The KelTec RFB is, well, weird.
Like some other things Kel Tec, it is a novel concept executed poorly.
As a bull pup rifle, the RFB has some merits. It is lighter weight than some other options (we’re looking at you IWI X95) and it really nails the “space-gun” look.
The really novel part about the RFB rifle is the forward-ejection… this just doesn’t exist on any other commercially available rifle.
As you know from our Gun 101 series, there are 8 cycles of function for most firearms. One of the functions that is responsible for a large proportion of malfunctions is “ejection” whereby the spent casing is moved away from the firearm to make room for the next round of ammunition to feed into the chamber. For newbies, ejection is what causes the empty brass to fly out of the side of a firearm.
WIth the Kel Tec RFB, however, the empty cases aren’t ejected out of a side ejection-port like most rifles (because the RFB doesn’t have a siee ejection port!). Instead, the empty cases are pushed down a tube above the barrel until they reach the end of the handguard where they fall out and to the ground.
It is really… different… to witness. It almost appears as if brass is falling out of the end of the barrel.
So, for ingenuity, A+. However, for execution, D-.
Why the low grade? We already covered that many malfunctions on rifles are due to ejection and this forward ejecting system of the RFB complicates the process. Furthermore, it also blocks your easy access to the working mechanism of the rifle to manually clear the malfunction – or, for that matter, even see what the problem is (or if the gun is laoded).
Other common sources of malfunction in rifles are from failing to feed the round into the chamber and failing to extract. The RFB’s design also causes an issue in diagnosing and correcting these other potential issues as well.
The rest of the Kel Tec RFB: The trigger is on par with a mil-spec trigger (not good), there are no options for aftermarket grips, buttstocks, nor foreends, and the accuracy is good enough for a battle rifle but we wouldn’t call the RFB rifle accurate.
Takeaway: if you’re looking for a novel/unique space-age-looking gun, you should check out the RFB. However, if you are looking for a more reliable and serious duty bull pup rifle, you’d be better suited with the IWI X95.
Something about this gun just feels like a concept-rifle or a prototype.