KELTEC RFB-18 7.62mm

The bullpup rifle design is not all that new. I…

The bullpup rifle design is not all that new. I believe you could say that the bullpup rifle, carbine if you like, had its heyday in the mid-1980s. The British SA-80, the French FAMAS, and Steyr’s AUG all became vogue in the late seventies and early eighties.

keltec2While the United States moved from the M-16A1 to the improved A2 version, our European allies in NATO were switching from full-length battle rifles to stubby little carbines with the magazines located behind the pistol grips. Essentially that is what a bullpup is, a short rifle with the feeding mechanism and chamber located to the rear of the pistol grip and trigger. This configuration effectively gives you the same barrel length as a standard rifle but a more compact overall length. It’s the best of both worlds.

Of course, that last statement is open to debate. For some reason there are Americans that have serious issues with the bullpup design. I’m not really sure why. It could be a “Ford versus Chevy” thing or it could simply be that the bullpup has the stigma of being used by not so friendly nations, such as France.

Regardless of the personal likes and dislikes of many shooters, the bullpup design has caught on and for the foreseeable future is here to stay. That being said, I was still bit surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that Kel-Tec was designing a bullpup rifle.

I got a glimpse at the first prototype in early 2008. What caught my attention the most was not so much the bullpup style but the caliber of the rifle. The RFB was to be chambered in .308. If bullpup guns are unusual, those is .308 are very rare indeed.

Load Comments
  • John

    Has this rifle been combat tested for reliability under adverse conditions?

  • HEY tomas tolentino you should leave that dam state at once so you can own a gun period.

  • randy butler

    hey tomas tolentino you should leave that dam state at once so you can a gun period.

  • AJ

    yeah take your face off the top cover….ha ha ha


    In response to “Ives”. Beretta made the 92fs, later it was able to scale it up to a 40 S&W, but never to a 45. On the other side of that coin, the 1911 style handgun is readily available in 9mm. Why? Easy answer; it is because it is easier to scale down rather than scale up. To that end, Kel Tec has said that they released the RFB in 308/7.62 NATO for two reasons; first, because trying to pry themselves into a 5.56 bullpup market doesn’t make sense – it was already saturated. Second, and more importantly, they can make a 308 first, and then scale down easily.

    To that end, KT has announced that they will be releasing the RFB in other calibers – from 7.62×39, 5.56, 6.8, 6.5 Grendel, and any number of calibers based on the 308 cartridge (338 Federal, 243 Win, 260 Rem, and 7mm-08).

    I own an RFB, and it isn’t as impractical as it would seem. It does cost more to shoot, but it is a viable game-gun easily, and the recoil isn’t nearly as stout as people assume it would be. For one, I have a muzzle-brake on, and two, the weight of the bolt soaks up some of the recoil just fine.

    It points and shoots just fine, and its lighter weight is a bonus, not a hinderance.

  • Ives

    Please no vuss “A” 5.56! An American rifle is about practical use. While target shooting is fun, & serves a purpose; it still should be a rifle that embodies an American usefulness. A tool. Recreation, hunting, a little sport. In the spirit of the lever action, a rifle that is cutting edge & still allows us a peace of mind. That said theres a reason a semi-auto rifle in .308 is always the step child of rifles. RECOIL!RECOIL!RECOIL! Time for American practicality to assert itself again. A TRUE MID SIZE CALIBER.! How many decades must go on before a real rifle , like the RFB can truely flurish? The RFB is caught between the “old school” & the boiled down truth. Whats the purpose of a bull pup if not to put rounds down range quickly but with considerable accuracy, & in tight spaces? WAKE UP!

  • Jay C.

    I’m buying one very soon. A bullpup, 26″ carbine in 7.62 (with a 6-poundtrigger pull)?! Just what I want. Thanks Kel Tec. Now make one in 5.56 please?

  • Alexius


  • Tomas Tolentino

    Does anyone have any knowledge of these rifles being California compliant,and it’s availability? So far it’s been quite frustrating trying to find a reliable source. Being a retired military member,California has the most silliest laws in the nation,and I have come close to leaving this state,just to be able to acquire this weapon.But I have close ties and family that prompts me to stay,and really want one.HHHHHelpppp !!!!!

  • Chris

    The cheek rest is held with magnets and from what I hear it works great. My RFB gets a little hot in the front of the rifle after 50 rounds or so but nothing un bareable, my ar’s all got hot as well.

  • mike walsh

    Hmmm buy 3 kel tecs or 1 hk mr762 for the same price. LOL

    seriously though, I love this design. I hope they continue to improve it. The basis is good. Truly ambi, shortstroke 308 that taks fal mags. Those are all good points.

  • ron

    I havn’t put but a couple hundred rounds thru mine, but the top steel of the buttstock dosn’t get hot on mine, even after some fairly rapid fire… There are two layers of thick steel between your face and the top of the receiver/chamber area(one of the reasons the rifle is so heavy). One is the buttstock channel and the other is the Carrier channel. The carrier channel is the same shape as the buttstock and the bolt rides under this channel. There is less protection on an AR IMO… The two channels don’t touch, and the buttstock only touches the rear barrel block all the way at the front, about 10″ or so in front of where my cheek touches it, so it would have to be a very large volume of rapid fire to get it warm IMO. Cecil, why do you not think it is good for lefties? The charging handle can be swapped to either side in about 30 seconds, and the empties go out the front, just forward of the forward grip. They fall in a neat pile in front of my left foot. Kinda cool actually, I am going to start shooting with a bucket there to catch them:)

  • Shane

    My response is you are not supposed to drop your rifle in the mud anyway… (I’ve made it 40+ years without dropping a single rifle in the mud)…

  • cecil

    Why should I chang my opinion??

  • cecil

    If you jam the barrel in the mud or have any kind of obstruction in the barrel, you will get a facefull of shrapnel from the action blowing apart. It’s not good for use by lefthanded people, and it’s very slow for changing magazines.

  • Jason

    There is a cheek rest for the RFB rifle, you can find them for sale on gunbroker. Also here is a link to them on the kel-tec forum.

  • Roger OD

    Indeed, the weapon does get warm quick (less than 10 rounds consecutive) in the cheek placement area. I would be interested in more after market parts for this rifle, including a rest that mounts on the lower rail on the butt.

  • There are adhesive pads you can purchase aftermarket to mitigate the heat. Most RFB users I’ve seen have put on one.

  • Christopher

    One review states that after rapid fire the top cover becomes too hot to maintain a cheek weld. Anyone have any ideas on how to mitigate this?