Kel-Tec RDB Review–America’s 5.56 Bullpup


Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=kel-tec%20rdb

Read More at Kel-Tec: http://www.keltecweapons.com/our-guns/pistol/rdb

The first Kel-Tec firearm I ever shot was a KSG. The radically redesigned 12 gauge left me impressed. Since then I’ve shot and loved almost every gun Kel-Tec has produced. Just like the KSG shook up the shotgun world, Kel-Tec’s newest offering–the RDB (Rifle, Downward-ejecting Bullpup)–is poised to redefine what a black rifle can be.

The gun is less alien looking that most of the other bullpups on the market.

The gun is less alien looking that most of the other bullpups on the market.

Specifications

  • Caliber 5.56mm NATO
  • Magazines AR Stanag
  • Barrel Length            17.4″
  • Overall Length 27.4″
  • Weight Empty 7 lbs.
  • MSRP $1272.73
Slim, trim, compact.... The RDB is one of the smallest, lightest bullpups available.

Slim, trim, compact…. The RDB is also one of the smallest, lightest bullpups available.

What makes the RDB special? We’ll scatter that out through this review, because it isn’t just one thing–though what’s getting the most attention is in the name itself. The gun ejects empty brass down, out the bottom of the stock, which solves one of the biggest questions bullpup designers have had to face.

The rounds eject from the gap here between the butt and the magazine.

The rounds eject from the gap here between the butt and the magazine.

Consider that many bullpups are just kits. You take a barreled action and slap it in a chassis of some sort that moves the trigger forward and the breech back. Many of the others, the ones built from the ground up, eject out the side–just like most automatic rifles. This means brass is ejecting close to the shooter’s face, and that it limits left handed shooters–as most bullpups shoot that brass directly into the shooter.

Kel-Tec has tackled this dilemma before. The RFB (Rifle, Forward-ejecting, Bullpup) collects brass inside the frame and spits it out the front. I’ve spent some quality time with the RFB. One of the fun things about that gun is shooting, then tipping the gun forward so the empties can spill out. It is the mic-drop equivalent of the gun world. But the design never really caught on, and many had reliability issues with the gun.

Reliability in any gun design is really important. If you get a jam in a bullpup, clearing it can be a bitch. Even if you are a wizard with an AR, getting your fingers up inside a bullpup (especially a hot bullpup) can take you out of the fight. But this downward brass dump seems to run without a hitch.

Ergonomics

The RDB was developed to be fully ambidextrous in every way shape and form. Starting at the back, the RDB has ambidextrous sling mounting points, bolt releases, a centrally located magazine release, 45-degree-throw safeties, a left or right-side interchangeable non-reciprocating charging handle, and even ambidextrous forward sling mounting points.

The mag release is a piece of spring steel that wraps around the mag.

The mag release is a piece of spring steel that wraps around the mag.

The safety, easy to find with the thumb.

The safety, easy to find with the thumb.

This aspect is innovative, and has helped build the buzz around the gun, but there are more subtle features that make it a true contender for those looking for a tactical carbine. The RDB has a slim rubber butt pad that helps to keep traction on your shoulder. Moving up the rifle, the RDB has an integral polymer cheek rest. Most of Kel-Tec’s other other bullpup weapons were missing this feature, so I’d say this is evidence that Kel-Tec has been listening customer feedback. The rest of the RDB’s furniture is polymer and is textured with their Gator Grip pattern. The Gator Grip provides plenty of traction and looks good on the gun.

Best of all, the RDB doesn’t punish the shooter with recoil or muzzle rise and I have to think this is partially due to its caliber and adjustable gas system.

Gator grip.

Gator grip.

The gas tube sits about where it would on a carbine length AR, but this system is adjustable.

The gas tube sits about where it would on a carbine length AR, but this system is adjustable.

Shooting The RDB

Running the RDB isn’t like any other rifle I’ve ever fired. It’s the abundance of ambidextrous controls and the downward ejection of spent cases that will seem unusual at first. I’ve got a lot of trigger time on my Tavor, so I’m used to bullpups, but learning a new set of controls and behaviors always takes time.

Still, from what I’ve seen so far, the RDB is worth the steep learning curve. The ambidextrous controls allow for a lot of flexibility, the long barrel in the short package gives the RDB better ballistic potential than many AR-15s, and it weighs in at just 7 pounds.

