Desert Tech Quattro-15

Desert Tech Quattro-15

By: Dave Bahde

With 53 rounds on tap, this could be the ultimate truck-gun accessory

In the SWAT world, when asked, “How many magazines do you need?” the standard answer is usually, “How many can I have?” — well, up until your third or fourth deployment, that is. Carrying a ton of magazines can get cumbersome, kind of like having a boat anchor strapped to your chest. Several attempts have been made over the years to increase capacity over the standard 20 or 30 rounds, but most magazines just did not work, and while the drum magazines function better than most attempts, they’re bulky and are a pain to carry. Enter the Desert Tech Quattro-15 AR lower receiver and its corresponding 53-round QMAG-53 magazine — an entirely different take on the idea and a brilliant one at that.

Desert Tech seems to have successfully cracked the code for a reliable, much-less-bulky means of nearly doubling the capacity of your AR-15. The specialized Quattro-15 lower receiver, with its super-sized magwell, pairs with the QMAG-53 polymer magazine to give the end user an impressive 53 + 1 rounds of capacity.

Desert Tech Quattro-15

The Quattro-15 is a semi-stripped lower receiver with an enlarged magwell designed to fit the wider QMAG-53 polymer magazine that can be mated to any standard AR-15 upper receiver. Like many of these types of ventures, the Quattro-15 started as a military project. The military, in general, is all about keeping weight in check as it relates to loadout while also being able to carry your ammunition without completely changing the rest of your equipment. The QMAG-53 magazine addresses this nicely.

The enlarged controls theme continues on the left side of the Quattro-15 with a deeply-serrated magazine release button and dual-paddle bolt release/catch. A raised, integral QD sling swivel cup is machined into the rear for single-point sling use.

As a single spring/single-follower design, the QMAG-53 magazine is entirely reliable; it feeds the same way as a standard magazine, doesn’t weigh much more, and will fit in an AR double magazine pouch. They’re even a tad shorter than a 30-rounder. Loaded to capacity with four mags, you are at 212 rounds (210 is the standard loadout). With just one spare, you are at 106 rounds, and it will fit in your coat or pants pocket. Additionally, there is an adapter available through Desert Tech that will allow you to also use standard STANAG magazines.

The Quattro-15 comes from the factory wearing an ambi bolt and magazine release, but the sourcing and installing of the remaining components are the end user’s responsibility. To complete our lower, we installed one of our favorite drop-in trigger units — the Wilson Combat TTU (Tactical Trigger Unit) two-stage trigger — and a complete spring/detent/handgrip kit and buffer kit from Aero Precision.

As mentioned, the Quattro-15 is a semi-stripped lower; a proprietary ambidextrous magazine and bolt release are the only pre-installed components. The Quattro-15 accepts all standard AR components, so you can use whichever trigger, safety, pin and spring kit, and buffer assembly you like. The right-side bolt release sits right above your trigger finger, making it very intuitive to operate, and can also be utilized to lock the bolt open for stoppage drills. The magazine release on both sides is oversized, as is the paddle on the left-side bolt release. Another nice touch is the integral QD sling attachment at the back-left of the receiver for those running a single-point sling.

Not excited about giving up the ability to run standard and common STANAG magazines? Not to worry — Desert Tech offers snap-in magwell inserts that allow you to use any standard AR magazine.

Range Time

In order to assemble the Quattro-15 to completion, I added a Wilson Combat TTU (Tactical

Thanks to its single spring/single-follower design, the QMAG-53 magazine feeds the same way as a standard AR magazine and has proved 100 percent reliable over thousands of rounds of testing. Caracal’s 816A2 piston-drive 11.5″ upper was used for most testing, but the Quattro-15 also worked well mated to various other upper receivers.

Trigger Unit) two-stage trigger — which drops in with ease and provides some of the best performance in the business — and a complete spring/detent/handgrip kit and buffer kit from Aero Precision. The upper receiver used for testing was the Caracal 11.5-inch barreled, piston-driven 816A2 with a Sig Sauer direct thread suppressor attached to the muzzle and a Trijicon MRO red-dot mounted to its rail. Overall, this lower has seen half a dozen uppers, including piston, direct impingement, and even a couple of hybrids, and fitment & function were perfect on all. Over at least two thousand rounds of various types of ammunition, there were zero magazine issues or malfunctions otherwise. Magazine manipulation took some getting used to, given their girth, but after a while, their dimensions went unnoticed. Tactical reloads were a bit harder, but I’m not sure how many of those you would need to do with 53 rounds on tap. Speed reloads, initial loading, and stoppage drills were the same for me — in fact, given my large hands, it was actually easier. Your result may vary.

Should you choose to install an ambi safety selector, the Quattro-15 would be a fully ambidextrous lower. An enlarged magazine release and unique and effective bolt release/catch can be found on the right side.

Final Thoughts

So why the larger capacity? In any “grab-and-go” situation, such as a truck gun, bedside gun, or any other purpose where you likely won’t be wearing a chest rig, not having to think about a reload is a pretty big mental advantage. In any other application, you can cut your reloads in half. But — and here’s the beauty of having a 53-round magazine — outside military or competition use, it’s unlikely you would ever need to reload at all. If I were still in LE and on a SWAT team, I would be giving the Quattro-15 serious consideration. If you are on the “more ammo, the better” side of the fence, this is a creative, smart, and reliable system and should be on your shortlist. See the Quattro15 ($224.99 for the receiver; $44.99 for the magazine) at your nearest dealer, or for more information, contact Desert Tech; Tel.: (801) 975-7272; E-mail: [email protected]; Web: