Kel-tec RDB

Kel-tec RDB. Photo by Oleg Volk


Kel-tec M43. Photo by Oleg Volk



5.56x45mm / .223 Rem

Length, overall

696 mm / 27.4”


3.2 kg / 7 lbs

Barrel length

442 mm / 17.4”

Magazine capacity, rounds



Kel-tec RDB and M43 semi-automatic rifles were first announced during ShotShow-2014 in January, 2014, and scheduled for production late in 2014. Rifles are designed by innovative American gun-making company Kel-Tec CNC Industries. Both weapons are similar to each other, with differences in furniture and looks only – RDB features polymer furniture while M43 features “old-style” wood and metal furniture. Like their predecessor, the .308-caliber Kel-tec RFB rifle, new RDB and M43 are designed to be 100% instant ambidextrous weapons of bullpup layout, and RDB stands for Rifle, Downward-ejecting, Bullpup.


Kel-tec RDB is gas operated, semi-automatic carbine. It uses short-stroke gas piston, located above the barrel, with manual gas regulator. Unlike the earlier RFB, the RDB employs more conventional rotary bolt locking, and ejection port is facing downward behind the magazine housing. This setup requires longer-than-usual bolt stroke, which softens felt recoil and allows for more reliable feeding as the bolt group has more kinetic energy when stripping the top cartridge from magazine. To clear the ejection chute, hammer has inverted U-shape. The backbone of the rifle is formed by the barrel and its extension, which runs rearward to serve as bolt group guide and structural support for external housing, which is made of plastic (in RDB) or sheet steel (in M43). Both Kel-tec RDB and M43 rifles use STANAG (M16 / Ar15 compatible) magazines, and magazine release lever is centrally located in front of the magazine housing. To release the magazine, one has to push this lever backwards, and this can be done by either non-firing hand, or by the back of the firing hand, depending on situation and user preferences. Kel-tec M43 rifle is equipped with adjustable iron sights with folding bases; RDB rifle is provided with integral Picatinny rail on top of the rifle, which can host any type of iron or optical / red dot sights depending on the choice of the user.