Gotta share with you some results of testing out my new green laser from Barska. I don’t normally associate quality and dependability with the Barska name. However, I might just have been proven wrong. Actually, if you read about Barska scopes on the Internet you are already aware of the fact they are well-known for being junk. The only good aspect of Barska optics is price – they are cheap. But the bad thing about Barska is they are cheap. No operator or hunter worth their salt would even think of putting a Barska optic on their weapon. But, I might just have found a good Barska product, and I am glad for it.
I have a need for a tactical laser sight for my tactical carbine to be used in close quarters battle situation. Specifically, I wanted a laser that could be used inside of buildings for clearing. If you have ever done much of it, like more than once, you know you need to keep your situational awareness at a very high level. And always looking through a red dot scope is a good way to get shot by the guy you don’t see in time. My mission definition for the laser:
A sighting device that would provide me the ability to hit a man-sized center mass target while keeping both eyes available for scanning my surroundings and not impeding my peripheral vision.
It became obvious that a laser was the only way to go; it would also be my first laser. For the purists out there – I am a big believer in point and shoot but I wanted a little assist on this one. I am also a very big believer in “weight”, as in keeping my primary weapon as light as possible. But once again I thought the trade-off might be worth it, at least enough to try it.
I searched around and found some great military grade lasers out there; bad news was they were multiple hundreds of dollars. That made me begin to hesitate on this purchase. So I asked around to see what my options were. A well-respected vendor that I frequent told me to try the Barska. He said it was a decent balance of quality, reliability and price. The guy steered me right before so I figured I would give it a try, albeit with some hesitation due to Barska’s reputation. So I laid down my $99 + shipping for a Barska GLX 5mW Tactical Green Laser. Yeah, yeah…I could have shopped it around a bit and found them cheaper but I like giving business to those that actually try and work with me on issues. What is funny is seeing Barska’s retail price is $221.50 and you can find them all over the Internet for $70 – $99.
The laser shows up, decent look & size to it, installed it, headed to the range. And that is where the problems began. Don’t get me wrong the laser was plenty bright enough, mounted just fine and then it went down hill fast. I tried to remove the windage turret cap and it wouldn’t come off. And I am telling you I torqued on it pretty good with my fingers. I am no little guy but I couldn’t get the thing off for nothing.
First thing through my head…“Ah hah!!!! Barska quality!”
So I did the only thing any normal Type A personality with too much testosterone would do – I got my pliers out. I placed a rag over the turret cap before putting the pliers to it and then started to turn. Man, it finally gave way right before I thought I would destroy it. I adjusted the windage without any further problems. Now on to the elevation. Yes, I was doing one at a time, slow process but I really wanted to see what the results of the adjustments were.
Well, the elevation setting did not match my needs and I went at that turret cap. And as you guessed it, I couldn’t remove it either with my fingers. No problem, been there, done that; got the pliers and rag back out. Well, no go. It was stuck tight, and I mean tight! I got so frustrated and was not about to be defeated by something like a tight turret cap. Finally I took the rag off of it and just kept cranking with the pliers to see just what it would take to remove the cap. And next thing I know I am holding the whole elevation knob, guts and all, in my hand.
As I looked closely I noticed the thread lock goop on the threads. Seems normal enough, Barska would need to hold that assembly in-place and thread lock would be the right thing to do. But I noticed it had seeped out of the turret cap as well. So whoever assembled the unit had gotten thread lock on the cap threads as well. Let me tell you that was some pretty good thread lock, the cap never did come off.
Well, I had chewed up the cap and the whole elevation assembly to the point that is was destroyed. I wasn’t worried, I would order the replacement part and pay for it since I destroyed it and didn’t expect Barska to pay for my having destroyed their parts.
Back home I looked up their Customer Service contact info and to shorten the story; 1) they don’t sell parts, 2) they had me send the unit back to them with $20, 3) three weeks later I had a new unit in my hands. First thing I tried were the turret caps. They were finger tight just like they should be. I did ask the CS rep if this had happened before. She was honest, she told me that it had and they could identify 12 units with the exact problem as mine.
I am a little pissed that I now have $120 in a laser that I could have purchased for $70 but that is the way it goes sometimes.
I installed the new unit, no problems. Did a cursory sight alignment with my Aimpoint micro T1 red dot, no problem. Headed to the range after work. My goal was to have it sighted in at 30’. This was not meant to be a precision orbit shot sight, that is what my Aimpoint is for.
As I began to dial in the windage I noticed that the “clicks” didn’t move the dot equally but good enough. I then went to dial in the elevation. It got a bit squirrelly. At one point I was trying to bring down the dot but turning the turret opposite of the “up” arrow wasn’t bringing the dot down. I tried the opposite direction and it dialed in just fine. Next time at the range I will have another go at this and try to replicate it; I could have been wrong.
I got it all dialed in and I gotta tell you, it dialed in to a nice pattern. I was shooting without a bench rest in a kneeling position from 15’ and 30’; the groups could have been covered with a nickel, one could have been covered by a dime. Sixty rounds later it was still holding.
So far I like it! Better yet, I would trust it.
Buy it? Ah, not sure about that one. But if you are looking for a less expensive green laser this is an option. But buyer beware it is a Barska. Amazon rates it at 4-Stars (140+ reviews)
Info from the Barska website:
Model # – AU11404
Adjustment Knob – External Windage and Elevation
Tube Diameter – 1 inch
Finish – Black Matte
Weight – 13.44 oz
Length – 5.6 inches
Warranty – One Year Limited Warranty
Batteries – CR-123A lithium battery
External Windage and Elevation Turrets
Visible Laser Class IIIA
Tactical Edged Bezel
The GLX 5mW Green Laser Sight from Barska is a third generation standard laser featuring external riflescope style windage and elevation turrets. The produced light of 532 nm is the most visibly sensitive wavelength to the human eye and therefore, the color most easily seen. The tactical design incorporates a tactical edged bezel and diamond patterned exterior grip in the strong T6 aluminum body. A Picatinny 1″ mounting ring with a stabilizing cross bar insert for added support is included with the laser sight. The GLX 5mW Green Laser Sight comes with a continuous push button on/off cap and an interchangeable momentary on/ off coiled cable switch.
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