Not Sure if Good Idea – The Mode Zero Defense M-Zero Picatinny Rail

Sometimes there are great ideas that turn into great products. Sometimes there are OK ideas that with good marketing, turn into good products (at least for the company). And sometimes there are iffy ideas that are not likely to make a good product. In this writer’s opinion, the Mod Zero Defense M-Zero rail is one of those iffy ideas. Great concept, but the reduction to practice ultimately not a good idea.

In short, the M-Zero Picatinny Rail is an adjustable rail section by which one zero’s their scope by adjusting the rail itself, via its built-in windage and elevation knobs. At face value, this allows one to use one optic across multiple weapons, taking it on and off various M-Zero Picatinny Rail adapters.

Seriously, at face value, this is neat.

But, it runs into an issue with real-world application. Frankly speaking, it is functionally speaking impossible to bring an optic back to the exact same zero. Compound this with most users will want to use a Q/D bracket on their optic and variation in the manufactured width of the picatinny rail and I have a hard time seeing how this mount will actually maintain the zero. Plus, it raises the height over bore of the optic.

Fortunately, as just a gun scribe, I will not be the one to pass ultimate judgment on the product – the market will. No pricing has been announced, just that the product will be offered through IndieGoGo, a crowd funding site.




TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • Its just a take on the Elcan mount. It would be fine for low power scopes like a red dot or a 4x scope but I would avoid using it on something with high magnification. Of course that assumes that they have a method for taking any backlash out of the adjustments and remember it will raise the rail height as far as the optic is concerned.

    • LGonDISQUS

      Elcan owner.

      The raytheon mount is garbage, has 4moa wobble in front mounting screw, and required aluminum foil shims to tighten the camming lever mounts tight enough.

      Possibly my most expensive regret other than buying a Miata and living in ski-territory of West Virginia.

      • We’ve heard of the issues with Elcan mounts.

        To be clear, this is not an Elcan mount. We’ve only seen pics and diagrams during our design process.

        From our understanding, their mount has a huge amount of bounce in it with the spring system. Our mount has no significant play. We use high powered springs to avoid long term deformation from hard use and to take up <0.0001" of slop in threads (a practice in precision machines).

  • Matt in CT

    Great in concept, probably not so great in practice. What is the point of having two rifles if you only have one optic? But then Im the guy that gets twitchy if I have to move a sling from one rifle to another.

    • Herp

      I’m right with you there. I have no use for guns that aren’t set up to shoot.

      I have a mk2 and a 93f that wear the same style stock, scope, and sling. No way would I keep switching that stuff over.

    • Hi Matt. It can work in a setup with multiple optics. It comes down to having more options without having to buy duplicate scopes dedicated to one rifle.

    • Bigg Bunyon

      Ain’t that the truth. It’s like having an emergency radio, a flashlight and set of two-way radios all powered by the same single set of rechargeable batteries. Sounds great on paper but is most impractical in the real world.
      Every device of every type I own is “self sustaining” … each has what it needs to do it’s job all by itself and likely has its own backups. And with Irma bearing down on us, I’m just fine with redundancy. Everywhere except wives, that gets a might testy at times.

  • Bruce

    Do they make a scope mount with an adjustable slope for long range shooting? I could see that as being handy.

    • Hi Bruce,
      Some shooters are very interested in using our mount for long range shooting.

  • Texas-Roll-Over

    sighting in my rifle isnt that hard.

    • Blake

      yep, laser bore sighter gets you on paper with the 1st shot

    • Dan

      The only real benefit is that it allows you to zero your optic without having to use your windage and elevation knobs. So if you have those zero’d out then use the rail to make the adjustments you have more adjustment with your scope. I dont see anyone but long range shooters using these as the average shooter doesn’t usually run out of adjustment on their optic.

  • A.WChuck

    For people with multiple rifles but only one very expensive (read $2500US and UP) optic, this is a good idea. A plus is that it allows you to keep your scope in “neutral”. Set it at optical center and don’t touch the dials.
    I seem to remember there were sniper scopes back int he 40’s or 50’s that had the adjustments on the mount.

    • DrewN

      This is what I do. I use the GG&G 1 piece bases in bolt action height and add their scout rail for ARs. Granted I’m not perfectly zeroed from rifle to rifle, but I’m usually at least in the 9 ring, making zeroing extremely easy.

  • MS1000

    Sounds like the perfect product for those who want to use Leopold’s new thermal sight that has non adjustable sights

    • Shankbone

      Leupold’s thermal tracker?

    • A lot of shooters keep asking us about this. Although not design for this, definitely works.

  • Mr._Exterminatus

    I just don’t see much point in this. If they can sell them and make money, good for them.

  • Florida Man

    In all honesty I don’t think any of the problems you mentioned are impossible or even hard to overcome. Use lower rings of good quality and even QD rings will return to zero for anything other than bench rest rifles.

    • Thanks Florida Man, there’s a long list of QD low mounts that allow you to maintain standard heights on optics if wanted. Although we haven’t had anyone at the range complain about 0.6″

  • Matt

    This seems like it would be a good way to quickly adjust for range with a red dot. Not sure I want to add half a pound to the rifle just for that capability though.

