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4/25/2017 7:42:44 PM
Posted: 3/2/2017 12:49:18 AM EDT
I'm looking for recommendations on high value IR laser/illuminators. The high end products like APTIALs, most DBALs, etc, are probably not for me, at least initially, as I honestly am just getting into night vision for the fun of it. I'm not a hunter, not an officer of the law or military, and really only wanting it for night shooting, preparedness, and for fun. For these reasons I'm looking at Gen2+ monoculars from Night Goggles, used units here on the EE in Gen 3 with good pedigrees, etc. Probably not going to opt for brand new units in Gen 3 at over $3,000. With this in mind, I don't know if pursuing a DBAL or similar high end IR aiming and illumination gear makes sense for me, but I'm willing to listen.

Are there decent IR aiming devices out there for shooting 150 yards and in that make sense for someone in my position? Similar question for illuminators - right now I am considering products such as the TLR-2 IR, LaserMax Uni-IR laser and a rifle or helmet mounted IR light, etc. Still learning though and hoping to find some decent recommendations.

The OTAL from Steiner also caught my eye as an aiming device around $400. I have a rifle mounted illuminator that I use with a digital night vision scope already, but I am not sure it's practical for use with goggles/helt mounted NVGs. I am also not entirely convinced that a secondary illuminator, whether mounted on a rifle or on a helmet, is something I will need as someone who won't be hunting and lives in a city. Open to opinions on that as well.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 1:02:50 AM EDT
I went with a Steiner D-BAL A3 and am super happy with it. I would highly recommend it.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 2:09:06 AM EDT
I had a lasermax uni IR. Worked great. Not waterproof. I wouldn't take it into combat.

But it sounds like it would be perfect for you. I jumped up to a dbal i2. Why? Who knows. Hobby. Probably never really "need" it.

Gen 2 stuff, from what I've seen, is sort of a trap lol.

Most vids or pics are taken under really really good conditions. Full moon. Lots of ambient light. Et cetera. Which, I guess is all you'll go out in is fine.

But when there is no moon you won't be able to see into the shadows.

Pvs-7's gen 3's can be had for around $1600 if you keep your eyes peeled.

14's for a tad more depending on the deal.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 6:36:36 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By NothingClever:
I had a lasermax uni IR. Worked great. Not waterproof. I wouldn't take it into combat.

But it sounds like it would be perfect for you. I jumped up to a dbal i2. Why? Who knows. Hobby. Probably never really "need" it.

Gen 2 stuff, from what I've seen, is sort of a trap lol.

Most vids or pics are taken under really really good conditions. Full moon. Lots of ambient light. Et cetera. Which, I guess is all you'll go out in is fine.

But when there is no moon you won't be able to see into the shadows.

Pvs-7's gen 3's can be had for around $1600 if you keep your eyes peeled.

14's for a tad more depending on the deal.
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He should be able to see into the shadows with an IR illuminator though. Gen 2 is fine for hobbyist who can go active IR without fear of tipping off an adversary who also has an NVD.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 8:17:36 AM EDT
Not tied to the Gen 2+ idea and am only looking at that through Night Goggles Inc. as they make a fairly compelling argument for their specific product in that category. Being backed by TNVC makes me trust that it will deliver on their claims. Definitely am still looking for gen 3 devices used but I'm not buying anything without knowing it's full background or being able to see it first.

If the LaserMax unit isn't waterproof, does that mean it can't be submerged or that it will die in the rain? If the latter is true it doesn't have a place in my collection.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 8:42:18 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By westernhaikus1:
Not tied to the Gen 2+ idea and am only looking at that through Night Goggles Inc. as they make a fairly compelling argument for their specific product in that category. Being backed by TNVC makes me trust that it will deliver on their claims. Definitely am still looking for gen 3 devices used but I'm not buying anything without knowing it's full background or being able to see it first.

If the LaserMax unit isn't waterproof, does that mean it can't be submerged or that it will die in the rain? If the latter is true it doesn't have a place in my collection.
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It definitely can't be submerged. As far as seeing rain action? Downpour? Light rain? Depends. I'm just guessing by looking at its construction but a light rain for a tad should be fine. A downpour? Hmmmmm. Dunno. i don't want to hazard a guess and give you completely incorrect information.

Probably depends on how long you were out in said downpour.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 1:40:05 PM EDT
Streamlight TLR-2 IR

These hold up fairly well and keep zero pretty well (always validate before every session, though). The illuminator is OK for short to medium distance. My biggest beef is that the laser module is an afterthought - it's an add-on to the TLR-1 housing. It's integrated well but the mounting position places it pretty far from the bore axis. The laser isn't really a precision device, anyways, so I don't have too big of a gripe about that.

