Chinese "Laser AK-47" Field Test Video Seeks To Silence Skeptics

To convince skeptics and naysayers the Chinese company that was the focus of international headlines after unveiling its “laser AK-47” that it claimed can set fire to a target from nearly a kilometer away has released a video of the weapon being tested as proof of its capability. 

Screenshot of the field test video featured by the South China Morning Post. 

As we highlighted, among the first to call bullshit on the claims published in a South China Morning Post report detailing the ZKZM-500 produced by the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences was a US military and veteran website.

After all, the original report touted the weapon could "burn through clothes in a split second… If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire. The pain will be beyond endurance," according to a Chinese weapons expert cited.

However the military commentary site Task and Purpose wrote: "it is hard to believe that the Chinese engineered a powerful-enough directed energy beam that can torch enemies from a half-mile away without being refracted by environmental factors like dust or fog — all with 'a rechargeable lithium battery pack similar to those found in smartphones.'"

Indeed much of the skepticism focused on what would constitute an unprecedented and almost unbelievable leap in laser power source technology, as TechCrunch noted, "the power required to set a person aflame instantly from half a mile away is truly huge. Let’s just do a little napkin math here."

TechCrunch explained:

The article says that the gun is powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the same in principle as those in your phone (though no doubt bigger). And it is said to be capable of a thousand two-second shots, amounting to two thousand seconds, or about half an hour total. A single laser “shot” of the magnitude tested by airborne and vehicle systems is on the order of tens of kilowatts, and those have trouble causing serious damage, which is why they’ve been all but abandoned by those developing them.

Let’s just pretend they work for a second, at those power levels — they use chemical batteries to power them, since they need to be emptied far faster than lithium ion batteries will safely discharge. But let’s say even then that we could use lithium ion batteries. The Tesla Powerwall is a useful comparator: it provides a few kilowatts of power and stores a few kilowatt-hours. And… it weighs more than 200 pounds.

“There’s just no way that a laser powered by a lithium-ion battery that a person could carry would be capable of producing the kind of heat described at point-blank range, let alone at 800 metres,” TechCrunch concluded.

But a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report featuring the new test video says "in response" to the critics "the company developing the weapon, ZKZM Laser, released footage of the gun being tested on a rooftop in Xian, Shaanxi province, in May."

Though the company says the filmed test was not conducted at maximum range, citing "safety reasons, to avoid anyone accidentally walking into the beam" — as the beam is invisible and the device without sound, various objects are shown igniting, including clothing and even a tire. 

The report describes:

One of the clips shows the weapon being used to zap a board propped against a wall some distance away, but it is unclear how far.

The beam is not visible, and only as the cameraman – who is apparently jogging after the shots are fired – nears the board, can blackened holes and flame be seen.

Other clips show the weapon being tested on a car tire and a T-shirt. When it is used to zap a piece of pork, it instantly begins smoking and someone is heard coughing in the background.

Screenshot of the field test video featured by the South China Morning Post

A company spokesman cited by the SCMP said “And after an upgrade it will be the world’s most advanced laser cannon – it will be able to take down a drone several kilometres away.”

The company says the ZKZM-500 could be used in both covert operations and police hostage situations: "it could be used to fire through windows at targets and temporarily disable the kidnappers while other units move in to rescue their captives," and further: "It could also be used in covert military operations. The beam is powerful enough to burn through a gas tank and ignite the fuel storage facility in a military airport."

We noted last week that it doesn't actually seem so far outside the realm of possibility considering what can now be built in a garage.

In 2015 covered the story of an American teenager who built a "laser shotgun" in his garage and demonstrated it could light things on fire from meters away.  

If this was accomplished three years ago by industrious American kids in garages, imagine what the Chinese military-industrial complex can do. So there is probably reason to be concerned.

