Gear Review: Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles

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Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

On a recent prairie dog hunt with John Stewart, the owner of Kiote Rifles, I watched him pull out a tripod and screw a flat bracket to the top of it. Yet another gadget. I went from “I don’t need another gadget,” to “Can I borrow that?” in about four minutes.

Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)
Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

The Darkside Dashboard from Kiote Rifles is the kind of good idea that’s so simple and elegant I’m surprised I’ve never seen it before. And I’m kinda mad I didn’t think of it.

It’s essentially a 12″x6″ plate with holes and slots to allow a shooter to securely mount a wide array of objects, devices, and weapons.

Spotting scope direct mounted. (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

The center hole is threaded 3/8-16 for mounting on a tripod. The plate has 8 different 3/8″ untapped holes and 20 different 1/4″ untapped holes set throughout the plate. The Darkside Dashboard also features M-LOK-compatible and MOLLE-compatible slots on the outside ends of the plate.

The result is an extremely wide range of mounting options throughout the plate. Basically, if it has a mounting post, M-LOK, or a strap, it will directly attach to the Dashboard.

The prototype I used was the 6061 Aluminum version, weighing in at one pound even. There’s also a A572 steel version, at 3.8 lbs.

The uses for this thing are myriad. The most obvious is to put a sandbag on top of it and put your firearm on it. For more stability, you can secure the bag to the Dashboard and then your firearm to the bag, or directly to the Darkside Dashboard as well, sandwiching the bag between your firearm and the Dashboard. I can see a whole lot of hunting guides using this method for their clients, both in and out of the blind.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

During our prairie dog hunt, I used the Darkside Dashboard to hold my Cole-Tac Trap Bag under my M48 Nosler Custom Handgun chambered in 7mm-08 Remington (review pending….spoiler alert: all the stars). This allowed me to get a large amount of the forend on the bag with enough space to press my hand forward against the bag and on the plate for complete stability.

I could then swivel the pistol in any direction with a solid and stable platform that could also easily be picked up and moved. With that combination of mount and gun, we were smacking the little varmints out to 250 yards. At that range, the rounds landed with predictability and authority.

On its own, unattached from a tripod, you can use the MOLLE slots to lash it to a pack and then mount all sorts of stuff to it. Or just leave it inside a pack with the gear mounted. Spend a few sleep cycles on it, and anyone is likely to come up with a whole lot of scenarios here.

Image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

As an example, when I put my tripod down, my already optics-mounted Darkside Dashboard goes on the ball head mount. When I want to shoot, I can swap the ball head with a Hog Saddle clamp for the gun. Alternatively I could pull the optics off and put a bag up, or even mount all three at the same time on the same Dashboard.

This is a prototype model, and the Darkside Dashboard isn’t on the Kiote Rifles website. Mr. Stewart says he’s happy to make them for individuals or dealers. This is a pretty neat piece of kit, and I’m certainly in line for one.

Specifications: Darkside Dashboard by Kiote Rifles

Dimensions: 12x6in 0.25” 6061 aluminum or 0.188” A572 steel
Weight: 1.00lb Aluminum, 3.80lbs steel
Cerakote options: FDE or Sniper Grey
Mounting: 3/8-16 threaded center hole
Price: $165 shipped

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
Simple, well made, and extremely versatile. There’s not much to it, and a lot you can do with it.

 

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29 COMMENTS

  1. When I was very little, like most kids those ages, a simple cardboard box i could climb into held many possibilities for lots of adventures. But the thing is that box was never really a rocket ship to mars, or a race car, or any of the other adventures things I could imagine.

    This “Dashboard” is like that. A thing that appeals to the imagination but not any of those things.

  2. While this looks like a useful and high quality product, the price (assuming the tripod is not included which it doesn’t appear to be) is absurd. I realize producing products like this at small scale is hideously expensive, but prospective customers don’t care about your costs.

    • They found a use for their scrap material, a gimmick that leverages nothing, relies on the user imagination, is not any certain thing or have any certain use or function.

