What kind of heartless monster wouldn't help a nice Canadian girl buy a laser gun?


Jesse Thorn of Maximum Fun says:

A couple of weeks ago, during the "Momentous Occasions" segment of an episode of Jordan, Jesse, GO!, a listener named Donna called in with a dual occasion: she had been admitted to graduate school to study Civil Engineering (she'll be working in green building measurement and certification) and she'd just been named to the Canadian Olympic team, competing in Modern Pentathlon. We invited her on the show for a discussion of her situation, and after some discussion figured out exactly what modern pentathlon is: running, swimming, show jumping, fencing and shooting.

Pentathletes recently switched to laser pistols in international competition, and the pistols are expensive - over $2000 each. Donna's just a nice lady who's studying civil engineering... she gets a free flight to the Olympics, and gets to stay in the athlete's village, but that's pretty much the extent of her income from being a penthathlete. So we decided to help her pay for her laser gun. Because what kind of heartless monster wouldn't help a nice Canadian girl buy a LASER GUN?

The goal is $2900, which would cover the gun, the laser assembly, and the replacement parts necessary in case of a malfunction. We've already raised nearly $1000, just today.

The project is on Indiegogo


  1. Despite the use of laser pistols, they don’t use light sabers for the fencing part yet. Although that would be awesome.

  2. I, for one, will certainly be tuning into this event whenever the opportunity arises.

    “The riding discipline involves show jumping over a 350–450 m course with 12 to 15 obstacles. Competitors are paired with horses in a draw 20 minutes before the start of the event.”

    Hi, here’s your random, strange beast of burden that weights about a half a ton that we’re going to ask you to do a series of obstacle jumps with.  Good luck!  Oh, hey, do you want a helmet?

    Add lasers and fencing and only laser fencing could possibly add cool to this event.

    1. It certainly suggests that the equestrian portion is a stay-on contest, rather than a test of real skill.

    2. Well, the Modern Pentathlon is the 19th-century-action-hero event, designed to simulate what a young officer would have to do to get a message through enemy lines- evade pursuit by running across country and swimming rivers, fight off attackers with sword and pistol, and escape on a horse that’s unfamiliar because you just liberated/requisitioned it.

      1.  And it doesn’t get more coverage Why????

        It’s just Begging for someone to make a movie involving some spy getting stuck in the event and fighting off Real attackers, with the bystanders thinking it’s all part of the event

  3. Not to be too pessimistic here, but if someone is going to the Olympics in a few months to compete at a particular sport, shouldn’t they have been practicing said sport for years?  I guess she’s been shooting regular pistols for awhile now, but it seems pretty late to just now start practicing with some weird laser pistol when you’re representing your entire country.

    1. Just speculation here, but it would seem that target shooting skills would be transferable between the two types of pistols. It’s not as if she has to suddenly use the other hand, or shoot from the hip.

    2. The laser pistols even included simulated projectile drop, report, and kickback. They’re designed to mimic the air pistols that have been in use for many years and were introduced to allow the competitions to be held in more places without raising safety concerns.

        1. Assuming an active target (perhaps an array of sensors) a wind sensor between gun and target tells the sensor how to model where the projectile should have gone.

      1. The laser pistols and their support system simply don’t work.  If you’re into the behind-the-scenes machinations, it’s not difficult to follow the money and see who’s willing to enrich themselves at the price of turning an interesting sport into a laughingstock.  There are a *bunch* of disgusted people out there.

        The only good thing to come from it is that the people who still compete with real firearms now cannot be sold a bill of goods about these things.  They won’t stand by and let any sanctioning body force them into using these pieces of crap without going into open revolt.  The powers-that-be wouldn’t dare try to force this garbage on the other Olympic shooting sports; the competitors know enough to not be fooled.  But my heart sure goes out to the pentathletes.

        1.  Mine as well.  I think a shifting of equipment of this magnitude should not have come only one year prior to the Olympics.

        2. So, what about the fact that 10m pistol/rifle has been non-powder-burning for decades now? Was that also a bastardization? I haven’t followed Olympic shooting for over 5 years, now but that laster pistol in the picture looks like it was made by Feinwerkbau, who has been making spring and pneumatic competition pistols/rifles for many decades. And the cost of the laser pistol is about the same cost for any Olympic pistol.

          I never followed pentathlon, so I don’t know if it was previously rimfire or not. But I doubt it was more than that. And pneumatic is very little different from target-power rimfire.

  4. Sure, I’ll cough up a few bucks to help get firearms into the hands of roving Canadian Olympic gangs.

    Especially one that looks for all the world like an 80s video game peripheral.

    Flippant here, but I’ll donate, and you tell me if I’m wrong on the video game peripheral thing.

    1.  It’s wireless and we didn’t have that in the 80’s.

      That’s about the only defense I see here…

  5. I guess I am confused why the move from air pistols to lasers. But hey – lasers. It has to be better, right? Glad to see the Olympians getting help where they can.

  6. “modern pentathlon is: running, swimming, show jumping, fencing and shooting.” 

    In other words, it’s an aptitude test for becoming the next Dread Pirate Roberts.

  7. Laser guns? Won’t that make the sport a bit easier, what with lasers being essentially immune to wind, gravity, etc…

    1.  Previous comments have mentioned that they’re not straight laser pistols, they’re programmed to mimic regular guns in terms of trajectory, etc

  8. I feel like the switch to laser pistols is the first step in the creation of the Post-Modern Pentathlon.

  9. Fascinating about the introduction of the laser guns.

    When the IOC was told that *ahem* they ought to have women’s ski jump competitions at the 2010 games, if only to comply with Canadian law, their response was “Oh no oh no, we can’t possibly impose such a major change so quickly. It would throw the entire sport into disrepute!”

  10. Would the generous Internet people finance me a GIANT STOMPY ROBOT if I ask nicely?

    1. Absolutely!
      You could have different levels of investment. At the Gold level, the investor is guaranteed not to be stomped upon by the robot. At the Platinum level, you can pick who you want stomped. 
      You’re gonna get millions. 

    2.  Well, I think you’re going to have to put together a better business plan than “ask nicely”.  I mean, she’s already done all the necessary practicing and is an Olympic level athlete.

      Now, if you were an Olympic level Giant Stompy Robot builder looking for a little help, I’m sure you’d do pretty well.  There was that guy just the other day who got funding for his underwater ROV in a day, so there are pro-robot financial helpers available…

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