The Kel Tec RDB is an interesting rifle and is one of the most interesting guns in Kel-Tec’s lineup of guns.
The bullpup design is unique and is one that has stood the test of time.
Kel Tec RDB Overview
The Keltec RDB is a bullpup rifle made by Keltec that really tries to fill the niche of a lower-cost bullpup rifle that isn’t a Steyr AUG or a Tavor.
Kel-Tec definitely made this gun look interesting, and to be fair, I think all bullpups are interesting-looking guns.
They had it made when it came to the overall look and feel of this gun, but there is something to be said about this gun. The RDB looks cool, and overall flat out, it is cool.
Bullpups are interesting but I must confess I’ve always been against bullpups simply because a lot of them will eject near your face, especially if your cheek is down on the butt stock.
The rounds would come out to the right and be near your face. However, the RDB is a downward ejecting bullpup, so it’s definitely a bit different.
Let’s dive into this gun as this is not going to be a standard review. ARs all have the same platform, but for the Keltec RDB you really need to address every aspect of this gun from muzzle to buttstock.
I’m going to start with the safety. First and foremost the safety is ambidextrous.
Nearly everything about this gun is ambidextrous. If it’s not on the right side, it can be put on the right side, quite literally.
Obviously, this gun comes set up for a right-handed person. The charging handle is on the left side of the gun.
The safety on this gun is a bit different because of the ergonomics of the rifle. It sits behind the trigger, but just slightly higher than the trigger.
It’s made in a way that your thumb can easily actuate it from safe to fire. Fire you just reach up and pull down, safe you literally just flick up.
Overall, this safety works great. It has a decent shelf, and it is extremely easy to use. There is no resistance and no grit. It’s very, very smooth. I would say job well done on the safety to KelTec on the safety selector switch.
The grip on the Keltec RDB is located directly in the middle of the gun. The grip placement is a standard feature of a bullpup rifle.
Absolutely zero shocker there. The grip itself has the classic Keltec texture, which is … The best way to explain it is grid squares.
The grip material is polymer, I want to call it the classic Keltec polymer. It is very heavy-duty, but it is a hundred percent polymer grip.
Overall, the gun balances well in your hand. With the grip being smack dab in the middle of the gun, it should balance well, but just to confirm, it does balance extremely well in your hand if you’re just holding it by the grip.
The magazine release is a bit interesting. The magazine itself is actually inserted in the rear stock of the gun just behind the grip.
If you are used to an AR-15 rifle, that is an extremely different take, which of course loads in front of the grip.
To remove the magazine, there is a pullback lever that will unseat the magazine. This is relatively fluid and it works relatively well.
All you have to do is, if your magazine’s inserted, pull back on the lever and rip the magazine down.
You can do it in almost one fluid motion, grab the magazine, pull down while you’re pulling back on the magazine release.
That works well. It does take a little bit of time to get used to if you’re not used to a bullpup design, but the function of the release works well.
If you put in a little bit of range time with this gun, you’re probably going to get used to that relatively quickly.
The magazine well sits behind the grip and will take any standard AR-15 magazine, which is extremely, extremely nice.
It doesn’t have any real flare or feed ramps. There’s no real funnel with the Kel Tec RDB magazine well, so you have to be very deliberate in seating your magazine.
I don’t have any problems with inserting the magazine but the magazine well is not a very wide magazine well, so you would have to practice if you want really quick magazine changes because this gun isn’t going to be very forgiving if you miss.
You’re definitely going to have to get it into the magazine well to get it to seat. With that being said, I didn’t do a whole lot of fast magazine changes or training with this gun, but it does accept the magazine relatively easily.
Bolt Release/Bolt Hold Open
The bolt release/bolt hold open is located at the very rear of the gun.
It sits just above the magazine well and is ambidextrous in that the lever’s on both sides.
It is different because the charging handle, which we’ll talk about next, is located at the front of the gun, and to get your bolt to hold open, you have to reach towards the stock of the gun, pull up on the bolt hold open bolt release, and pull up.
It works. It is different, but you don’t have any issues just pushing down on the button left or right to send the bolt home.
It is pretty easy. I will say… I’m going to cover this a little bit more in the charging handle section, but you don’t have to use bolt release to lock your charging handle or lock your bolt back.
Overall, the bolt release button is easy to use. It’s at the rear, just above the magazine.
The charging handle is located at the front of the gun.
The best way I can explain this is if you’re familiar with the MP5 series firearms, it’s located up there.
This gun allows you to do the MP5 slap, although I wouldn’t do it too hard because I don’t know that this lever was meant to be slapped like the MP5 is.
The charging handle functions very much like the MP5. The reason I use that example is that the MP5 is so ubiquitous, and everybody knows how the charging handle works.
Even if you don’t know how the roller delayed system works, you understand what I mean by that. You can pull your charging handle back and rock it up, and it will lock the bolt in place.
You can slap it down, and it’ll send it forward., again, I don’t know if KelTec would approve of that, you can do it, and it does work.
The nice thing about the charging handle is it doesn’t stick out when not in use. It folds in.
You can reach up, grab it, pull it back, and cycle around if you need to. The charging handle is nice.
It stays up and out of the way when not needed, and it’s ambidextrous. You can switch it from one side to the other if you are left-handed.
The nice thing about the downward ejection on this is the fact that no matter if you’re left or right-handed, you’re not getting brass in the face.
One thing that Kel-Tec tout on the RDB is this trigger.
According to KelTec, the trigger on a bullpup is the worst thing about the bullpup.
I’ve got to say, this trigger’s not bad. It’s definitely interesting. It has just a little bit of take up. The take-up goes right to the wall, and it’s pretty much just free take up.
