The continuing proliferation of improvised explosive devices is an omnipresent threat to civilians and members of military and law enforcement around the world. The ability to accurately and quickly detect explosive materials from a distance would be an extremely valuable tool for mitigating the risk posed by these devices. A variety of techniques exist that are capable of accurately identifying explosive compounds, but an effective standoff technique is still yet to be realized. Most of the methods being investigated to fill this gap in capabilities are laser based. Raman spectroscopy is one such technique that has been demonstrated to be effective at a distance. Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) is a technique capable of identifying chemical compounds inside of containers, which could be used to detect hidden explosive devices. Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy (CARS) utilized a coherent pair of lasers to excite a sample, greatly increasing the response of sample while decreasing the strength of the lasers being used, which significantly improves the eye safety issue that typically hinders laser-based detection methods. Time-gating techniques are also being developed to improve the data collection from Raman techniques, which are often hindered fluorescence of the test sample in addition to atmospheric, substrate, and contaminant responses. Ultraviolet based techniques have also shown significant promise by greatly improved signal strength from excitation of resonance in many explosive compounds. Raman spectroscopy, which identifies compounds based on their molecular response, can be coupled with Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) capable of characterizing the sample’s atomic composition using a single laser.