[Shot Show 2016] Taking the Pistol Grip Out of a Bullpup: Kel Tec’s RDB-C

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On range-day, when I asked the Kel Tec guys what was new they said “Oh yeah! We’ve got a new version of the RDB without the pistol grip.” We then did a fifteen minute mime game while I tried to get them to describe how exactly one removes the pistol grip from a bullpup rifle. A core part of most people’s definition of a bullpup places the pistol grip and trigger ahead of the magazine, without the grip, how can the shooter reach the trigger?

You dear reader do not have to cajole engineers into miming. You may enjoy the visual delight of photographs, rendered for you in the comfort of your home.

Sure enough, there’s no pistol grip on this rifle.


The C is for California Compliance. This is a rifle built for the least-free parts of the world. The new chassis sports a cross-bolt safety, slimmed down fore-end, and maintains the ambidextrous bolt and magazine releases of the original. The rifle is designed for 10 round magazines, but Stanag compatibility keeps options open. The shooter can either wrap their thumb over the barrel behind the optic mount, or press flat with the thumb pointing down range.

Kel Tec has a few prototypes to show off. The 20″ .223 gun in photographed here, but they also had a 24″ rifle chambered in 6.5 Grendel to make a proper hunting bullpup.

Of course the Original RDB is still in its infancy. Only 200 guns have been released, and Kel Tec is currently midway through their next batch of 1000. They’ll spool up for a full 5000 run that should be released during the fall, so we likely won’t see completed RDB-C’s until the very end of 2016. Until then Californians can feel proud that at least someone is trying to put guns into their hands rather than take them out.




Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


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  • Giolli Joker

    The brother of the RDB, the wood furnished M43, is going to be manufactured or they just made prototypes?
    This slick bullpup doesn’t look bad, and an M43 version, with most of what we see in plastic made of wood, could be somewhat cool.

    • wetcorps

      Apparently the M43 is supposed to be a collector item only made in limited run. Which is sad.
      Ian talks about it on the InRange channel.

  • Mutenri

    For four years I’ve been yearning for a bullpup that is legal in this blasted state without a bullet button, and Kel-tec decides to launch it the year I’m ready to move out of this hellhole.

    • BattleshipGrey

      Even if they introduced it four years ago, there’s a possibility you still wouldn’t have found one.

      • Giolli Joker

        You’re mean. πŸ˜›

      • Kyle

        Hahaha, ba dum tish! I have to say though it is really weird seeing a bullpup without a pistol grip.

      • COTY

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Just be happy you’re moving.

    • BDUB

      Just as well. That thing appears to have a bullet button. Hope you land somewhere better.

  • Edeco

    I had mixed feelings briefly, due to the cause, but no longer. That is cool! Uniquely trim shape, reminds me of an arquebus or the like. Kel Tec helping California. I kind of want the 24″ 6.5 Grendel even though I’m not be-millstone’d with regs against pistol grips

    • Daisuke0222

      Maybe they should call it the Arquebus. That’d be a great name for a modern rifle, and as you say, this one looks the part.

    • Secundius

      @ Edeco.

      The Ruger Precision Rifle with Pistol Grip is a Legal Sale Rifle in California. Though it is “Micro Stamped”. Try “Cali B&M”, they could probably order, Virtually ANY Rifle You Want…

  • Hesperus Enfield

    I am surprised how much I like the looks of this. I hope they are able to sell them in New Zealand and other foreign countries with Kalifornia style laws. I think when the English developed the first bull pup concepts there was at least one circa WW1 era prototype without a pistol grip. I think it was called the Thorneycroft carbine?

    • bucherm

      >I hope they are able to sell them in New Zealand and other foreign countries with Kalifornia style laws

      AR-15s are perfectly legal in NZ though…

      It’s probably intended for Nordic countries like Norway and Sweden where they ban even Ruger Precision Rifles because they have pistol grips.

      • Secundius

        @ bucherm.

        Kel-Tec, DOESN’T “Design” it’s Own Weapons, Husqvarna of Sweden DOES…

        • bucherm

          What on earth does that have to do with what I posted?

