Differences Between An MDR Rifle VS. Compact Rifle VS. Bullpup Rifle

Before buying a firearm, you need to know the main differences between the models available on the market to make the best decisions for you and your needs!

What is an MDR Rifle?

If you want to purchase an MDR rifle or you hear someone talking about this type of firearm, you might be wondering – what is this? How does it differ from a compact rifle or a bullpup rifle? Each one of these rifles has its own distinct characteristics, benefits, and drawbacks. Let’s see the main characteristics that compose an MDR rifle and how it might be best suited for.

An MDR rifle, also known as the desert tech micro-dynamic rifle, is a type of bullpup semi-automatic rifle. A bullpup rifle is a firearm where the action is positioned behind the trigger. Compared to most rifles, where the action is positioned in front of the trigger the bullpup rifle configuration makes it more compact and agile when compared to the “traidnt” firearm setup.

The MDR rifle is a type of bullpup semi-automatic rifle, with semi-automatic meaning that a rifle fires only one bullet every time the handler of the gun pulls the trigger an automatic weapon means that when you press down on the trigger multiple bullets come out at once. With a semi-automatic, the user only gets one bullet per pull of the trigger.

In addition, an MDR rifle can also be a bullpup assault rifle. The main characteristic of the assault rifle is the detachable magazine that is produced from the bottom of the weapon. This type of rifle became commonly used during the Second World War and has stayed in favor ever since, due to the fast firing and ease of use.

The next type of MDR rifle is the bullpup battle rifle, a type of rifle that is characterized by a powered cartridge. The main difference between this type of rifle and the intermediate assault rifles is the chamber shape and the added power.

A man sighting in a AM-10 308 rifle.

MDR Rifle Design

Now that you know the basics of the MDR rifle, you need to know the design of this type of weapon. The MDR rifle is a conventional bullpup rifle, with a gas system above the barrel. One of the main benefits of using an MDR rifle is the ability for both left-handed and right-handed users to be able to handle this gun with ease. The MDR rifle contains a side eject port that makes it easy to use quickly.

In addition, the MDR rifle contains multiple position safety levers on either side of the grip of the gun. Furthermore, the MDR rifle is compatible with conversion kits, meaning this type of weapon can be used with both intermediate cartridges and powered cartridges.

Intermediate cartridges are cartridges that have more power than a single-shot weapon, such as a pistol or a small handgun. However, compared to fully powered cartridges, intermediate cartridges are still less powerful. The full-powered rifle cartridges are usually for use with an automatic weapon or machine gun.

The outer portion of the MDR rifle is made from polymer, increasing the durability and the ability to withstand tough use. Usually, the length of the MDR rifle is either 698mm or 800mm, with the barrel length being either 410mm or 500 mm. The width of the gun is either 57.4mm or 59.2 mm, with the height being usually around 200.4mm.

MDR rifle redesign

There have been variants of the MDR rifle that have upgrades and make them more performance-oriented. One of the variants created was known as the MDRX rifle, the Micro Dynamic Rifle eXtreme. This type of rifle claimed to have more durable polymer as the exterior material, an improved and easy-to-use trigger, improved gas block, and a new compensator.

What is a compact rifle?

The compact rifle is basically just a short rifle that is suitable for various activities, such as hunting or wartime use. Usually when it comes to shorter-length rifles, like the compact rifle the word “carbine” is associated with this type of weaponry. The carbine word came around with the Army when the engineers designed a shorter barrel of 22 inches when compared to the previous 26” barrels that were used.

Instead of creating an entirely new rifle that had a new barrel length, the Army solely created a new 24” barrel that would be the middle of the two desired lengths. This 24” barrel length is now the standard for compact rifles in today’s world. Before the inception of the compact rifle, the rifles were either 28”, 30”, or sometimes 26” as the shortest option. The 26” barrel was used for hunting rifles, but slowly changed as the Winchester rifles started using shorter carbines for hunting.

But why does a shorter barrel come in handy when talking about hunting with compact rifles? Well, a shorter barrel is typically easier to use and control when you are maneuvering in tight spaces or riding on horseback. In addition, if you are traveling long distances, a shorter barrel means you are carrying a lighter weight.

Now, when using high-intensity cartridges, the 22” barrel length has become the standard when it comes to compact rifles. If you are using medium cartridges, or intermediate cartridges, the 20” barrel length of compact rifles is the ideal size. By changing the length of the barrel for hunting rifles to make them compact rifles, the rifle ends up being lighter.

However, the only downside to being lighter is the enhanced kick. When you are hunting, you need to be as still as possible – and a big kick can disrupt the stillness and the ability to reposition yourself after the first shot. Therefore, sometimes having a lighter and shorter barrel is not the best.

In addition, keep in mind that lightweight rifles can be difficult to control when you are shooting at a running animal. Those who have lighter compact rifles end up shooting behind the animal instead of shooting into the animal’s path.

What is a Bullpup rifle?

The final type of rifle to talk about and discuss is the bullpup rifle. A bullpup rifle is a specific kind of firearm and weapon where the action is positioned behind the trigger. The action in the gun is a type of mechanism that controls the loading and the reinserting of other cartridges into the gun. Although the actions are usually positioned in front of the trigger, bullpup firearms have the action behind the trigger – making the appearance of this rifle shorter and more compact.

The overall look of the bullpup rifle will be smaller, more compact, sturdier, and more maneuverable than your typical rifle due to its shorter length. When compared to other rifles with long barrels and a narrower appearance, bullpup rifles are usually seen as “stockier”, making them have better accuracy, lesser weight, smaller size, and increased muzzle velocity.

Muzzle velocity refers to the speed at which the bullet leaves the gun. Typically, the muzzle velocity can be as low as 120,/s for other rifles, whereas a bullpup rifle can be as high as 1,200m/s for modern rifles. But where do the bullpup rifles come from? How long has it been around?

The bullpup rifle was first conceptualized back in the very early 20th century but really came to life in the late 1970s during the Cold War. The Austrian Arm actually became the first force in the world to begin using the bullpup rifle during training and combat, with the first model being the Steyr AUG. The Steyr AUG was the principal combat weapon that was used during the war and was first designed in the 1960s.

There are many benefits to using a bullpup rifle over other options, such as the MDR rifle or the compact rifle.

  • The bullpup rifle has a shorter overall weapon length, meaning that you can have a smaller and shorter weapon without sacrificing the barrel length – which leads to accuracy and control. Instead, you can use a lightweight bullpup rifle that can be more agile, maneuverable, and easily hidden when you are using it during wartime combat. The shorter weapon length means you can easily control it while moving around in tight spaces without sacrificing accuracy.
  • In some cases, the lack of length in the bullpup rifle means that the overall weight of the rifle is less than a typical rifle such as an MDR rifle or compact rifle. A lighter rifle meant that you can carry it around for longer without worrying about getting tired.
  • The center of mass on the bullpup rifle is closer to the user of the weapon, meaning that it is easier to maneuver, produces less kick, and does not tire you out as quickly as using other rifles.
  • Since the length of the bullpup rifle is shorter than other rifles, the recoil is not as strong as other options. Therefore, there is less chance of the bullets going astray and rising as you continue shooting.


If you are considering using an MDR rifle, compact rifle, or bullpup rifle, you need to know the characteristics of each rifle type before buying! By knowing where each rifle came from and the design of each, you can decide which option is best for your needs.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the ChivMen or its members.

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