DesertTech Releases Several New Products at SHOT 2014

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DesertTech, formally Desert Tactical Arms, of Utah has released several new rifles as well as a chassis system from the Remington 700.  Most of the buzz was around the MDR, DesertTech’s new modular, bullpup styled rifle design.  They are being released in .308 and .223 to begin with, and will hopefully a .300BLK in the future.  The .308 version is being released with a 16″ barrel, and accepts SR25/DPMS patterned magazines, meaning it will be compatible with the Magpul LR/SR .308 magazines.  Also featured on the rifle is a non-reciprocating charging handle, that is also user movable to be ambidextrous.  The rest of the rifle controls are built into the rifle as ambidextrous without having to move anything.

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Handling the .308, the package was build well, even though the rifle in their booth was a prototype.  Having worked in LE, I can see the application of the bullpup design with an OAL of 27″, making the rifle easy to maneuver in the drivers seat of a patrol car, even with a steering wheel and mobile computer terminal.

There is also a .223 version that will their MDR-C, or carbine that will be available in an SBR and 16″ barrel version for those that live in non-SBR states.  The SBR will be 10.5″ barrel, and have an OAL of 21″ and use standard AR magazines.

The receiver of the rifles, as well as the barrel and furniture are replaceable, and a .308 version can be easily converted to a .223 with a simple barrel swap.

Also released was a light, polymer version of their chassis system.  While the version they had at SHOT was a prototype, there are a very innovative design, and will be super light and user friendly for the operator.  The chassis was 3D printed in polymer, but will feature a metal block for the receiver to be attached too, with the rest being made from molded polymer to help reduce the weight.

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In their sniper/precision shooter line, they released the Covert, with an 18″ barrel and 38″ OAL bullpup, it is chambered.338 Lapua Magnum with a detachable box magazine system.  So a sniper is able to deploy and use the rifle in very confined spaces.  Handling the rifle, I can see the usefulness of the rifle in an LE role, and how one could deploy the rifle directly from the drivers seat of a patrol car.  While I would definately want to make sure the single baffle brake is out the window before firing the rifle, the muzzle blast from a single baffle 18″ .338LM would do damage to a patrol car and the hearing of the operator.

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There is also a .308 version available, with a 16″ barrel and OAL of 26″ also in a bullpup design.

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DesertTech is looking to revamp their image, put some cool, innovative new stuff out.  There were some changes to the MDR that DesertTech was looking to make after some suggestions to SHOT Show attendees.  They plan on extending the handguard on the .308 to that in a panic, the operator doesn’t put their hand over the muzzle of the rifle.  Also there is a plan to make the charging handle fully ambidextrous, and not just user movable.   I look forward to a production model coming out and being able to test and evaluate the new rifle.  DesertTech has some great guys with some really great ideas.  They are definitely a company to look out for.

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Sam Cadle

Sam Cadle is a prior service member from the US Coast Guard, and has extensive firearms training from the military. He spent many years working counter narcotics in Central America and working maritime law enforcement and anti-terrorism stateside. He has also written articles as guest writer that are published on The Truth About Guns, and other firearms related blogs. He is currently a successful writer for Examiner.com, specializing in gun rights a politics in Washington State, as well as across the United States. His passions are long range precision shooting, coyote hunting and keeping up with the firearms community.

To get a hold of Sam you can email him at sam.cadle@thefirearmblog.com, or via Facebook here.


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  • Troy S.

    Love the .308 bullpup. I’ve been screaming for steyr to do this for years. what’s the projected availability date?

    • Paladin

      Desert Tech is saying somewhere in the region of ~18 months, though at this stage it’s a pretty rough estimate I would imagine.

    • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

      I got an estimate of by the end of 2014 directly from DesertTech at the show for tge MDR. For the bolt precision rifle they said right around 6mo. Just depends on how R&D goes though.

  • ColaBox

    Im really liking that .223 variant on the bottom, looks a lot like the Magpul PDR we never got. But is it safe to say the fun is dying down at SHOT?

    • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

      SHOT has been done since friday. But there is a backlog of stories…

    • LCON

      MDR-C’s grip is different PDR-C had P90 style Ergonomics that is it used a modified thumb hole and hybrid trigger guard gangster grip, MDR-C’s grip at first glance reminds me more of the Norinco QBZ95 albeit remixed with a magpul style.

  • Gunhead

    I’m guessing that if we have to ask, we can’t afford ‘em.

    • st4

      I saw an interview that said we would, “like the price.” We’ll see…

    • http://thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Sam Cadle (Staff Writer, TFB)

      Sorry…will edit the article, when I spoke to them there were no MSRP given. They were speculating the MDR to be below $2000, but at this point that’s really just a guess.

      • FourString

        That seems like the market standard for Tavor’s and all the new good ‘uns coming out right now. Color me surprised

  • Simon

    DT have great rifles however how ever the main problems with them are 1 there really really heavy for a bull pop made of polymer and also the price its just silly huge.

  • FourString

    I totally wanna sneak one into California (obviously would have to swap out the mag release for a bullet button).. ya know, just to stick it to Feinstein

    • Cymond

      and put on a fake suppressor to bring the total length to at least 30″

      • FourString

        yehhh, just to make em moar sceared yolo

  • Vitor

    Frankly to me, the MDR was the best surprise of shot show. Looks so well thought, the .308 version coupled with those Lapua bullets fine tuned for 16-18 barrels that TFB posted about a week ago would make such a incredible combo.

