Author Topic: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy  (Read 3546 times)

Psidefect

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Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« on: March 04, 2008, 09:24:25 AM »
Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy

This looks like Axe's world domination depot to me. :thumbsup:
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random axe

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2008, 11:27:20 AM »
:lol:

About 90% of that stuff is illegal here or there.  A number of states won't even let you own a collapsible baton -- which is good, considering how many collapsible batons are used in crimes every day.  And many states ban lockpicking devices unless you're a licensed locksmith, cop, etc.  If you make a slimjim at home and don't drive a tow truck for a living, you might be breaking the law.  Some of those gadgets are good, though, but throwing stars are not really the height of modern spy gear . . . .

If you have a 35mm camera, you can take fairly good pictures of people through their clothes in decent sunlight using color-infrared film.  It takes some practice, but it can be done.  Nowadays, you can buy milliwave digital camcorders, if you've got the bucks, but it seems like cheating.

Psidefect

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2008, 11:41:19 AM »
"If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying." - Jesse Ventura
“You've got a lot to learn about screwing up your life, pal.” - mrcookieface
“How sad for a marriage to fail because it's not compatible with Windows 31!  But it'll happen.” - random axe
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random axe

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2008, 11:49:18 AM »
I always say "If you find yourself in a fair fight, you didn't plan well enough."

Encino Man

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2008, 01:16:23 PM »
Collapsable batons are totally illegal here (they're called 'asps' I think).

Those lasers look cool. Do they really cut through stuff?

edit: asps are used in crimes in the club district often enough according to a buddy of mine who has been a club bouncer for years. The bouncers conceal them in their coats and then extend them swiftly to beat the fuck out of patrons in the back alley and then hide them in their interior suit pockets again...

random axe

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2008, 02:48:22 PM »
There are different kinds of collapsible batons.  Asp is a brand name, and a lot of the rigid telescoping batons are generically called 'asps'.  I've had a couple, but I usually give them to women, for home defense.  (A lot of women won't keep a Little League baseball bat by the bed but will keep an asp (no Cleopatra jokes, please), and, for complicated reasons, it's safer that way.) 

You can usually tell an Asp from an asp by the retraction method.  Cops like Asps, and most other folks like the sneakier but less heavy-duty knock-offs.

I prefer a sipo (whose name comes from the East German nickname for the secret police), which is a collapsible baton made of telescoping heavy-duty steel springs.  The springs retract into a hollow steel handle.  Extended, they're flexible, but not so flexible that you can easily bend the tip back to touch the handle.  It's very fast and light and practically indestructible.  Some have a trapezoidal-cross-section metal weight at the tip which will easily cut clothing and flesh, but the German jackboots liked it because it doesn't break bones.  It's like a heavier telescoping garden hose full of sand.

The sipo is illegal around here, too, though.  At least, I think it is, although Michigan laws are a bit vague on the subject, but my guess is that the cops here would think it was illegal, too.  Instead, in my car, I have a braided steel cable about as thick as your thumb, with a plastic coating on it, about 15" long.  It's just a piece of yard waste, a leftover from the support cable for a utility pole the electrical company replaced a couple of years ago.  You can bend it in your hands if you really try, but it's pretty stout, and not illegal to have in your car, while still being a lot less unwieldy than a crowbar (and harder to construe as 'burglar's tools').

Low-tech but effective. 

Psidefect

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2008, 03:50:28 PM »
Those lasers look cool. Do they really cut through stuff?

There's a video of one lighting a cigar. Other than that, I have no idea.

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« Last Edit: March 04, 2008, 03:52:01 PM by Psidefect »
“You've got a lot to learn about screwing up your life, pal.” - mrcookieface
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random axe

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2008, 06:13:34 PM »
The batteries probably aren't good for crap, but you could put a couple of motorcycle batteries on your belt and run a cable.  Half-assed Not An Electrical Person back-of-envelope esticalculations suggest -- I mean, the spirits tell me -- that you ought to be able to get, say, 250 watt-hours. 

Now, an extra-powerful handgun cartridge will be around 800 joules, but only very briefly.  If you got hit with that bullet continuously for one second, instead of just once for a fraction of a second, that would be 800 watts.  That 250 watt-hours would be about 1100 times as much.  You're not gonna get great efficiency out of a little diode laser, and in this day and age you're not gonna have a little shocked electron cloud vanishing electron laser, or whatever (do they have quantum cascade lasers yet?), so you want an array of diode lasers, to prevent overheating and such.

Lasers are much more efficient than bullets, anyway -- you can seriously hurt someone with a 2-watt laser, for sure, especially if you use a vibrating quartz optic to make the spot move quickly over the target surface.  24VDC at a few amps input will give you enough output to burn through wood and, pulsed, chew chunks out of concrete.  You want near-infrared because it goes through air without power loss.  You're not going to get super-long range near full power in a device smaller than the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels, just because the optic won't be big enough, and you'll get diffraction, but that'll mean a bigger target spot, so it's a tradeoff.  In five years, enough money might get you a metamaterial optic, but not yet, I think.

So, anyway, maybe 70 watts, and you've got a handheld laser certainly capable of killing people, even without trick spreading optics.  You'd want a regular laser sight, though, with a weaker beam, so you can be sure of your target before you fire.  This would be a pulsed weapon, not continuous beam, but it could fire several times a second if you add capacitors.  I have no idea what the heat issues would be like.  You'd get hundreds of shots before you needed to recharge the batteries, and you could even get several dozen shots using a few D batteries instead . . . .

Military laser sidearms are very possible in the modern age.  They're just fragile and not yet as flexible or cheap as standard munitions. 

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2008, 11:17:19 PM »
Oooh, I want a cobra. Kind of like an asp but with a bronze pyramid thing at the business end. Spring steel.

Remember that scene in Neuromancer when the girl tells Case he's marked for death and he gets paranoid and buys a cobra (because he can't get a gun fast enough), but it's really just Molly coming to pick him up for Armitage? Kick ass.
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random axe

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Re: Top 10 Barely-Legal Gadgets for the Modern Spy
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2008, 12:33:27 PM »
Quote
Oooh, I want a cobra. Kind of like an asp but with a bronze pyramid thing at the business end. Spring steel.

Like this?



Yeah, that's what I was talking about.  They used to call it a sipo, but google suggests that my knowledge of street slang is once again 20 years out of date.  The one in the picture, there, is the same model I have.  That website has good prices on them and claims to ship them anywhere except NYC, although this doesn't mean it's necessarily legal to own or carry one where you are.  Doesn't mean it isn't, either.