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Blackout Defense Quantum Dual Taper Lock | DTL Review

Step into innovation with the Quantum DTL rifle, proudly featuring the groundbreaking Dual Taper Lock (DTL) system from Blackout Defense ( They’re not just introducing a rifle; they’re redefining precision and stability in barrel mounting.

Blackout Defense Logo

Imagine a self-centering, axially immovable method—the first of its kind in the industry. The DTL system harnesses the proven power of taper locks, recognized across industries for their exceptional self-centering capabilities under critical, continuous, and thermally dynamic loads.

Blackout Defense Quantum Dual Taper Lock | DTL Review
Blackout Defense Quantum Dual Taper Lock | DTL

In recent years, Blackout Defense ( has significantly disrupted the AR-15 scene with the introduction of a remarkable AR-15 platform known as the Quantum Dual Taper Lock, affectionately known as DTL.

SALE 2023 | Black Friday Sale from 11.11.2023 – 12.4.2023

*** Blackout Defense is having a Sale for 2023 on their Quantum Dual Taper Lock AR-15 and it is a great deal. A big $400 off is nothing to sneeze at. The cool thing is you can buy a prebuilt model or customize it yourself.

What makes the DTR so special are the color options you can choose from, the dual taper lock, that we will discuss later and the amazing trigger setup in (3 lb, 4 lb and 4.5 lbs.)

Color options range from basic black to some rather cool Cerakote colors.

  • Black Anodize
  • Space Grey Cerakote
  • Clear Anodize/Burnt Bronze Cerakote
  • Clear Anodize/Primordial Green Cerakote
  • Primordial Green Cerakote
  • Burnt Bronze Cerakote
  • FDE Cerakote

Currently the AR-15 comes in two barrel length options

  • 13.9″ Midlength (7.08 lbs gun weight)
  • 16″ Midlength (7.38 lbs gun weight)

Having a 13.9 barrel length is perfect for those looking for the ultimate home defense weapon.

Review Assessment


  • Excellent Customer Service
  • Excellent Reviews
  • Assortment of Color Options
  • One Of The Best Triggers In The Industry
  • Very Accurate
  • High Quality Components


  • Wait Time For Delivery
  • Cost – Over 2K. Nicely Colored 2.5K – 2.7K

Blackout Defense has become one of the premier AR-15 and AR-15 Accessory companies. The Blackout Defense DTL buildout is considered a medium cost AR-15, starting around $2,100 to $2,700 (with several color and part upgrades). Buyers have the option to choose colors from for each part of the rifle, creating a lot of color combinations. The rifle is highly praised by many YouTube gun enthusiast and influencers. The Dual Taper Lock and upper create a very stable platform without any shake or wobble.

The biggest complaint about the DTL is the long wait time between ordering the DTL and when it is received. Currently there is a 3 – 6 month wait time before it is shipped to an FFL. Obviously that may dissuade many people from ordering one.


  • CALIBER .223 Wylde Chamber
  • WEIGHT 16” barrel: 6.84 lbs | 13.9” barrel: 6.62 lbs
  • OVERALL LENGTH 16” barrel: 33.5” collapsed | 13.9” barrel: 31.5” collapsed
  • UPPER RECEIVER Aerospace grade aluminum | forward assist optional | Blackout Defense ambi charging handle
  • LOWER RECEIVER Aerospace grade aluminum | Patented Presslock™ feature | Ambidextrous 45º selector | Flared “V” cut magwell
  • TRIGGER Patent pending 3.0, 4.0, or 4.5 lb Zero™ Short | Reset Trigger
  • BARREL Performance Series barrel | MOA or better | 416R 1:8 Twist | 13.9” midlength or 16” midlength
  • HANDGUARD 5-side M-LOK® compatible | Anti-rotation pins | Blackout Defense M-LOK QD sling mount
  • MUZZLE DEVICE 13.9”: pin & weld Dead Air brake | 16”: Horizon™ compensator
  • FURNITURE Magpul® SL stock | Magpul® MOE+ grip | Blackout Defense rear QD sling mount
  • FINISH Space Gray Cerakote® over anodize Or anodize black

California Compliant AR-15 Rifles

For those who live in California or what I like to call The People’s Republic of California, gun manufactures needed to make modifications to their AR-15s to be compliant with California gun laws.

