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
- Send off the slide for custom machining
- 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.
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:
- Shooters “chase the dot”
- No BUIS
- 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.
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
Installation was relatively easy. Most people would be able to do it from home assuming they have the tools at their disposal. I needed:
- Vice with leather pads
- 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).
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
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!)
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Watch your screw length for the RMR. May be too long and impact the slide. Quick filing or sanding will address.
- 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.
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.
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.