Kel Tec is a company known for releasing futuristic looking firearms. They have earned a cult following and popularity within the gun world due to the fact their firearms are featured in many different video games and movies. The Kel Tec RDB is a bullpup rifle, offered in the company’s usual eye catching style. But is it actually any good?
The purpose behind Kel Tec releasing the RDB was to solve some of the problems that are associated with bullpup rifles.
Kel Tec RDB Specs
Some have been designed in a way that make it difficult for southpaw shooters to safely operate. Gun University will give you our professional opinion on whether Kel Tec have succeeded in their aim of making an ambidextrous bullpup rifle.
So what else do you need to know about the Kel Tec RDB bullpup rifle?
Some of the innovative aspects you’d expect from Kel Tec are found here in the RDB. These include an ejection system that keeps your line of sight free from spent casings, allowing you to more precisely and safely operate the RDB. But, if you’ve read our other Kel Tec reviews here at Gun University, you know that things don’t always work as well in reality as intended.
If you’re thinking of buying the Kel Tec RDB, we’ve discovered a few things you really want to know first. Read on to discover what they are, along with our full review and grades for the Kel Tec RDB.
KEL TEC RDB FEATURES
1 Ambidextrous Magazine Release
The mag release on the RDB can be operated with either hand.
2 Adjustable Gas System
Allowing you to change the power of the propulsion.
3 Downward Shell Ejection
This method of ejecting shells ensures the Kel Tec RDB is suitable for both left and right handed shooters.
KEL TEC RDB REVIEW – OUR TAKE
Honestly, we’re torn on the Kel TEc RDB bullpup rifle. It is a really cool, simple, svelte, budget-friendly bullpup rifle. However, it is made by Kel Tec which usually means two things: A+ on innovation, D on execution.
If you’re thinking about getting the Kel-Tec RFB, get this RDB instead. Here’s why:
Things we like about the RDB rifle:
SUPER SIMPLE operation! Seriously, one of the reasons we want one of these in our personal collection is how clean the design is INSIDE the gun. It is a tiny bolt carrier, bolt, and op-rod. That’s about it.
The bolt extracts the empty case and instead of ejecting the case when the bolt reaches the rear of the next round in the magazine, it continues to pull the case rearward and ejects it down behind the magazine. This means that the bolt travels twice as far as any other semi auto rifle: far enough to feed and an additional case-length rearward to eject.
The KelTec RDB rifle is handy – it’s not super light, but it’s not too heavy either. The more you play with it, the more you realize what a handy package it is.
The RDB by Kel Tec is reliable. It just seems to work.
What we don’t like:
The Kel Tec RDB is NOT pro-grade. This is fine for a range toy but we could never recommend this rifle for defensive use. Why? Well, even though it has been reliable for testing, there will surely be a malfunction (even if it is ammo related). And, once there’s a malfunction (like a failure to feed, failure to extract, failure to eject, etc.) it is going to be near impossible to diagnose the problem and fix it.
The RDB is novel in that it doesn’t have an ejection port that allows you to see in the chamber and see the top of the magazine. That seems cool until you realize that you can’t diagnose and fix malfunctions. Good motivation, bad judgment.
The trigger and mag release are nowhere near as good as the trigger and mag release on the Tavor X95. Seriously, this is a fun space-gun but if you’re looking for a serious duty bullpup rifle, I think you’re crazy to not get the IWI X95.
KEL TEC RDB PROS AND CONS
Novel Concept (Cool factor)
Impossible to diagnose and fix malfunctions
Poor trigger and mag release
Reliable enough but impossible to fix malfunctions
Comparable accuracy to other bullpup rifles but on the lower end
Very easy to shoot and operate – Perfect for hunting, but not as stable as a dedicated target rifle.
Picatinny rail on top and bottom.
Gun is comfortable to hold and shoot – mag release is wonky
It’s a fun gun for the price and a good option for the budget-minded shopper.
On KelTec’s website, they claim the RDB is the bullpup perfected. And while the gun isn’t the most terrible we’ve shot, perfection is a heck of a stretch. Fortunately, there are some great accessories to make it better.
Best Sights for the KelTec RDB
If you’re looking for a way to make your RDB 100% better immediately, get a good set of optics. Optics make everything nicer–particularly on a bullpup. Here are our top picks for sights:
The Editor’s Choice for Optics on the KelTec RDB is the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro.That probably doesn’t shock many of you. I mean it’s a Leupold. Quality optics are what they do. We especially like this DeltaPoint Pro for two major reasons. The Auto Brightness adjustment tech and Motion Sensor Activation. These two features not only optimize your shooting experience, but help to save on battery life as well. CHECK PRICE
Another good standby for the RDB would be the Trijicon RMR. It’s sleek and doesn’t sit too high on the rail–keeping the bullpup at its most tactical. But it still provides you with a huge range of vision complete with a 3.25 MOA adjustable LED and eight different brightness settings. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON
Best Slings for the KelTec RDB
If you plan on taking your RDB out (whether to the range or for sport), I can guarantee you’re gonna want a sling. Hand carrying a rifle gets real tedious real quick. But when you’re equipped with a good sling, your trips will become much more enjoyable.
This sling is quickly becoming our favorite for just about every long gun. It’s lightweight, sturdy, and it’s got padding in all the right places. Plus, it’s got an extra-wide strap to prevent the sling from digging into your shoulder too much on longer treks. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON
Other Bullpup Rifles of Its Class to Check Out
While we believe that this particular KelTec edges out the RFB, we also think that you’ve got some better options out there. These two recommendations perform and feel better than the KelTec RDB–at least in our opinion.
When it comes to bullpup rifles, this is our favorite one we’ve gotten our hands on. It’s got just about everything you want in a bullpup–including things you didn’t even realize you needed. As matter of fact, it actually tops our list of best bullpup rifles and shotguns…READ MORE
Now, we all know KelTecs look cool. There’s no doubt about that. But if you’re looking for another cool looking gun without the hangups of the KelTec RDB, check out the Steyr Aug. It’s the quintessential bad guy gun seen in films everywhere. Honestly, the biggest hangup would be the specialized parts you’d need to get…READ MORE
How to Care for Your KelTec RDB
It’s one thing to own a bullpup rifle. And another to own one with pride. If you’re serious about treating your guns well, you should know how to take them down and do basic cleaning and maintenance. Geoff Tac put together a great video on how to do just that.
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About Roy Chesson
Roy Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATT and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.