Kel-Tec RDB, Semi-Automatic, 5.56 NATO/.223 Rem., 17.2″ Barrel, Gas Piston, 20+1 Rounds
The Kel-Tec Rifle, Downward-ejecting, Bullpup (RDB) is Kel-Tec’s latest 5.56mm rifle. In a marked change from the earlier SU-16 and RFB, the RDB is a mostly conventional design: an AR-18 style rotating bolt, short-stroke piston-driven rifle. Its sole deviation from convention is its method of ejection—straight downwards—which makes it amenable to being fired from both shoulders.
But how does it compare to a regular AR-15 at its price point? Do the bullpup’s features provide a compelling alternative to a premium AR?
The RDB’s primary selling point, downward ejection, is both a blessing and a curse. Despite Kel-Tec describing it as “revolutionary,” similar downward ejecting designs have been used before and proven in battle.
The most notable of these are the British Bren light machine gun and American Ithaca 37 shotgun. But both of these designs feature relatively little material around the ejection port on the bottom of the gun.
This allows for a user to easily flip the gun over to remedy jams or other feeding difficulties. In contrast, the RDB’s downward ejection chute is significantly more built-up than either of the earlier guns, which may cause problems when trying to remove stuck casings or stovepipes.
Another big selling point of the RDB is it’s “excellent trigger.” While this may have been true compared to bullpups of past generations, the Tavor X95 was released only a year later and features a comparable trigger to the RDB. The famous trigger manufacturer Geiselle even makes the “Super Sabra” trigger pack for the Tavor that improves the trigger to easily surpass the RDB’s.