* * *

Here are further ZKZM-500's capabilities and characteristics, according to the South China Morning Post (SCMP):

  • The portable laser weapon's energy beam cannot be seen by the naked eye, and the device makes no sound, and if concentrated for multiple bursts can set fire to a target from nearly a kilometer away.
  • It's ready for mass production based on the prototype built by Xian-based ZKZM Laser, and though officially billed as "non-lethal" (merely indicating its lethal applications are less immediate than regular firearms) will be strictly controlled by the Chinese government, with use by anti-terror squads in the Chinese Armed Police.
  • Powered by a rechargeable lithium battery pack akin to those found in smartphones and can fire more than 1,000 bursts with each lasting about two seconds.
  • The laser has been tuned to an invisible frequency, thus "nobody will know where the attack came from. It will look like an accident," a researcher cited in the report said. 
  • The report notes that "The lasers cannot kill a target with a single shot, but if fired at a person for long enough the weapons would start to burn a hole in their body, cutting through them like a surgical knife."
  • It is now ready for mass production and the first units are likely to be given to anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police, who would have the capability to "carbonize" a living person.
  • The laser can be easily mounted on cars, boats and planes, or can be a handheld tactical weapon, as it weights only three kilos (6.6lb), about the same as an AK-47.
  • It marks a huge advance over the most recent laser "machine gun" announced by Chengdu Hengan Police Equipment Manufacturing company only last month, which can purportedly fire up to 500 meters, compared to the new weapon's 800 meters and greater power.


dirty fingernails ParkAveFlasher Sun, 07/08/2018 - 11:56 Permalink

Off topic, but this was worthy of reposting:

Better hope there is no QE or 2025 will be extremely optimistic. I suspect it already is optimistic.


A $40 trillion debt in 2025 would be bad enough but things are likely to get worse. With debt exploding, the Fed will lose control of interest rates as foreign investors dump US bonds. A rate of 10% at that point would not be unrealistic. That would lead to an interest bill of $4 trillion per year (10% on $40T). This would mean that just interest costs are likely to be higher than total tax revenue.

In reply to by ParkAveFlasher

nuubee bigkahuna Sun, 07/08/2018 - 13:02 Permalink

Even assuming the Chinese are telling the truth, a laser gun is about the worst idea possible for combat. All you need is some overhead view of the battlefield with the right infrared/UV/Visible sensor, and you can absolutely pinpoint your enemies location. In short, any fool who uses a laser gun in combat is giving away his exact position to anyone with the right goggles.


If the laser gun doesn't set a human on fire instantly, then the battlefield requirements of fire-and-maneuver placed on you by stray laser light that gives away the laser origin will absolutely test a soldier's physical endurance to move without getting killed.


This is to say nothing of the the fact that aluminium foil is a nearly 100% shield to all infrared spectrum.

In reply to by bigkahuna

WOAR nuubee Sun, 07/08/2018 - 13:19 Permalink

Did you hear or see the laser before it began firing? You would have to wear those UV sensors all the time in order to detect this thing. That amount of equipment is guaranteed to be bulky, and easy to spot. Then you just burn the operators face off before he knows what is going on.

In reply to by nuubee

nuubee WOAR Sun, 07/08/2018 - 17:37 Permalink

WOAR... lasers take time to deliver their energy, the beam isn't like some star trek phaser rifle, it has to be on for a few seconds to do damage... So yes, simple sensors available anywhere could probably detect the exact location of the people firing at you.

In reply to by WOAR

CashMcCall nuubee Sun, 07/08/2018 - 18:48 Permalink

Ahhh Mr. Warmonger on his keyboard. I can blind you with a laser in a split second without any warning, or preemption. It really wouldn't matter since the Chinese could launch a 700 million man army and if all Asia joined in, that number would swell to 1.2 Billion. Before you embark on a discussion of Maxwell's equations, you ought to learn how to add first. 

In reply to by nuubee

Caught_Fish BennyBoy Sun, 07/08/2018 - 14:35 Permalink

Looking down an optical scope whilst firing an IR laser that can be reflected back at you, not smart.

