SHOT Show 2015: Desert Tech Booth

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I found Desert Tech operating out of a small booth in the corner of the LE/Tactical room in SHOT. Notwithstanding the modest location, the Desert Tech booth was slam-packed.  I snapped a few pictures of Desert Tech’s MDR (“Micro Dynamic Rifle”) while I waited for a Desert Tech rep to speak with me, and after a few minutes, I met with Desert Tech and got the information I wanted about the MDR as well as Desert Tech’s new rifle chassis.

The MDR is, in my opinion, one of the more exciting items of SHOT.  According to Desert Tech, this compact but robust bullpup has been undergoing constant evaluation and modification since the first prototypes were built, and, even though the MDR is not yet in production, it is already in second generation form.  Barring any further modifications, the MDR is slated for a fourth quarter release this year.

The MDR is a fully ambidextrous bullpup that is forward-ejecting. To accomplish this, the MDR has an ambi safety and push-button mag release in addition to a third, Tavor-style mag release behind the grip.  The MDR has two identical and non-reciprocating charging handles on either side of the upper that collapse when not in use, and they also function HK-style: When locked to the rear, a sharp slap on the op of the charging handle will spring the bolt carrier group forward and charge the gun.  There’s also a Tavor-style bolt release on the rear of the frame as well.  The piston-driven operating system used in the MDR will have four settings, including two special settings for when the rifle is extremely fouled or when it is suppressed.  It features a standard 16″ barrel and will accept AR magazines.  It will be able to be converted to .308 and will accept .308 AR mags as well.  The mag block drops form the top of the mag well and has to be installed after tearing the rifle down, which eliminates the possibility of the mag block getting loose and falling out – a very smart feature.

MSRP will be ~$1900-$2000, roughly in the range of the Tavor, AUG, and etc.

On the precision side, Desert Tech showed me the new R7S chassis, which will also be fully ambidextrous in that it will accommodate left and right handed bolt actions.  Moreover, the folding stock utilizes a small mounting hinge that can swing to either side of the rifle.  The R7S will come standard with a fixed stock, but the ambi-folder is only a $50 upcharge.  Cheek riser and length of pull adjustments will come standard on all models.  The rear monopod will be an additional $200, as it is well built and made in house.  It will accept AICS 10 round magazines via a flared mag well and eject them with an ambi-release.  It will also feature an SRS modular fore end and accept AR grips.  Release will be in first quarter for Tikka and Remington actions, and there is potential for Winchester and FN versions should the chassis take off.  MSRP will be $750 for the base model.

All in all, the guys at Desert Tech have some great gear, and the MDR is showing good potential.  Keep an eye on them.

 

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James Reeves

James Reeves is a licensed and practicing concealed weapons instructor, the winner of Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, a graduate of Front Sight, the Shooter Performance Institute, and Tier 1 Group, and is an Appleseed-qualified Rifleman. James previously owned and operated a gun shop in Tallahassee, FL and worked as a regional sales representative for distributor/importer, Interstate Arms Company. He is a coverage litigation attorney by day. James likes traveling with his wife, boating, America, photography, guns, gear he doesn’t really need, cold beer, and a little exercise here and there (James is also GORUCK Tough). Above all, James enjoys creating content for TFBTV. Follow James on Twitter @jjreeves.


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  • Jeremy Star

    OK, that looks really cool. But, it does look like the forward eject is going to drop hot brass on your forearm instead of by the muzzle like the Tunafish…I mean FS2000.

    • James R.

      Welp, I’ll never look at an FS2K the same way again.

    • xhln

      You’re mixing up the F2000 with the XM8. The F2000 is the cruise liner, not the fish.

      • Jeremy Star

        Nope. The FN F2000/FS2000 is commonly referred to as a tuna, or tunafish. Google it, you’ll find thousands of links.

        • David

          I have to say I’ve seen more references to the XM8 as a fish.
          If you search for images of “tuna(fish) gun”, you get nothing relevant.
          if you search for images of “fish gun”, you get XM8.

          As for the F(S)2000, I often see it called “boat gun”.

          • dpv

            Don’t forget

          • NikonMikon

            I love the G3 as an anchor lol. It is a pretty damn heavy gun. Especially with the traditional wide forearm and bipod!

          • Giolli Joker

            ROTFL.
            I love the flying Desert Eagles.

          • James R.

            The HK91 as an anchor is icing on the cake, lol.

          • James R.

            hahaha this is awesome. In Jeremy’s defense, though, and as a tuna enthusiast, the FS2K is def more tuna-like than the XM8, even if the XM8 might more commonly be referred to as such.

        • Mack

          If anything is a tuna, it would be that thing they call ARX-100.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            That’s a scar with a diaper.

    • Daisuke0222

      IDK… In the video I saw of the NDR in action, the forward eject was pretty peppy– looked like the brass would travel beyond the muzzle before falling appreciably, but that’s just my guess.

      Still looks like a nice step forward in bullpup design. I’d love to have one, but my state’s laws won’t allow such a treasure to enter my armory… 🙁

      • James R.