  • Spencerhut
    • Realist

      Like a Boss…great pic of optic history.

  • RSG

    Garand Thumb on YouTube just posted a video review this morning on this mount. I haven’t watched it yet, though.

    • RSG

      He said it holds zero. The cheek weld becomes more like a chin weld.

  • Patrick

    Extreme long range shooters have been using external mounts to precisely adjust for shots that exceed the internal adjustment range of scopes. These mounts are crazy-precise and price starts at $400. Definitely not for swapping scopes but a proven concept.

    • damn, where have these been all my life?

    • Hobby Shooter

      That’s exactly what you need for 1-2 mile shooting. The Ivey is too expensive for me though.

  • Blake

    Basically all our scoped rifles run basic Nikon Pro Staff or Redfield Revolution scopes, & either factory or Weaver rings. We’re really satisfied with them, & if you can pick them up on sale, they don’t cost much more than this gizmo probably does…

    • Haven’t heard of any issues with those scopes or rings.

  • Vitsaus

    “Do you love having guns, but hate having to shoot them? Have we got the product for you!”

  • QuadGMoto

    It seems to me that this would be better done as a quick detach scope base and rings rather than a rail which adds more than 1/2 inch to the height over bore.

  • Arie Heath

    You know, for when your bore offset just isn’t big enough.

  • DetroitMan

    I don’t think the multiple-rifles-one-optic concept will work well. Where it could be useful is if you are shooting long range and your scope has maxed out its adjustment range. It does happen, and an adjustable mount is one solution.

  • Audie Bakerson

    If you could figure out how to add this to a 10/22 there would be a market for being able to take off your optics rail and use irons without the rail in the way. Only real option for that I’ve seen is a standard QD mount, a pic rail piece with integral low aperture and extra high front sight to use with that rear.

  • Joshua

    Yo dawg, we heard you like rails, so we put rails on your rails so you can tactical while you tactical.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Haha perfect

  • Brett

    This is better off used with a red dot to have elevation adjustments like on Iron sights.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    My fist holds zero. Always

  • Flyingchipmunk

    This reminds me off Col. Jeff Cooper’s idea for how scopes should adjust in the bases but be fixed internally. He thought this would be more durable since he did not trust the delicate adjustments inside scopes.

    Modern scopes are so durable that they have basically made Cooper’s idea moot though

  • Hi int19h,
    The render of the ballistic turret is just one example. That one is setup with two turrets, for different ammo loads, just as 55gr and 77gr.

    Using our mount to swap a scope between training rifle and primary rifle is definitely a great use of the mount. We’ve demoed this with .22s and 9mm uppers next to 556 and 300 Blk.

    The simplest and most cost effective solution is to run your BUIS in front of the M-Zero Scope Mount on your hand rail or run the mount two slots back and use the two front slots on the upper receiver for your standard height BUIS. We didn’t want to reinvent the wheel on BUIS. Running the BUIS on our rail isn’t as practical because adjustment in the rail would affect the BUIS unintentionally. Attached is the pic f this. As you can see it doesn’t affect the sight picture.

    If there’s enough interest, we will make a BUIS that goes on top of the rail for sure, either folding like the tavor or other methods.

    • int19h

      Yeah… that cuts down on sight distance substantially. I think it would be shorter than on AK with gas block sight, even? I suppose you could say that it’s not a big deal for *backup* iron sights, but still.

      I wouldn’t worry about the rail adjustments affecting BUIS, since in your intended use case, once the mount is attached to the rifle and adjusted, it stays there (and you only switch the scopes). So the front sight can just be adjusted to match the new position of the rear sight, and that’s that. It’s mainly about being able to adjust it to where it needs to be in the first place.

      • Noted. We’ll take another look at our BUIS designs and options. Sounds like its desired for the rear aperture to be all the way to the rear.

        We walked away from it being built into the rail because feedback from some was that they really like the idea of running the dial for range adjustment and other reasons. They had no issue with running the rear sight forward because some did it already with ACOGs and that the sight radius was comparable to a SBR style rifle.

        They felt that backups were most importantly properly zeroed, always and visible over our mount. Deploying BUIS were also easier since they are closer to the support hand.

        They were not civ. shooters.

        • int19h

          FWIW, I love the idea of a range adjustment dial as well! All things that I have in mind wrt BUIS, would be along the lines of trying to accommodate both, not replacing one with the other.

  • RetiredSOFguy

    Sounds to me like another complex solution looking for a simple problem…like the various “quick change barrel” systems for the AR. Why not just pop two pins and put on a complete upper with the different barrel, properly headspaced bolt and zeroed sights…it’s faster and fewer gotchas?

    Same here…why not just get fewer rifles as complete weapons systems? Easier and more certain.

    But hey, I’m a simple guy.

    • Max Glazer

      Why even bother swapping uppers? Just get the whole weapon.

      • RetiredSOFguy

        I agree. There was some convenience deploying with two uppers since I could still use just the small carbine Pelican case, but that’s not a concern I have as a retired fart. All of my uppers have lowers attached in the gun room 🙂