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Blackcat Tactical DBAL-PL Replica Review

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The real steel DBAL-PL is a pistol light and laser unit designed by Steiner Optics with 4 modes, visible laser, visible illuminator, IR laser and IR illuminator. I got this Blackcat Tactical airsoft replica from eHobby for $118, the unit comes in black and tan. 

 

Externals: 

 

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Very nice packaging, the box claims to double as a double M4 magazine pouch, but seems a little loose for actual game use. 

 

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The quality of the replica is very decent, the buttons feel tactile and mount on rails very solidly. It weighs 150g with batteries, and runs on two CR123A batteries, I've tested both normal batteries (6v) as well as lithium rechargeable batteries (7.4v-8.2v), and both works! 

 

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Unlike most gun lights, the DBAL-PL has the battery flap on its "belly", so it's possible to change batteries without removing the light, which is handy (but turns out to be a potential problem, you'll see why later)

 

White Light: 

 

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The LED is very bright, with a good spread around a hot spot, pressing the right (VIS) button once turns the light on, two quick presses activates strobe, while holding it turns on the laser, you could turn it off by pressing the button again, or pressing the (IR) button once, and vice versa, so if you're running IR lights / laser, pressing (VIS) once would turn everything off.  

 

Ergonomics:

 

At no fault to Blackcat since they just copied the dimension of the real one, if you're not interested in the IR feature of this gun, I'd say its ergonomics is not as good as other lights such as Streamlight TLR / Surefire X300 variants / Insight M3X. If you're right handed, with the (VIS) button being on the right, the best way to access it would be with your trigger finger, meaning it's difficult to quickly turn your light on / off in the middle of an engagement since it means you'd have to take your finger off the trigger, you could use your support hand to reach around to access the button, but it's slightly awkward and ruins your support grip. 

 

Zeroing:

 

Using a flat head screw driver, I started adjusting the elevation / windage on the laser unit, the dials don't click into place and feels empty as you turn the screw driver. The point of aim shifts somewhat randomly, so even if you're turning the windage dial, it still affects the elevation slightly, and vice versa, however I eventually got it to where I wanted it to be, and as long as it holds zero, then I guess that's okay. 

 

In order to test how well the laser holds zero, I've decided to use the RWA GRP 1911 on CO2 as it's the hardest kicking pistol I own, I figure if it holds zero on this, it's likely to hold zero on most guns. I'm using a laser bore sighter in order to be able to compare the before/after position of the laser. 

 

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Summary of video: Halfway through the test, the strong recoil of the gun opened up the battery flap, causing one battery to fall off, had to reset to finish the magazine. While the video only showed one magazine, I've shot three in total in similar rate of fire. 

 

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So after about 70 rounds on the hardest kicking pistol I own, it appears to hold zero well enough that I can't tell if it has moved, the range between the laser unit and the door is about 8m, which is the typical range I'm likely to use my sidearm. 

 

IR Illuminator:

 

On to the NV side of things, I will only be using the IR illuminator while coupled with the night vision's refocus ring (a type of small aperture filter that makes everything in focus, but significantly reduce light input to the NV, which in airsoft terms, would further protect the NV from BB hits as well as enemy's bright torches). I've ensured the camera's setting is manual so that it doesn't try to readjust the exposures that might spoil the comparison.

 

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This is the control, to give an idea of what the refocus ring does. Images are all taken at night time, the "bright light" from the outside is actually from the security camera's IR light on the opposite side of my building. The following are images taken with various IR illuminators for comparison. 

 

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I'm very impressed by how the BC DBAL-PL gives a gradual wash over everything without booming the center too much, it's perfect for enclosed spaces / short distance, which is what the real steel unit was designed for. 

 

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This is the only NV image where the camera setting differs from all the other ones you just saw, it was slightly readjusted so that you can see the IR laser better. 

 

Conclusion: 

 

At $118 it's one of the more expensive light replicas, but its initial performance was very impressive, with very good external built quality. Since the real steel unit is very difficult to acquire for people outside the US, I think this is a worthy replica with all of the real steel counterpart's functionalities. If you're looking for an airsoft replica of a pistol size illuminator that has IR / VIS laser and illuminator all in one, this is the only one other than the LLM01 replica, which is heavier and bigger than this unit. 

 

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Edited by blobface
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