          And You’re wrong. Intratec copied Husqvarna arms. George Kellgren(the designer at Husqvarna) moved to the states and formed Keltec. Kel-tec does the designs in house.

    • Daisuke0222

      I’ve never been one to turn up my nose at a rifle just because it lacked a pistol grip. I’ll bet it’d work in states like NY as well, given the SAFE act stupidity that we’re living under right now. I’ve wanted a bullpup for a long time, and this one might just fit the bill…

      • Edeco

        Amen. I wouldn’t like being told not to have pistol-grips and/or collapsible-stocks, but to me they’re a really mixed bag, disadvantages likely to outweigh advantages.

        Say what one will about their output/quality, it’s classic Kel-Tec to change the paradigm, provide a fixed, non-pistol-grip stock that isn’t just added length beyond that needed for the action.

    • Secundius

      @ Hesperus Enfield.

      California, is NUMERO UNO in Gun Sales in the United States! Texas is SECOND, and New York THIRD…

  • AD

    That actually looks really cool to me. Not sure how comfortable it would be, and you might have to be a little careful when manipulating it if you don’t have your thumb wrapped over the stock, but still, I’d love to try it.

    • Hinermad

      I think a thumb rest, or even just a slightly more pronounced ridge, above the checkering on the stock would go a long way toward making it easier to handle.

  • OCD_Weaponry

    to many gun makers bowing down to the stupid restrictions in Kalifornia

    • Californians still have some 2nd Amendment rights; they’re suffering enough as it is, they don’t need manufacturers piling on them as well as their own benighted legislature. If I manufactured firearms, I’d give discounts to customers in hellholes like CA and IL and NY/NJ, just to spite their representatives.

      • OCD_Weaponry

        Heck yeah man. I have worked in Kalifornia and man those people are restricted and taxed up the wazoo for everything. I could not tolerate living in many areas of that state.

      • TSJones97

        What a lot of stupid gun owners in other states don’t realize is that the more gun owners you create, the more voters you have on OUR side. We need MORE gun owners in California to counteract the idiocy. When you look at the state as a whole, the ‘red’ side is about 42% the Blue side is 46%. It’s not ALL blue. But too many simple minded idiots want to throw millions of us to the wolves because they’re mad at the antis.

      • LetsTryLibertyAgain

        I can see both sides. If the California legislature passes a stupid ban and gun manufacturers stop selling in California, the legislature effectively legislated away the rights of Californians to own guns. Of course, maybe the significant minority would finally get loud enough and active enough to stand up to that tyranny if it became that bad. On the other hand, if the California legislature passes a dumb ban and gun manufacturers just consider the ban to be like any other market parameter and accommodate it, Californians can still have essentially the same guns and their brain dead legislature is thwarted, but then the laws will just change again to add more restrictions and in the long run it’s just a waste of everyone’s time and effort.

        Ultimately, firearms manufacturers and gun owners in free states can’t save California gun owners from their own legislature. The only real fix for this problem is to send people to Sacramento who represent the people of California, who aren’t afraid to stand up to gun banning busy body nanny legislators and their friends in the media.

        • gunsandrockets

          Uh oh! Here I go talking politics.

          The problem is, the anti-gunners have a solid and overwhelming majority in California and have had it since at least 2000. Democrats nowadays skate at the edge of 2/3 majorities in both chambers of the legislature. Majority rules, which means California gun owners can’t save themselves short of moving out of the state.

          No, the only hope for California now is intervention from outside the state. Either a federal law based on the 14th amendment enforcement powers to rein in unconstitutional state gun-control laws, or SCOTUS finally waking up from it’s post McDonald v Chicago slumber and striking down unconstitutional laws.

          • Secundius

            @ gunsandrockets.

            Dont Hold Your Breath! Restrictive Gun Laws, started in California in 1999 and the Latest in May of 2013. If SCOTUS, hasn’t acted already. They’ll probably NEVER WILL….

    • Sianmink

      I only have trouble with those who sell things restricted to gov/le only in cali.
      Carveouts suck.

    • TSJones97

      Too many dumbasses forget that there are millions of California gun owners and we (the gun owners) are not your enemy. The anti gun politicians are.