The gun ships with one 20 round Gen 3 P-mag and is capable of using just about every AR style magazine on the market. I found that the Gen 3 P-mags ran flawlessly but were sluggish to drop free with the bolt locked back to the rear. These dudes are light when empty, and wider than a typical steel or aluminum AR mag. They can get sticky in most guns, which is why AR shooters have developed that wrist-snap motion to sling them free of the mag well.

I have confirmed that these will drop free: Lancer, USGI, Hexmag, E-Lander, Gen2 P-Mag, and the Fab Defense Ultimag. This is important, as the mag is under your shooting arm and there’s less room to manipulate the gun.

The Primary Arms red dot.

The Primary Arms red dot.

The barrel, with rail attached. This method of mounting the rail gives more stability than you would get from mounting the rail to the polymer parts.

The barrel, with rail attached. This method of mounting the rail gives more stability than you would get from mounting the rail to the polymer parts.

The gun ships naked, leaving sight options up to you. I went with a simple Primary Arms Micro Dot in an effort to keep weight down, but the RDB would be equally well served with a 1-6 scope. There’s ample rail to work with, too, so you could combine any number of options.

Accuracy

Why do most shooters struggle with bullpup accuracy? There can be a number of reasons. Some have sub-standard, or heavy trigger systems. Placing the barrel farther back means a reduction in sight radius for those using irons. And then some of the barrels themselves aren’t free-floated. But non of this matters for a rifle that is incredibly maneuverable, fast to the target, and optimized for close-quarters combat distances. Or at least that’s the list of excuses for poor accuracy.

5 in under an inch. This was shot with a Primary Arms 1-6 from 50 meters.

5 in under an inch. This was shot with a Primary Arms 1-6 from 50 meters.

5 under two inches from 100 meters. Standing.

5 under two inches from 100 meters, from the bench. This group would be much tighter but for the one flier.

So where does the RDB stand?  Unlike some of the other Kel-Tecs I’ve shot, the RDB has a near match-quality trigger. It breaks right at 5 lbs. and has a short take-up with a clean, glass-like break. It simply makes for accurate and consistent shooting.

I was consistently shooting sub 1.5 inch groups at 50 meters and right at 2 inches at 100 meters with a Primary Arms 1-6 scope.

The trigger's return spring is exposed. This is the one obvious point of concern for me, as an exposed spring picks up grit and grime. It also clears it out, too. I had no issues with it.

The polymer trigger has one spring is exposed. This is the one obvious point of concern for me, as an exposed spring picks up grit and grime. It clears it out, too. I had no issues with it, but it is an unusual design choice.

Problems with the gun?

No gun is perfect. In fact, most guns I own and love have quirks about them. The RDB is no exception. In my testing, I found the reliability was solid and the gun worked well from round 1–no awkward break-in period needed. My malfunctions occurred when trying to make mag changes too fast. You have to take things slow at first to get used to working in a space that’s far less accessible than the mag well on an AR. The only true malfunctions happened while I was tuning the gas system, and those are–without question–warranted.

How would the RDB fair in a much longer testing period? I shot 750+ rounds of ZQI SS109 and Wolf Polyformance for this review, so I can’t say for sure. I have no reason to doubt that it won’t keep chugging along.

So what are the points of concern? What I’m seeing has less to do with the gun itself, and more to do with the bullpup philosophy. When a malfunction happens–like a double feed or a failure to extract–you must clear the issue to stay in the fight. If you aren’t practicing these skills, but relying on your gun to work as advertised, than you’re missing an important step.

The AR and AK put the chamber and mag well right in the center of the rifle. When you bring the gun in to your chest, both hands have access to everything that’s important. Strip the mag, rack the bolt (multiple times), jam a finger up in gun if there’s still a problem.

With the bullpup, you give up that convenience and problem solving speed.

America’s bullpup

There’s one other detail worth noting. The AR-15 is the definitive black rifle, at least in this country. In its short barreled format, the rifle is compact enough. Yet most of the guns are still carbine length, or longer. This extra length, many think, is a deterrent to effective maneuverability.

That’s the motive behind the bullpup movement. A short-barreled AR loses some of the 5.56’s punch. So why not leave the full length barrel in place and just scoot the whole action back into the stock? What would you lose? The only answer seems to be–as I mentioned earlier–the problem solving and the ergonomic advantage of reloading.