Streamlight markets several "IR" models so you need to be careful which one you buy if you want a full covert laser. Some models are IR illuminator only, with the laser portion being visible. There is nothing absolutely wrong with using a visible beam, though, so it can be a personal preference. I have run a standard TLR-2 with visible white light and red laser. I can run a filter on the white light and the remaining IR is adequate for up close work while the visible red laser is still somewhat innocuous. The advantage to a visible red laser is that it is usable for daytime familiarization and can be used for shooting situations without NVDs - making it more versatile (but less covert). The first lasers that I purchased were visible red because that was what was available at the time. If IR had been available then I probably would have gone that route, but the reality is that the red lasers served me well for training.

Streamlight supports this product line with spare parts if that is a concern to you.

There is a battery door available that utilizes a tape switch making this option more ergonomically sound for rifle use. The standard model is very ergonomically sound for pistol use.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 4:52:02 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SOT_Solutions:
Streamlight TLR-2 IR

These hold up fairly well and keep zero pretty well (always validate before every session, though). The illuminator is OK for short to medium distance. My biggest beef is that the laser module is an afterthought - it's an add-on to the TLR-1 housing. It's integrated well but the mounting position places it pretty far from the bore axis. The laser isn't really a precision device, anyways, so I don't have too big of a gripe about that.

Streamlight markets several "IR" models so you need to be careful which one you buy if you want a full covert laser. Some models are IR illuminator only, with the laser portion being visible. There is nothing absolutely wrong with using a visible beam, though, so it can be a personal preference. I have run a standard TLR-2 with visible white light and red laser. I can run a filter on the white light and the remaining IR is adequate for up close work while the visible red laser is still somewhat innocuous. The advantage to a visible red laser is that it is usable for daytime familiarization and can be used for shooting situations without NVDs - making it more versatile (but less covert). The first lasers that I purchased were visible red because that was what was available at the time. If IR had been available then I probably would have gone that route, but the reality is that the red lasers served me well for training.

Streamlight supports this product line with spare parts if that is a concern to you.

There is a battery door available that utilizes a tape switch making this option more ergonomically sound for rifle use. The standard model is very ergonomically sound for pistol use.
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Thanks, this is very useful and sounds like it's viable to me.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 5:55:12 PM EDT
Take a look at the Wolverine Cherokee IR aiming laser. Just ordered one. Will see how it does. They claim very well made (USA) and hold zero very well.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 6:44:47 PM EDT
SureFire makes a X400V-A-IRC 150 lumen white light, IR illuminator, IR laser and a X400V-B-IRC 350 lumen white light IR illuminator, IR laser all built into one unit vs the TLR that only allows you 2 out of the 3.
Another option to the TLR-2 IR (IR light and IR laser) is the TLR-2 IRW which is white light and a IR laser
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 8:14:46 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MunnyShot:
SureFire makes a X400V-A-IRC 150 lumen white light, IR illuminator, IR laser and a X400V-B-IRC 350 lumen white light IR illuminator, IR laser all built into one unit vs the TLR that only allows you 2 out of the 3.
Another option to the TLR-2 IR (IR light and IR laser) is the TLR-2 IRW which is white light and a IR laser
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Did Surefire get their issue squared with the multifunction switch on the X400V Series? They had reliability issues for a while. I've used Surefire products for years and I was just about to get one of these when there was a rash of failures combined with less than stellar customer service regarding the issue.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 8:40:04 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SOT_Solutions:

Did Surefire get their issue squared with the multifunction switch on the X400V Series? They had reliability issues for a while. I've used Surefire products for years and I was just about to get one of these when there was a rash of failures combined with less than stellar customer service regarding the issue.
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I haven't heard/read about that problem in long while, so I'd assume they got it squared away. Their C/S is GTG, but the wait time is horrid for someone to pick up the phone. I always call right when they open so they pick up right away.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 9:46:54 PM EDT
I think for the Surefire unit that features an IR laser and illuminator, then adding the pressure switch on top of that, I might be better off looking into a used DBAL at that point.

Right now the TLR2-VIR is my most likely option. I would rather put a bit more into the actual monocular and purchase a skimpier illumination and aiming system until I get some experience with it all and decide what I truly need.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 10:36:02 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By westernhaikus1:
I think for the Surefire unit that features an IR laser and illuminator, then adding the pressure switch on top of that, I might be better off looking into a used DBAL at that point.

Right now the TLR2-VIR is my most likely option. I would rather put a bit more into the actual monocular and purchase a skimpier illumination and aiming system until I get some experience with it all and decide what I truly need.
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I'd skip the pressure pad for the X400V and just mount it 12:00 on the rail. From your post I think you want the TLR2-IR which is IR illuminator and IR laser. The TLR2-IRW is IR laser with white light and the TLR VIR is white light with a very under powered IR illuminator. Streamlight didn't make a TLR2-VIR to my knowledge, although they had made a TLR IR which is IR illuminator only.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 10:46:42 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/2/2017 10:46:58 PM EDT by westernhaikus1]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By MunnyShot:

