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.”
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.
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.
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.