The best known bullpup here in America isn’t an American gun. The IWI Tavor is the reigning champ. Though the Tavor is compact (in terms of length), it is hardly slim. Part of the Tavor’s diehard reputation has grown from the serious strength of the gun. The AR, by contrast, seem skinny. The AR (and, to a lesser extent, the Tavor) has a proven track record.

The RDB combines the two ideas. The gun is more narrow. The frame, though polymer, doesn’t feel as large in the hand, and the design maintains a visual aesthetic that will be familiar to those who know Kel-Tec. Will it stand up to abuse like a Tavor or the AR? The verdict on that is still out.

But the RDB does have an American pedigree. While Kel-Tec has included a long stroke piston design that is vaguely similar to some Russian designs, it is American–all the way.

The muzzle brake and a ridge of polymer to use as a hand stop.

The muzzle brake and a ridge of polymer to use as a hand stop.

Price and Availability

The RDB is in production and available now. They are normally available online, but–like all Kel-Tec products–there is a serious demand, so they will normally bring a premium and be somewhat hard to find. My advice is to be patient and check often.

Where will that $1.2K price settle out? After the demand subsides, and the market levels out, I’d guess the gun will sell for closer to the $1,000 mark.

The Kel-Tec RDB is truly a unique firearm that is building quite the reputation for itself. Is it going to replace my go-to fighting rifle? I can say this; it hasn’t missed a range trip yet since I picked it up.

The gun is easy to break down and service.

The gun is easy to break down and service.

The mag release paddle is central on the frame, while the bolt release (the small trapazoidal lever) is on both sides.

The mag release paddle is central on the frame, while the bolt release (the small trapezoidal lever) is on both sides.

The hand-guard.

The hand-guard.

Push the pins through to take it down.

Push the pins through to take it down.

The upper, assembled.

The upper, assembled.

The operating rod contains the recoil spring--the thin plunger sticking out the back end.

The bolt carrier contains the recoil spring–the thin plunger sticking out the back end.

The stock/bolt cover.

The stock/bolt cover.

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • ejharb December 31, 2016, 4:07 pm

    In 300blk I’d be interested!

  • D Morel December 19, 2016, 11:43 pm

    looking for the Kel-Tec 22 mag semi-auto pistol.
    What do you have to offer ???D. Morel

  • D Morel December 19, 2016, 11:42 pm

    looking for the Kel-Tec 22 mag semi-auto pistol.
    What do you have to offer ???

    D. Morel

    • Sean J December 20, 2016, 4:47 pm

      Look at the Kel-Tec PMR-30.

  • hecliff December 19, 2016, 6:34 pm

    Nothing new here, I would never pay north of $1,500 for ANY KelTech. Don’t really care for bull pups in general, having the cartridge siting next to my ear as it goes off sounds like a bad idea.

    • hecliff December 19, 2016, 7:41 pm

      why

  • david hamilton December 19, 2016, 12:12 pm

    “– especially since there were backlogged over a month and a half with pending repairs from other customers.” (As written by another poster. )

    And therein is the concern I have with Many of the KT firearms. My AR platform rifles, after 45 years of use, have become intuitive. However, the Most important consideration, for me, is that i ‘know’ (believe) if I maintain my rifle and skills, my AR will work when i need it to. That confidence is lacking with KT , in general. Don’t get me wrong, I really like their stuff, and design pholosophy. I just don’t trust their durability and reliable functioning. To me, they are a range toy and occasional shooter. For the prices their firearms command, they should be rock solid.

  • teninadime December 19, 2016, 10:06 am

    You forgot the best one of them all…Steyr AUG. With a Nato stock (all magazines I have tried work well) or with STEYR stock and their proprietary magazines. The only problem with a NATO stock is if you’re a lefty. Their original stock is reversal with a bolt change. A proven track record for a military rifle which by design and aesthetics was ahead of its time in 1977…and the aesthetics are still ahead of its time. The rifle is skinny by Tavor standards. At least for me, the Tavor doesnt shoulder and have as much natural aim as the AUG. This original is still the best IMHO.

  • Pat December 15, 2016, 7:30 pm

    Why does it irritate me so when people shoot like they are some aort of special ops guy and they’re just a network administrator or something.

    • Joe Blow December 23, 2016, 5:40 pm

      You’d rather they adopt some terrible stance or something? Why wouldn’t you want someone to adopt the proper technique? I’m sorry you didn’t have the minerals to go through SFS selection, but if these “network admins” aren’t posing, why rag on them?

