The new class of infrared lasers freely available to individual customers, Class 1, has brought once out of reach technology straight into the waiting hands of serious end users. One of the best offerings in this new category is the DBAL-D2 made by Laser Devices, Inc. In short, you are getting the same piece of gear the military is using, made at the same factory, but with less powerful eye safe lasers. What an opportunity!
The DBAL is a class 1, multi function, dual beam, IR/Daytime visible weapons mounted aiming laser with an effective range of approximately 250 yards. This capability is about the maximum usable range for even the newest PVS-14s, etc. Integral to the unit is a very powerful and widely adjustable IR illuminator with a range of approximately 800 yards.
IR/Daytime lasers are slaved, which makes zeroing a snap during daylight hours. Included is a rugged, self adjusting QD lever/attachment fully compatible with any modern rail setup. This waterproof, 12.5 oz piece of equipment is powered by a single CR123 battery with a lifespan of one hour on the highest setting.
Observations From Use
I purchased a DBAL-D2 with the daytime visible green laser from the very helpful folks over at Tactical Night Vision Company, and received it after an admittedly lengthy wait. I paid the premium for the green laser as it is daytime visible to about 100 yards. The red version is only visible to about 25 yards, which is a little short for my desired 50 yard BZO. I mounted this product on a BCM 16″ middy with an Aimpoint T1, Larue free float rail, Inforce WML IR/White light, and other appropriate accessories.
I found the function controls of this laser to be fairly intuitive with positive adjustments and an easy to remember layout, which is invaluable in the dark. While a rugged tape switch is included, I found it unnecessary as a momentary/constant on rubber clickie switch is conveniently nestled into the 10:30 rail position (if the device is mounted in the recommended 12 o’clock position). The INFORCE WML is a perfect companion here as it’s well sized for an unobtrusive 9 o’clock mount and contains a back up IR illuminator.
I spent a fair amount of time familiarizing myself with this piece of equipment in my night time back yard so that my first “dark” range time would be fairly seamless. I can’t stress how important this is to avoid fumbling and humiliation during later training. All I can say about the illuminator is that the power and range of focus is nothing short of amazing as viewed through my helmet mounted PVS-14. After a very easy and pleasant daytime zeroing session I was ready for a night fire evaluation!
The green daytime visible laser is powerful enough to be used as a backup sight to the Aimpoint, even in bright sunlight. I’m not sure how much I would revert to this, but it is a nice option. So far during testing I’ve had about 9 trouble free months with 4-500 rounds downrange. I have to slightly alter my hand placement because of the amount of real estate required on the top rail, but for what I’m getting it’s a great trade off.
The only (minor) suggestion I have to offer after this evaluation is more user friendly lens covers. My rifle is not subjected to super hard use and I found that it was just easiest to remove them completely. I’m not sure how possible it is, but it seems that some kind of clear sacrificial cover would be a nice option.
My dark range/time constraints limited me to a 100 yard no light evaluation on 2/3 IPSC targets. It was very satisfying to confirm the accuracy of the slaved laser system and I was easily and consistently able to hit these targets in full darkness with no adjustment besides what I had already done during daylight zeroing. I’m looking forward to testing myself and this gear at some point in the future at a night fighting tactics course.
This excellent piece of equipment is not stand alone, and, as a result, careful consideration must be given towards proper integration with a weapon and night vision device. I spent months looking at options and I carefully arrived at the decision to purchase this DBAL. Every time I’ve used it has been confirmation of a right decision. I highly encourage you to take advantage of the availability of this class of lasers, which only came about by a lot of tireless work and industry partnering by the folks at TNVC. Check it out for yourself today!