I like to try and make it to at least 10 firearms competitions a year, more if the budget allows. For each of the different rifle competitions I have a series of decisions to make every single time I go to one. Which upper should I use? Should I leave the A2 flash hider on or swap to the muzzle brake? Do I want iron sights, a red dot, or the scope? The answers depend on the weather conditions, round count, and the expected course of fire, and can often change in the middle of a week. After one of those mid-week emergency trips to the range to re-zero my rifle for a new optic, I thought to myself “self, there HAS to be a way I can just swap optics without zeroing the rifle.” Turns out I’m not the only one who had that thought, as Alamo Four Star has a line of mounts and rail adapters that do exactly that…
The concept behind these DLOC thingers is pretty simple — instead of mounting your optics directly to the rail on your rifle using hardware that tends to shift around when removed, mount them to these solid pieces of aluminum specially designed to always mount the exact same way every time.
The way DLOC mounts achieve that consistent alignment is by using GIGANTIC grippers. Your standard optic mount occupies one or two slots on the rail, but these puppies cover eight full slots. Not only are the grippers big, but they’re forced into place with the help of a pretty hefty spring. In order to put the mount on the rail, the user must push on the knob with a good bit of force and open the grippers, then tighten the knob down to hold everything in place.
A reasonable person might ask “how well does the system grip?” To which a reasonable answer is “it grips well and holds on tight.” But these guys went above and beyond reasonable. Check THIS out.
That, my friends, is a video of this mounting system picking up an engine block weighing in at just over 1/4 ton. And then an ATV. And finally part of a Ford F150, to the tune of 1,500 pounds.
Despite the force with which these things hold onto the rail, Alamo Four Star claims that these will come and go from your firearms and leave nary a scratch to show that it was ever there. Compare that to the unsightly gouges that other systems (*cough* LaRue Tactical *cough*) leave behind on the rails of your guns and you can start to really see the benefits of their system. Actually, I think I have a video around here somewhere illustrating just that.
Yeah, not something I would enjoy watching happen to my Pretty Princess.
Another interesting quirk of these mounts is that they raise the optics above the rail — there’s a good 1/8 to 1/4 inch of height added to whatever you’re plopping on top of your gun. It’s perfect if you have something relatively low you want to mount (like my old friend below) but for something like an EOTech sight it’s going to raise the optic just high enough that getting a cheek pad would seem to be a good idea. It’s frankly a bit annoying, but swapping out “high” rings for “low” rings on a scope will fix that issue. There are also specifically designed DLOC mounts for some optics, like Trijicon ACOGs or Aimpoint red dots. For anything that’s fixed height (EOTech, iron sights…) you’re either going to have to accept a crappy cheek weld or break out the duct tape and washcloths.
The DLOC mounts come in all shapes and sizes to fit whatever you’re mounting and wherever you’re mounting it. The newest kids on the block in their product line are specially designed to bring “low profile” optics like an Aimpoint Micro up to eye level on a standard M16A4 upper receiver without sacrificing much rail space. The three kinds that were sent to me were a DLOC-T which is designed to mount Trijicon ACOG scopes (which, after about a month of waiting and Trijicon reps assuring me was on the way so I could test the mount, never showed up), the DLOC Dolly which is designed for longer scopes or those with a lot of toys, and another odd looking cantilever mount called the DLOC-M4X that slots in front of backup iron sights on a standard M4 upper and fits an old friend like a glove.
Emphasis on the “old.” This thing went out of production before my sister (now in college) was born. In spite of her old age, she still holds zero with the best optics out there.
The DLOC-M4X was the mount that really caught my eye. I know a lot of shooters who run the M4 profile uppers, with a fixed front sight and a full length rail on top of the receiver, and the vast majority have a flip up iron sight mounted at the rear of their rail. Not only does it provide a backup sighting system if the primary runs out of batteries, it provides a reference against which the zero of the primary optic can be checked. The DLOC-M4X fits perfectly in front of such a flip-up sight and even increases the rail space available for an optic by cantilevering over the delta ring and the back of the handguard. I thought that was pretty nifty.
I was recently doing a bit of test firing in support of a little test we have going. During that range trip I had the DLOC mount rigged up to my rifle, and every five rounds I removed the mount from the rifle, opened and closed the grippers a few times, then slapped it back on. I would show you the target, but a picture of one ragged hole doesn’t make for a very interesting post. There was no detectable change in the zero whenever the mount was removed and replaced even though fifty removals and replacements.
The DLOC mount system is designed to allow the shooter to quickly change optics (or disassemble / reassemble the gun for transport and storage) without needing to re-zero the weapon every time. It works, it’s reliable, and it won’t even damage your rails. If the added height isn’t an issue for you and you need a way to swap optics fast then this is for you.
Specifications: DLOC Scope Mounts and Dollies
Ratings (out of five)
Ease of Use * * * *
Putting these things on and taking them off your rifle are a snap. The spring is a little tough, but put some elbow grease into it and it will bend to your will. The things lose a single star simply for the fact that the dolly rails are a tad high and make getting a proper cheek weld difficult with “standard” optics. Buying a purpose built DLOC mount for your optic would cure that problem, and they do exist.
Reliability * * * * *
I would have no problems whatsoever swapping out an optic on the range minutes before a competition using this system. At 50 yards there was no noticeable deviation from the single ragged hole, no matter how many times I took it off and put it back on.
Overall Rating * * * * *
If you need to swap optics these may be what you’ve been looking for.