Saturday, October 1, 2011

MilSim Laser Tag

I've gotten this question enough times to warrant doing a full-on post about this.  It just so happens that mchlmacdonald mentioned it in a comment and I decided to answer it with a new post.

Part of what this blog is really about is the tactical side of the blasters I love to mod.  Be it Nerf or Laser Tag Blasters, I do tend to sway in a MilSim-ish fashion.  Hence:  Tactical Tag.  While I understand why many hardcore MilSim folks go with Airsoft, I think Laser Tag can be an excellent compromise that can be just as fulfilling and exciting without running into legal issues/pissing off the locals.  The main dividing points between Airsoft/Paintball and Laser Tag that I recognize are as such:


  • Uses projectile-based rounds to land hits you can actually feel
  • Utilize physical ammunition that needs to be carried into combat
  • Have limited engagement ranges (~100 Feet)
  • Have much more realistic designs and features
  • Needs to be played somewhere that it is allowed/legal
Laser Tag
  • Uses Infrared Light to land hits on a sensor
  • Utilize electronic features to track scoring, ammo, etc
  • Have line-of-sight ranges of at least 300 feet (most can exceed this quite easily)
  • Have less realistic designs (unless you build your own)
  • Can be played anywhere
To me, one of the main elements of Military Simulation is "dressing up".  Donning full Digital Woodland Camouflage, wearing a load-bearing system of some sort to carry equipment with you, and going full-on "tacti-cool" with radios and other gadgets enhance the game to make it seem more like the real deal.  Really, you can accomplish this with just about any shooting-type game, be it Nerf, Laser Tag, Paintball, or Airsoft. You just need the proper equipment.  After that, it's about the game you're playing, the system you're using, to flesh things out.  

That being said, for mchlmacdonald's Airsoft Dilemma, I think the LTX system would be an excellent, cost-efficient, way to get into a MilSim style of play without breaking the bank.  While there are more MilSim-ish systems out there like FragTag, MilesTag, and others, the LTX would serve you just fine.  The features on the LTX like the recoil hammer, rumble pack, and reloading system harken to a MilSim style of play VERY well.  With a little tinkering/modification, you can easily make an LTX Blaster something that you'd want to field for that type of setting.  Ranges for Laser Tag work excellent for MilSim, since it's line of sight shooting instead of lobbing plastic pellets 100 feet.  With a little paint, your Shiny Blue Phoenix LTX can be a neat MilSim-esque blaster and there's simple enough mods you can make to get them to use real Red Dot sights, scopes, and Tac Lights.  One Source Laser Tag (1SLT) even has adapter rails for the LTX to use Weaver-rail accessories.  They're also the same guys who will be releasing the new accessories for the LTX: the RapidBlast and SniperShot I mentioned earlier, so just an all-around good store to keep your eye on.

That's my lowdown on Tactical-ness of Laser Tag and how it can easily be as MilSim as you want.


  1. i thank you for taking the time to answer my question.

    i loved what you did with the ltx and the stampede. that's exactly what i would like to do if we (my friends and i) make the transition to lasertag. 1100ft ranges are phenomenal.

    what is the beam spread like though at those ranges? do you have to aim directly at the sensor or just in the general direction? and does that lens assembly hinder your close-range capabilities?

    as for the turn-offs. what really makes us hesitant to buy the LTX is, simply the lack of sensors, the shields, and the sounds. the pew-pew sound of a laser would really take us out of the game.

    coming from spending close to $1500 to buy all the gear, the guns, the upgrades, we were about as mil-sim as airsoft can get. we want something affordable to test the waters of lasertag, and upgrade if we stay but at the same time not something so basic that it will turn us off immediately.

    if the ltx could be enhanced in those ways, i'd buy it in a minute. but if it cannot, i don't know if we'd be willing to buy it.

  2. The LTX can't be modified in terms of sound effects, since those are part of their software. External sensors could be added, but assuming you have no previous experience with building such a thing, that might be too tough. Right now, the main issue you face with your requirements is the gap between realistic sounding/looking blasters and cost/labor to build such a system. There are boards like MilesTag that would be able to support all the things you want to do, but again, you would need some experience in building these, including wiring in all the features. A basic UMT Micro MIlesTag board runs about 40 dollars. Thats just the system though. You would need to invest in housings and parts for buttons and sensors.

  3. I know this is off topic but what's your take on those new laser tag guns popping up in Toys R Us?

  4. Assuming you were talking about Light Strike, here's my take on it>

  5. Hello. My name is Jake. I am the co-founder of a group called Random Fun Events out of Milwaukee, WI. As the name would imply, we host events that are random and fun.

    Our group has recently developed an interest in laser tag and bought up a bunch of the Nerf Phoenix LTXs to use for some upcoming Fight Nights.

    I personally have developed an intense interest in laser tag as of late and have perused internet resources such as your blog to ascertain the current state of laser tag. This research has culminated in a blog post at

    which I thought you might enjoy. I would, of course, appreciate any feedback you have regarding the post.

    Keep up the great work. Is it too much to hope that STM extends the LTX line next year (per the rumor floating among hardcore laser tag enthusiasts)?


  6. It's great to see other folks picking up the LTXs! Now is actually a great time to stock up, since Toys R Us has a sale on them through the 23rd. It's a great system and you should know that STM is working on another Lazer Tag system. I have details here> < It will be compatible with the LTX and LTTO lines, so any investment made in existing systems will still allow you to use the new gear coming to us in 2012. I'll post more details as they become available on my blog. Thanks for reading, and happy tagging!