        I agree, the action I have seen of the MDR makes it appear to be a true forward eject, not like a ‘flop out of the ejection port’-type, e.g. the RFB. Good eye on Jeremy, though, I would not have thought of that.

      • The Brigadier

        Move to a friendlier state.

  • Gales

    So now I can own a desert tech bullpup precision rifle for $2241 for .308 and $2372.25 for .300 win mag…instead of over $4000!!!! Great!!!! MDR!!! Have to start saving for Christmas time!!!

  • Aono

    24″ barrels? 6.5CM? It begs for a long barrel version..

  • yitzhak zahal

    what’s that selector-switch looking thing below the charging handle?

    • Harrison Jones

      Looks like where the handguard attaches?

      Or maybe a gas setting selector?

      • James R.

        Harrison, you are correct – gas setting selector.

        • NikonMikon

          I thought the gas setting was at the front of the gun. You can clearly see it in some of the pics?

          • James R.

            Yeah, that’s what I thought, but the rep was fiddling with it when he was talking on tape about the gas setting, so that’s what I am assuming. I wouldn’t bet my life on either until the specs on this second gen model come out in an official format. Thanks, observant commenters are always appreciated.

          • Guygasm

            No. That is the takedown lever for the handguard that allows you to quickly access the gas setting selector.

  • Harrison Jones

    Glad to see a suppressor can fit under the hand guard on the MDR. I just hope they make a version that takes Six8 Pmags and a version that takes AK mags. It’d be nice to see interchangeable mag wells that would allow for that.

    I’m skeptical of a 4Q release considering that was the same time table last year.

    • Aono

      I’m hoping for AK mag as well (and then it would be.. perfect), but not sure if that’s feasible. Don’t see why Six8 couldn’t be in the cards, especially since it’s an announced caliber, as long as the 6.8 barrel remained compatible with the STANAG mag/magwell for legacy mags. Maybe they’ll blow our minds and provide magwells with each conversion. In which case I can’t throw my cash any harder at the screen.

      • Harrison Jones

        I don’t know if there would be issues with curvature of the AK mag and the Pistol Grip clearance, but if it worked then they could do something like the MGI HYDRA lower with interchangeable magwells. The more recent G36’s have something similar to it.

    • James R.

      I never believe anyone’s SHOT projected release dates. DT is really running this gun through the wringer and they don’t want to release until it is perfect.

      Good comment. Thanks Harrison.

  • Harrison Jones

    The MDR in 300AAC with an integral suppressor and 26inch OAL would make a killer one stamp interstate travel gun. It’d also be killer for home defense.

    • Aono

      “stamp interstate travel” there’s the rub..

      • Adam Czechowski

        what? you only need to give the BATF a written travel itinerary about 3-6 months in advance. i plan my weekend trips that far out.. don’t you? =D it would be so easy to automate that system, not unlike auto renewal for your drivers licence. WOW, never thought id use the DMV as an example on how to do something right.

        • The Brigadier

          When the Convention of States convenes, there will be multiple amendments proposed to ban the IRS, the Dept of Education, the EPA and the BATF. Permission to carry your weapons after the Supreme Court has ruled you can do it when traveling is yet another abridgement of our rights under this administration and this agency.

  • savaze

    MAC did a video of the MDR a while ago. I’ve been keeping my eye on it ever since.

  • Slim934

    …well……time to break out the envelope system and get to savin’.

  • SentMKG

    Honestly I hope if they keep up these improvements this should be a contender to challenge the AR-15 type platform for the military as its main combat rifle.

    • Joshua

      Doubtful, even more so with the price. In order to justify replacing the M4A1 the Army wanted a gun capable of 3,000 rounds between stoppages in harsh environments.

      If none of the 8 entered could do it, this won’t either. Especially with its far more complicated ejector system.

      • SentMKG

        Oh you’re certainly right. I’m hoping, and expecting, future material designs & evolution will bring the actual cost of production down. Hopefully enough to make a reasonable replacement for the military. As for the ejection system the cover can be removed if I remember right which would get rid of its forward ejection abilities.

        One can dream lol. The AR-15 isn’t terrible and I love mine but I think we can and should try to in the future use a better weapon system/platform. Granted a good magazine removes most issues for the AR there is more that can be done.

  • Joshua

    Have they made any mods to their overly complicated ejector that has over 5 parts to make a brass actually feed into the ejector tube?

    Edit: is that a dust cover for their dust cover? I swear theres a pimp my ride joke in there.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Wasn’t that what caused the reliability problems with the RDB?

  • cawpin

    I know you have to probably start with the Remington offering, despite it being an inferior design in my book, but I am so glad somebody has stepped up to make a new product for the Winchester Model 70, the Rifleman’s Rifle.

  • 454pakr

    I think BROWN and GREEN guns look like toys. You know…Big, Bad “Assault” Rifles are supposed to be BLACK!…no? Oh well, I’ve never been called a “Trend Setter”. Guess I’ll just have to get me a BLUE AR and really set the trend.

  • hami

    And i thought Magpul had the chassis of the year…

  • shooter2009

    Just don’t drop it.

  • whamprod

    Did they offer any information about the weight of the R7S chassis, as compared to say an HS Precision or McMillan stock for instance?