Desert Tech MDR: A Popular Semi-Auto Rifle in 2020

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posted on April 28, 2021
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Desert Tech introduced its Micro Dynamic Rifle (MDR) in July 2017, a cutting-edge bullpup design that has quickly gained favor among enthusiasts. The family-owned company, founded in 2007, is based in West Valley City, UT.

The Desert Tech MDR is a gas-piston-driven semi-automatic available in either .223 Rem., .300 Blackout, .308 Win. or 6.5 Creedmoor. There’s added versatility built in, though, because conversion kits are available from the company that allow owners—after swapping barrel and components, of course—to run any of the cartridges using the same MDR frame.

Bullpups have their trigger in front of the magazine, where linking to the firing mechanism gets long and complicated. As a result, nearly all have a reputation for creepy triggers and let-off weights that would frustrate Olympians interested in precision. The company overcame that obstacle, however. Last year American Rifleman reviewed a .308 version and found, “...Desert Tech has done a good job of addressing that potential shortcoming by cleaning up the MDR’s trigger. Our test sample exhibited a smooth 5-lb., 7-oz., trigger pull without any take-up.”

Barrel lengths are available in either 16" or 20", regardless of chambering. Each ship wearing a flash hider. Choose the shortest version and overall length of the gun comes in at a nimble 26.02". Weights for all configurations hover just below or slightly above 9 lbs.

Fire controls are fully ambidextrous. The charging handle is non-reciprocating and forward or side-eject models are available—with the latter user reversible. The gun does not ship with any sights, but a Picatinny rail atop makes mounting optics quick and effortless. M-LOK slots at the 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions on the handguard provide plenty of real estate for mounting lasers, lights and accessories. The gas system is even adjustable for added versatility and reliability when mounting a suppressor or changing loads.

Last year, The Desert Tech MDR made its debut on GunBroker.com’s annual rankings of semi-automatic rifles by claiming third place. MSRPs currently run from $2,099.98 to $2,259.98, depending on model. State compliant versions are also available, with the exception of .300 Blackout, which is only offered with a 16" barrel—6.5 Creedmoors come exclusively wearing 20" barrels.

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