Mental Socket Product Reviews!
Bigha Jasper Green Laser Pointer Review
December 18, 2005 - Earlier this year, I ordered a Bigha Jasper Green Laser pointer.  With all of the hype regarding lasers being used to blind pilots, it seemed like only a matter of time before the sale of these items would be banned.  This is the exact model that David Banach of Parsippany, N.J. used to get himself in a world of hot water for pointing it at a jet.  Since the media tends to over-hype things of this nature,  I wanted to get my hands on one of these to do my own testing. I've always been fascinated with lasers and owned several HeNe laser tubes over the years. Since my old HeNe tube laser went bad years ago,  I figured this was a good enough excuse to order one.

The ordering experience from Bigha was ok. While they were excellent in communicating information about the order status and shipping, they were thirty days off on the estimated ship date.  They did offer the option to select a different model, but I wanted the one I ordered. The model was the Jasper Always and the price was $134.90 shipped. Six weeks after ordering, a package arrived with the laser pointer, battery and foam lined case.  

click to enlargeAfter installing the battery, I quickly realized the switch design is lacking. It is extremely sensitive.  It does screw in and out  (difficult to do though) which I presume is an effort at a safety.  Considering the potential hazards of a 5 mW green laser, the switch should have a heavy spring preload. Further, when the pointer is inside the foam case, it can very easily turn itself on if the case is even slightly dropped on the end that the switch it pointed towards. I have accidently turned on the laser and several occasions while handling it.  Considering the price of the unit, the switch design leaves one feeling too much was paid for the unit.

So, how bright is the Jasper? Pretty damn bright I'll say!  You can certainly see the beam in just about any conditions excluding daylight.  In foggy weather or with a fog machine inside, the beam is very impressive to say the least.

With the help of a friend and cell phones, I was able to do the first of several planned distance tests. Using GPS, I was able to find a point to point spot across a local bay with a distance of 2.5 miles. The laser was hand held and the target was indicated only by an occasional camera flash. Further testing will use a constant light source from the target to determine if accuracy can be improved.  We will also use a tripod mount to enable precise aiming and determine beam spread. In this first video you can get a good idea of the brightness and aiming. Please excuse the shaking camera, but I was juggling between my cell phone, the video camera and my digital still camera as well as freezing my butt off!

I shouldn't have to say this, but I will.  These tests were conducted under controlled conditions.  The target area was a boat ramp next to a dam. No vehicles, people or homes were in the target area. Strict rules were adhered to by the laser operator concerning even the slightest chance of someone being exposed to the laser. That being said, there was no need for eye protection in the target area. If you were looking for the laser, you would see bright green flashes and occasionally the beam itself going by you. Beam spread appeared to be several inches at this distance.

click to enlargeOverall I believe the Jasper lasers to be good quality units. Since I have not purchased other models,  I cannot say the switch problems extend to those. Additionally, I have not purchased any competing brands of green pointers so I can't give you much there either!  I will say that I've had mine for almost one year and the battery is holding up very well.  The unit works whenever I need it to so I do not regret the money I have spent.

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