  • RJ October 3, 2016, 2:13 pm

    A review from an ordinary guy…

    I have limited experience with Kel-Tec in general but own both the 18″ and 24″ RFB. I really like bullpup design in general and was happy to finally get my hand on the RFB a while after their debut. When I saw the RFB was coming out I couldn’t wait to get it and patiently waited for it to surface. The demand is high and I’ve found these rifles command a premium when you can find them. That said, I finally purchased an RFB and couldn’t wait for its arrival. Out of the box I was a little disappointed in the design vs. the RFB. For instance, I felt the trigger is far better on the RFB, however, there are some design aspects I like better – such as the charging handle.

    For me, the ergonomics, aesthetics etc. take a back seat to actual performance. As the author indicated, I too found the accuracy and overall function to be excellent. That is until I started experiencing feed problems. As the author aptly pointed out, clearing a jam in a bullpup can be more difficult than an AK or AR style weapon. This is especially true with the RDB in that, absent the magazine, you cannot see inside the chamber or observe bolt operation and location. I found the rifle wasn’t ejecting properly and the problem persisted. At less than 100 rounds I assumed it was simply a matter of parts breaking in. I was shooting Federal AE and PMC – both decent quality. Upon stripping the rifle I didn’t notice anything “wrong” as everything seemed to function as it should. I later discovered the ejector pin was missing and must have fallen out. While I could still get the rifle to eject after many tries, I finally noticed the ejector latch could be manipulated forward and back where it should be stationary. Kel-Tec offered to send the rifle back, however, I felt comfortable to perform the fix – especially since there were backlogged over a month and a half with pending repairs from other customers. While support told me the problem is limited, I was still disappointed it happened and I’m concerned over future quality problems with the rifle. I have many bullpup rifles, including Tavor, AUG and various FN models. None of my bullpup rifles had ever had problems with hundreds and close to a thousand rounds. Upon examining the rifle to sort out the ejection / feed problem I had, I had other observations about the design that concerned me. While I can’t say these will be problematic in the future, I suspect a Gen 2 will address several of these in the future.

    I’m still a fan of the RDB and Kel-Tec in general but feel my experience put me in a beta tester role for a rifle that didn’t perform close to others in the same price range. I still believe the RDB is a good platform and hope Kel-Tec will continue to improve it on many levels. I’ve become skeptical of glowing reviews where the company sends their product for someone to hype it up and create marketing material.

  • MIKE BRASSFIELD July 9, 2016, 6:10 am

    Well, I am sold on my SU16CA. Over 3.5k rounds fired through it and no stoppages. While the equipped sights are just OK, a red dot optic mounted on top is good as long as I can see the target (day and night). KEL TEC replaced two stock screws that were lost (all now in with LocTight). I did not like the hollow safety so used JB Weld to epoxy the base of a .22 case in the hole. Great fix. I wanted a bolt hold open button that came down a bit more. I used part of a .25 auto case and some JB Weld. It worked OK until the gun went to the range. JB is great stuff but not strong enough; it came off. I liked the idea but I would probably have to drill and tap the extension. I also added a short muzzle break. Sling swivels is not something Kel Tec equips on the carbine. I took a 1/4″ x 2″ pin I got at a hardware store and cut it off to replace the takedown pin. I cut it off just past a hole and rounded the tip smooth. Using a key ring, it makes a great sling swivel (I may try a smaller diameter ring). I use some heat resistant 550 type cord at the front of the fore stock/front sight to attach the other end of the two point sling. I do not use the bipod/fore grip as it changes the point of impact on outgoing mail. The only other thing I did to it was take a knife blade to some of the sharp edges along the length of the top and bottom of the stock, smoothing them down.

    As a truck gun, it is lighter than any AR or AK. Carried in a baseball bat bag, I could leave the bag visible with the carbine, a non descript mag carrier bag with six full AR mags, cleaning gear, water, and other extras in the back seat without an issue.

    Accuracy wise, the SU16 keeps up with short barreled ARs. What more can a guy asked for is a .223? Did I mention the carbine was lighter? Even with an optic, sling, and off set light, it is still lighter than a similarly equipped AR.

    While this is not designed to be a combat piece, I would not feel under equipped for anything less (within the limitations of the caliber).

    KEL TEC is good on warranty work. I hear folks say they don’t like or trust a “plastic gun”. Well, tell that to all Glock users. It is progress. Think of it as an updated M1 Carbine, but lighter, with modern materials and a better caliber.