The greatest danger is blindness which is why such weapons are banned.

One man with a bulldozer can bury a thousand bodies into a trench, how many people does it take to look after a thousand blind people?

What happens to morale and the economy when these people start returning home?

Three mirrors set at 90 degrees forming a point will reflect a laser back to its source, there is one on the moon for this purpose.

In reply to by BennyBoy

Offthebeach Cognitive Dissonance Sun, 07/08/2018 - 15:18 Permalink

Mid 60's. 10 years old.  

1. Green pine cone fights.  Left a mark.

2. Snow ball fights, but packed the snow until they were ice balls.  Unsettled experiments of small, fast vs. big, heavy.  Some modifications with road sand.  Also whipping at  car on the main road and running.


3. Fire cracker throwing, sparkler chashing and the best, Roman Candle fights.  

4. Water balloon fights .  

5. Making fires.

6 .  The first kid with a .22 , we stood in a group and had him shoot over our heads so we could hear the bullet just like on TV.  


In reply to by Cognitive Dissonance

dirty fingernails Looney Sun, 07/08/2018 - 11:43 Permalink

Yeah, it seems the MIC need MOAR funding, Mr Trump! Double it now! Triple it! Don't ask any questions, Congress, just send the routing numbers and Raytheon will take care of it!

So much for all the 1980's blather about technological superiority. I thought the troops were gonna have that HUD (that they couldn't clearly see past) and those self-guiding, shoot-around-corners bullets? Oh, right, more funding required. How's that LCS coming? F-35 still won't consistently take off? Hmmm Clearly you aren't funded enough. Perhaps you'll get it all together with the Space Force.


In reply to by Looney

CashMcCall dirty fingernails Sun, 07/08/2018 - 19:00 Permalink

Clearly, the only option is to FUND FUND FUND the TRUMP HEEL SPURS SPACE FORCE!


Of course, once the US has a rocket and a manned space program... but we can still BUY THE UNIFORMS now and start recruiting!  At this point, the American Space program is nothing more than the grounded diversity version of the Good Ship Lollypop... so there should be a lot of singing, diversity and dancing. Nothing will sell the Trump SPACE FORCE like a good old patriotic show with show tunes! And cheering TrumpTards.

In reply to by dirty fingernails

Dilluminati Free This Sun, 07/08/2018 - 12:12 Permalink

I'd pluck that communist savage with a RPR at 1000+ yards between his communist scums eyes if he points that thing at me, I guess they intend to use this on their own people as pointing that at an American is going to get them killed.

Communist Cunts... 

We should not be doing trade and business with these animals.

Cunts... Communist Cunts

In reply to by Free This

Dilluminati Free This Sun, 07/08/2018 - 14:09 Permalink

Good crowd of hate America first cunts here today.. 

They never learn :-)

Rufio Panman is where allot of my sensibilities are at..  

The irrational hate America first cunts have stirred the shit, and have "woken" allot of dogs who have been napping on the porch.

I'm up in the air on whether to get off the porch and go Hoffer true believer in the streets.. not warranted? Maybe Not?  Maxine is stirring the shit and I don't want to be her useless idiot unless forced.

But every-time I hear some 1/2 baked Kremlin troll narrative of the Chicoms coming to get America I laugh.. I'll be off the porch when they kick Russia's ass 1st.   Destiny has it for Russia.. too vast.. too far.. and just a hell of a lot easier to invade.  They build the infrastructure to connect the two and it's like Merkel inviting in the inevitable…

I loved the public get lost to the kluxers, again where my sensibilities are at but stupid people don't come to my neck of woods.

The Russia myth and winter is from the west.. future has it hard on the them 1st.

The Chicoms I have never liked.. not dislike Chinese just the cock-sucking communists 

we have 1000 yard ranges here where I'm at and no antifa


In reply to by Free This