In this paper, the development principles of laser-based large detection area speed measurement systems are considered. The optical schemes of the single light barrier single photodetector, double light barriers-single photodetector and double light barriers-double photodetectors are developed and investigated. Advantages and disadvantages of these schemes are explained. Important proposals are given for the development of the optical schemes. A double light barriers-double photodetectors system measuring the bullet speed is developed. Equations describing the errors occurring in the system are derived. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.