Desert Tech Update: Smart Phone HUD App and MDR Bullpup Scheduled for Q4

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.

Desert Tech MDR -- A Multi-caliber Bullpup is in the Works—SHOT Show 2014

A 2014 prototype of the MDR.

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.

See Also: Desert Tech Releases Prices on MDR Bullpup

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.

The MSRP on the MDR.

The MSRP on the MDR.

“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.”

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.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Robert Perugini September 9, 2016, 5:40 pm

    Will adjustable gas systems be available?

  • PipeHitter September 9, 2016, 10:16 am

    Proofed to only 4,000 rds? WTH? I hope that is a typo!

    • Steve G September 9, 2016, 12:28 pm

      PH – I read that paragraph in total to mean they shoot it until it breaks. The last time they tested it broke at 4000 rounds. More testing to come after the next cycle.

      • Scott Syverson September 9, 2016, 2:53 pm

        Here, here to Mr. Pipefitter. A gun proofed to only 4,000 rounds before failure is a half-baked gun. Call me when that number approaches 15,000 +/- 5k, then I’ll get excited. A bullpup is a CQB weapon. Other CQB weapons’ reliability ratings are in this range and if Desert Tech wants to be player in this market, they have some serious work in front of them to catch up.

        • EWTHeckman September 9, 2016, 6:51 pm

          4,000 rounds is not the total lifetime of the rifle. It’s just the point where a normal wear part needs to be replaced.

          The army recently ended trials looking for a replacement for the M4. The Washington Times has an article detailing some of those results:

          “The CNA report contains three significant graphics. In one, reliability was measured against the M4 as the baseline. Gun “C” scored 25 percent more reliable than the M4A1 and better than all others.

          “A second graphic shows test results for “mean rounds between failures.” This is perhaps the most important test because it shows how many shots the rifle can fire before stoppage.

          “Again gun “C” was by far the best, achieving more than 2,500 rounds. The M4A1 failed after 500 — a gap that can make a significant difference in battle.

          “This test was a measurement of Class 1 and Class 2 magazine stoppages, in which one soldier can clear the gun himself within 10 seconds or more than 10 seconds, respectively. The U.S. official said classes 1 and 2 are the most common stoppages in battle.

          “A third graphic shows the M4A1 performed best for Class 3 stoppages, which are more significant failures that require a specialist, or armorer, to clear.

          “It achieved 6,000 mean rounds between failure. Gun “C” achieved about 4,500 rounds.”

          There is a lot of information lacking to make a direct comparison. For example, the trials rifles were apparently shooting 5.56, while the DT rifles are available in both 5.56 and .308. So that number could very well be likely the number for failures under the heavier pounding of the .308. But we don’t know. We also don’t know whether or not the kind of failures DT is talking about are Class 1, 2 or 3 failures. (If the break is in the ejection system, it would likely be a Class 2 because the parts are easily swapped in seconds.)

          Given the lack of precise comparisons it is very hard to tell if the MDR is doing better or worse than what was seen in the trials. But that number is at least in the general neighborhood.

  • George Rogers September 9, 2016, 8:33 am

    By definition SBR means short barrel rifle. The barrel is legal in length but just positioned further back in the rifle as with all bullpups.

  • Pseudo September 9, 2016, 6:09 am

    May I missed it but what stood this from being a short barreled rifle (SBR)? Or is it a SBR and only available for gov-mint use, e.g. Police and military?

    • House September 9, 2016, 7:32 am

      It’s a bullpup design. meaning it has a full length barrel but the chamber is behind your fire control hand not in front of it, thus making a the gun able to be vastly shortened overall. It has the same barrel length or longer than a standard AR in this form factor.

      • Pseudo September 9, 2016, 7:37 pm

        So I am asking this, is it just the BATF interpretation on SBR’s? You have a bull pup with the barrel positioned further back so it is legal due to barrel length, but as I currently understand one cannot have a rifle with a barrel under a certain length so what is the difference of having a legal length barrel AR15 but with a folding stock. Just ignore the buffer tube issue and think of my question as a legal 16 inch barrel on a folding stock.
        A prime example would be a CZ Bren 801 5.56 pistol with a folding stock ignoring the Bren’s barrel length.
        Think of receiver, 16 inch barrel and just a folding stock.

  • Ralph Everling September 9, 2016, 3:17 am

    What about 6.5 grendel as a possible caliber choice?

    • EWTHeckman September 9, 2016, 9:21 am

      DT has said they will definitely be making a 6.5 Creedmoor version. They already officially list a .300 Blackout kit on their web site. They’ve also said they’ll be working on adding at least one more caliber. It’s rumored that 6.5 Grendel might be among the possibilities.

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