New From Kel-Tec: Nothing You Will Ever Be Able To Buy

Kel Tec continues to introduce more and more new SKUs to its catalog without ever seeming to devote any resources to actually manufacturing the boatload of products they already claim to supply. The newest unicorn in their lineup is the RDB bullpup rifle, shown here in its steel-and-wood M43 variant. Feast your eyes on it here (if you need to) because odds are you’ll never see one on the shelf of your LGS . . .

In addition to sporting the ugliest spot welds I’ve seen since my own 8th grade Metal Shop class, the M43 also ‘features’ an AK muzzle device and bayonet, along with a flimsy sheet-metal front sight post that probably can’t survive contact with the inside of a gun safe, much less contact with the enemy.

All of this chintziness won’t matter unless Kel Tec actually starts manufacturing the vaporware it designs. Since this would actually be a good thing (many other Kel Tec designs are quite clever) I’m going to hope they prove me wrong. Judging by the perpetual scarcity of the KSG and PMR-30 and RFB and SUB-2000, however, I’m not holding my breath.

In all fairness (and unlike Remington, *cough, cough*) Kel Tec did have several guns running at Media Day At The Range on Monday, and they survived hordes of press people burning through thousands of rounds of ammo without any problems that we noticed.


  1. avatar Nine says:

    It’s so ugly that I love it. I want one.

    It kinda reminds me of the British rifle, the L85 I believe? Not sure on the name.

    1. avatar C says:

      Like if the L85 was designed in nazi Germany

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        In which case it would work perfectly, unlike the Brit one. I like the look, mostly. Does it actually come in a…. what’s the word? CALIBER!

        1. avatar Mike the Limey says:


          The L85 like the M16, was less than perfect when first introduced.
          The L85A2 has a higher mean rounds between failure figure than ANY subsequent M16 serial.
          Hardly designed in Nazi Germany either, as it uses the AR180 operating system.

        2. avatar C says:

          Yeah, but it takes a lot of visual cues from the stg44 or mg42

        3. avatar /k/ommando says:

          Nah, you’ve got it wrong, the L85 was pretty much /exactly/ the quality of something Nazi Germany would have produced. They were the country that designed overgassed semi-automatic rifles that beat themselves apart, overweight tanks that needed their transmission replaced every 150km, and rocket fighters that would spontaneously dissolve their pilots.

      2. avatar Andrew says:

        and built by Russian POW’s…

    2. avatar De Facto says:

      L22A1 Carbine

      It looks quite similar, actually.

    3. avatar davidw says:

      I WANT Kel-Tec to make an L85 clone, that way I can have the authentic experience of parts breakage and jamming in even the best circumstances.

  2. avatar Hugh Glass says:

    60 rnds

  3. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    That was funny!

  4. avatar Korvis says:

    I am increasingly of the opinion that Kel-Tec is a corporate prank or maybe an exercise in firearms manufacturing as performance art.

    Also, is there any proffered explanation for the little wood nubbin jammed up between the butt plate and rear mechanicals?

    1. avatar Phydeaux says:

      The answer to your question should be self evident: art!

    2. avatar mountocean says:

      performance art, i like that.

  5. avatar Jerry R says:

    I am ready to go on a list to get one before I die. Or I could wait for Ruger to make a knock off and claim it as their own…

    1. avatar Tim U says:

      I’m still waiting for my RSG, copied from the KSG but actually made in quantity and quality.

    2. avatar Werewolf1021 says:

      And make it affordable, more reliable, and be able to buy it without a 3 year wait.

    3. avatar William Burke says:

      Might be a while.

  6. avatar Rob Aught says:

    I kind of like the barebones simplicity of it. Needs an aftermarket replacement for that front sight though.

    Why are they introducing new products when you can’t find any of their current offerings? Most companies introduce new products to keep consumers interested. Kel-Tec has the interest, they just don’t have the quantity.

    1. avatar BDub says:

      Agreed on the sightpost thing – otherwise the utilitarian aesthetic is pretty cool. I wish it was 7.62X39 and not 5.56NATO though.

      I think Kel-Tec could make an absolute killing if they just operated as a design house and just outsourced/licensed their production.