      • OCD_Weaponry

        Easy buddy. refer to my comment “stupid restrictions” not stupid gun owners. And yes, anti gun politician are in fact our current enemy.

      • Secundius

        @ TSJones97.

        Depends on who the “Anti-Gun Politicians” Actually ARE. The “ACA” Was Funded the Same Year that Obama Took Office the First Time in 2009. It was a 419 to NOTHING VOTE! At LEAST 157 Republican’s VOTED FOR IT. 21 Republican’s DIDN’T. To Paraphrase, “You Your Enemy, Know Yourself”…

  • iksnilol

    Hmm, looks really slim. Kinda like a lever action in regards to size. I remember hearing recommendations for lever actions since they are so small (detacahable mags make stuff taller).

    This with short magazines could easily be stashed everywhere. Especially if they made a 16″ version.

    • Daisuke0222

      I gotta say the 20-inch looks handy enough, though I get what you’re saying.

      • iksnilol

        Small overall profile. Could fit in a scabbard.

        • Secundius

          @ iksnilol.

          Being a “Wheelchair Driver”, a Bullpup RDB-C looks good to me too…

          • iksnilol

            You’re in a wheelchair?

            Why bother with a piddly rifle then? Mount a remote controlled PKM on that wheelchair and do that open carry thing properly πŸ˜›

  • As long as they’re marketing cool-looking guns to Canadafornia, they should go all out with it and aim for Hollywood/BC contracts; all it needs is grey furniture and a reflex site and this a perfect space gun for any sci-fi film.

    Or, alternately, the Cali Senate and the RCMP will hear that someone designed a rifle specifically so their citizens could have a neat thing that still fits their arbitrary nonsense laws, and will hurriedly add it by name to their list of scary banned guns.

  • Madcap_Magician

    The ergonomics of that escape me, to be honest.

  • ClintTorres

    When did Vince from Shamwow start working for Kel-Tec?

  • smartacus

    Whut if they made a CMR 30 without the pistol grip?

  • Denis

    No pictures of some one actually holding it, it looks incredibly uncomfortable.

  • Pseudo

    That looks monstrously uncomfortable. I would assume they studied the ergos, but my hand is practically clamping just looking at that.

  • Hensley Beuron Garlington

    I like it. Options are always good.

  • Steve Rothaug

    Should be NY and CT legal as well. Nice one, KelTec.

  • Joshua

    too bad about the cross-bolt safety, otherwise that thing is gorgeous, also, where is the Mag release? it’s supposed to be ambi, but where is it?

    • robert57Q

      Probably a hidden lock that needs a special key. Mags that can be changed easily are verboten in Commiefornia.

      • Joshua

        wouldn’t that be perfect, 5 round mags requiring a cartridge to eject? no thanks however sexy it looks.

      • Phil Hsueh

        But that’s the whole point of this rifle, remove the pistol grip and a bullet button is no longer needed. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there, my guess it’s that rectangular button just behind the mag well.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    As a Californian, I still hate the look of most “compliance” products.

    But this thing….. Huh… I kinda dig it.

    • TSJones97

      This is a NICE looking rifle. It’s slim lines remind me of a good SCOUT rifle. Perfect for that purpose! πŸ™‚

  • Raven

    Not a chance that’ll happen, supreme court would shoot it down in a second.

    • Cal.Bar

      Raven – I wish you were anywhere near correct. CA has banned AW’s TWICE now in different forms and not a SINGLE court, much less than SCOTUS, has ruled it unconstitutional. CA nearly banned ALL semi-autos two years ago. The law passed with flying colors but was vetoed by the (DEMOCRAT) Gov. Courts have said over and over that (with the exception of pistols) states can ban whatever they’d like.

      • bucherm

        He gets what you’re saying, but there’s a wide gulf in most of Fudds/antis between something like a woodmaster and somethign that otherwise looks even vaguely tactical.

        Even Kay Hagan would oppose it, she uses a (modern sporting)Browning BAR when hunting. That’s at least one hard-left Justice right there who would likely oppose an simple semi-auto ban.

        • Secundius

          @ bucherm.

