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.