      1. avatar Jesse Johnson says:

        Kel Tec has 2 new bullpup rifles showing at SHOT now and I’m pretty sure at least one was supposed to come in 5.56 and 7.62×39 I think they might have even had plans at a 5.45 version from what I had read if it were true. pretty. The 5.56 was releasing first according to the article too, so who knows when you might see a 7.62 version

    2. avatar Bob says:

      I ordered a 9MM G19 sub 2K in December of 2012 and still don’t have it.

  7. avatar Michael B. says:

    Kel-Tec: Ruger’s zany R&D Department

  8. avatar CK in CA says:

    Maybe Kel-Tec is hoping to make their money licensing their patents out instead of actually manufacturing the guns themselves.

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      Or floating design ideas to see what draws the most interest.

  9. avatar Kevin1911 says:

    Keltec is like the Fisker of the gun industry. They have the means to design the weapons but not the means to manufacture them. Keltec needs to team up with another company that has the manufacturing capability to produce the demanded quantity.

  10. avatar Terry Warlock says:

    This is the best update and seriously summarizes my views on Kel-Tec. Oh word, you’ve got a cool design? I can’t wait till a competent company produces something similar!

    If Kel-Tec were smart, they’d use this new appreciation for folded sheet metal and make modernized AK knockoffs 😛

    1. avatar Paelorian says:

      Yep. Worse than the availability, because you can get them if you’re willing to pay, is the inconsistent reliability. Colonel Townsend Whelen said “Only accurate rifles are interesting.” Well, I say “Only reliable weapons are interesting.” Lives depend on the reliability of a weapon, and I’m reluctant to stake my life on the reliability of a Kel-Tec. Some examples of Kel-Tecs seem reliable, but some are totally unreliable. The only way to tell if it’s a lemon or not is to put hundreds of rounds through it. Unless you have one of the Kel-Tecs that becomes less reliable over time!

  11. avatar AnotherOne says:

    I blame Obamacare – they need to stay below the 50 employee cap so they can’t hire additional help to manufacture. That’s my theory I’m sticking to it.

    1. avatar Michael C says:

      That theory may be valid now, but, as I understand it, they were pulling this veal for years before Obamacare was even introduced.

  12. avatar ahil925 says:

    Call me lewd, but I want to see this thing’s insides.

    I’ve always wondered why no one had a downward ejecting bullpup…

    1. avatar Jeff says:

      P90 ejects downwards.

    2. avatar Jeremy S says:

      Because normally the magazine is in the way. The P90 got around that by putting the magazine on the top of the gun. This Kel-Tec gets around it by having a super long bolt travel to drop the case behind the mag. But if you look at basically any semi auto firearm, the ejection port is aligned (in terms of front to back placement on the gun) with the magazine and obviously they can’t occupy the same space.

  13. avatar Braenen says:

    With Kel Tec decision to halt sales to California there will be at least one or two more items available for the rest of the country. To get on their list a gun company must submit weapons for distructive testing. Two or three not wasted this way could lead to a doubling of availability.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      I think 1 or 2 is being generous.

  14. avatar Tom of Toms says:

    At a gunstore stocked with Kel Tec products, a unicorn could come down from the clouds and rap The Gettysburg Address, and no one would notice.

    1. avatar William Burke says:


    2. avatar Nine says:

      I have one with several KSGs, SU-16s, and Sub2ks.

      Plus the compact pistols, no PMR though.

      1. avatar Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

        So, you live in Brigadoon?

  15. avatar Kevin A says:

    Normally I hate the look of Kel Tec rifles, but hot damn, I want that gun.

    1. avatar Oddux says:

      Agreed, this is the first Kel-Tec I’ve liked the looks of. It almost looks like it could have been in WWII. Classic looks on a new gun are pretty cool, though they could definitely stand to sturdy up that front sight and clean up the welds.

  16. avatar Ron says:

    Did you address the production issues with the Kel-Tec reps who were there? I mean, isn’t that part of the point of the show?

