I was never completely happy with the DBAL-i2, so when I learned about the Perst-4 I decided I wanted to get one to replace my DBAL-i2.
DBAL-i2 (Model 9003)
- Green Laser 532nm <5 mW ClassIIIA
- IR Laser 850nm <0.7 mW, Class I
- Uses 1 CR123 Battery
- 3.5L X 2.75W X 1.59 H
- 8 oz
- 1cm per click at 25m
PERST-4 Gen 2 Green +
- Green+ Laser 18mW
- IR Laser 850nm 20mW
- Uses 1 CR123 Battery
- 90x60x37mm (3.54 X 2.36 X 1.46 Inches)
- 220 g (7.76oz)
- 1.5cm per click at 25m
Each come with a tape switch. The DBAL uses an Insight pattern tape switch compatable with the PEQ-2/4/5/15, etc. Surefire offers a dual switch that will work with the DBAL and a Surefire light. The Perst tape switch is the best I have ever used.
The tape switch with the PERST has a brightness knob, allowing you to switch between 5 brightness settings on the visible laser and 8 on the IR laser. It has a cross bar safety that can lock out the tape switch. Both sides of the rail clamps have 2 screws, so you can clamp to out of spec rails or simply loosen one to mount to a rail. It has a quick detach 3 prong proprietary attachment, which would be my own concern about a weak spot. I’d worry about something hitting that attachment and breaking it.
Prices vary, but shopping around I generally saw the Perst-4 as $200 cheaper than the DBAL.
Ok, now to the big picture. The DBAL-i2 is from a German Company (Steiner) and built to meet us specifications for eye safe lasers. For at least half a decade now it has been the standard over the counter Visible and IR laser aiming solution for the commercial consumer. It works, but it has it’s flaws. Some of them drain their batteries when off. The visible and IR lasers are not slaved, so each has to be zeroed separately.
Now believe it or not, but our FDA doesn’t regulate foreign lasers, so more powerful foreign lasers can be imported. Like the ZenitCo Perst series. The Perst-4 is their equilivant to the DBAL, a visible aiming laser and an IR laser. But they are slaved on the Perst-4 so if you zero one the other should (as long as it isnt broken/defective) be zeroed as well. Major time saver, much easier to zero an visible laser than an IR laser.
The next big thing is that the Perst-4 is sooo very much more powerful than the i2. More power isn’t always good in the IR world. This means that these lasers are not safe for your eyes. Imagine having a gun that is constantly shooting, you don’t point it as your self or at a direction where a round might ricochet into your self. Same with these high power lasers. Higher power isn’t always better. Up close it can bloom and cause all sorts of glare. When the low power IR lasers started coming out, the early adopters started to point out that they were often better for indoor use than the high power units. That is why the Perst-4 has brightness adjustments.
The DBAL has external click adjustments. The Perst has capped adjusters that require a tool like a coin. Both have a top button for turning it and off. The Perst also has an addition button on the back that does the same. Tap the DBAL button for momentary, double tap for on. On the Perst tap is on, double tap sets it to strobe. I don’t care for the strobe function, but it would have some use. A little note, the top button on the Perst has a tactical click while the back button doesn’t. I find the Perst button easier to use than the DBAL’s button.
Both take a single CR123 battery from the front. The cap is much easier to open on the Perst. The DBAL cap is retained with a strap.
The operation/lock out switch is on the back of the DBAL, and the top of the PERST. Initially I didn’t care for the one on the Perst as it was very stiff, but after messing with it for a day I find it is much easier to use now. The NK marking is the IR laser, the 3 marking is the green laser. The DBAL has a green light on the back to show when it is on. The Perst has a red light for the visible laser and a blue light for the IR laser.
The Perst has the rail mount built into it. The DBAL uses a throw lever QD mount, It uses the same pattern as the ARMS17S pattern. This mount makes the DBAL taller than the Perst. The DBAL will protrude into the view of an optic due to that extra height.
So, what is the catch or the downside of the Perst? First it is from Russia. While ZenitCo is known for taking care of their customers, being a Russian company imports or support may be cut off. All the controls and the manual is in Russian. Fortunately the Perst-4 is pretty simple. Uunlike the i2, the Perst-4 is most certainly not eye safe. While you can dial down the IR and Visible Lasers, it appears it lowers the output by pulsing them, not reducing power. So when the lasers are dialed down, fast movements appear to be dashes instead of lines, and the laser it self is probably still not eye safe. The Perst beams have some glare or splash coming from the emiters, not as clean a projection as the DBAL.
Those might be deal breakers for some, but I can live with it. I’m going to be selling my DBAL and using the Perst in it’s place.