    I have carried the M14, M1, M16 as a Marine and ARs and other weapons as a lawman for many, many years. I suggest folks do not overlook this reliable and rugged little ‘light’ carbine.

    Keep up the good work!

    • John October 27, 2016, 2:12 am

      I totally agree with your Kel-Tec SU16-CA comments. That was my first 5.56/.223 and I still consider it my overall pick if I could pack only 1 gun. I like my Stag AR15 and love my Steyr AUG A3, but the simplicity, reliability, affordability, and foldability of the Kel-Tec is unmatched. Especially in the restrictive state if California where I live, it is amazing that Kel-Tec took the time to design such a useful California legal gun. I have thought of it as sort of the American AK-47. Its reliable, simple, maybe not the most accurate but you can count on it to do its job.

  • JKMK June 16, 2016, 9:51 pm

    Has anybody taken the 20″ out to 3/400 yards? wondering how they are at longer ranges

  • TPSnodgrass May 26, 2016, 5:08 pm

    While I AM interested in this Kel-TEC RDB, after shooting my brother’s TAVOR extensively, I am just guessing that Kel-Tec is having a capitalization problem that seems to plague so many manufacturers lately. They hype their “new, latest-greatest” product to create demand, then it DOES indeed take forever to finally get one at full market price.
    I would rather pay a bit more and have them in the distribution pipeline well ahead of their marketing gurus releasing all the new gun-porn.
    Kel-Tec’s marketers and advertising consultants are excellent, since we all are looking to fondle this and other Kel-Tec products that are NEVER in a LGS, much less a big box sporting goods supplier, just about anywhere. And no, I WON’T buy anything I’ve not personally handled and fired(range rental), I have a thing about being an unpaid firearms industry beta-tester.
    Sorry, Kel-Tec, you MUST get your distribution and production capabilities synced with the marketing gun-porn, before I’ll plink down my hard earned cash. I’m to cynical to be an impulse buyer.

    • signkutter June 29, 2016, 4:01 pm

      I have had my RDB for about a year now and i have run several weights of ammo through it, it averages a solid 2 MOA. Its a robustly built but slim rifle, light for a bullpup and has a great trigger…for a bullpup…its no Giessele or CMC in an AR but it is better than a MILSPEC AR trigger and loads better than any stock trigger in a Tavor or AUG. The RDB also suppresses better than any bullpup I have shot.. ( Tavor,AUG,M17s,FS2000) suppresses as well as a tuned 16″ AR. I have run about 6k rounds through my RDB with a cleaning every 2k rounds…not one malfunction. The RDB is bullpup to be reckoned with and should be on anybodys shortlist of bullpups. If you can get one for under $1.2k i would highly reccomend it.

  • Sean Waters May 9, 2016, 11:07 pm

    Kel Tec has always had problems with their production AND their guns. If I was given one it would quickly be sold…I wouldn’t bother shooting it. Track record is crud …yah go waste your hard earned money on one. I have too many other real firearms to aquire…hv fun ….

    • Neil May 11, 2016, 1:11 am

      Wake up dickhead nobody says no to a Freeby if you were given one you’d have it you fukin liar

      • NoBody December 20, 2016, 1:42 pm

        Whoa…Neil got triggered. Haha, settle down KT fanboy!

    • John December 21, 2016, 9:36 pm

      Not trying to be a fan-boy. I’ve got short and long guns in different calibers, Sigs, Aero’s, Browning, Glocks, Springfields, & a Winchester… Even have a 177 springer pellet rifle I like (after a trigger job). Also have a Gen 2 Sub2000. It’s got some design issues, like a plastic POS trigger, and really needs a red dot as the sights are low for people with big heads, but one thing it is is reliable. It eats pretty much everything. It’s a seriously nice truck gun plus this one takes Glock magazines. Only real b..tch I’ve got is there are not a bunch of aftermarket parts other than an innovative rotating T1 red dot mount that lets you still fold the gun. Really like this Keltec.

      • Chamele0n December 25, 2016, 10:48 pm

        Red Lion makes a great AR style front sight to replace the crappy plastic orange blade. You need a heat gun to remove the old one, but it’s really not difficult. It made a huge difference. It also has a rail on the bottom.