The AR MagLock turns your firearm into a “fixed magazine” firearm that cannot release the magazine unless you pull the takedown pin, and separate the upper and lower receivers, thus “disassembling” the firearm action. Once the receivers are minimally separated, the ARMagLock can be engaged to release the magazine.

Back in December of 2022 Blackout Defense began building California compliant rifles at a customer’s request. Their rifle builder web page allows customers to fully customize a Blackout Defense rifle, and now it includes a California compliant option.

“Our triggers and accessories have always pleased the California market, but the demand for our complete rifles have become overwhelming. We’ve now implemented this option into our website by using the popular AR Maglock” said Brooke Afshari, Owner & President.

The Gen 4 AR Maglock will come installed from the factory and is available for the award-winning Quantum Mark 2 and Quantum DTL rifles.

Should you purchase the DTL with the AR MagLock to be compliant with the California Laws? Right now I would advise against it unless you live in California, plan to travel their with your weapon or plan to sell the gun in that state. Otherwise I would opt out of the California MagLock option.

SIG MCX Zero Triggers

Blackout Defense SIG MCX Zero Triggers
SIG MCX Zero Triggers – Come in 3 lb, 4 lb and 4.5 lb pull weight

Triggers can be ordered in Black Nitride or Titanium Nitride. Depending on your needs each version can be ordered in 3 lb, 4 lb or 4.5 lb pull weight.

The SIG MCX Zero Triggers have become renowned for their remarkable speed and precision. Boasting an ultra-short 2mm reset, it stands among the fastest triggers on the market. The positive reset enhances shooting speed, making it ideal for both training and competitive shooting.

Crafted with precision, the trigger, hammer, and disconnector undergo EDM cutting and meticulous polishing with brass wire to achieve a micron finish in critical contact areas. This ensures a frictionless engagement for optimal performance. To guarantee safety and a lifetime of use, the pull-weight and disconnector set screws are welded after applying loctite.

The heat-treated finish not only enhances corrosion resistance but also improves lubricity, leaving a sleek black surface on the metal.

In essence, the Zero™ trigger is a culmination of features designed to deliver an unparalleled shooting experience—smooth, crisp, and exceptionally fast.


  • Short reset length: 2mm
  • Forced reset: No
  • Drop safe: Yes
  • Design: Single stage drop-in trigger for the MCX platform
  • Compatibility: Fits any MCX lower receiver properly machined to mil-spec dimensions
  • Compatibility: All sig MCX platforms including the Spe

Keymo Muzzle Options

Blackout Defense muzzle options

You have several muzzle options to choose from including the KeyMo FG42, Hybrid, Flash Hider and Compensator.

Blackout Defense is officially licensed and approved by Dead Air Silencers to incorporate their KeyMo mount design with their muzzle device designs.

The KeyMo FG42 is compatible with Dead Air’s KeyMo-equipped silencers.

Striker Handle

Blackout Defense Stryker Charging Handle
Blackout Defense Stryker Charging Handle

The Stryker Charging Handle by Blackout Defense is a fully ambidextrous marvel equipped with a robust latch that audibly clicks into position. Precision-manufactured for an impeccable fit and optimal performance, these handles are designed with heavily serrated wings for a secure grip. The rounded edges ensure a snag-free experience with gear. Crafted from aircraft-grade 7075 aluminum and treated with mil-spec hard-coat anodizing, these charging handles guarantee durability and reliability.

What is really handy with these handles are the wide grips that allow you to pull back the Stryker even with a larger scope on top.


  • Fully ambidextrous
  • Serrated wings
  • Color options include Black, Burnt Bronze, FDE Cerakote, Primordial Green Cerakote, and Space Grey Cerakote.

