Wow, what a fun rifle. Although its design is strictly business, the Kel-Tec RFB is just plain cool. Kel-Tec is a company that thinks outside the box and is not afraid to be different, which is evident from their KSG Shotgun design. When you first put the Kel-Tec RFB up to your shoulder it just feels good. After blowing through a few mags, you quickly gain a comfortable level with the rifle and you are ready to throw some serious lead down range. Truth be told, the first few shots were bang then click, no follow up feed, dang. Depression set in quick as we broke down the rifle to determine if we needed to reapply oil to different moving parts. After that did not work, we tried a host of different ammo but encountered the same problem. Then we remembered what a wise man once said, “Oh yea, the gas setting”. Duh. We cranked it and it responded, not one hiccup after that.
The Wolf Ammo Test
After getting familiar with the bullpup style rifle and tinkering with the gas settings, we then decided to put the RFB through the Wolf Ammo test (If it eats Wolf, it will work with anything). We went through countless mags Wolf ammo, we followed that up with some German NATO surplus, all rounds feed and fired flawlessly. The fact that no brass was being flung by the Kel-Tec RFB took a little getting used to, the RFB stands for Rifle, Forward-ejecting Bullpup. The brass is guided into a tube above the barrel and is pushed out by more brass or will drop out when the muzzle is pointed down at the ground.
The effect is that left handed shooters don’t get hot casings bouncing off their forehead, nice touch. The rifle is ambidextrous with only really one adjustment to be made, move the charging handle over and you are in business. The safety lever is big and easy to read, the magazine release is on center of the mag well and drops them straight down for easy changes. One thing that I love is that the RFB accepts standard metric FAL type magazines which you can typically pick up on Gun Broker or at gun shows.
Caliber: NATO 7.62×51 (.308)
Weight unloaded (no magazine): 8.1 lbs
Barrel length: 18″
Magazine: 10 or 20 (FAL)
Practical range: 600m
We usually list the pro’s first but I wanted to get this one gripe out of the way early, the charging handle got really close to the mounting knob on the scope we were using (EOTech & Aimpoint M4s). It didn’t impact the knob, but did cause a pinch point on the index finger. The scope we preferred on the Kel-Tec RFB was the Aimpoint M4’s Comp, really nice piece of gear. We mounted the scope back a little and that cured the problem, but it seemed that it might be an issue with other scopes and lights. There are tactical charging handles available, although we didn’t have one to play with, so I cannot comment on its effectiveness.
More of the pluses, .308, box magazine fed, less than 28” in total length for the 18” barrel unit, threaded barrel, and weighs in at about 9 lbs with loaded mag. That last item might seem like a minus, but for what it was designed for and what it is capable of, that would be nit-picking. When you put it up to your shoulder, due to the short length and the fact that a lot of the weight is near the rear of the rifle, it just doesn’t feel that heavy. Maybe it was the big smile on my face and the smile on my fellow shooters, that makes me think this way, but it did not feel too heavy at all.
Granted we were all experienced shooters and fit mountain dwellers, so your mileage may vary. All that being said, I think this rifle would work for most able bodies. The kick and muzzle rise was far less than my bolt action hunting rifles, I credit the action and weight for that. Let’s focus on the distance and targets we were shooting at. We paced off 60 yards, set up a 10” gong and self righting knock-down target. First off 3/16” chain does not stand up well to .308 rounds. One link was hit and was not located, another was hit and was severed clean, like it was cut by a laser. We did not use a bench, that has been done by others.
Also Read: Kel-Tec KSG Shotgun Review
We stood up with a head wind at around 10-20 MPH, cool weather and cloud cover. Once we got the gas knob adjusted, the metal was singing. Most rounds hit their target with ease, quick follow-ups were hitting home or close. I would say we weren’t looking to test its MOA, it was pure function and fun. This beast proved to be a capable heavy hitter pushing the 7.62×51 down range. I would love to put a thousand or two rounds through this rifle to see if it can hold up. My guess would be that it will hold up just fine, it is serious piece of metal.
Shock & Awe
We tested its ergonomics inside a vehicle, probably as good as it gets. The package is second to none in compact size and firepower, it easily transitions from right to left firing. I think the Kel-Tec RFB’s sweet spot might be convoy ops during SHTF. If you are forced to travel or bug out during a crisis and you have the Kel-Tec RFB riding shotgun, you will have a serious contender for unexpected problems. Why is it great for convoy ops? This rifle, that is easily manipulated in a confined space, has stand off capability, 20 round mags, and it packs a punch with 150+ grain bullets.
We discussed how you would attach a scope and white light to this rifle. There are options but the rail system on the Kel-Tec RFB is limited. Of course bright lights have their place, to be sure, but firing this beast in an enclosed area, i.e. building, truck, etc., will most surely deafen you so bring your electronic muffs, if you don’t have any, get some because this bad boy is loud. The best option for this rifle in my mind, seems to be back up hard sites and top mounted optics.
The Battle Bullpup
A lot of you think that battle rifles are serious tools for serious people, and you would be mostly correct. For most of us at this point in time, they are pure fun, that is what the 2nd Amendment haters don’t understand. They need to go to a range, or gulley, or desolate field with a few hundred rounds and blast away. Sorry almost lost my focus there. So why would you purchase one of these? If you want heavy hitting, accurate, standard ammo eating, property and family defending firepower, this rifle fits the bill. Add the facts that it is compact, American made, and just plain bad ass, well it is hard to go wrong with this Kel-Tec offering. I hope to get some more field time with this rifle and provide you with some updates. I have some hunting loads and more Russian stuff to throw at it. It’s an ugly job, but someone has to do it.