Despite possessing an increased perceptual significance, near-field head-related transfer functions (nf-HRTFs) are more difficult to acquire compared to far-field head-related transfer functions. If properly validated, numerical simulations could be employed to estimate nf-HRTFs: the present study aims to validate the usage of wave-based simulations in the near-field. A thorough validation study is designed where various sources of error are investigated and controlled. The present work proposes the usage of a highly-omnidirectional laser-induced breakdown (LIB) of air as an acoustic point source in nf-HRTF measurements. Despite observed departures from the linear regime of the LIB pressure pulse, the validation results show that asymptotically-estimated solutions to a lossless model (wave-equation and rigid boundaries) agree in magnitude with the LIB-measured nf-HRTF of a rigid head replica approximately within 1-2 dB up to about 17 kHz. Except a decreased reliability in notch estimation, no significant shortcoming of the continuous model is found relative to the measurements below 17 kHz. The study also shows the difficulty in obtaining accurate surface boundary impedance values for accurate validation studies.