The Best Dual Beam Aiming Lasers (DBAL)
More often than not, there is a high probability that no matter if you are a civilian who likes to shoot recreationally, someone who has firearms for home defense, or are in the armed forces, that at some point you will be in a situation where you need to hit a target in either low or no-light conditions.
In these less than ideal lighting conditions, it can be a challenge to quickly and accurately zero in on your target. One of the best ways to overcome this issue is by purchasing a dual beam aiming laser, which are explicitly created to help you rapidly acquire your target and aim in low or no light situations.
You will want a laser that is durable, sleek, and has an effective green laser beam and red laser pointer. Here are some of the best dual beam aiming lasers on the market today to help you decide which one might be just right for you.
The DBAL-12 is one of the most, if not the most, popular dual beam aiming laser currently available. Yet, even at the comparitively lower price point, you still get all of the quality you expect from a brand like Steiner.
The DBAL-12 is made with aircraft-grade aluminum to guarantee it will have excellent longevity while still being sturdy. The weight is still considered slight, but coming in at around 14.4 ounces, it is something to be aware of.
It is also waterproof for up to 30 minutes if submerged in 1 meter of water. The DBAL-12 provides extreme accuracy via either the green aiming laser or infrared laser pointer.
Depending on the weather or light level, you can choose which beam will be the most effective and activate it using the manual push-button.
If you opt to use the pad, one tap will activate the beams temporarily, while two taps will turn the selected beam on for 5 minutes.
Mounting is simple thanks to the pre-drilled holes or the quick release HT mount. One of the most significant issues that seems to be plaguing the DBAL-12 is the overly sensitive battery terminals.
When installing or switching out the batteries, you have to be careful to ensure the spring on the batteries is fully seated against the terminal; otherwise, your beam will be inconsistent in performance.
The DBAL-A3, or Civilian, was previously only approved for military use, but now that it’s available commercially, it is definitely worth a celebration.
The Civilian is built with a 6061T-6 aluminum alloy housing encased in a scratch and corrosion-resistant type III anodized hard-coat finish, which is not only extraordinarily durable but also water-tight up to 16 feet.
The real highlight of the Civilian, though, is that it not only provides one of the first eye-safe infrared laser pointers but that it also is one of the first to have a defocused adjustable IR illumination technology.
The green aiming laser on the Civilian is impressive and can be seen at a distance of 50 feet during the day and 820 yards at night without needing NVDs, and with NVDs, the infrared laser can be seen at up to 275 yards whether it is daylight or night time.
The Civilian has dual activation allowing you turn on the laser beam you require using either the integrated push-button activation or a remote activation pressure pad.
If you opt to use the pressure pad, one tap will turn on the laser temporarily, and two taps for 5 minutes of continuous use. As an added bonus, the Civilian also has finger-adjustable point correction.
The only possible con for the Civilian is the higher price point but considering all that it has to offer plus the list price of its competitors, it’s not much of a con at all.
Steiner eOptics DBAL-D2 Dual Beam Aiming Laser with IR LED Illuminator
The DBAL-D2 is one of the most well-known and popular, Infrared illuminators, or IR, currently available. This is in large part to its innovative diode technology.
The IR technology is meant to be used alongside G1-GX night vision goggles and offers several IR beam options to best suit your needs.
At night you can scroll through illumination functions for an IR aiming point, a low-intensity IR illuminator, and high-intensity IR illuminator and aiming point, and finally, a high-intensity IR illuminator by itself.
The DBAL-D2 also has both high and low-intensity green aiming lasers that work perfectly to zero the co-aligned laser aiming dots and help sight in your target rapidly and accurately during the day.
The DBAL-D2 also provides a high definition aspherical telescopic lens, and you can adjust the illumination beam anywhere between 2°to 30° for optimal customization using the enhanced end cap on the bezel; these two items together can illuminate distances over 1000 meters away.
The DBAL-D2 is made for a standard Picatinny rail using their self-adjusting Quick Release HT Mount and is waterproof for submersion in up to 5 meters.
The DBAL-D2, like the other Steiner eOptics dual beam aiming lasers, also has fully adjustable windage and elevation and the standard 2-year warranty through Steiner that covers workmanship issues.
The DBAL-D2 is an excellent dual laser beam aiming sight, though it is best suited to hunting as opposed to home defense or combat situations.
The reason for this is that the Infrared laser beam is incredibly bright and easy to see with the naked eye, making it optimal for targeting animals, but easy to spot by another person in a combat or an intruder making your position visible and removing the possibility of a surprise attack.
The other point of contention for many people is also the higher price point. Yet, the quality you receive for that price and the attention to detail makes the added cost well worth it in the long run.
What is a DBAL?
DBAL is a proprietary name coined by Steiner Optics for their version of these accessories. You may see all kinds of versions of these devices with different names as well as military nomenclatures. All these diverse types of devices come down to a few key features.
