Long-range specialist Desert Tech is launching a new app that puts a heads-up display on your smartphone. The company has also announced a new projected release date for its highly anticipated MDR bullpup.
Desert Tech expects to have the MDR on store shelves later this year, in November or December. The app, happily enough, is available now for Apple and Android operating systems.
While the MDR has been turning heads — even in its prototype stages — Desert Tech’s specialty is long-range shooting. The company makes precision rifles in small bullpup packages. But it does much more than just hardware. Desert Tech has its own line of high-performance ammunition, a line of suppressors and mounting systems and more.
In a sense, Desert Tech’s been working on the software side of things for a while, too. The company has a training complex in northeastern Utah that spans 25,000 acres. They run courses on long-range shooting skills for military, law enforcement and private shooters alike.
The company’s new app folds right into the mix. Called TRASOL for Trajectory Solutions, the app is built on image recognition software with a ballistics calculator. The app uses the phone’s camera for input and displays a HUD over the video feed on-screen. The app can then focus on the target and track it to provide shooting solutions, turning a smartphone into a smart rangefinder.
The user still needs to manually input range to the target and estimate wind speed — the app would have to be paired with a (nonexistent) device with a sensor package to also track that information. Still, it adds a great deal of functionality to any shooting kit for only a few bucks extra.
The app maintains multiple ballistics profiles that account for bullet speed, bullet weight, ballistics and drag coefficient and more. In effect, TRASOL is the smarts of a smart scope system. It may not be integral to the rifle but it’s light, portable and affordable — only $9.99!
The TRASOL app could be fun and useful for a wide variety of shooters even though its target market is far from casual.
As far as the MDR bullpup delay that’s a bit of a bummer. Still, after several hold-ups it’s not a total shocker — the last estimate was a third quarter release this year. But there’s so much resting on Desert Tech’s shoulders that the company can’t risk a spot-on launch.
The MDR rifle may change the way people think of bullpups in general. Unlike most other designs the MDR is truly ambidextrous — without modification. The MDR uses a loading ejection port that forcefully ejects spent cases forwards of the shooter, sparing the user of any brass to the face or feet.
That being said the carbine is still reversible and the ejection port can be placed on either side of the rifle. Desert Tech engineered the ejection port system to flip down in case of a breakage. This allows it to function as a conventional bullpup in a cinch.
Known for precision rifles Desert Tech’s focus is to make the MDR accurate and easy to shoot. To accomplish this the MDR has a free-floating barrel assembly and lightweight trigger mechanism. Desert Tech’s bullpups have nice triggers — by traditional rifle standards — that blow most bullpup triggers away. The MDR is no different. Combined with the barrel system, Desert Tech’s goal is to make the MDR a marksman’s bullpup.
On top of all that MDR uses a multi-caliber design. The rifle has a 7.62 NATO/.308 Winchester magwell and Desert Tech plans to offer it in rifle and intermediate cartridge configurations. The other standard cartridge is going to be 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington. Down the line. Desert Tech expects to support other cartridges.
It will be possible for users to swap calibers and cartridges with their MDRs by dropping in a different magwell and barrel assembly. Since the assemblies include the sights no adjustments will be necessary after a barrel swap.
Because so much is expected of the MDR Desert Tech really needs to perfect it before it hits the mainstream. And it’s definitely better that the company makes it right in the first place rather than tackle problems in the wild.
“We shoot the production guns until we break something, then re-engineer the problem part, remake, and start shooting again,” wrote Desert Tech Nicholas Young in the latest announcement on Facebook. “We have successfully proofed the MDR to approximately 4,000 rounds with no part failures or malfunctions. We expect our current engineering improvements to greatly increase the round count.
“Unfortunately each time a part fails then it takes 7 to 21 days to do another cycle,” he continued. “We are completing what we hope is the final cycle at the end of next week. As of [now] it is not possible to meet the third quarter shipping date.
“Know that we are working as quickly and diligently as possible to make the MDR absolutely fantastic. From this point forward I will post an update on the first day of every month until MDR are shipping to keep you our valued customers in the loop.”