London 2012 Games to use Laser Guns for Pentathlon

The BBC reports that the Pentathlon event will replace air pistols with laser guns. The quotes by Klaus Schormann, president of the sports governing body, are particularly illuminating (emphasis mine)…

“We can now hold competitions in parks and shopping malls.”

“Based on this new technology, all countries in the world can compete in our sport.

“They [the laser guns] will be easier to carry around and to take on aeroplanes. It’s the way of the future.”

Using a laser is not shooting. They should just go right ahead and drop “shooting” from the sport.

[ Many thanks to Thaddeus for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Vak

    Allow me to disagree with you Steve. Laser guns are perfect for such “shooting” events :

    – they are more accurate, and will be constantly accurate. There won’t be any variation in the point of impact so an athlete that could have been unlucky or one that was lucky won’t have any point taken from or given to him because of luck, which means athlete will be tested only on their shooting skills.
    – 4.5 air pistols aren’t really what I would consider a “gun” anway. The recoil is almost non-existent so going to the laser won’t be much of a problem.

    And come on, let’s be optimistic, if because of this, shooting sports become popular again, maybe they will be able to get their guns back at some point or another in the future.

    Let’s just hope that when Mr Schormann says “its the way of the future”, he means “it’s the way of the future for this discipline”, because let’s be honest, IPSC, IDPA, cowboy action shooting will never use laser guns.

  • Instead of using guns for skeet shooting, the London 2012 game will use the Nintendo Wii Mario Olympics’ skeet shooting game.

    Klaus Schormann continued, “we can then hold competitions in people’s living rooms and on-line, and get rid of these city bankrupting games altogether.”

  • shane

    “Because guns are dangerous and scary things we must not use them”
    same idiot that suggested laser guns for sport

  • Mountainbear

    Well, you can’t have “evil guns” at the games in the UK, given how the UK has been rampaging around with gun control.

    Irony of this is (tragic irony, really), when I was in London, I had a look at the police memorial near Horse Guards. There is this book of honor for all the cops who have been killed on duty. On the page that was open, I would say easily one third of the officers had been shot to death. The vast majority had been stabbed to death and a few actually died in accidents. And there are still plenty of British cops who don’t carry guns. And I remember a recent statistic that places the UK on the #1 spot among the countries with most violent crime.

    Hmm, now I think they could simply drop pentathlon completely and replace it with, let’s say MW2 or CoD. No real shooting, no real running either. Works perfectly. But hey, it’s the IOC, the one group that has been licking the feet of mass murdering regimes since 1936.

    Though I really love this part of what the guy said: “Safety issues will no longer be a big concern.”

    Safety issues with those small caliber toy guns? My old airgun is more dangerous. My cat was more dangerous than that! Safety issues in the hands of sportsmen who usually handle their guns in a very responsible way. What a lousy excuse to push the “gunz r ebil durrrrrrr” agenda.

  • Umm, yeah. Lasers don’t get affected by wind, gravity, etc. This is just dumb.

  • Jesse

    I wonder how powerful the lasers will be? If they are strong enough they won’t exactly be safe the way this guy assumes.

  • AB

    I can kind of see where this is going, thanks to years of those damned MILES training units going deedle deedle in my headset. Perhaps that’s the idea. A weapon that fires a blank round and then uses a MILES type sensor to detect the ‘shot.’

    Although seriously, who the smeg would host a pentathlon in a mall?!

  • SpudGun

    This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Better not mention to the IOC that the Javelin, Fenching and Archery are all just as deadly as shooting.

    Because the Brits have such absurdly strict and bureaucratic laws on firearms, I bet this has more to do with eliminating cost, time and paperwork for the authorities then any kind of ‘protection’ for it’s citizens.

  • They should also offer a prize to whichever participant shouts “Bang!” loudest while switching on the laser unit.

    • Mehul, HAHA, yes they should

  • subase

    They’re shooting light, so it still counts as shooting.

    • subase, it is as much shooting as is using a flashlight.

  • John C.

    laser guns do not test skill at all. they will shoot perfectly straight and negate the need for good trigger control. this is gun control at its worst. Jeez, its not even real guns theyre replacing, its pellet guns!! I am so glad I don’t live in england

  • Anton

    Got one thing to say to the people who came up with this, and excuse me for saying something rude but: FUCK YOU for ruining it.

    Also, the idea of Sport is that there are off putting factors.

    It’s like making Formula One drivers use a Playstation. NOW EVERYONE CAN JOIN.

  • electronics

    If there’s no projectile… It’s. Not. Shooting.

    I wonder how the athletes feel about this “improvement.” I imagine most of them are more than upset that shooting the airguns which they have spent hundreds of hours mastering is completely out the window.

    It’d be like replacing ski jumping with a simulator to make it safer for the athletes. Except people would get upset about that. This, people are probably just going to say good for the Olympic commission, doing away with those nasty guns that do horrible things all by themselves.

  • David Fiorito

    That’s not shooting, it’s pointing.