The system is an all-in-one laser sighting and illumination device, it mounts to any 1913 picatinny rail system and is primarily designed to be mounted on the top rail of an M4/AR-15 rifle. It is offset so that it can be mounted on rifles with permanent front sight posts.
Features to Look for in a DBAL
Before you buy a Steiner DBAL, make sure you know what to look for and how to differentiate between each model. Here are some key features of this incredible laser aiming system below.
Your DBAL is equipped with a visible laser that can be used in the daytime or at night/low light. Depending on generation and price point, this laser is usually green or red, but you’ll notice that newer and more premium models are outfitted with a green laser as it is typically more powerful and easier to see. There are two purposes for this feature.
The first is that you can zero your DBAL using the visible laser, adjustments to this laser also adjust your IR laser. This allows you to sight in the device precisely without having to worry about running cumbersome equipment. This is great considering what a pain it would be to zero under night vision just to get your IR laser on paper.
The second reason is the obvious one, we in the tactical world are all about streamlining equipment, having the availability of a visible laser when on a mission where you may not be under NODs could be invaluable. In a situation where you are working in not so ideal conditions this could be a true redeeming feature. I could drone on for hours about how this device could be used while wearing a protective mask or if your optics go down in low light, but the point is you have another choice available to you at the cost of no extra devices hanging off your weapon.
I will tell you from personal experience that if you are using the device in a Military or high-risk Law Enforcement capacity or even in personal defense, there is something psychological about having a big green dot on your chest in a bad situation that may cause someone to think twice about making the situation worse.
The most important feature in a DBAL system and can be used in many different applications. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend running a weapon system under night vision without this feature. There are so many advantages to having it.
Picture this, you and your team are moving through an area under night vision, one of your teammates calls out movement beside a building. But where? Maybe you’re shooting hogs in the Texas backcountry and you are trying to put your friends on a big sounder 100yds out. Now, anyone who has worked under night vision knows how disorienting it can become, and target ID can be difficult during the daytime let alone night.
Now picture the same situation, but instead, your teammate calls out movement at 10 o’clock and pins a laser exactly where he sees it. The best part? No one who isn’t under night vision can see it.
Let’s say you’re clearing a large building under night vision and you take contact from 75yds down a hall, a little too far for point shooting perhaps but you need to return fire NOW. Instead of trying to line up the lens of your nods behind your NV rated optic, you shoulder your weapon as securely as possible, put the laser on the target, and rip a series of rounds. Congratulations, that extra second just saved your life.
When I was running a firearms program for a law enforcement agency and we began our transition from patrol shotguns to patrol rifles, I used to get a lot of questions about what officers should do to upgrade their rifles. AR-15s are the Legos of the gun world and I wanted our guys to have what worked best for them. My answer was always the same when they brought me Chinese eBay adds for accessories. “Get a good sling, get some ammo to practice with, and get a good weapon light. Everything else comes later.”
There is no worse feeling than being stuck in low/no light in a life or death situation and to not have any illumination. DBAL systems come with an infrared illuminator and newer generations are also equipped with a white light. Target identification is particularly important in the tactical and the sporting world. It (hopefully) is understood that ripping rounds into the dark is not an ideal situation.
For those who have worked under night vision, you know that if you’re outside under a starry night you may not need any more illumination than the moon. You also know that inside a building or on a cloudy night you may be hard pressed to see 10 feet in front of you. The illuminator that comes with your nods has a habit of always illuminating the wrong things it seems, that or it washes everything out and you miss key details. Most DBAL system Illuminators have an adjustable focus for the width of your light beam that will allow you to adjust for distance. The Illuminator on your weapon also means that you always have light where it counts the most.
For the models with a white light, you now have another possibility in your all-in-one package which means weight reduction and convenience on your rifle. As I mentioned before I’m all about streamlining equipment and this is the way to go.
So, Who’s a DBAL For?
Having all these features in mind you can infer who this type of device is for. If you never have any plan of working under night vision now or in the future, these devices are quite an investment, and may not be on the list for you. You may find visible light solutions that might better suit your needs.
Military and High-Risk Law Enforcement Operations
Chances are (hopefully) if your unit uses night vision as part of your operations you have some sort of system like this in use. If you are using these types of systems individually, I would suggest moving to an integrated DBAL. Less switches to run, less weight, and more reliability absolutely justify switching to these systems. If you are a professional tactical unit using night vision it is a necessity.
Civilian Personal Defense or Home Defense
Although you usually won’t have access to the higher end, vision unsafe laser systems, the civilian versions of these devices are just as reliable and could be invaluable in your defense planning system. People whose defense plan include night vision for whatever reason (large properties, buildings, etc.) this will make operating much easier.
Let’s be honest, there are few things cooler than shooting and hunting under NV with your buddies and using a DBAL makes it even better. Whether it’s blasting hogs on a night hunt or a night range or shoot house event, DBALs are going to work when you need them to and work well.
These Devices have changed the game in the low light/no light shooting world and are being used from elite military units to farmers in Texas. A quality DBAL system is a purchase you will not regret.