I'd skip the pressure pad for the X400V and just mount it 12:00 on the rail. From your post I think you want the TLR2-IR which is IR illuminator and IR laser. The TLR2-IRW is IR laser with white light and the TLR VIR is white light with a very under powered IR illuminator. Streamlight didn't make a TLR2-VIR to my knowledge, although they had made a TLR IR which is IR illuminator only.
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Yeah sorry their designations are a bit confusing. I *think* what I am after is an IR illuminator/IR laser unit, and no white light.
Link Posted: 3/2/2017 11:59:50 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/3/2017 12:00:48 AM EDT by MunnyShot]
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Originally Posted By westernhaikus1:


Yeah sorry their designations are a bit confusing. I *think* what I am after is an IR illuminator/IR laser unit, and no white light.
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Excellent choice, which will also make a great pistol setup when you upgrade to a DBAL. The great thing is there is an abundance of manufacturers that makes a holster design for most pitols and this module.
Link Posted: 3/7/2017 11:18:37 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By Kimberman45:
Take a look at the Wolverine Cherokee IR aiming laser. Just ordered one. Will see how it does. They claim very well made (USA) and hold zero very well.
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Did you receive this yet? I'm curious about this one. It looks like the manufacturer has a website but no online ordering - you still have to call them on the phone to order?
Link Posted: 3/16/2017 1:02:41 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By Kimberman45:
Take a look at the Wolverine Cherokee IR aiming laser. Just ordered one. Will see how it does. They claim very well made (USA) and hold zero very well.
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It's been two weeks. Update?
Link Posted: 3/17/2017 3:22:51 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SOT_Solutions:
Streamlight TLR-2 IR
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Unless I am missing something, this is $400, yes?
Link Posted: 3/17/2017 3:38:19 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 35Remington:
Unless I am missing something, this is $400, yes?
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Originally Posted By 35Remington:
Originally Posted By SOT_Solutions:
Streamlight TLR-2 IR
Unless I am missing something, this is $400, yes?
I was seeing them for about $325 when I was considering a full IR Streamlight. The IR light with red laser was considerably less.
Link Posted: 3/17/2017 5:49:59 PM EDT
I received the Cherokee laser and have been playing with it. It works and the beam does not focus as small as I would like but I have nothing to compare it to except a TLR-2 visible laser. At 50 yds the IR beam covers about 1/3 of a 8" steel plate and appears as a rectangle. The visible laser does not cover as much area. The Cherokee is well made but there are no locking screws for the adjustments, only spring tension from the opposing screws. I had it zeroed with the cross hairs on my scope. and when I took it out on a coyote hunt last weekend the laser had shifted ever so slightly. The verdict is still out on it so far. If it continues to shift I will send it back as Wolverine claims a lifetime warranty.
Link Posted: 3/18/2017 4:12:11 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Kimberman45:
I received the Cherokee laser and have been playing with it. It works and the beam does not focus as small as I would like but I have nothing to compare it to except a TLR-2 visible laser. At 50 yds the IR beam covers about 1/3 of a 8" steel plate and appears as a rectangle. The visible laser does not cover as much area. The Cherokee is well made but there are no locking screws for the adjustments, only spring tension from the opposing screws. I had it zeroed with the cross hairs on my scope. and when I took it out on a coyote hunt last weekend the laser had shifted ever so slightly. The verdict is still out on it so far. If it continues to shift I will send it back as Wolverine claims a lifetime warranty.
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The actual collimated beam is that big and not just the bloom? The dot should be similar to the visible red laser dot.

Their claim to fame was supposed to be zero retention so if they failed in that regard in addition to the collimation then they have failed miserably. I was looking forward to good news on this one. Bummer.

These two issues stomp the value of the machined housing. If it can't point well or point straight then it doesn't matter how tough it is.
Link Posted: 3/20/2017 1:53:26 PM EDT
Don't do gen2+.

You'll dislike it as soon as you look through gen3.

Here's my old gen2+ ATN PS-14:


That's as good as it ever looked to my eyes. It looks great in a photo, right? Looks awesome. You can drive under it, hunt varmints under it, and even do crazy things like cola warrior. What you see is what you get.


Here's gen3, it looks better in person than though a picture:


Pretty big difference, yeah? Now realize that gen3 doesn't accurately photograph, that picture is depicting the worst view you'll get. It doesn't capture the dynamic range you actually see. There's additional depth to the eyes, and you can even begin to make out the difference in colors of objects, as strange as that sounds.


Don't waste money on gen2/gen2+. Those of us who have regret it, unless we paid like $500 for it -- but we all have gen3 now.


For lasers, buy whatever laser you think you'll like. Don't buy separately zeroed lasers like the dbal-i2 unless you're going to use the vis/ir for separate zeros. Get a dbal-a3, or a CQBL.

For illuminators/torches, don't buy one right away. Figure out how to use the NV without artificial light, using a shitty cheap eBay 940nm flashlight as-needed. You'll get a lot better at actually using the NV's strengths. Then, once you determine what you need, buy the best-fit.
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