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