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The ZKZM-500 is a laser gun developed in China since 2018 by the Xian Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shaanxi.[1]

It can reportedly destroy a target 800 meters away by charring skin and human tissue. The frequency of the laser makes it invisible to the human eye and it does not produce noise. It is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and can shoot more than 1,000 shots per charge.[2]

It is now ready for mass production and the first units are likely to be given to anti-terrorism squads in the People's Armed Police.


There is no specific international regulation for the development or use of this type of laser weapon. The Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, signed by more than 100 nations, focuses on previous generations of weapons and prohibits the use of weapons that can cause blindness. It is classified as a non-lethal weapon on a Chinese government website.


Skeptics have noted that the ZKZM-500 would require a battery weighing several hundred pounds in order to achieve the rifle's described capabilities.[3][4][5]


The manufacturer of the ZKZM-500 has since released a video demonstration of the weapon's effects against cardboard, pork, and a rubber tire.[6]

See also[edit]

  • ZM-87, a similar weapon designed by the PRC.


  1. ^ China brings Star Wars to life with ‘laser AK-47’ that can set fire to targets a kilometre away
  2. ^ China has reportedly made a laser gun powerful enough to destroy a target from almost 1km away
  3. ^ Dymoke, Ned (July 2, 2018). "Science calls bullshit on China's 'AK-47 laser gun'". Big Think. Realistically, the battery alone would have to weigh several hundred pounds to provide the energy needed to fire a hot laser beam a kilometer.
  4. ^ Coldewey, Devin (July 2, 2018). "Chinese company claims its 'laser AK-47' can set you on fire from half a mile away". TechCrunch. 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 meters.
  5. ^ Atherton, Kelsey (July 2, 2018). "China's prototype laser rifle is a dangerous gimmick at best". C4ISRNET. “To make this work, you need a serious battery pack, some even more serious capacitors, optics that can take all this without turning back into sand at these energy densities, and rugged enough that you can treat this like military hardware,” says Broughton. “This is a ‘best case scenario operation only’ weapon if there ever was one.”
  6. ^ "Chinese 'Star Wars' laser weapon appears to set fire to objects at a distance". South China Morning Post. July 4, 2018. Chinese scientists have released a live test video of a long-range, portable laser weapon that has drawn the world’s attention.