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[SHOT] Shooting the Desert Tech MDR (Finally!)

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Utah gunmaker Desert Tech was out on the range for the 2018 SHOT Show Industry Day, bringing their brand new MDR bullpup rifles out for attendees to enjoy. The MDR had been in development for about four years until, in August, production MDR rifles began rolling off the line – albeit slowly. Still, this highly anticipated space warfare bullpup is available in the wild finally, which is delightful news for those of us who’ve been rooting it on.

Of course, as one of the aforementioned attendees, I took the opportunity to shoot the much-awaited space battleship boarding crew weapon:

Shooting the MDR was, to be honest, a whelming experience. Early reviews of the gun claimed it was especially soft-shooting, which was not really true. Recoil on the MDR is in fact, comparable to other .308 semiautomatic rifles – that is to say, pretty brisk. After shooting pussycat .224 Valkyrie rifles all through Range Day, the MDR felt kind of brutish and obstinate – I definitely didn’t feel like I could make the same kind of fast, repeated hits at long range that were possible with the Valkyrie. Now, the MDR is a .308 (except when it’s a 5.56 – but that’s another story) – so all of this criticism is a bit unfair. However, rumors that it would be *especially* controllable seem to be untrue. Recoil instead seemed very comparable to an FAL or medium weight AR-10, and higher than an M14 or M1 Garand – at least by my perception.

There didn’t seem to be a problem with the accuracy, although I it was not clear where the rifle was zeroed so it took me a few tries to make hits on steel at medium ranges. Further out the rifle – like all .308s – began to struggle a bit, though. The trigger was, however, quite good as you’d expect from a Desert Tech gun. I don’t think it’s reaching to say the MDR has the best trigger of any bullpup on the market right now, besides the K&M Arms M17S. Unfortunately for lovers of both bullpups and fine triggers, both rifles are currently in deep backorder – so if you want either, you’ll have to wait.

Functionally, the MDR seemed to work fine – although few rounds I put through it was hardly an endurance test. Given the somewhat complex mechanism of the MDR, I would be very interested in seeing how it does over 500-1,000 rounds.

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