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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.

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  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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 😛

    • 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!

  8. 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.

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

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

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

    • 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    • 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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.

  14. 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

    • 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…

  15. 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?

    • 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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…

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

  19. 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.

    • 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…

  20. 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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