  • Bryan S

    Totally takes out of the equation the aspects of air movement, temperature, ammunition selection, earth rotation (depending on the distance), time from trigger pull to firing of the air charge or bullet… so many things that makes for better shooters and eventually better equipment for all of us.

  • Witt Sullivan

    You can still shoot your eye out.

    Flashing a target with a laser is not shooting. It’s like calling Internet stalking having a girlfriend.

  • Glen

    This isn’t shooting. It’s pointing. I’m not saying that it doesn’t take a great degree of skill to put the dot where you want it; but it necessarily takes less skill than putting a bullet where you want it.

    I wonder if it will still be considered a field event? Every field event that I can think of is an abstraction of some real-world survival skill (eg. Archery, javelin, maybe not discus). This has no real world application as I’m not even sure it could be considered a field skill abstraction given that lock time, trigger control, recoil control (yes, even air guns recoil), ballistics, and on and on would no longer matter.

    Until there is a sporting or military man-portable laser weapon, this is not a field event.

  • Mu

    Lets hope that “Olympic laser pointing” will be as successful as Olympic tug of war (yes, that used to be a discipline).

  • Steven

    I’m with Puke on this one. The skill in the long distance shooting is being able to overcome the variables in each shot. A laser being unable to feel the effect of these variables removes a large part of the skill that the event requires. This is the equivalent of removing the pole and the need to get over the bar in pole-vaulting.

    The point of the pentathlon is a variety of tests that are important to a soldier. Removing a function pistol (be it .22 or air pistol) would also remove the need for a competitor to be able to care and maintain their weapon as a laser, with its less parts, is much less likely to break down in a competition. I’m sure we can all agree the ability to maintain a properly function weapon and learn it’s ins and outs is a large part of being a soldier, and thus integral to the competition.

    Personally, I will accept a laser being used in this event when lasers themselves become the mainstay weapon of the modern soldier. Until that time, I feel a projectile weapon keeps with the heart, tradition, and the intent of the event.

  • Frank

    The olympics just keep getting more and more out of touch with reality and the actual sporting world.

  • SB_Pete

    “The events have changed somewhat since 1912. The equestrian event, originally a 5,000-meter cross-country ride against time, is now a 400-meter stadium jumping course. The swimming event has been cut from 300 meters to 200 meters, the cross-country running event from 4,000 meters to 3,000 meters. The shooting event, originally a 22-caliber pistol shot from 25 meters at a turning target, has become a 10-meter air pistol shot at a stationary target.”

    And now LAY-ZURS, gee whiz, cool.

    No wonder that a sport which was invented by Pierre de Coubertin to be a modern version of the ancient Pentathlon which was intended to replicate the skills needed by a soldier no longer looks anything the sort. according to the above article, “Competition was dominated by military officers until the 1950s.” Ugh, the whole thing just looks silly now. Frankly, I don’t care that they’ve gone to Duck Hunt Nintendo guns, the whole “sport” has become a parody of itself anyways. The fact that this happens in Britain is ironic of course, but does anyone still care about the pentathlon?

  • MrMaigo

    Yeah fencing will be replaced with nerf sword and everyone it the stands will be required to wear seat belts.

    Stop ruining fun. Jerks

  • Flashman

    There’s skill involved in real shooting. But nothing even remotely comparable is needed to use a laser pointer.

  • Teknix

    I think the lasers provide more of a hazard than pellet guns (well I guess equal since neither are eye safe).

    And where is the dr. evil voice when someone says “Lasers”?

  • What are they going to use for targets, PowerPoint presentations?

    Unless the lasers make things explode, it doesn’t count.

    You can already hold airgun matches in malls and parks. And I’m certain the laser guns can put someone’s eye out at a much greater distance than an airgun.

  • 4Cammer

    The pussification of the world continues.

    • Matt

      What would be your opinion of emasculating the world, because I think this is a step in that direction albeit a small one. You’re ignorance hints to an answer that compliments your ability to be a victim…

  • Underwhelmed

    Usually such news items from the BBC are expected on April 1st. Like the Big Ben Clock going digital. Sadly this isn’t a joke.

  • Martin

    Don’t forget to add the stipulation that they aren’t allowed to look anything like a gun, either. No barrel, no trigger, no gun-shaped stock. They should be required to make a happy sound when you activate them, too! Additionally, everyone should receive a medal because we don’t want anyone to have a sad.

    While they are at it, they should ensure all the javelins and arrows are blunt to the point of being unable to poke someone’s eye out. I’d be surprised if ‘elf ‘n safety doesn’t ban most of the venues while they’re at it. We wouldn’t want anyone to strain themselves lifting a heavy object (weightlifting), or the cyclists to go too fast in the velodrome.

    • Matt


  • DoubtingThomas

    The sport of POINTING is going to be an olympic event? What a sham.

    • DoubtingThomas, haha, yes, college professors and powerpoint ninjas worldwide are now Olympic hopefuls in the first laser pointing event.

    • Matt

      You are both lame.

  • Caseless

    Let’s move the target stand back five hundred meters if using laser/phaser/plasma/photon guns.