Bolt Carrier Group

The AR-15’s bolt carrier group (commonly referred to as the “BCG”) plays a crucial role in enabling semiautomatic fire when the trigger is pulled. It executes a series of sequential actions, as follows:

  1. Striking the Primer: Allowing the firing pin to impact the primer on the chambered round.
  2. Ejecting the Spent Shell Casing: Grasping and expelling the spent shell casing from the previously fired round.
  3. Re-cocking the Hammer: Resetting the hammer in the lower receiver to prepare for the subsequent round.
  4. Chambering a New Round: Seizing a new round from the magazine and positioning it in the chamber.

These four actions are seamlessly carried out each time the trigger is pulled. The simultaneous processes of chambering a new round and resetting the hammer facilitate a continuous cycle, obviating the necessity for a manual bolt or a single-shot configuration. The inherent design of the AR-15’s bolt carrier group ensures a rapid and efficient cycling of the firearm, contributing to its semiautomatic functionality.

Forward Assist

The function of a forward assist is straightforward: it allows the operator of a semi-automatic rifle to swiftly close the bolt if a cartridge fails to properly seat in the chamber. When a round mis-seats, it can keep the bolt open, rendering the firearm inoperable until the issue is addressed by the shooter. The forward assist simplifies this correction process, requiring nothing more than a simple push of a pawl. This capability is a significant advantage, especially in the heat of battle.

One of the main complaints I have heard with the current version of the DTL is the lack of a forward assist. Currently versions of the DTL don’t come with a forward assist, but the company has plans to release the option for one at the end of the year.

Dual Taper Lock

This revolutionary DTL system employs two tapers and interlocking barrel nuts, ensuring centricity and stability. The custom barrel extension’s taper aligns with the first barrel nut, while the barrel profile’s second taper mates with the second barrel nut. This guarantees not just centricity but also stability in the chamber, providing a smoother shooting experience and prolonging barrel accuracy.

The tapers serve to align the barrel with the upper bore, significantly minimizing harmonic vibration. This, in turn, enhances barrel precision and accuracy. Additionally, the DTL system effectively prevents barrel un-torquing, establishing an exceptionally rigid foundation for handguard mounting.

Blackout Defense announce the launch of its innovative Dual Taper Lock (DTL) Barrel Mounting System and unveiled to the general public at the 2022 SHOT Show.

Blackout Defense Dual Taper Lock
Blackout Defense Dual Taper Lock

Customizable Platform

Versatility is key, and the DTL system delivers. The main barrel nut is reversible, accommodating MILSPEC barrels seamlessly. As a bonus, it establishes a rock-solid foundation for mounting the handguard, eliminating deflection issues and substantially reducing Point of Impact (POI) shifts due to impact or rifle trauma.

Crafted with precision, the DTL system boasts a heavy-profile barrel with precision-machined thermal expansion rings. These rings redirect expansion in line with the bore, preventing MOA shifts under extreme heat conditions.

1 MOA or Better Accuracy at 100 yards

At Blackout Defense, precision isn’t just a goal; it’s a guarantee. Blackout Defense’s Quantum DTL rifle, equipped with their muzzle device, has demonstrated exceptional accuracy, capable of achieving 1MOA or better (*Based on rigorous 100-yd tests in our facility using 77gr OTM Black Hills Ammunition.) . This isn’t just a rifle; it’s a testament to innovation, stability, and accuracy.

Direct Impingement Vs Gas Piston

Direct Impingement Ssytem Photo Courtesy of Evers
Direct Impingement System photo courtesy from Evers

Direct Impingement System

The DTL has what is know as Direct Impingement or sometimes called Direct Gas Impingement since the gas makes contact (impinges) with the bolt carrier group. In direct impingement systems, a small quantity of hot-powder gas from each round when fired is bled. However, instead of directing this gas against a piston and operating rod, it is channeled through a metal tube above the barrel back to the receiver. Subsequently, the gas is directed into the bolt carrier, facilitating the weapon’s cycling. This method introduces hot-powder gases into the action, resulting in a relatively dirty shooting experience. Despite this, these rifles are lightweight and exhibit fine accuracy. The absence of a moving piston and rod during firing preserves barrel harmonics, contributing to the rifle’s accuracy.

