The Desert Tech MDR Bullpup Now Shipping–Really!

After a long, hard wait, the Desert Tech MDR is now shipping. This highly anticipated bullpup rifle has an unparalleled set of features including fully ambidextrous controls, interchangeable barrels and cartridge conversion kits.

“In truth we held our MDR launch party on July 21 and delivered the first production MDR to Derek Johnson from Texas,” said Nicholas Young, Desert Tech CEO. “Derek waited on the phone on hold with our office for several hours to be the very first person to order an MDR.”

Desert Tech sold serial number 1 of their production MDR bullpups to Derek Johnson who suddenly has a lot of new friends in Texas. (Photo: Desert Tech)

For now MDR rifles are available in .223 Wylde and .308 Winchester with optional conversion kits for both as well as 300 AAC Blackout. Desert Tech plans on other cartridge conversion kits down the line, too.

The MDR uses AR-15-pattern magazines for .223 and 300 BLK and AR-10-style mags for .308. The chassis incorporates a magwell adapter to handle the different magazine sizes.

“The color mix of this first batch is 60 percent flat dark earth and 40 percent black,” explained Young. “Every batch will be split up proportionally between dealers and end users based on when they placed their orders.”

“We have dealers and end users who jumped on board in the beginning and we are sticking to that priority schedule until we fulfill the entire backlog,” Young said. “I would expect it will take us 6-8 months to catch up on the backlog as we are continually receiving new orders daily and I’m sure that will increase substantially once the rifles hit the stores.”

Desert Tech is launching all three models with 16-inch barrels. In the past we’ve seen rifle-length barrels as well as even more compact SBR-length assemblies. Still, it makes sense for Desert Tech to go with a single length setup for now just to speed up production.

With the guns finally shipping to buyers we also have hard numbers on the MDR’s specifications. In all three configurations, it has an overall length of 26.2 inches and weighs 8.7 pounds. Prices start at $2,274 for the rifles and $749 for conversion kits.

Unlike early prototypes, the MDR mounts an optic to the barrel with a riser. (Photo: Desert Tech)

Desert Tech first showed prototypes of the MDR, or Micro Dynamic Rifle, as early as 2014. The ambitious design resonated with shooters everywhere.

Bullpups have been around for a long time and while the compact rifles have a lot of fans, there are some problems inherent to these guns. Typical bullpups can only be used by right-handed shooters because of the rear ejection port. They also tend to have rough triggers and barrel mechanics which often lead to middling accuracy. The MDR has none of these problems.

The MDR was built from the start to accommodate both right- and left-handed shooters. In addition to its reversible ejection system the MDR ejects cases forward, away from the shooter. This means that users can shoot the rifle in their off hand or lend it to a shooter with a different handedness without having to reconfigure the rifle. The rest of the controls are fully ambidextrous.

See Also: Desert Tech MDR Update and Cool Smart Phone HUD App

The MDR also uses a floating barrel system with a short integrated rail for optics. This allows shooters to mount an optic directly to the barrel. This not only delivers solid accuracy, it means that users don’t have to re-zero their optics when they switch barrels.

The receiver and handguard are railed for magnified optics and other accessories.

Desert Tech has been in the long-range business for a long time and for them accuracy is important. Because of this the company worked hard on delivering a match-grade trigger system with their MDR rifles. These don’t have heavy, spongy triggers common to most bullpups.

The long wait and tall expectations have set the bar high for Desert Tech. These are not inexpensive rifles and Desert Tech will have to really deliver. If they pull this off, they will change the world of bullpups completely.

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • David August 11, 2017, 9:02 pm

    “Blah blah blah blah”. Why do all these sites seem to be nothing but people complaining and dumping on something they’ve never even held, much less fired. So don’t buy one. As for someone that carried a M16 or M4 for a quarter century with the Marine Corps, I’ll gladly take a gas piston, short, maneuverable, and well-balanced pup any day.

  • EssVee August 11, 2017, 2:26 pm

    Just got done shooting an FN P90 with that sweet 5.7 round and an FN holosight a few days ago. I didn’t understand the fascination until I got to run it through its paces. I’m mad at myself for having so much fun. I want one, but for the price…these are a little less steep, and they use more common chamberings, but dang if I can’t get that little bull pup out of my head.