  • Don May 9, 2016, 9:23 pm

    Pretty funny guys slamming Keltec for the fact that their guns are in such high demand. Look guys this is how economics works. If Keltec sold their guns at market value then they would be in stock and easy to find. Fact is they are selling them below market value and hence demand exceeds supply. Please do not come up with nonsense like several guys above who claim that they would not pay that much for a Keltec – if they were overpriced they would be in abundance at Budsgunshop.com and your local gun store covered in dust. Of course if you support Bernie Sanders none of this makes any sense to you.

  • Don May 9, 2016, 9:22 pm

    Pretty funny guys slamming Keltec for the fact that their guns are in such high demand. Look guys this is how economics works. If Keltec sold their guns at market value then they would be in stock and easy to find. Fact is they are selling them below market value and hence demand exceeds supply. Please do not come up with nonsense like several guys above who claim that they would not pay that much for a Keltec – if they were overpriced they would be in abundance at Budsgunshop.com and your local gun store covered in dust. Of course if you support Bernie Sanders none of this makes any sense to you.

  • BenedictGomez May 9, 2016, 6:59 pm

    You had me until, “exposed trigger spring” – that is a deal-breaker for me.

  • mike owen May 9, 2016, 6:59 pm

    Overpriced & Underperforming POS

  • gonzo gonzales May 9, 2016, 5:36 pm

    Do me a favor – DON’T BOTHER ME WITH ANYTHING DO DO WITH KEL-TEC
    I’ve been trying to get a pmr-30 for 4 years – not even my friend the CoP can get them for me –
    I’ll for High-Standard to market their .22mag autoloader
    kel-tec is for shit !!!

    • Acast December 20, 2016, 2:19 am

      Don’t bother… I had a pm30 and i tell you that is a cheap looking gun, the polymer feels cheap , i had a difficult time trying to load 30 rounds on the mag. And if you don’t do it right you’ll bend the brass, also it’s very picky when it comes to ammo… gold dot or above… jams alot if you use Remington or CCI …. the good thing its very accurate….

  • FredFurner May 9, 2016, 4:24 pm

    Looks good. Some advice for some of you having problems with finding KelTec guns on the market: it took me 2 months to find a cop, make friends, have him order a sub2k for me and receive it. Paid 30 bucks for a transfer and that was it. They love selling to cops, plus I made a valuable friend.

  • crowbar May 9, 2016, 3:25 pm

    I have owned 4 KT guns. 3 of the 4 were absolute garbage. They went back to the factory at least twice and I ended up selling them. The only one that held up was my P3AT 380. I beat the hell out of that thing and it still kept working. For me, a 25% success rate on KT products is enough to discount them from being considered for purchase.

  • rob May 9, 2016, 2:53 pm

    I like Keltec pistols fine. Own 2. I am not fond of Keltec rifles.
    A mostly plastic pistol… OK.
    Mostly plastic rifle? No thanks.
    I’ll stick with my metal framed AR. No issue with the plastic stock on it but a mostly plastic rifle.. for big bucks.
    No thanks keltec. Not for a over blown price.
    What is all that plastic going to be worth in 50 yrs? Nothing, it will be junk.
    My new Colt AR will be working fine and being used by my great grandkids, that is if they still allow gun ownership in another 50 yrs, kind of doubt it.

    • Frank May 9, 2016, 6:14 pm

      Plastic degrades at a much lower rate the metals. So in a thousand years that piece of plastic and unfortunately every other piece of plastic will still be around. At least get the science correct if you want to bag on plastic. If need be I can post the data. If you think guns should only be made of metal well, like, “that’s your opinion, man.”

      Personally, I own both.

      • Cleophus May 9, 2016, 10:54 pm

        Yeah, go tell that shit to everybody who owns a 1988 Ford with disintegrating door panels, or an ’94 Dodge with a dash so brittle that shutting the glove compartment will shatter it into pieces. Don’t preach plastic over metal to me. I’ve seen it age and decay with my own eyes, and I’ve also seen Glocks turn to goo because they were left in a closed car in the summer Texas sun. Metal has stood the test of time. Polymers, thus far, just don’t have a very stellar track record.

        • cheds May 10, 2016, 12:30 pm

          Glocks turn to goo in a hot texas sun” man your so full of shit i live in dallas never had a glock turn to “goo” in my car have friends in el paso theyve never had glocks turn to goo either its polymer not ice cream

          • John Lucien May 12, 2016, 8:36 pm

            I live in Phoenix and not one of my Glocks have ever melted in the car, and I leave it in the car 9hrs a day at work. That being said, I owned the kel tec KSG and it was a piece of crap. The thing was plastic and parts were so brittle if dropped it would crack. The bottom rail was plastic and required an aftermarket metal attachment to attach a foregrip or the rail would break off and they did all the time. Plastic on a sub $500 pistol, but rifles should be metal.