History Of The Direct Impingement System

The direct impingement system, most notably associated with the AR-15 rifle, was originally designed by Eugene Stoner. Eugene Stoner, an American firearms designer, developed the AR-15 rifle during the late 1950s. The AR-15’s direct impingement system diverts gas from the fired cartridge directly into the bolt carrier group, where the gas expands and cycles the action.

Eugene Stoner’s design, initially adopted by the United States military as the M16 rifle, marked a departure from traditional gas piston systems. The direct impingement system was chosen for its simplicity, reduced weight, and perceived ease of maintenance. The AR-15 platform, which includes the civilian variant, has since become one of the most widely used firearm designs globally.

While the direct impingement system has faced criticism for potential fouling and maintenance challenges, it remains a significant contribution to firearm design and has influenced various iterations and adaptations in the realm of modern rifles.

Advantages of Direct Impingement Systems

  1. Weight Advantage: Direct-impingement ARs typically weigh about 1 pound less than their counterparts with alternative systems.
  2. Enhanced Accuracy: These rifles are often favored for their increased accuracy and are commonly preferred for sniper applications.
  3. Mil-Spec Interoperability: ARs utilizing direct impingement systems typically employ mil-spec parts, ensuring interoperability between different brands. This is in contrast to piston-driven ARs, where proprietary systems prevail, lacking a standardized mil-spec.
  4. Abundance of Aftermarket Parts: Direct-impingement systems benefit from a plethora of aftermarket parts, including low-profile gas blocks and bolt carriers with specialized coatings.
  5. Diverse Styles: A wide range of direct impingement ARs is available, catering to various preferences, from compact pistols to full-sized rifles.
  6. Cost Efficiency: Direct-impingement firearms are generally more budget-friendly than piston-driven alternatives due to their simpler design with fewer moving parts. In a gas piston AR, not only the bolt carrier but also the piston, operating rod, and linkage are in motion during the firing cycle, contributing to increased complexity and cost.
Gas Piston System – Photo Courtesy of Evers

Gas Piston System

In a gas-piston system, the gas captured in the gas block is channeled directly into a cylinder, which then makes where it makes contact bolt carrier group.. This distinctive design deviates from the traditional direct gas impingement (DGI) system. Within the gas-piston mechanism, an internal piston and connecting rod extend the full length back to the bolt carrier group. This integral piston and rod configuration facilitates the rearward movement, effectively cycling the action in a manner akin to the direct gas impingement system.

One of the primary advantages of a gas-piston system lies in its cleaner operation. By diverting gas away from the action and into a separate piston-driven mechanism, there is reduced fouling within the firearm, resulting in diminished cleaning and lubrication requirements. This cleanliness factor is particularly advantageous in scenarios where consistent and reliable performance is paramount, such as military and tactical applications.

Reliability is another hallmark of gas-piston systems, drawing comparisons to legendary firearms like the AK-47 and the Ruger Mini-14. The inherent design of gas-piston guns contributes to a heightened dependability, showcasing minimal jamming issues. This reliability is underscored by the adoption of gas-piston rifles, exemplified by the HK416, as the primary battle rifle for elite military units like the Navy Seal Team 6.

Additionally, the extended lifespan of components within gas-piston systems is noteworthy. The design mitigates heat stress on critical action components, thereby enhancing their longevity. This durability is a key consideration for those seeking firearms that can withstand prolonged and intensive use, making gas-piston systems a preferred choice in scenarios where reliability and endurance are paramount.

History Of The Gas Piston Operating System

The concept of a gas piston operating system itself has roots in early firearm designs, with notable contributions from inventors like John Browning and Mikhail Kalashnikov.

John Browning, an influential firearm designer, introduced the idea of a gas piston system in the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) during the early 20th century. The gas piston system in the BAR redirected gas from the fired round to drive a piston, which then operated the firearm’s action.