          There’s a Difference between the M1918 BAR and the BAR II Hunting Rifle…

          • bucherm

            Are you a bot?

  • Brad Ferguson

    Well if you “want a Kel Tech”…..I hope you are willing to wait……..and wait……and wait……and wait…..and……..Well you get the picture.

  • Leigh Rich

    Kalifornia should like that.

  • robert57Q

    But… is it comfortable to hold like that?

  • pocketdrummer

    Looks good. Too bad it’ll break in under 400 rounds like my POS PF-9…

    • Laserbait

      Doubt it, I already have about 2K rounds through my RDB without a hiccup.

    • LetsTryLibertyAgain

      I can’t speak to your PF9 issue, but I have SEVERAL Kel-Tec long guns (and the PLR-16 which is a short long gun πŸ™‚ and all have been very reliable. The SUB-2000s are probably the most reliable firearms I own. I shoot my Kel-Tec firearms a lot and all I’ve ever replaced are a couple of firing pins, at around 10,000 rounds. The RDB looks like a very good design.

      • pocketdrummer

        I’m genuinely happy it’s working for you. Unfortunately, the PF-9 has numerous known issues that have resulted in a high number of people having various failures. With Kel-Tec, in my experience, you’re either blessed with one that functions flawlessly (nutnfancy on youtube seems to have gotten a gem of a pf-9), or you get one that breaks constantly.

  • LI02liberty

    I’d love to have this in NY. Just to piss off king andy. Fuac!

  • Maave

    Yup, George Kellgren. He’s been bringing back a lot of his old designs that didn’t make it back when. He’s made a ton of cool stuff.

  • DanGoodShot

    I always hear sympathy for the fellow gun owners in Cali, but zip about us who can’t escape the totalitarian east(CT, NY) do to kids and high tax’s that make it nearly impossible to get the money together to leave. So, Kal Tec, from those of us forgotten about here in the great state of Commienecticut, thank you! Can’t wait to buy one! I’ll be honest, I never had any real interest in Kel Tec, but I do now.

  • wetcorps

    Man it looks cool. Like some sci-fi blaster IRL. With a 10 rounds mag to keep the profile slim, it would really be a boomstick.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    I actually like the looks of the RDB-C quite a bit. Not sure how I’d like shooting it. It was a genius idea, from a business perspective. Take off the Shoulder Thing That Goes Up to satisfy the stupid “looks scary” aesthetic gun bans. Same gun, while avoiding the nonsensical ban. Of course, they’ll just change their law again, and Kel-Tec is out the mold charges for that stock. They’ll probably make back the mold charges before the law can be rewritten.

    The RDB is definitely on my 2016 shopping list. I live in a free state, so I want the version with the pistol grip. Heck, I want at least two pistol grips, and maybe three. I think bayonets look stupid and I have no need for one, but I may get one BFYTW.

  • Phil Hsueh

    I kind of like the looks of that Kel-Tec, it looks better than some of their other offerings and I think it also looks a tad better than the normal version. Depending on price and whether or not we’ll be allowed to buy semi-auto, detachable mag rifles when this comes out I just might have to get one.

  • Zebra Dun

    It actually looks good.

  • mmathers

    I wonder what the trigger feels like. While their service was very good, one of the reasons I sold off my KelTec SU-16 was because of the dreadful trigger.
    -mm

  • Daisuke0222

    A pump-action magazine-fed bullpup shotgun… That’s pretty awesome.

    • Secundius

      @ Daisuke0222.

      Just ask Oleg Volk, he has a Kel-Tec KSG Desk Lamp. With a Pump-Action ON-OFF Switch, who also works for George Lars Kellgren of Kel-Tec…

  • Pete

    California politicians are working on a semi-auto rifle ban for this year. So…yea this will possibly be banned before it is even released.

  • Travis Kay

    Eek, that is long timeline. Seems like Kel Tec is going to have a hard time producing the numbers the market will want to see. Sadly, this must be years away from the Canadian market πŸ™

  • Doom

    29-30 screws just that I can see just on one side… keltec please… keep up the innovation, but try to work on aesthetics too!