        • bobtheaxolotl December 19, 2016, 5:02 am

          There are many, many different kinds of plastic that fill very different roles. Your 88 Ford fell apart because Ford, in 1988, made absolute garbage. Plastic used on modern weapons (used by every country in the world in military rifles) has proven that it holds up just fine. It’s not the same material that is in that crappy Ford. It’s fiber reinforced, and made of plastics that won’t melt in the sun or rot with time. High impact, fiber-reinforced plastics are used for firearms, knife handle scales, truck parts, ballistic armor, etc etc.

          And no, you haven’t seen a Glock “turn to goo” in a car in the summer Texas sun. The polymer used in Glock pistols is nylon 6, which has a melting point of 428 degrees F. If the Glock melted, so did any plastics on the dash, on the seats, on the steering wheel, etc etc. Also, everyone in Texas died that day, including you, having been roasted in the 300+ degree ambient air temperature that would have been required to get the interior of a car to 428 degrees. As you’re here talking to us, instead of being roasted like your momma’s overcooked turkey at thanksgiving dinner, you’re a liar.

      • Ben May 10, 2016, 2:52 am

        Metal MAY rust and will break down but plastic WILL lose its flexibility over time and break especially exposed to extreme heat and cold. Higher quality polymers are less susceptible to this but it can happen even with proper care. Metal, properly protected from corrosion, will maintain its properties of strength and rigidity indefinitely unless it’s exposed to pressures beyond its design tolerance which is also true of plastic.

        • bobtheaxolotl December 19, 2016, 5:05 am

          There are plastics that will still be around in their current form hundreds or thousands of years after you’re dead and your bones have turned to dust. You have literally no idea what you’re talking about, here.

          • bill cattell December 19, 2016, 11:34 am

            i just love all of you people who have so much more knowledge than the rest of us. i wounder why you aren’t running the world, or are you? do you own a company, and if so which one?

  • Cam May 9, 2016, 10:39 am

    That’s price is a bit high even if it is piston. Being all poly that gun should come in at about $800.
    I expected the metal m43 that Kel-Tec showed at the 2014 shot shot, but I guess that gun is vaporware just like a lot of guns they show at shot.

  • Joe May 9, 2016, 10:08 am

    One word…300BLK?

  • pitt2500 May 9, 2016, 9:31 am

    Have a .308 RFB that I think is a GREAT gun.
    Very reliable & accurate so i’d think the RDB could only be better.
    Love KelTec products & have 4 of them and pleased with all!
    They also have great customer service IF u ever need them.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude May 9, 2016, 9:11 am

    Good review. While it’s pretty cool, it’s negs confirm that not much–if anything–beats a quality well built and mission tricked AR carb or AR PDW for ultimate high speed ‘no’ drag combat action. And, of course, that’s why the military–as much as the armament ‘modernists’ would like to lose the Stoner legacy–still continue with it. And in fact now will deploy a new ‘shorty’ PDW style commando AR as SOP for Spec Ops operations. Who got the contract escapes me at the moment, Maybe LCWR(?) but it will be a component model to fire other calibers like the .300 Blackout for suppressed work or the 6.5 Grendel for counter snipe work.

    You can build your own optimum super reliable MOA PDW (piston OR gas impingement) to even shorter and lighter specs than this Kel Tec for the same price or maybe less.

    As far as the P-Mag issue, it’s not the Kel-Tec’s fault. I’ve tested every known mag under the sun and i don’t think the P-mags are what they are all cracked up to be. The ammo window is ‘cute’ but these mags just don’t impress me. We were just putting the final tweaks on a custom 2g compact AR sniper and the P mag wouldn’t set the bolt hold open catch after the mag emptied? Put in a cheap standard milspec aluminum mag and it worked fine. Examined the P-mag a little closer and did some follower comparisons with other mags and to us and the P-mag looked incompetent to activate the catch? the follower seemed to not have enough purchase area on the top back edge to grip the catch protrusion and it even wobbled around way to much in the mag for our acceptance? We’re going to work on it more to determine the exact problem, could be a defective mag batch or the there’s a micro difference in the bolt release catch to inadequate mil spec.