There’s no resistance until you get to the wall. Once you start squeezing it, it’s a clean break, but it’s squishy after the wall.
The wall doesn’t immediately break the trigger. Then going back to the reset, you just go out to the wall. You go just a little past the wall to the reset.
Overall, the trigger is pretty solid. I don’t have any problems with the trigger, the trigger is made of polymer.
It’s a curved trigger, and it’s really not a bad trigger design. It doesn’t feel bad. There’s no grit, which is nice.
Even with the polymer, even with the obvious spring pushback, there’s no grit. That does make it relatively nice.
The gas block on the RDB is included for anyone who wants to suppress the RDB.
It’s very simple to do. You really only have to mess with that if you’re going to suppress it.
You may want to lower your gas blowback so your recoil isn’t quite as strong, and you’re not pushing as much gas with the suppressor on.
The stock on the RDB is probably one of the most interesting parts of the gun.
While it would appear the stock is adjustable on the regular RDB17 model it is not adjustable. The RDB Defender does have an adjustable stock as well as M-Lok rail system.
Unfortunately, for me, I have shorter arms, and the bullpup works just fine in its configuration as it came from the factory.
If you’re looking to carry this gun with a sling, there is no shortage of attachment points for a sling. A single point or a dual attachment sling will work on this gun.
There is seven spots on this gun to attach a sling. Kel-Tec really did not want to drop the ball on sling attachments on the RDB.
You have one on the very top of the stock on the rear. You have two that sit on top of the ejection port on the rear of the stock. You have two more just above the magazine release.
Then you have two on the very end of the front-hand guard.
From the middle of the gun to the back of the stock, you’re going to see a 1913 Picatinny Rail.
That’s going to allow you to add literally any optic you choose. You can add LVPOs, full-blown scopes, red dots, or holographic sights.
Mounting an optic is a breeze with the 1913 rail on top you can add nearly any type of optic. I’ll be through a Monstrum 1-6×28 onto my RDB as a solid little LPVO.
A simple red dot will do if you’d rather go that route.
Mounting accessories on the RDB is going to be a little limited, and that’s mostly because you only have the 12 and 6 o’clock positions to mount accessories.
There is a 6 o’clock 1913 Picatinny Rail that goes from the trigger guard to the end of the front hand guard and you have the top 1913 Picatinny Rail.
That’s mostly for optics, but I could see someone throwing a laser up there, DBAL, or something of that nature.
Those are really your only options for mounting on the RDB.
Shooting the Kel-Tec RDB
Shooting the RDB was actually quite a pleasure. This is the first bullpup that I’ve ever shot.
I don’t have any experience yet with the Steyr AUG. I’ll be sure to try to edit this article if that experience changes.
I didn’t really know what to expect. I just always was like, “Ah, I don’t really like brass ejecting near my face,” so I stayed away from bullpups. The downward ejection changed all that.
The RDB is actually really smooth. This is the 20.5″ barrel and I haven’t shot the 17″ model, so I don’t know how that one performs, but this one is very smooth.
It’s not extremely loud, and it’s flat shooting. It’s very easy to control because the center of the rifle with your grip.
This is a gun that I picked up and I didn’t know much about it. I knew a little bit about bullpups, but I was like, eh, I don’t know.
I actually really like the controls and how it handles while shooting. This won’t be the last bullpup that I buy.
I think that I need to explore them a little more. I’d like to get my hands on the Tavor and the Steyr, just for nostalgic purposes, if nothing else.
Yes, I like shooting the Keltec RDB.
Kel-Tec RDB Ammo
The RDB shoots the 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington round and so far seems to accept any round I through its way.
Check out some great deals on range and defensive ammo.
Carrying the Kel-Tec RDB
Naturally, when it comes to carrying this gun to the range, you’re going to need a bag.
With us being Lynx Defense, and range bag manufacturers, we’re going to want you to check out our bags.
This will go great in a bureau. It’s not going to fit as well in a bite. They’re a little small. This one’s a little long considering that the barrel itself is as long as the whole bite, but if you have a shorty or an SBR, or an SBS, check out the Byte.
If you’re looking for a discreet range bag, the Keltec RDB would fit great in the bureau or the Bronx. Either way, you’re not going to go wrong.
Even our tactical rifle case would be a great home for this to carry to and from the range.
KelTec RDB Final Thoughts
My final thoughts on the RDB are simply this: I went in not really enjoying bullpups, didn’t care about Bullpups, but walking away, I really like bullpup rifles, thanks to the RDB.
They’re a lot of fun. They’re smooth. The feature set and the ergonomics of them are actually really impressive.
I like a lot of the features of this gun like that they’re ambidextrous from the get-go, and it’s really a niche that I think that a lot of people would appreciate once they have the ability to shoot one.
I’m not sure why they haven’t taken off more than they have. Overall, if you’re looking for a solid bullpup rifle, the Kel Tec RDB is at a solid price point and relatively available if you’re in the market. If the RDB isn’t your cup of tea but you still want a bullpup rifle, check out our full list of the best bullpup rifles.
Kel Tec RDB Questions
If you are new to bullpup rifles or the KelTec RDB you’re sure to have questions. Here are answers to some of the most common questions people ask about the RDB.
How much does a Kel-Tec RDB cost?
The Kel-Tec RDB is currently priced at $1,118.99 and you can find it in stock at local gun stores and online retailers.
How accurate is the Kel-Tec RDB?
The RDB is extremely accurate with its 20.5″ barrel it makes the 5.56 NATO round extremely accurate at impressive distances.
What caliber is the Kel-Tec RDB?
The RDB is chambered in 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington.
Are Kel-Tec Rifles any good?
Yes, the Kel-Tec rifles are solid guns and while they are made with a large amount of polymer, they are solid guns to shoot and a lot of fun.