REVIEW: Kel-Tec Model RDB17

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“Low budget, high value bullpup” so says the author. If that’s what you’re looking for, read all about this one HERE

kel tec rdbkel tec rdb

Wilburn Roberts

The Kel-Tec RDB17 could be considered the working man’s bullpup: nothing fancy, but it sure performs. The RDB17 is a no frills bullpup that is very functional with a simplistic approach.

Features and Function
The RDB17 is constructed of two polymer halves that sandwich around a steel action and barrel. The gas piston system has a gas regulator so a user can regulate the weapon to run on all sorts of ammunition and also be adjusted for a suppressor. The gas regulator can be adjusted with the open mouth from an empty 5.56 NATO case. It’s click adjustable and comes from the factory ready to run on standard M193 type ammo.

The RDB17 features a left side charging handle that is non-reciprocating. It locks against the forend when not being used. The cooking handle provides good leverage when cocking the weapon with the support hand on the charging handle and firing hand on the grip.

kel tec rdb
The charging handle folds out and provides plenty of leverage to cock the RDB.

The outside texture of the polymer features a very coarse grid pattern that is comfortable and offers plenty of grip purchase. A picatinny rail at 12 and 6 o’clock allow mounting of and optic or vertical grip.

kel tec rdb
The ambidextrous safety selector on the RDB17 is located under the thumb of the firing hand and easy to manipulate. The simple magazine release is designed so a magazine can be stripped away with the support hand.

The controls include an ambidextrous rotating safety selector that is easily manipulated by the thumb of shooing hand like an AR15, but requires less rotation than the typical AR15 selector. The magazine release lever is also suited for left or right hand users. The lever is designed so the magazine can fall free as the operator grasps the magazine to remove it since the operator’s hand naturally falls on it. The simple metal magazine release is pressed to drop or strip away the magazine.

Field stripping the Kel-Tec is simple. Push out two pins and it disassembles similar to an AR15. Rotate the grip downward and the barrel and bolt carrier can be removed from the stock/grip assembly.

The RDB uses a unique downward ejecting system. As the bolt move rearward the extractor pulls the cases out of the chamber and into dual ejectors that push the case down a chute so empties fall at the shooter’s feet.

kel tec rdb
That slot aft of the magazine is the ejection port on the RDB17. It dumps empties straight down.

The Kel-Tec comes with a 20-round magazine and is also compatible with standard AR15 magazines, which I and I’m sure many others will appreciate. I used Brownells’ aluminum body magazines, Magpul Pmags, and Hexmag, all 30-rounders.

Firing
I tested the Kel-Tec with a SIG Romeo4B red dot sight which excels at close to medium range. At ranges out to 100 yards the dot suffices and while most red dots tend to cover a lot of target at far distances the Romeo4B allows the user to toggle between four different reticles: 2 MOA dot, 2 MOA dot with ballistic holds, 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot, or 2 MOA/65 MOA Circle Dot with ballistic holds. The ballistic holdover points are calibrated for 5.56 NATO and 7.62x51mm NATO rounds. An activated motion sensor immediately powers up illumination when the red dot senses motion and powers down when it does not in order to extend battery life. A nice feature for those of you like me who forget to turn off the red dot and find it dead the nest time you use it.

kel tec rdb
The SIG Romeo4B red dot was well suited to the RDB.

Three brands of ammunition were used including Aguila 5.56mm NATO with a 62-grain FMJ bullet, .223 Rem. Federal Fusion loaded with a 62-grain soft point, and SIG Sauer .223 Rem. ammo loaded with a 77-grain OTM Match bullet.

At 25 yards using a rest I could create one large hole in the target. At 100 yards and using the same rest the accuracy ranged between 2.5 to 3 MOA. In speed testing, the RDB17 ran well with no malfunctions. The handguard incorporates a ridge so your support hand does not get too close the muzzle. Hot brass falls at your feet. The trigger was not as refined as I would like, but usable.

kel tec rdb

The Kel-Tec is a basic bullpup that in my opinion and it will get the job done. If you have a need to own a bullpup and have a limited budget this would be an excellent option.

kel tec rdb

See more HERE

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