Review: Suarez International L-Mount Trijicon RMR Red Dot Base

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Gabe Suarez is a polarizing figure. Our readers will certainly have some institutional memory of him interacting in the comments, but polarizing figures do have a tendency to spark real conversation about tough issues and in this case, Gabe Suarez is certainly able to do that. He has been a long proponent of adding red-dot sights to handguns, a trend that is starting to gain solid traction in the tactical shooting community.

An example of this is the various slides and components Suarez International offers through its store, OneSourceTactical.com. Just about every Glock slide offered is pre-cut for a optical sight. These slides do come at a cost, whether through Suarez (around $350) or through any other aftermarket manufacturer. Further, there is Glock’s new MOS system when has been incredibly successful at capture the market.

There are all great, but what about those shooter who already have a handgun without the provision for a red-dot? Typically, there are two options

  1. Send off the slide for custom machining
  2. Purchase an adapter

The latter has typically been rather “clunky” solutions. Trying to correct that, Suarez had released their “L-Mount” base for the Trijicon RMR.

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What is the L-Mount Base and How is it Different?

Most of the various adapters are typically just an adapter plate that uses the rear dovetail to mount a plate and then a sight. This certainly works, but creates a few issues:

  1. Shooters “chase the dot”
  2. No BUIS
  3. Potentially unstable mounting

The L-mount looks to address all the above. Specifically, provisions for iron sights are built in directly to the adapter, allowing shooters to use any common Glock sights (or those already on their handgun). The addition of iron sights gives the shooter reference on the sight line and thus avoids “chasing the dot” when engaging targets.

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Addressing the stability side, the L-Mount likewise uses the rear dovetail, but adds additional interface points by using a set-screw to keep the rear dovetail in place and adds a rear cover plate with screw interface for two total points of contact. Put it simply, when mounted it was not going anywhere.

However, the solution to the mounting issue does not come without its trade offs. By interfacing with the rear cover, the L-Mount makes it impossible to dissemble the rear of the handgun for detailed strip and cleaning without dismounting the entire adapter plate. As with installation, removal requires a vice and punch set, so when installed one must be ready to not clean their weapon for a long time or have a bench and range to re-zero often.

Installing the L-Mount

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Installation was relatively easy. Most people would be able to do it from home assuming they have the tools at their disposal. I needed:

  1. Vice with leather pads
  2. Punch
  3. Hammer
  4. Hex Key / Torx Keys

After removing my rear sight, I worked to slide the L-Mount directly onto the slide, forgetting to swap out the end plate. Annoyed at myself, I removed the L-Mount and replaced the rear plate, only after a cleaning of all the internal components, knowing they would be installed for the foreseeable future. While one can install the L-Mount without the Suarex rear plate, I found the rear plate excellent for ensuring the L-Mount was aligned to centerline (the rear screw hole was lined up quickly).

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Note, those using their own sights will want to make sure they install their front sight prior to installing the L-Mount. The front sight installs exactly as it would on a Glock slide – from the bottom. The L-Mount provided for review came with pre-installed Suarez sights. The sights are offered as an option for about $70.00

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With the L-Mount firmly ensconed on the slide, the RMR fit in easily. The machining and clearances for the RMR was excellent and fit like a well-fitted glove. Suarez recommends that one uses the included RMR screws, but in my case one of the screws was longer than the other which did bit into my slide and left a mark. (Nuts!)

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Shooting with the L-Mount

Lining up for dry-fire, the first sight pictures were a bit “off”. Having used the particular G35 for competition the last two years, I am well acquainted with the sight picture. As such, bringing it up to alignment the dot was presented high, forcing me to bring the handgun down to acquire it. Fortunately (and as covered in a previous article) the iron sights were able to assist in recognizing the issue and helping bring the dot into picture quickly.

A few holster draws later, I was becoming in tune with new sight picture and time to accurate shots was dropping precipitously (as with me anytime I have a red-dot on the handgun). After a quick zeroing at 25 yards, I was pinging 10″ steel out to 100 yards without issue, accounting for drop.

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Compared to dedicated red-dot solutions I was used to, the L-Mount had its quirks. The iron sights, while useful for finding the dot, were so close that they were not practical for long-range shooting, even with “long range” set to 10 yards. The front sight blade had almost no discernible gap in the rear notch which made windage difficult for snap-shooting. Basically, the iron sights existed to find the dot, not to shoot as your primary aiming points unless in dire emergency.

