Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dolos Quick Release Barrel Handguard Review

Dolos Quick Release Barrel Handguard Review

Over the last year I have been extremely fortunate to put a face with a name of other writers I follow in the industry. One of those editors which I have virtually met and follow is Tim Harmson who founded the very popular Military Arms Channel. I think Tim does straight forward and honest video reviews, is well spoken and generally seems like a good guy. After watching one of his videos on the new Dolos Quick Release Barrel Handguard from CopperCustom.com which he is affiliated with. I decided I had to have one and reached out to him and after some discussion fired over a sample for me to review.


The Dolos delivers the ability to remove or attach an AR15 barrel instantly with just a quarter twist for storage and then quickly re-assemble with no perceptible re-zeroing required. I immediately installed the Dolos on my No Guts No Glory AR15 pistol build with 7.5" Feddersen/MicroMoa barrel. The idea is simple and elegantly executed system complete with a 7" handguard assembly.

The Dolos is essentially three parts, a "steel base locking nut" which screws on and attaches to the upper receiver and then is secured in place with three grub screws. The included lead balls are added to each hole before the grub screws to prevent receiver thread damage. After installing this on a pistol and rifle build, my preference was to just liberally Blue LockTite the Steel Locking nut in place as I did have some loosening issues with just using the three screws. The other parts are the cam interface/handguard nut, and the 7" aluminum handguard.

All the parts are high quality and well made, however the handguard is the definition of utilitarian, but serves its purpose. The included aluminum 7" handguard delivers a comfortable round profile for AR15 pistol or rifle. 

CopperCustom.com has noted that other handguards lengths would be available at some point. I did notice that from a custom perspective that an Apex GatorGrip Handguard series could be fitted to the Dolos handguard adapter though it would require some lathe turning on the Dolos handguard nut and some drilling and tapping. Many folks, including me, will notice that the handguard is not particularly glamorous and will look for custom options to extend the awesome capabilities of the Dolos to something cooler looking. From my measure and tests of other handguard I have around, I think the Apex handguards are the closest thing to cool that you are going to get to fit with a limited amount of custom work.

Of note, the Dolos only works with direct impingement gas systems (for the novices, this means a standard AR15 gas system). If you have a standard AR15, then the Dolos will work just fine on it.  The Dolos system cams onto the steel receiver locking nut and is held in place via three detent pins which have a "ratcheting" click feel as the handguard tightens in place. I had no issues with the system loosening even one click during testing and after hundreds of round. Of note the system does provide for an ample amount of tightening should any of the components wear. After hundreds of on and off cycles the index marks I made on the receiver locking nut and handguard cam indicated there was no additional clocking/tightening that occurred. I can pretty much bet that whatever clocked position the handguard is tightened to day one, will be the same position it will be clocked to years down the road. This is one reason I have little concern customizing this system to add a clocked custom handguard which requires alignment. Now if you swap barrels, or receivers later on there will likely be differences in adjustment.
The Dolos saves some space on take-down
pistol builds, however rifle builds
save a significant amount of space.

From a function perspective the Dolos works perfectly as advertised once installed. Remove the magazine, lock the bolt back, grab the handguard, turn a quarter twist, and both handguard and barrel will pull from the receiver. The Dolos offers a couple of advantages; notably a compact disassembled size of a firearm and deployment speed of a disassembled weapon. This system is way... way faster than pinning on an upper receiver.

A 16" AR15 with packed away in a standard
511 compact pack.
With the Dolos installed on a pistol you really only get the deployment speed advantage simply because you are really not gaining a whole lot of collapsed length with a 7.5" barrel and a 17" long pistol lower. You get up and shooting faster than you would pinning on the upper, however size wise, it really does not gain any advantage over just pulling off the upper on a pistol build.

Pretty cool. The barrel is the same length as the
collapsed complete receiver set.
Where you do see a huge advantage is when the Dolos is installed on a 16" barreled AR15 rifle. With just a thread protector installed, you end up with just a 16" barrel + 1" for the gas tube and 17" lower with the stock attached. 

You literally say 7"-8" of overall disassembled length compared to an un-pinned upper plus barrel length. After installing the Dolos on a pistol build, I also installed the Dolos on a MMC Armory AR15 with a light pencil profile 16" barrel with just a thread protector for muzzle device. 

The entire disassembled setup fit perfectly is just a small 511 Moab Rush pack.  Quite an awesome little lightweight setup which could be deployed in a matter of seconds all while being carried in a regular pack which does not scream "hey I am carrying a AR15 over hear in my giant oversized pack."
One sweet little take down pack-able AR15 rifle.

The Dolos is an innovative quick release barrel system which is far more elegant and faster than any other system I have seen on the market. It just plain works, however "plain" is the operative word when it comes to the handguard itself. Call me jaded, however I like the more trick looking parts and the Dolos is the equivalent of the potentially super hot girl who is Harvard educated, a third degree black belt, runs a firearms like an operator but needs a makeover. I would think a relationship with any of the multitude of handguard manufacturers out there would deliver much more current looking and featured bolt on handguard with a simple clocking adjustment on the handguard to overcome any alignment issues. As I was looking at the Dolos and an Apex handguard, all that would be required of the Dolos system would be profiling the handguard nut to the same dimension as the Apex guard and adding a couple tapped holes. As cool as the Dolos is, it could be cooler and as functional as it is, it could be more functional. Give me a month or so, and I will deliver a custom example of what I am talking about.

Dolos on No Guts No Glory Pistol Build
I may seem a little obsessed about the handguard looks and features, however I really love this system and can see HUGE advantages from sportsman, survivalist, to military, and law enforcement, however lights, lasers, and picatinny mounted cappuccino machines need a place to mount and the Dolos is void of any rails.

We need the Dolos in 308 format as well. Before I remembered that my new DPMS GII 308 has some goofy new proprietary nut, I had the whole gun disassembled and ready to install the Dolos on the 308. A DPMS .308 version would be an awesome little idea for the guys at CopperCustom.com to work on... really, please make the ultimate take down sniper rifle a reality!

Dolos handguard ring shown with steel receiver
I did not strap on the 8-32 Nikon Monarch to test for rezeroing accuracy, however I did use the 12" 300-yard gong and 25-50 yard paper to test for any relevant zero shifts with my Bushnell TRS-32 red dots. I really did not see any perceptible zeroing movement after repeated barrel removals and installations. For $170, the Dolos is a unique and very handy setup to convert your AR15 into something packable which I can highly recommend after my testing. The Dolos may be cool on a AR15 pistol, but it is awesome to create a very compact break down AR15 rifle.

Aluminum handguard
Steel locking ring (58 Rockwell)
No tools required for barrel change
Works with 300 Blackout or 5.56 for rapid caliber changes
Compatible with any mil-spec upper
Installs in a few minutes
Lifetime warranty on wear parts

Copper Custom - www.coppercustom.com

1 comment:

Max said...

Just curious if you have seen or tried the system that is sold by Bud's Gun Shop? It is very similar to this but has a larger hand guard that screws on to a ring that is attached to the upper receiver. The whole thing then sits in an attache case that comes with it. I had that one and really liked it. The price was a bit higher, but I never had any problems with the system.