Bought a Burris DBAL - kinda disappointed...

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Thread: Bought a Burris DBAL - kinda disappointed...

  1. #1
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    Bought a Burris DBAL - kinda disappointed...

    I had a surprise windfall and decided to bite the bullet and purchase a Burris BDAL sighting unit.

    This unit has a red laser and an IR laser in a pretty compact unit and a QD rail mount. Both the visible and IR have a low and high power. I chose the red over the green for the visible color because green lasers can be finicky and just about disappear in temps below 35. Unfortunately, I guess, this is the civie version, so the laser power is limited but still useful.

    I have a AN/PVS-14 night vision monocular and wanted an aiming method other than trying to look through a RDS, so an IR laser solves that problem and you can see the IR laser through the night vision further than you can identify targets. I can easily see it on low power at 200 yards. Soooo, the DBAL seemed like the answer.

    It is built like a battleship, but with that comes weight - it's pretty heavy. And it sets pretty high, it's a little over an inch tall as I recall an it can be seen in a low power scope - not necessarily a problem, but something to be aware of.

    So why is it disappointing? Well for one thing it is grossly expensive. You can buy a LaserMax Uni-IR for $162 and a Uni-red for $123 which would give you the same thing - one IR and one visible laser for a total cost of $285 and you can mount one on top of the handguard rail and it's so compact and low it won't be visible in a scope. Not only does two compact lasers give you far more mounting options, these particular ones are stackable. E.g. you could mount one on the top rail and the second on the side rail and mount say a Surefire X300 Ultra on top of the laser. Did I mention they are about a tenth of the weight and about a 1/8 of the size of the DBAL? You could mount one on the side or top of a scope with the right scope rings.

    You could have two sets of Unimax lasers and still not have anywhere near the cost of the BDAL. However...

    Having said all that. The Unimax, while extremely recoil proof, they don't have the bullet-proof construction of the DBAL. OTOH, if you're not going to be throwing your rifle around etc. then the Uni will do fine.

    The DBAL's alignment adjustments are much better than the Unimax. The Unimax has no scale or clicks and a very small Allen wrench is required to adjust it. While lack of a scale and clicks hasn't been a problem for me, that small Allen wrench has been. It's easy to forget, lose, hard to use, etc. The DBAL has clicks, a pointer, but not a scale and the IR can be adjusted by hand with knurled knobs and the visible laser can be adjusted with a coin, washer, or probably even the rim of a bullet case.

    But honestly, unless you're expecting a 'going to war' situation, it's gonna be extremely difficult to justify the cost - even for me with night vision. I can do the same thing with two much smaller, lighter Unimax units and have a boat load of money left over. They just don't have the ninja cool effect the BDAL has.

    I'm debating whether I'm gonna keep this thing or not. One could buy an AR for the cost of the BDAL.
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    What were you expecting from it that it didn't do? The civilian versions are weak compared to the restricted units with the laser illuminator. The illuminator is the main benefit of IR marker/illuminator systems.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    It was heavier than I expected it to be; it doesn't fit well under a low power scope. I think the big thing is the realization that for $750 it can't do anything more than I could do with a red Unimax and IR Unimax for almost a third of the cost.

    For me there's no problem with the lasers' output. The IR can be seen further than I can shoot. All civie red lasers are limited - no surprise there.

    So I guess I was hoping it would give me something I couldn't already do - maybe just curiousity. When I put on an AR that's when really occurred to me that it doesn't really do anything I can't already do.

    I like the manual of arms better than the Unimax but certainly not some $460 better, nor are the lasers any better - might be more rugged, but again, it's not $460 more rugged or if it is, I'll never see that benefit.

    Not sure what you mean by illuminator, but the IR on this unit is for aiming. I have a Streamlight and Inforce IR illuminators.

    I'll probably return the DBAL, it's just too much money for the 'service' rendered.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    What were you expecting from it that it didn't do? The civilian versions are weak compared to the restricted units with the laser illuminator. The illuminator is the main benefit of IR marker/illuminator systems.
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Give me a minute and I will reply.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    Give me a minute and I will reply.
    No rush and thanks!
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    Seeing as I have to leap from bunker to foxhole and crawl thru barbed wire just to buy milk, I should opt for the DBAL?
    Retired USAF E-8. Lighten up and enjoy life because:
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    Seeing as I have to leap from bunker to foxhole and crawl thru barbed wire just to buy milk, I should opt for the DBAL?
    LOL! That's pretty much it!

