I test a lot of guns. Some of them come with a scope mounted already, but the vast majority require that I put some sort of optic on there to test it out. Normally this is a huge pain in the butt, moving optics from one firearm to another. I’ve tried a few alternatives on the market for quick detach red dot mounts but none of them have really worked all that well. Now Kinetic Development Group has released their Sidelok red dot mount, and after testing it for a few months I think I’ve found a winner . . .
There are a number of shooters out there who zero their firearm once and then never touch the optics ever again. The scope is set and dialed in — why mess with perfection? That said there are a number of instances where keeping your optic on one gun isn’t an option.
What if you splurged and this is your one “good” piece of glass that you put on every firearm? Or what if you have a bunch of different optics and want to change your firearm as it suits you? You’re going to need a mount that can solidly hold your optic in place while providing the ability to quickly and easily remove and replace it on your rail as needed.
Most other companies who compete in this space use a clamp system of some sort. LaRue has a throw lever on their locking system that applies pressure to the rail to keep everything in line. Others use a finger-tight screw against the side of the mount. KDG decided to go in a different direction, designing their mount use a spring loaded rail section that automatically clamps onto the rail and applies just the right amount of pressure to keep it there.
Installing the Sidelok mount is a snap: line up the right side of the mount on the rail and then pivot it into place. That trips a small catch on the underside of the mount and releases the spring loaded clamp, applying just the right amount of pressure. Removal is just as easy: push in on the release located at the front and it comes straight off.
Compared to the other quick detach systems I’ve used, this is definitely the easiest and quickest I’ve come across. There’s nothing to tighten and no levers to throw — it just works. But the question is whether the mount is reliable enough to return to zero after removing and replacing it on the gun. If you need to re-zero the gun every time then that kinda defeats the purpose of a purpose-built mount. The results are thankfully very good.
I could show you my personal results, but that doesn’t have nearly the production values of KDG’s video here. No matter how many times I removed and replaced the mount it returned to zero within an inch at 50 yards. In other words, the thing works as advertised.
The only problem I had with the mount was installing the Aimpoint itself. The mount is designed in such a way that the screws under the red dot are not directly accessible with a standard hex wrench. Instead you’re going to need a hex wrench with a nub on the end to allow you to tighten the screws from an angle. It’s not the end of the world, but definitely an annoyance when you’re installing this thing for the first time. The good news is that you’re probably not going to need to re-install it any time soon.
The folks over at Kinetic Development Group are doing some good work. From making the SCAR platform look like a svelte sexy beauty to producing some interesting accessories they seem to be on the right track. Their Sidelok red dot mount isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, clocking in around $100 more expensive than a standard red dot mount and $30 more than the other quick release options from the major manufacturers. But it definitely does the job better and looks much slicker.
Specifications: Kinetic Development Group Sidelok Red Dot Mount
Material: Black anodized aluminum
Compatible: Aimpoint T1/H1, also available for T2, PRO, and Trijicon MRO.
Cowitness: Lower 1/3
Weight: 2.7 oz
MSRP: $139.99 [Website]
Ratings (out of five stars):
Quality * * * * 1/2
I’m taking off half a star for the annoying installation process. The screws aren’t directly accessible with a straight hex wrench. Other than that I’m very happy with the unit.
Function * * * * *
Perfect. Exactly as advertised.
Overall * * * *
The only thing I can really complain about is the fact that it is more expensive than the other mounts. It works and is easy to use, but others do it cheaper. That said, I absolutely love the mechanism they use and I think it is brilliant.