Desert Tech MDR

By Dean Roxby

The long awaited Desert Tech Micro Dynamic Rifle (MDR) is very close to being released for sale to the general public.

The MDR was first announced at a press conference at SHOT 2014 (January 2014). At the time, Desert Tech (DT) was planning on a release date of mid-2015. However, this turned out to be somewhat optimistic. Each year following, DT had a booth at SHOT and showed off prototype guns with minor changes and upgrades made.

Ever since attending that first press conference, this author has been intrigued by the clever design. I wrote about it for SAR/SAW in early 2014 (https://www.smallarmsreview.com/display.article.cfm?idarticles=2657).

As I have been following this rifle since the original 2014 press conference, this allows me to discuss the evolution of this most intriguing rifle. I will first describe the general layout and operation of it and then take a closer look at some of the changes made during its development.

To briefly review, the MDR is a modular bullpup design, with a short stroke gas system.

It has the ability to change calibers by simply swapping the barrel, bolt head and a magazine insert. It was also designed right from the beginning as a truly ambidextrous firearm. In addition to the standard 16-inch (406 mm) length MDR, there is also the MDR-C version. The C, or Compact, version is amazingly short, having a barrel only 10.5 inches (267 mm) long. Of course, due to the bullpup layout, even the standard full-size barrel version is a very compact 27.1 inches (688 mm) overall.

The MDR-C uses a shortened forearm handgrip also, in addition to the above-mentioned short barrel. This turns an already compact rifle into a surprisingly short carbine or Personal Defense Weapon. And yet it still fires potent 5.56 NATO or 7.62 NATO rounds, not low-powered pistol rounds. The standard MDR rifle can be re-configured to become a MDR-C by replacing the barrel and handguard with the short versions.

Back in 2014, DT stated that they planned to produce caliber conversion kits in five calibers. These were: 5.56x45 NATO, 7.62x51 NATO, 300 Blackout, 6.8 mm Remington...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V21N4 (May 2017)
and was posted online on March 17, 2017


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