(Editor’s note: This article was a submission from freelance writer Max Slowik)
Another piece of the Desert Tech MDR puzzle has dropped into place, and it’s a big one. Desert Tech has released the manufacturer’s suggested retail prices or MSRPs.
The MDR, or Micro Dynamic Rifle, is one of the most modern bullpups in development. Ambidextrous by nature, the MDR features mirrored controls and reversible, forward-directed ejection chutes.
Desert Tech will initially offer the MDR in two chamberings, .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO, with MSRPs of $1,999 and $2,249, respectively. This puts the MDR at the same price point as the Tavor, IWI-US’s flagship bullpup.
The main difference being that Desert Tech aims at doing everything better. From their ambidextrous controls and ejection to their uncharacteristically light and reactive trigger, the MDR is destined to knock down walls for both bullpups and carbines.
It’s a modular design with interchangeable barrel assemblies and magwells. The same rifle that shoots 5.56 NATO can shoot 7.62 NATO with a parts swap, and other cartridges and calibers are in the works. 300 AAC Blackout is next, with prices are to be determined. Other cartridges in being considered include 7.62x39mm, 6.8 SPC and .22 Long Rifle.
Desert Tech has also published the price of the conversion kits, which are likewise competitive at $749 for 5.56 NATO and $999 for 7.62 NATO. All of these are MSRP which is near the top for in-store prices. As is, most real-world prices should be less, although with the amount of excitement surrounding the MDR, you never know what people will pay.
To be sure, the MDR is priced in-line with premium ARs and (some would argue overpriced) bullpups, but Desert Tech isn’t a light hand when it comes to features. Building an ambidextrous bullpup is an achievement by its own right, and the MDR does so much more.
The MDR is at heart a target rifle with a feather-light trigger. Early prototypes have had triggers as light as 2.5 pounds, with little creep and a predictable, slick takeup. The trigger is light to the point where Desert Tech staff are considering artificially increasing the trigger weight to bring it in-line with other rifles, and making it adjustable for shooters who want the lighter trigger option.
The MDR free-floats the complete barrel assembly, to promote the kind of accuracy the company has built their reputation on. Their goal is greater than minute-of-man precision and Desert Tech wants the MDR to compete with precision ARs. Every barrel assembly includes a front sight block and won’t need adjusting after switching barrel lengths or cartridges.
The MDR is destined to be compared to the IWI-US Tavor, the most popular bullpup in today’s market, especially with its matching MSRP. But even with the same pricing it stands to be much more.
Basically, Desert Tech wants the MDR to do what other bullpups do–take up less space and have greater maneuverability–with the added benefit of a stellar aftermarket trigger and a much more accurate barrel component; things that would add several hundred dollars to other bullpups, if they were even realistically achievable.
Sure, it would be great if the MDR was priced with upper-end ARs; that’s what everyone was wishing for. But Desert Tech isn’t asking for any more than other bullpup builders do and they’re offering so much more–ambidextrous controls and reversible ejection, a range of interchangeable barrels and magazine systems and a great trigger, without turning to expensive aftermarket components. It’s all factory.
At this point, the only salient matter is the release date. Desert Tech is still on-track for an early 2016 launch, just around the corner.