    Pretty neat device really, but not at the price point. As I stated I use an IR laser and an IR illuminator with my night vision, but the red laser is all but useless in my applications, so for me I wind up with just a very expensive IR laser.

    I think it's more about cool and hype than practical for most. It's really a 'war-grade' device marketed to civies.
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    VIP Member Array jonconsiglio's Avatar
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    Here's the way I see it. The DBAL a2 and a3 along with the PEQ 15 lasers/illuminators are great for certain uses with the high power laser and illuminator, mainly illuminating targets for team or air support. Then the lower power laser is great for no light use because it's not ideal to get your helmet mounted PVS 14 down behind an optic.

    Now, the civ model that is lacking the laser illuminator coupled with a good Surefire RAID Or 620v is good for CQB uses, low light hunting and especially if you're issued a DBAL a3 or PEQ 15 at work and want your personal rifle set up the same. It's also a good choice for those that train hard in the shoot house where they might see some abuse.

    For most people, a civ model IR laser offers little over a standalone IR laser and Surefire IR light, especially if not much time is spent in advanced training. The DBAL d2 is also a good option as it has an led illuminator.

    Still, the DBAL i2 isn't a bad choice. It's more expensive and lacks an IR illuminator, but it's robust and will hold zero quite well. At SHOT, insight said they're coming out with a civilian PEQ 15 that is in the same housing and includes a laser illuminator. Not sure how they'll be able to do this, and some said they were probably wrong (talking to some people at the booths, I couldn't believe how wrong some of them were, so this is entirely possible).... If they do come out with this model, it would be worth the money as it would include a true laser illuminator instead of led. We'll see what happens.

    Having said aid that, feel free to send it over and I'll put it through its paces!! I also need an EoTech EXPS 3 loaner for a few weeks..... Just sayin'!
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    ...Then the lower power laser is great for no light use because it's not ideal to get your helmet mounted PVS 14 down behind an optic.
    Amen to that!

    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    ...It's also a good choice for those that train hard in the shoot house where they might see some abuse.
    Agreed, the thing is built like a tank - no doubt about that! And that does give it value.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    ...Still, the DBAL i2 isn't a bad choice. It's more expensive and lacks an IR illuminator, but it's robust and will hold zero quite well. At SHOT, insight said they're coming out with a civilian PEQ 15 that is in the same housing and includes a laser illuminator. Not sure how they'll be able to do this, and some said they were probably wrong (talking to some people at the booths, I couldn't believe how wrong some of them were, so this is entirely possible).... If they do come out with this model, it would be worth the money as it would include a true laser illuminator instead of led. We'll see what happens.
    That will be interesting to watch and see what really comes to market.

    Quote Originally Posted by jonconsiglio View Post
    ...Having said aid that, feel free to send it over and I'll put it through its paces!! I also need an EoTech EXPS 3 loaner for a few weeks..... Just sayin'!
    LOL! I bet you would too!!!! But I can't - it's them pigs - I gotta have it!

    Hmmm, you know I could return the DBAL and exchange it for a EXP 3 and get some change back.

    Speaking of IR illuminators: my experience is they are too bright - they flood out details badly. I can't speak for the Surefires, but the Inforce and Streamlight seemed to do more harm than good. Have you not experienced that with illuminators? I mean these things are BRIGHT, that may be the problem.
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    Turn the gain down on your PVS 14 so you almost need the illuminator and it should be good to go and also a cleaner image. The Surefire RAID is great because it's the brightest IR illuminator they offer but has three output power modes. Not having the ability to adjust the laser's output can be an issue with the brighter illuminators and they wash out indoors or at close range on light backgrounds.
    Proven combat techniques may not be flashy and may require a bit more physical effort on the part of the shooter. Further, they may not win competition matches, but they will help ensure your survival in a shooting or gunfight on the street. ~Paul Howe

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