  • James Summers August 11, 2017, 1:55 pm

    Another multi $ K rifle that, as the article said before, I cannot afford.
    Actually do you get to keep the rifle tested or can you pay a reduced rate to own ??
    Just curious ??

    • Dean Jones August 12, 2017, 8:26 am

      Waa, waa, waa, go by a High Standard or Kel-Tec and quit being a pussy.

  • Area 52 August 11, 2017, 1:30 pm

    If I was in the market for a bullpup, I stick with what other countries militaries have used such as the Steyr AUG or Tavor. My advise to a potential buyer is ; Let someone else be the guinea pig. Even if it works fine, just like the Tavor, in about a year or two the new improved A1 model is out. Don’t be the beta tester.

    • Frank August 11, 2017, 7:33 pm

      Area 52… Very, very good advice. True for most all firearms, cars, motorcycles, etc.

  • Norm Fishler August 11, 2017, 10:57 am

    It looks like every other bullpup I’ve handled over the past 4 decades. Short, compact, butt heavy and almost as well balanced as a stone ax. By the bullpup’s very nature & mechanics I do not know of any way around it. Keeping in mind that this is just my opinion, both the Steyr AUG & the French FAMAS gave it the best try I have yet to handle, but they were both 5.56, & 7.62 puts whole different dynamics into play. I’ll be on the lookout for one to handle though & check it out when I can.

  • Wzrd August 11, 2017, 10:02 am

    16″ bbl & overall length 26.2″. My current place of residence Marxland [sic] requires SBRs to be a minimum of 29″. Makes a lot of sense. Just like most illegal infringements do. Not pertinent to the article, just thinking “out loud”.

    • DaveGinOly August 11, 2017, 1:03 pm

      I you sure the law applies? You wrote “Marxland (sic) requires SBRs to be a minimum of 29″.” The Desert Tech is not an SBR.

    • Archangel August 11, 2017, 2:19 pm

      A mid length gas system with an 18″ barrel will give you the extra 3″ you state requires it to be legal.
      I don’t see the 16″ as a decent length for the 5.56 anyway, and that carbine gas system they all want to use, as if over-gassing the system is the only solution to getting one to run well.
      The 300 Whisper, or 458 Socom, yeah, you can go with a much shorter barrel and still thump something good at range, but not that silly, weak old .22 center fire out of a short barrel.

  • Pseudo August 11, 2017, 9:04 am

    Okay enlighten me and I know folks will buy what they will, but besides any use in close quarter combat situations (I cannot envision this as a main home defense weapon, especially in 7.62 and bullet distance parameters) or its uniqueness, just what is the attraction for these guns?

    • Me August 11, 2017, 10:21 am

      It’s hard to put in words all the settle little differences between the M4 and a bullpup but there are tons. The biggest one that I tell guys that they don’t believe until they put a few rounds down range is the weight and feel of a bullpup. I’m a Tavor X95 guy, now, it’s significantly heavier when I put it on a scale and my 16 inch AR but when I put it on my shoulder it feels like it weighs half as much because most of the weight is supported right next to my body. Great trigger, ambi controls very close to my ARs, easy to carry through a field or hold on a stand, and if your just out shooting with the buddies it’s fast and fun on targets. I can understand a preference of one over the other but for those whom haven’t tried it, don’t knock it, you could be a closet bullpup lover like I WAS.

  • joe August 11, 2017, 8:51 am

    Awfully similar to the RDB?

    • David Cottrell August 11, 2017, 11:39 am

      At more than twice the price. And what it lacks in price parity it makes up for in extra weight. I’ll keep my KelTec, thanks.

  • T.J. August 11, 2017, 7:55 am

    Two words: No thanks.

  • Aaron Hasben August 11, 2017, 7:22 am

    Why is this so much more expensive than the Tavor?

    • Marcus August 11, 2017, 8:09 am

      Production costs are higher for a small business as apposed to a nation especially in smaller quantities. If your willing to wait till next year you could save at least a few hundred off the cost.

    • DaveGinOly August 11, 2017, 1:12 pm

      The list on an X95 is $1999, and it isn’t multi-caliber capable. The extra $275 is arguably justifiable for this feature alone.

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