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Running drills all afternoon across about 500 rounds, the mount held zero without issue. I dropped it, banged it, knocked it, used it for racking and it kept on trucking. If anything I found was valuable, the addition of the front sight left a great post for one-handed operations where otherwise the optic housing was the racking surface.

To sum it up, once mounted, the sight is a red-dot equipped handgun. It holds zero and keeps on trucking with no complaint.

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The Good:

  • Mounts a red-dot solidly.
  • Keeps BUIS, which is directly compatible with all existing Glock sights.
  • Inexpensive introduction to red-dots at $99 at the time of this writing.

The Notable:

  • Watch your screw length for the RMR. May be too long and impact the slide. Quick filing or sanding will address.

The Bad:

  • Solid mounting comes with a trade-off, must be completely removed from the slide for detailed strip and cleaning. No way to re-zero other than heading back to the range.

Final Thoughts:

The L-Mount is a novel solution to a problem not without causing its own problems. However with the native platform’s known reliability, the problems it causes relative to the solutions it provides is minimal. For a combat or patrol handgun that needs a red-dot solution (especially where one is not allowed to modify the base gun), look no further.

For the general shooter, this is not the best solution, which will continue to be a machined and countersunk red-dot on an existing slide. The L-Mount raises the red-dot about 1/3″ higher than it should be (meaning more arc to trajectory) and reduces the BUIS to an advisement versus an actual legit back-up and accurate sighting system.

Still, it one is hesitant to go to a red-dot, hesitant to send a valuable slide to be machined, or is generally wanting capability without large cost, the L-Mount is the best offering of the various dove-tail adapters.

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They can be purchased direct from Suarez for $99 at the time of this writing. Shooters can also add Suarez front or rear sights for an additional fee.

 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Tassiebush

    Seems like this needs to perhaps come in a rear sight only L mount version and have an extra high front sight added to go in the usual position.

    • AD

      Agreed, that sounds a lot better than relying on the mount’s built-in “front” sight.

      • Tassiebush

        I guess at least the normal use of this is with the red dot and the back up irons just being a reference point to use for that. But I reckon some would like the option of fully functional irons.
        One good thing about this approach at least is that it would probably be available to a larger area with less fuss. For example importing this would probably be way less hectic than a modified slide (being a gun part) for people in other countries than the USA.

    • Quasimofo

      Agreed. I have a 2014 G17L, and I installed a Deltapoint Pro with it’s adjustable rear sight using Leupold’s dovetail mount. The nice folks at Dawson Precision were able to work up a custom front sight that was high enough (~0.625″, IIRC) to be somewhat usable with that rear sight (for me).

    • MikeSmith13807

      I suspect the problem is the necessary height of the front sight. Normally if the red dot is milled into the slide it sits low enough that a suppressor-height front sight will co-witness with the dot. This is higher than that–I can’t imagine anybody wanting a front sight that high, even if it fits into a holster. A better solution may be to use a thinner front sight in this configuration.

      • Tassiebush

        fair point. balancing the hindrance against the lower likelihood of needing to use it as the back up sights it’s probably not worth it.

  • Audie Bakerson

    What about 3: buy a precut slide and install it?

    If you’re building from scratch (which is fully doable at this point) it’s not even an extra cost

  • sliversimpson

    This would’ve been a great idea about a year ago. The market for this kind of product will be lessened now that Glock is selling optics ready pistols.

    • Nicks87

      I think this is more of a “try it out” type of device. If you’re serious about using an RDS on a pistol the factory options are way better. You don’t want to pay to have your slide milled or buy a whole new gun, then realize you don’t like the setup or it just doesn’t work for you.

    • William Elliott

      its also for people with an “issue” firearm [IE police/security] that are not allowed to modify it, but want a red dot. Swapping out sights is not considered an actual modification where swapping the slide or cutting the slide would be.

  • gunsandrockets

    I’m just amazed that dot sights can take the abuse of riding the slide.

    • Nicks87

      RMRs can for sure, I’ve heard the delta point holds up pretty well too but all the others? Not so much.

      • gunsandrockets

        I agree that new-tech sights are the wave of the future for handguns. But handgun design hasn’t caught up to the new paradigm. There is no reason a dot sight should have to suffer such buffeting.

        Some company is going to make a boatload of money if they can come up with new handgun design which incorporates a dot sight from the start, instead of as an afterthought. The old school Browning slide design will have to go. Obviously this new handgun would have to be reasonably compact, at least 9mm caliber, and a MSRP less than $700.

