Here is a rather interesting article I stumbled upon. I’m sure everybody here has seen Terminator, if not go watch it. In the movie he uses a .45 with a laser sight attached to it. This day and age that doesn’t sound impressive but back in the ’80’s:
This was the early days of lasers for commercial use. “At that time we were dealing with helium neon laser. All the newer lasers are solid state, about the size of an aspirin or smaller.” HeNe lasers are much larger than that, he explained, and required about 10,000 volts to get started. Once ignited, they take 1,000 volts to keep them running. That makes the power supply a tricky thing to design.
Now consider the movie didn’t have a terribly high budget and this article makes for an interesting read.