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.