      But hey, it uses a tripod so its got to be…something?

      😆

    • I think we’re on the same page. It seems to epitomize what I’ve come to dislike about a certain type of “adaptability” in some products.

      At first glance, they seem to offer “Everything you want . . .”, but the unwritten fine print is “. . . as long as you’re willing to pay for, and in many cases carry around, everything everybody else could possibly want, even though you’ll never use most of it.”

      I agree with your statement that “producing products like this at small scale is hideously expensive” (emphasis added). Yes, it would cost quite a bit to get a plate that big and make all those holes and slots. However, I’m also quite certain most of us could get a piece of a size and shape suitable to the one or two guns we’d actually use it for, and drill it [only] where needed for that application, for a whole lot less.

      • Could,, sure. But how good a job would you be able to do, and how much time are you willing to put into it? There are some things I’m willing to spend time on and others I’d rather spend money on.

        I’m not in the market for anything like this, but I can see how a lot of shooters would be. For those people, $160 probably isn’t out of line for a durable, well-finished product that they can use to make their hobby/pastime/livelihood easier.

        • I value my time a great deal more than money, and rarely waste it to pinch pennies.

          That said, effective functionality for any particular application (not every conceivable application would involve drilling like three holes. Would I do that for $165? Absolutely. How good a job? Seriously? See all the other commenters’ cheaper, creative yet simple ideas.

  3. It’s cool…I don’t know what it “should” cost. On the surface it’s a simple idea. Good to know!

  4. Take a 1/4″ x 48″ x 72″ sheet of polycarbonate at $173.81, punch out 48 of those dash board racks at a cost of $3.61 each, lighter and just as strong, add the tripod 3/8-16 threaded center hole (1/4″ male to 3/8″ male screw adapters 1/4″ to 3/8″ nut screw) at $1.26 ea……sell them for $25 bucks, they will fly out the door!

    • Better yet, start with a 14 x 20 inch polypropylene cutting board for $16 at bed, bath and beyond, screw about $3 worth of tiedown nylon lashing loops to it, and spend the rest of the money on good booze for after the shooting is done…. see these with a backpack strapped to them at about every-other prairie dog shoot, and they come with a ready-made carrying handle cutout.

  5. Something much more useful than this is a Picatinny rail with a tripod adapter built into its underside to mount it to a tripod. I have one, can’t remember where I bought it, but it’s in my rangebag, and I use it frequently at the range for my “spotting scope” which is actually a regular rifle scope on regular Picatinny scope rings. After all, why buy a Chinese-made spotting scope, when we all have a dozen higher-quality unused rifle scopes lying around at home?

    Or maybe I’m the only one who has a dozen unused scopes — either cast offs from guns I sold, or set aside after I upgraded to the latest and greatest LPVO scope instead of the older higher-powered scope. Eventually I’ll get around to selling my unused scopes, but in the meantime, I put one to use as my spotting scope with that Picatinny rail with a tripod socket on the bottom!

    • Not sure you thought through that comment.
      Unless you think you wouldn’t need a sturdy rest to hit prairie dogs at 250 yards with a rifle. I know I do.

  6. Interesting. Not $170 interesting. The ideas for using polycarbonate or plastic cutting boards is more in line with what I’d be willing to spend. Or find out where Stuck in NJ got his adapter.

  7. I hate busting on Jon Wayne Taylor and the products that support this site.
    That being said I saw something very similar at Big Lots for $11.
    They sell furniture now. It had 4 legs but seemed pretty sturdy.

    • I’m not sure that I’d call it “busting”, I like J-dubs and Travis’ reviews too- they showcase some neat stuff. Alot if what comes out as “new” product is an adaptation of someone else’s solutions. If you were to go to a IHMSA match or an informal prairie dog shoot, you would end up with a lot of ” geez, why didn’t I think of that?” ideas.

      • My apologies if it was taken as a diss, and thanks again to everyone taking their own time to post these articles.

    • Yup, don’t consider it busting at all. You don’t have to agree with me and I’ll still very much appreciate the feedback.

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