Kel-Tec Expands RDB Line, Kicks Bullpup into Full Production

   01.20.16

This year, Kel-Tec is expanding their fledgling RDB rifle line with one of the oddest bullpups to date.

The RDB-C is a California-compliant version of their downward-ejecting rifle. By removing the rifle’s pistol grip and shipping it with a five-round magazine, the RDB-C is ready to take on the least-free State in the Union.

Removing the pistol grip from a bullpup rifle is a challenging concept to say the least. Take a look at this new configuration.

The shooter can either wrap the thumb of their shooting hand over the barrel or fold it alongside. This uses a traditional crossbolt safety and an ambidextrous mag release on the side of the rifle. There was a 20-inch-barreled .223 gun in their SHOT booth, as well as a 24-inch-barreled rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel.

The regular RDB is just starting to take off, with the first 200 guns already out the door. Kel-Tec is currently in the middle of a 1,000-gun production run, soon to be followed by a 5,000-gun run that’s aiming for fall of this year. It’s likely that we won’t see the first run of RDB-Cs until the very end of 2016.

Also new this year is a version of the SUB-2000 pistol caliber carbine that uses S&W M&P magazines. Kel-Tec is planning on expanding the magazine options of the Gen 2 SUB-2000 to encompass all the magazine options of the original carbine, so expect lots of variants and possible conversion kits to accommodate Px4s, 92FS, and all manner of other common pistol magazines.

The red Canadian SUB-2000.
The red Canadian SUB-2000.

A special edition SUB-2000 also arrived in Canada just as the show was kicking off. Three hundred bright-red SUB-2000s are in the hands of Vault Distributing, ready to go out with Glock magazines to Canadian shooters. The 18.5-inch barrel allows the rifle to be non-restricted, making it a popular backpacking and camp gun up north.

At range day this year Kel-Tec had the RDB available to shoot in suppressed and unsuppressed variants, along with a fantastic suppressed KSG.

If that seems like a small lineup for a company known for big gun launches, you’re right. Part of this year’s plan at Kel-Tec is to manufacture more of what they already have and incorporate small upgrades to the existing lines.

Guns like the RDB and CMR need to get to the same production levels as the ubiquitous KSG before it will really be time for new things.

There will be a new KSG variant this year, however. Kel-Tec is now offering an “NFA ready” version of the KSG, using their compact receiver and an integrated vertical grip pump with a long barrel. The idea is that a shooter can register the short-barreled shotgun with the ATF and chop the barrel if they choose to, making for an ultra-compact package. The overall length of this configuration is just over 26 inches.

The NFA-ready KSG.
The NFA-ready KSG.

What might the future hold? In the next few years you could possibly see an update to the SU-16, the folding 5.56 backpacker. It is also likely that the entire Kel-Tec pistol line up will see some revamping in the future.

Till then, Californians can rejoice that at least someone wants them to own black rifles.

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