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.
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.
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.
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.
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.