New For 2023: KelTec R50 Defender

posted on December 16, 2023
Keltec R50 Defender 01
Images courtesy of KelTec Weapons.

Earlier this year, KelTec took its award-winning P50 5.7x28 mm FN semi-automatic “sport utility pistol” and turned it into the 16”-barreled R50 rifle. New for 2023, the company is offering the R50 rifle in a short-barreled rifle (SBR) form as the R50 Defender.  

Right side of the KelTec R50 Defender.The KelTec R50 Defender SBR combines the stock of the R50 rifle with the barrel length of the P50 pistol.

The R50 Defender combines the rifle stock of the R50 with the barrel length of the P50. Its 9.6” barrel nearly duplicates the barrel length of the FN P90 submachine gun, for which the 5.7 mm cartridge was designed, allowing the cartridge to reach its full ballistic potential. The muzzle of the barrel has the same 1/2x28 TPI threading of the P50 and R50, and the Defender is supplied with an A2-style muzzle brake.

As an SBR, all NFA and local laws apply to its ownership. The stock folds to either side of the rifle, giving the R50 Defender an overall length of 25.2” with stock extended or a compact 16.4” when folded. Like its predecessors, it utilizes the 50-round magazines of the FN P90/PS90, has an ambidextrous charging handle and magazine release, bilateral safety levers, back-up iron sights and Picatinny rails for mounting optics and accessories. It weighs 4.3 lbs.  

Left side of the KelTec R50 Defender, showing the stock folded.With a folding stock, the R50 Defender is a compact package that still allows the 5.7 mm cartridge to reach its ballistic potential.

The KelTec R50 Defender has the same $815 MSRP of the R50 rifle. KelTec is also offering a kit that includes the R50 lower assembly and shoulder stock to convert the P50 pistol into a short-barreled rifle (all NFA rules apply, and the appropriate tax stamp must be approved before a pistol can be converted) that has an MSRP of $250. For more information, visit


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