Pressure Pad Switch Activation A remote activation switch used to activate a laser device or light.


The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, most popular being the visible & infrared which are ranges traditionally given as: ultraviolet light, 100-400 nm; visible light, 400-750 nm; and infrared, 750 nm-1 mm.

Telescopic LED Illuminator

An adjustable beam divergence LED illuminator

Thumb Screw Mount

Is a solid and secure dual thumbscrew mount that can be attached to your Picatinny rail in seconds without the use of tools.

Visible Red Laser

A laser that operates at a visible wavelength typically around 635nm.

Visible Green Laser

A laser that operates at a visible wavelength typically between 515 - 532nm

Visible Override

A switching action that uses a Y-Cable remote switch to allow a white light illuminator to override the IR illuminator instantly.

Y-Cable Switch

A remote activation cable used to activate two separate products simultaneously.


Description for items that may be used in wet environments or under water to specified depths.


A method of aligning an aiming device to a weapon and adjusting it so that the point of aim is the point of impact