The Kel-Tec .223 RDB: this new bullpup packs performance in a little package.

Author:Wood, J.B.
Position:OUT of the BOX

Well, they've done it again. With the genius of George Kellgren and the expertise of Tobias Obermeit, Kel-Tec has produced a neat .223 bullpup called the Model RDB. It's a nice encore to their previous .308 forward-ejector, and those who prefer the 5.56A223 will welcome it.

This one is simpler and lighter, and ejection of the fired cases is downward at the rear. During the test-firing, it put three of the cases neatly in my open shirt pocket! I buttoned the pocket. The 20-round polymer magazine is by MagPul, excellent. Any standard AR-type magazine will fit, but non-original mags should always be tested for function.

One I tried out was a nice 30-round aluminum-body magazine from Brownells, and it worked perfectly. The magazine catch on the RDB is a beautiful design. It's not a button, but an easily-operated lever at the front of the magazine well. The entirely internal bolt stays open after the last shot. The bolt release has tabs on both sides.

The manual safety is also ambidextrous, with levers well-placed at the top of the pistol-grip. (Up for safe, down to fire.) The bolt retraction handle is of generous length for a good hold, and spring-loaded to lie flat. The handle is easily installed on either side of the receiver. While we're at the front, note the short, well-designed muzzlebrake at the barrel end.

On the underside, forward of the trigger, there's a 9-inch standard rail for mounting a light, laser or vertical foregrip. On top, a 10-inch rail will take a red-dot sight, a scope, or what I chose: a set of MagPul fully-adjustable open sights. Both front and rear fold down, and flip up into position at the touch of a lever.

In general, bullpup designs often have a long linkage ending in a terrible trigger pull. Well, not this time! On my RDB the take-up is so small it is barely noticeable, then a clean let-off, with an average of just less than 5 pounds. In guns of this type, it is the best trigger...

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