        Off the top of my head I’m imagining something in the basic layout of a Ruger 22-45 pistol, with an inertia-recoil operated locked-breech bolt, and a dot sight with a screen which folds flat for holster carry and pops open when drawn.

        • Nicks87

          You’re thinking to far into the future but it sounds like a good idea. How about TrackingPoint for pistols?

        • William Elliott

          the Revol Arms DL-45 might be the way to go…hopefully it will be out this year.

          • gunsandrockets

            ? I had to google to find the pistol you referred to.

            Maybe. Red-dot sights doesn’t seem to be a feature Revol Arms are concerned about, but one image I found suggests the DL-45 could accommodate such a sight better than pistols with conventional slides.

      • Holdfast_II

        My Buris FF3 has held up well for a couple of years now. More reliable than my RMR which likes to change setting by itself.

        • Nicks87

          So how much do they pay you at Burris? Are they still spending more on marketing than quality control? I’ve had better luck with primary arms products, they’re cheaper and their CS is way better.

  • David

    Gabe is a dangerous instructor more interested in gaining notoriety than proper tactics.

    I gave up on Suarez when he promoted putting the finger on the trigger, pointed at the chest while holding someone at gun point. I will never spend a dime on his training or products

    • Tassiebush

      I might be missing some nuance or context of your point but I would have thought that was tactically pretty sound. Transferring the balance of risk onto your opponent and gaining maximum advantage. I can’t imagine pointing a gun at someone unless I thought they were a threat to my life or someone else and I thought I may have to shoot them. Prior to identifying the target and threat I wouldn’t be putting finger on trigger though. (Disclaimer: I’m a novice Gabe fanboy though)

      • David

        The finger should never be on the trigger until its time to shoot

      • David

        If they were a threat, you would shoot. You only hold people at gunpoint if they r about to be a threat

        • Ebby123

          More pearls of wisdom from someone who has never done either?

          • David

            How would you know my level of knowledge and experience?

            Just because you are ignorant does not mean others are as well

  • thedonn007

    I would think that the screw in the rear cover plate would re-zero the red dot upon re-installation.

  • stephen

    I remember GS DVD that I got at a yard sale – Gabe was running around a mock store and he kept changing the pistol from one hand to the other. Said something about keeping the threat guessing and that changing the pistol from one hand to the other was a ‘tactic’ that could ‘save your life’.

    sigh…

    I asked about this on his forum – why would you want to allow a moment where you could not shoot during an active armed self defense situation? Needless to say the GS fanboys started the name calling and even Gabe himself was abusive, swearing like a sailor (even though he claims to be a christian) and threatened me. End result: I was banned and the trashing continued. GS said I was a nobody with no experience (even though I retired from the Army doing infantry and MP stuff; contracted teaching at Fort Carson to MPs on the M9 sidearm, and am an active firearms instructor).

    He and James Yeager should get together.

    • Ebby123

      Yawn.

      Ever notice how anyone even trying to make a significant contribution to the shooting world always has the same group of haters?

      The standard format is a rant about some deliberately embellished maneuver that “OMG no sane person should ever do”, and then following up with a wildly unrealistic standard of conduct that they themselves do not follow.

      People don’t succeed by being nice – deal with it. If your feeling get hurt by every person who doesn’t talk like a nun, you have an incredibly weak constitution. You might want to focus on that instead of bashing people on internet forums.

      • Nicks87

        Well, does it really surprise you, when less than 25% of Americans are even fit for military service? I would guess that even less are willing to learn the basics of armed self defense. Most would rather just buy a gun, lock it up in their nightstand, and consider themselves protected. Then they go to the gun range once a year and shoot a box of ammo or two and call it training.

      • Zachary marrs

        People who say things to the effect of “i hope one of your family members goes crazy and shoots up a place so i can put him down” are not contributing ANYTHING positive, to anything.

  • jay
  • Wynter

    It’s interesting and probably the best alternative to not having the slide milled that I’ve seen. I’m in the demographic since I’d like to add an RMR to either my Glock or my M&P40, neither are milled and I have a spare RMR already. My spare RMR is currently mounted on my S&W 629 V-Comp just because it seemed a waste for the sight to sit idle in the safe and it’s actually pretty awesome. Although, without co-witness sights it’s a PITA finding the dot quickly so the V-Comp is just it’s temporary home.

    I probably won’t run out and buy one but I will add it to my “to be considered” list.