  • Dooby

    First off that MDR is too sexy! If they can actually keep that price below 2500 and continue their stellar reputation of building quality rifles, this will definitely be a success. I have always wanted a .308 semi but the limiting factors for me are usually weight and price. On principle, I can’t throw down 3 plus on a quality rifle while in college. Now to my main questions..
    Piston operated?
    Is there a rail capability on the bottom of the hand guard?
    Are QD slots integrated into the rifle?
    Lastly did you get to fiddle with the sights?
    I’m definitely excited about this product!

  • noob

    interesting mag release on the MDR. was it stiff to use since it is so far from the magwell?

    also what is that odd thing sticking out of the MDR ejection port? some kind of reciprocating shell deflector?

    • Marc

      It’s a forward ejecting contraption. I’d love to see an article on how it works.

  • TangledThorns

    I’m very curious as how far the spent brass are ejected? Will the hot brass be ejected with enough distance to clear the shooter’s firing arm or dribble on it?

  • SP mclaughlin

    Is it just me or does the pistol grip area look rather similar to the Radon MSBS bullpup?

  • Dan

    The MDR is really good looking, unlike the tavor which is eye wateringly ugly.

  • José Pulido

    10.5″ barreled DTA bullpup at 21″, 13″ barreled IWI bullpup at 23.” I like short bullpups. This is a good thing, so I hope it works, and I can’t wait for IWI it to eventually bring theirs to the states!

  • the other guy

    if they make a 6.5 Grendel barrel option they will make an all around good gun for close and longer ranges. If they also made a 6.5 creedmoor version, snipers would be able to carry around less gear and blend in better with other troops and have longer range capability than the 308 version. A gun like this would be nice for Afghanistan for entering and exiting vehicles and have the capability to reach out to distance when they encounter the enemy that are standing off at distance.

  • ThisI’llDefend

    Hopefully they don’t change the look of the front handguard, it looks good as it is. I think an properly trained user would NOT cover the muzzle with their hand in a rush. At least no more likely to than if they just had an SBR. They should keep it the same.

  • SAR

    Incredible MDR – worth the $$$. The high quality that DT has is impressive and the MDR will satisfy. Even tho it won’t be out till later this year, it gives me time to save up some nickles and get this bad boy.

    Some say the 2K price tag is high but consider the ability to swap barrels and change calibers is… priceless. You essentially get two guns for the price of 1 or 1.5 guns purchased separately.

    Good stuff IMHO

  • http://www.overclock.net/ Bimmer416

    Definitely picking up an MDR in .300BLK, need more Blackout! GemTech G300 cans arrived, absolutely wonderful!

    Only fired the DTA .338LM twice, befriending someone at the range after I noticed his rifle and he noticed my AWSM is an actual Accuracy International AWSM and not another of the countless R700′s in the AI chassis. Actually, he first asked about my suppressor, saying that he’d been looking to add a nice one to his DTA and if I was happy with mine (shooting from a custom Surgeon Rifles 22.8″ Bull Barrel w requisite threading; fully-free-floated with the receiver 5pt bedded in the black, folding-butt AI stock). I told him yeah, absolutely, and that I don’t remember the last time not using a suppressor for any of my firearms, but that he’d have to see for himself, and let him fire ~12-15 rounds through my long gun (Leupold 5-25x56mm, or possibly a Nightforce 4-20x58mm optic, don’t recall what I had on it; Harris 4-6.9″ balanced bipod, 3.125lb “glass rod” trigger setup with very short travel, Surgeon Rifles did a rifled bolt and installed the full-titanium bolt handle assembly).
    He was shooting a bit off, I gave him a few of my match loads (300gr JBTHP ultra-low-drag bullets, as I believe he was firing 225gr; my barrel’s rifled for 250-300gr) and, wow, he was impressive.
    We go so he can show off his new pride and joy (I love listening to people tell me about their latest purchases!), how he’d been waiting to get it for like 15 months, and how it was his first day at the range to shoot just for fun (the previous time he came to zero, I guess, but it started raining after an hour and he only managed to get the “work” done).
    The rifle was “naked” except for Swarovski glass, 3.5-21×55 or so, very nice. He was actually shooting better with my rifle than he now was with his, but familiarity is important to keep in mind.
    I went and, now that it was cooled off, grabbed the not-insignificant in size titanium/inconel suppressor and brought it over, suggesting he try it on his own rifle before he goes and spends 1500+ on a quality big bore can.

    I am seriously impressed with how well the DTA bullpup bolt-actions suppress! 25.5″ barrel, firing 300gr Lapua Gold Scenar Super Match, through my suppressor (8.5″ long, 2.13″ diameter, semi-shroud design so adds a total of 6.15″ to length of gun), and my decibel meter recorded drops between 29.82 and 34.77dB (I do professional studio recording, editing, mixing, and mastering/producing; thus, I have some quality sound metering gear). Not all that different from mine, which even with the shorter barrel avgs 33.75dB with up to 37.5dB drop when the perfect amount of water is added to the baffles.

    I’m no long range shooter, but the DTA, my first time on the platform, and in 10 shots (2 to figure out the zero/drop) I was hitting center mass at 800-900yds every shot. I was JUST as consistent with it as I am with my AI AWSM, but I’ve had the latter for a few years and put ~1100 rounds through it or so…. Yet, the DTA, it just feels “natural”…. Hard to explain.
    I will just say that, if you are used to shooting .308 from a Savage, CZ, R700, whatever, and shoot a .308 DTA, you’ll not need any time to adjust to the rifle.
    If you shoot .300 Win Mag, same thing.
    If you are a masochist like me and shoot .338 Lapua Mag, same thing.

    It’s impressive enough that the “carbine” bullpup variant is already ordered….