Kel-Tec’s new-for-2015 RDB M43 Rifle is a bullpup design that solves one of the main complaints of these compact semiautos: ejection style. Through an ingenious and simple arrangement, Kel-Tec’s RDB (short for Rifle Downwards-eject Bullpup) pushes spent cases out of the way and out of the vision of the shooter.
Traditional side ejection is not ambidextrous, and forward ejection, such as the FN 2000 or Kel-Tec RFB, is a complex mechanical operation.
The RDB features a rotary bolt with a spring-loaded ejector and an extractor. Inside the RDB action, the spent case is pulled back along the top of the magazine and then ejected through a vertical downward-pointing chute. Obviously, bolt travel is longer than traditional designs, but its movement doesn’t ruin the ergonomics of the bullpup rifle.
The hammer is U-shaped and runs outside the chute and above the magazine. Other advantages are gravity-assisted ejection, higher bolt energy during feeding, and a slower and more controllable full-auto rate of fire.
The rifles are built around a common steel skeleton formed by the receiver and barrel sub-assemblies. Bolt, bolt carrier, firing mechanism, ejector chute, and bolt stop are identical for all variations. The short-stroke-gas-operated piston is adjustable for different ammunition and muzzle attachments.
Kel-Tec plans to make two versions. The standard M43 with some wood furniture will have foldable sights with 100-, 300- and 500-meter markings.
An upgraded version comes with optional optics and an aluminum Picatinny-rail handguard for mounting accessories. All components are fully interchangeable.
Chamberings for either rifle can be either 5.56mm NATO or 6.5mm Grendel. Magazines are M16-type. Barrel length is 17.4 inches for both versions, and the overall length for the standard M43 is 26.2 inches, while the upgraded M43’s OAL is 27.4 inches. The upgraded version, which has more polymer and aluminum, weighs 7 pounds to the standard M43’s 8-pound weight.
MSRPs have not yet been determined.