  17. avatar Chris says:

    Speaking of unicorns, I was in my LGS the other day and saw 3 unicorns. 1 Keltec KSG, 1 UTAS Shotgun, and 1 RFB. I debated for a good 20 minutes on buying one or the other of the shotguns…. The price to own such gun would have been 1500, which is far too much for a pump action shotgun regardless of how many shells it holds.

  18. avatar Tim U says:

    What I don’t get is how Keltec doesn’t realize they could make so much by licensing their designs. Their stuff may sell over MSRP at retail because of their rarity but when they sell to distributors they are still making the same rate below MSRP as if they were common.

    Licensing sales to a big company = tons of money

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      They’re probably worried that another company would ruin their reputation by not being able to maintain the incredibly high quality standards Kel-Tec’s customers have come to expect.

      Ow! I think I sprained my sarcasm gland on that one…

  19. avatar KCK says:

    Any body know how many sub2k in either 9’s or 40’s or PMR’s they actually do make in a week/ month.

    So they come out with a PMR rifle now what.

    Economics 101
    Demand exceeds supply/raise price/increase profits/ invest profits in increased production/ loop until unity.
    Now which should I wish for (but can’t get), Sub2K or PMR rifle?

    1. avatar Jerry R says:

      Pmr’s are being produced at 400 a week. The last serial #’s indicate about 45K out in our hands. I have one from July of last year and I love it. KTOG is the Kel Tec blog and has most of the info on production.

  20. avatar Noishkel says:

    Ugh! A site I follow through Twitter quoted a Kel-Tec representative that claimed that this rifle will be $2K to $3k! I REALLY hope that guy was wrong as I really would like one of these rifles… but hell… for that money I’ll just buy a Tavor.

    1. avatar over-educated economist says:

      Seems unlikely. Maybe they were confusing it with Desert Tech’s bullpup.

  21. avatar JD says:

    the pakiwood pattern reminded me of another (bakelite) bullpup / gun design performance artist a coupla decades ago in the former Soviet Union, G. A. Korobov

  22. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I only know of three Keltecs in the area for sale. One at Cabelas, and two at a local pawn shop. The pawn shop sells almost entirely new guns and they have a new sub 2000. It is in .40 which is preventing me from picking it up. I would rather get it in 9mm.

  23. avatar Luke says:

    My guess is that the wood is from an endangered tree, carved by hand with a chert knife by a single inmate at a Nepalese insane asylum high in the Himalayas. The stock sets, of which he produces up to 5 a month, are then man-packed down the mountain by Sherpas. The stocks eventually arrive in the US via clipper ship, at which point they spend eight months clearing Customs…

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      … and just as the stocks reach the warehouse at Kel-Tec, the DOJ will confiscate the wood, like it did with Gibson.

  24. avatar Ed D. says:

    Any word on the “other” ghost? The VLTOR Bren Ten?

  25. avatar Jeff says:

    I couldn’t wait for an RFB style 5.56 to compete against the Tavor but this looks like it came up severely short. Seems like 2014 will be Tavor’s year. Tavor is much more fierce and polished when it comes to looks. Unless the trigger is supherb it doesn’t have a chance.

    1. avatar Dustin Eward says:

      Except for the absolutely RETARDED TAVOR mag release, which it looks like Kel Tec moved to with this… Guess my RFB, which was not at all hard to find and cost a lot less than the TAVOR while being AWESOME .308 instead of .223 pink tip sissy bullets, will be my only bullpup, for now…

      No, really. If you shoot a BG with a .223, he turns into a fairy princess and flutters off in the breeze…

  26. avatar legion7 says:

    It took 2 months of waiting, but I LOVE my Kel-Tec RFB!

  27. avatar int19h says:

    What’s with all the whining about unavailability of Kel-Tec guns? Yes, they are probably not in your local gun store (unless we’re talking about cheap handguns and maaaaybe SU-16). But you know this shiny new thing called Internet? It has gun auctions on it, where they sell all kinds of guns!

    Yes, you will probably be paying closer to MSRP (if not more than it) for many things there. But the guns are available for purchase, like this very moment, so long as you have the cash. RFB, KSG, PMR, Sub-2000 – they’re all there on GunBroker.

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