Mikhail Kalashnikov, the designer of the AK-47, also implemented a gas piston system in his iconic rifle. The AK-47’s reliability and simplicity contributed to the widespread adoption of the gas piston design in various firearms.

Advantages of Gas Piston Systems

  1. Cleaner Operation: The gas piston operating system ensures a cleaner operation as gas is redirected into the piston rather than the action. This results in reduced maintenance needs for cleaning and lubrication.
  2. Enhanced Reliability: Gas-piston firearms, reminiscent of designs like the AK-47, Ruger Mini-14, or M1 carbine, are renowned for their reliability. They exhibit minimal jamming issues, a trait evident in their performance during training and qualification courses.
  3. Extended Parts Lifespan: The components in gas-piston systems experience less heat stress, contributing to an increased lifespan for critical action components. This longevity is a notable advantage in terms of durability and sustained performance.

Cryogenically hardened barrel option

Deep cryogenic treatment, also referred to as cryogenic hardening, entails exposing the metal to extremely low temperatures, typically dipping below negative 300 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 185 degrees Celsius) for an extended duration. The objective is to augment the metal’s mechanical properties, emphasizing enhanced hardness and wear resistance. Cryogenically hardened barrels, especially in stainless steel, showcase superior attributes compared to untreated barrels, all while avoiding the potential risks associated with black nitride.


Black nitride, known by various names such as salt bath nitride, QPQ, Melonite, and Tennifer, is recognized for significantly enhancing metal hardness and wear resistance, consequently extending the expected life of a barrel. It’s a widely adopted finish in the industry. So, what prompts the choice of cryogenic hardening over this more prevalent method?

The rationale lies in the fact that while black nitride offers numerous advantages, it also poses risks absent in cryogenic hardening. Specifically, there’s a risk of undoing the stress relief process integral to the manufacturing of the barrel blank. Black nitriding takes place at high temperatures, typically around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, which closely aligns with the stress relief temperature for stainless steel. Exceeding this temperature during black nitriding can reintroduce stress into the barrel, significantly compromising its accuracy.

Cryogenically hardened stainless steel barrels exhibit the following characteristics

  • Increased hardness and wear resistance;
  • More uniform and coherent barrel harmonic;
  • Easier cleaning; and
  • Increased muzzle velocity.

YouTube Reviews

In video below the DDL didn’t perform as well if it was submerged in water and there was water still in the weapon. Blackout Defense explains what exactly the issue was from a more technical standpoint.

Response from Blackout Defense

“A warning: failure to drain a water-logged direct-impingement weapon (most ARs) before firing can result in catastrophic failure of the bolt, which can cause serious bodily injury or death. In a direct impingement AR, the gas is transferred from the gas tube into a sealed bolt chamber, which converts into mechanical motion of the bolt and cycles the rifle. Air is compressible, but water is not (to a degree). If you add compressed gas into the gas tube with water present, you create pressurized fluid power in the sealed bolt chamber – in other words, an explosive hydraulic. Best practice is to point the muzzle lower than the bolt (preferably down) and pull the rifle out of battery (breaking the bolt seal), thereby allowing the water drain from the gas tube. The reason why a water-logged rod piston weapon (most AKs) performs differently is because, in a rod piston system, the gas to mechanical energy transfer is outside the bolt – usually near the gas port. – Tom”

About The Author

Tom Crandall

Tom has been writing about photography, cycling, running and fitness since 1988, covering everything from the product reviews to the latest in fitness trends. Tom is the Editor-in-chief of,,,, and a few other publications, he began racing in college while getting an Information Resource Management degree at George Mason University. Based in the photography and cycling-crazed city of Austin, Texas, with his wife Kathleen and pug Olaf, Tom enjoys running, walking or riding most every day.


  1. tim Scott

    $400 off for the Black Friday sale is sweet. The only thing holding me back would be the long wait time. Not sure I can wait 3 – 6 months. On the website it says 24 weeks right now. That hurts.


    This AR-15 looks so legit. It is a bit pricey, but for the price, you are getting one heck of a rifle.

    I think I would have to get the forward assist option and maybe the adjustable gas.


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