This hand held laser “flashlight” generates an extremely bright, variable width beam of red light. The beam is certified eye-safe at all ranges and under all tactical conditions. The laser beam sends a language-dependent warning and challenge that forces adversaries to signal their intent to retreat surrender or continue aggressive behavior. It dissuades and/or delays adversaries by producing an overpowering glare or flash blinding the individual. The laser illuminator is suitable for law enforcement missions where revealing a drawn weapon is not advisable. This device can be used as handheld augmentation to sidearms carried on law enforcement missions; use of sidearm enables quick conversion to lethal force.