    Point being; mags could be the Achilles Heel for even the best quality platforms. Make sure you seriously field test any mags you intend to use in your firearms. Just because they’re a name brand and expensive doesn’t mean they can’t fail, even if they’re brand new.

  • Henry Moret Sosa May 9, 2016, 8:16 am

    I have been consciously purchasing, american made firearms for years. However, due to “created marketing shortages”, I will no longer even look at, any, kel-tec product. I truthfully believe that kel-tec is an embarrassment, to the american firearms industry. Integrity should be the hallmark of business practices, kel-tec falls far short, of this trait. Thank god we have companies, which honor their commitment to our sport, and still produce quality american made firearms.

  • BigC May 9, 2016, 8:00 am

    $1272!!!!!!!!!! For a Kel-Tec? Might be interested at half that price………….

    • Ldishman May 9, 2016, 8:50 am

      Piston…that drives the price up.
      Go look at all the piston ARs.
      Nice that we have choices.

      • Cam May 9, 2016, 10:08 am

        I can understand piston driving it up put I can get a piston ar with almost 100% of it aluminum

      • hANNAbONE December 19, 2016, 8:08 am

        Rock River Arms LAR-PDS Carbine.
        Piston, fold-able stock, 5.56/.223 compatible, no buffer tube,
        The pistol version is the ultimate “truck gun”
        Purchased my carbine from a large local gun shop for sub $1200.
        The Kel-Tec doesn’t interest me at all…

  • Tom Benton May 9, 2016, 7:50 am

    Purchased an RDB the week they hit the market. Initially had problems with jamming due to double feeds. Tried 4 different mags and three ammo’s without change. Sent the gun back to Kel Tec who replaced the bolt mechanism. Runs perfectly now with
    all mags and ammo. Love the compact size and light weight. Fitted with a Holosun red dot to minimize weight. Shoot mostly
    out to 100 yds and enjoy peppering an 8″ metal disk. Accuracy is about 2 moa with the red dot. I own an Ar 10.5 inch barrel
    Pistol. The RDB is shorter despite the long barrel and a heck of a lot easier to shoot accurately. I still enjoy my Ar’s but the RDB
    Is the Gun I love to shoot. It is easy to transport to my vacation home and can easily be used in a vehicle if needed. An added bonus is that spent cases collect on the bench below the rifle. No flying brass to chase for reloaders and no distraction to other shooters. Would I buy one again ? Without a doubt.

    • Tallen May 26, 2016, 2:23 pm

      I also purchased one that first week. After two double-feeds in 3 magazines I adjusted the gas 1 click and haven’t had a single problem since. The RDB is my go-to rifle for 3gun now and I will definitely get a 2nd when prices drop.

  • Michael May 9, 2016, 5:18 am

    DangIt……… I am tired of reading and Lusting after one of those RDB’s………. Where the Heck are they?….. I search every week and NADA………..C’mon KelTec……YOUR PISSING ME OFF…….

    • Marcelino May 9, 2016, 10:34 am

      Michael, You’ll have a better chance finding a unicorn than a KT. It took me two years to find a Sub 2000 gen 2. And then pay overprice. But I wanted that folding carbine. Good luck in your hunt.

    • Zan May 9, 2016, 4:42 pm

      “You’re”.

  • Cary Kieffer May 9, 2016, 4:43 am

    Nice rundown! I recently picked up a mint condition RFB in 308 only because I couldn’t pass on the price. The thing was scoped, slung, lighted and cheek rest all with quality stuff and I only paid $750 cash for the whole kit and kaboodle. I was going to make money on it and keep the Vortex scope on top of it. I decided first to shoot her and it was a great shooter, almost as good as my RRA 308, so I decided to keep it. The RFB even fired cheap russian steel case (colt branded 168’s) into 1.25 moa 5 shot groups, which pleasantly surprised me. So I’m looking forward to getting one of your new toys here. It’s a good looking rifle too, I think “prettier” than a Tavor which I had owned and sold. The Tavor was nice but just wasn’t “doing it for me”. Looking forward to trying this RDB out. Thanks for review.

  • Dustin Eward May 9, 2016, 4:14 am

    I wish my rev 2 RFB were this cool…

  • Alexander May 9, 2016, 2:56 am

    Another Kel-Tec fun gun you won’t be able to get you’r hands on for at least five years unless you’re willing to fork over double the suggested retail, at least. Awesome.

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