  • James

    @Vak The point IS that lasers are always accurate. There wont be any need to develop the shooting skill for a pentathlon when all you have to do is point and click.

  • Squidpuppy

    Wait, wait, wait… maybe they’re talking about Blasters, and being the media we all know so well, can’t get their technical details straight. Maybe what they’re talking about is, you know, like Han Solo’s BTI DL-44, or a standard DH-17. I guess it’s too much to hope for an Imperial E-11; that’s just crazy talk…

    • Matt

      Whats that craziness you’re talking?

  • Alan

    As long as they keep teh lazorz out of Biathalon I’ll be OK. Replacing a pellet pistol with a laser is one thing, but the rifle must be a rifle.

  • Vak

    Even with a laser, I think consistently hitting the 10 on those little targets at 10 meters (I can assure you they are quite small, and you don’t shoot from a rest) still takes some skill. This “innovation” is still complete bullshit, but I think some people might be overreacting by saying that anyone can join and that it defeats the very concept of olympic shooting.

  • 6677

    I live in the UK and its a right pain to get hold of any firearm, no gun may be semi automatic unless it is a rimfire of .22 caliber or less. RIfles have to have a 16inch barrel, shotguns i think its 24, handguns not allowed full stop unless its pre 18something or other. Not allowed to shoot deer without some sorta permit and then you have to use hollowpoints or something which requires a second permit. Permit for rifle, seperate permit for shotgun, some shotguns require the rifle permit aswell. I dont think its so much the government are concerned about safety, i think they just like to give people lots of forms to sign. As it is their on about making it even more strict after what happened up near the lake district recently after someone discovered the guns used were legal. I dont think its the guns fault i think its the users fault but still they think its a reason to ban more stuff.

    Someone commented on quite a few UK police not carrying guns, basically all police in UK dont carry guns unless their part of armed response. Even riot police deploy with just a shield and baton rather than bringing the good old argument ending belt fed grenade launcher. I went to turkey and at the airport in the UK end i saw 2 people with a gun. 1 of those was someone with it in a case and filling out paperwork to have it put on the plane. The other was a security guard. everyone else was walking around with a baton. Turkey end every guard had a gun

  • Mike M.

    You don’t want to know what the competitors in the Olympic shooting disciplines think of this…it’s not fit to print.

  • gunslinger

    not to be picky, but “LAZ-EERRS” do fire projectiles. granted it’s the photon, which may or may not have mass, but as Einstein and others have shown, is that light does behave as a particle, i.e. “something” so yeah.

    however i do agree that lasers do fire very straight and are not susceptible wind/gravity over such short distances and thus takes out that aspect. but if the events are indoors, how much wind is there? i’m not a competitive shooter so i’m not sure how the air flow is.

    but either way, i can’t lean one way or another. it’s a great idea but also does take way from the sport as well.

  • subase

    I think it’s good for the sport, as it polarizes the shooting disciplines. On one hand you have shooting projectiles with gunpowder and having to take account wind conditions and such.

    And now you have the lazer guns, which are cheap to run (cost nothing) and are not effected by wind at all. Now shooters will need to have complete and utter control of their body processes to make the most accurate shots. (breathing, heartbeat, muscle control, optic illusions of sorts).

    I think the savings in cost to participate in the sport (virtually nil both in equipment and venue) and the fact the gun isn’t actually ‘proper gun’ and as such not restricted in any nation. Are two advantage alone worth the cost of this change.

    Also I think people who have such great control over their bodies, will be able to carry to a large degree this skill into normal shooting. (although it’s largely irrelevant for combat purposes anyway)

    • Matt

      I agree with you. Not all countries allow gun ownership. This action of allowing laser based shooting devices will bring more people to the world of olympic shooting sports. Now, for American based shooting sports (where we are allowed guns more freely than most countries) this action is unacceptable. Regardless, I think fundamentals can be incorporated into whatever devices they choose.
      Its not going to be a laser pen the professor uses as a teaching aid like most of these fools are referencing. An open site, shoulder stocked pistol, with a weighted trigger of no less than 1.5 lbs, that discharges whatever light signature faster than any bullet at a small target over a set distance. The target could be designed to register the original contact of beam within +/- .00000001 of a second (make sure you’re aiming where you want to be aiming when you pull that trigger). Before/after/during cardiovascular exercises are going to make shooting somthing like that even more challenging.

      As an olympic discipline, I think using a laser could open the door for more people to practice weapon’s based training without drawing the unwanted attention of their draconian governments.

      As an American sport, it would require its own set of difficulties of any other discipline with much skepticism of its legitimacy. This is because shooting a gun you know can kill, is more fun than shooting one that doesn’t.

  • G3Ken

    Pathetic. No need to say more.

    • Matt

      you’re pathetic

  • Anton

    I want a .50 BMG discipline into Olympic shooting, for compensation.

  • gunslinger

    Anton….i have to do it…
    ok.. i feel like a 12 year old again…

    although honestly, long distance shooting does sound interesting

  • Jim

    Does one need a NRA Firearms Permit to own and operate a laser pistol?

    • Matt

      Probably not Jim……