Steyr’s civilian 9mm AUG

Steyr Mannlicher (The European firm, not to be confused with Steyr USA) is selling , or will be so shortly, a range of AUG carbines chambered in 9x19mm NATO and 9x21mm IMI1. The STEYR AUG Z A3 9mm is a very cool looking gun.

Standard Model

The standard model is chambered in 9mm NATO and has a 16.5″ barrel. The Italians, who are not allowed to own military cartridges, are getting a 9x21mm model with a 13″ barrel.

With Muzzle brake
Italian 9x21mm model. How cool is this?

The magazine capacity is 25 rounds. The standard model has an overall length of 27.6″ and weights 7.3 lbs.

I will endeavor to find out if there are any plans to manufacture these stateside.

UPDATE: Steyr USA currently no plans to introduce this gun into the US market.

  1. 9x21mm uses a lengthened 9x19mm NATO case. Its power and ballistics are the same as the 9mm NATO. It was designed for countries in which civilians cannot own military cartridges. 

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Aurelien

    Damn. I need to buy a black kevlar-backed trench coat now.

  • Doug

    I didn’t realize that the Italians weren’t allowed military ammo, but they get to have short barrelled rifles, interesting trade off.

    Is the 9x21mm more powerful than the 9x19mm? If so, why bother restricting military ammo?

  • Nathan


  • Jesse

    Well hello new home defense weapon.

  • Peter

    @ Doug, military ammo is restricted for logistic reasons. It has it origins in the thirties of the last century, in several European countries, paramilitary right and left wing groups were seen as a state security hazard.

  • Thomas

    I dont see the point to this.. A large heavy bulking carbine for a small pistol caliber.. Stick with a pistol and Hi-Cap magazine.. Practice, and learn to shoot your pistol.. A carbine only offers improved accuracy over a pistol is all.. It makes more sense as a Full Auto Sub Gun.. But not as a Semi-Auto Carbine.. One can buy a Beratta Storm with 20 plus round magazines, much cheaper than this is going to cost.

  • I don’t understand… why aren’t the Italians allowed to own ‘military’ ammo? By military do they just mean the normal rounds (.223, 9mm, 7.62, etc?). Is this restricted to the Italian Gov’t only or Civilians too? What other countries are banned from owning military ammo?

    Interesting 🙂

    As for the Steyr, well, think they’ll come to the US market? I don’t.

    •, quite a few countries ban civilian ownership of military ammo. Mexico is another example. Plenty of African countries (so hunters can’t bring a .303 double rifle to these countries because .303 is considered military).

  • AP

    I’d rather have the MSAR products. Better polymer, better made guns.

  • Vak


    9×21 is ballistically a carbon copy of the 9×19. The case is just 2mm longer to comply with laws, but 9×21 uses the same primers, the same bullets and the same kind of powder as 9×19. 9×21 guns used in Italy actually just use a “special” barrel to comply with the laws and are in now way redesigned 9×19 guns.

  • Vitor

    Guess a 9mm round pack a quite decent punch and low recoil from such long barrel.

    BTW, it’s blowback or gas-piston operated?

  • JKEverett

    Bullpup weapons are great examples of why gun laws in the States are dumb. Gotta have a 16 inch barrel or it’s an SBR; but, you can put a 16 inch barrel in a bullpup platform and have the overall length of the weapon shorter than or comparable to a 16 inch AR platform and you’re okay. How does this make any sense?

  • I’ve held a AUG before, and while they look cool, I will NEVER get used to that Nerf Trigger.

    • Sadly, Steyr USA currently no plans to introduce this gun into the US market.

  • Greg

    Hm. I wonder if any extended magazines would be available, and if they would make this in .45

  • Mount

    Is this in response to MSAR’s new pistol caliber carbines, or the other way around?

    • Mount, MSAR copies Steyr, not the other way round. Steyr have been making military versions (ie. full auto) for a long time.

  • Lance

    Id rather take a MP-5 over this.

  • Steve

    If it takes Glock mags it would be the cat’s meow.

  • Erik

    9×21 is similar to the 9×19. It is in fact based on the 9×19. I can load one lots hotter than a 9×19 if I’m running with a generous chamber, otherwise it’s about the same.

    • Erik, thanks for the info.

  • rubbershotgun


    because the morons who wrote the laws assumed that military ammo is somehow deadlier than regular ammo.
    apparently 5.56 FMJ is more dangerous than .300 win mag ballistic tips

  • John Callahan

    cool, i wonder what type of mags it will use? funny that the Italians can have a short 13″ barrel, but not a standard 9mm round

  • DaveP.

    Doug: The law is against civilians owning guns that can fire military ammunition and IIRC it comes from the Red Brigades terrorism era in the ’60s and ’70s. The idea was to limit the ability of folks like the Black January People’s Revolutionary Socialist Liberation Combat Martyr Brigade Front of September 35th to arm themselves off of the civilian economy or to easily reload their stolen military weapons by just going down to the store.
    There’s also a cartridge called the .45HP; its case is a millimeter shorter than the (military) .45ACP and it was designed to meet the same needs as the 9X21; and there are still rumors (though I’ve seen no proof) that the .45GAP cartridge was originally intended to meet a similar law here, one that never got passed.

  • Benny

    @Doug: You are right, this fact makes no sense but you know… law is law.
    To be honest, italian laws do NOT forbid all military calibers for civilians, just 9 luger (also known as 9 para) because it is the standard caliber used by italian police for handgun (beretta 92) and smg (beretta PM12).

    The only difference between 9 luger and 9×21 is the last one having a case 21mm long, that means 2mm more than 9luger, anyway the OAL remains the same because the bullet is simply fitted more deeply into the longer case; this fact makes possible firing 9 luger cartridges in a gun chambered for 9×21 without significative troubles, despite you can’t use 9×21 ammo in a 9 luger gun because the chamber would result too short.

    There is no a minimum barrel lenght (or total lenght) required for a civilian gun in Italy, but some sbr (like a semiautomatic version of HK mp5) are considered legally “handguns”, not “rifles”, so you need a pistol carry license to carry them.
    Just to give a more complete overview, I must say that, according to italian laws, limitations on hi-cap mags apply to both short and long guns but are more restrictive for rifles.

  • Another gun on the market is a good thing, even goofy looking ones.

  • Mad Saint Jack

    Cool, but I still want one that feeds off Glock mags.

    (I bought a good pile of mags back when they where cheep.)

  • Emptormaven posted the following comment (which I accidentally deleted):

    “I’d wager that once again MSAR is going to beat them to it in the U.S. with a 9mm variant of their STG. MSAR even had plans and prototypes for this some years ago.”

  • dmurray

    9mm bullpup AUG, what is not to love? Start with iron sights and see if you need all the laser/flashlight stuff. If you really believe that shooting is location, location, location I would guess that this is a tack driver. It might spoil you for anything else: kinda light, good use of all that expanding gas with the longer barrel, perceived recoil dampened in a long gun platform. I hope they don’t wimp out and tell people not to shoot +P+ ammunition.

  • goo

    this makes me hate the NFA even more lucky italians sbr and 9×21 is a perfectly good cartridge

  • The AUG was my issue weapon in the army, I gtta admit, I do love this gun. Perhaps not the pistol plinking caliber though, but she is the most user friendly bullpup on the market. Super practical in the field with after market optics ( forget about the solid state ones… they suck ). In fact field stripping is so bloody easy a 5 year old could do it and could do it well.

    She’s not ammo sensitive and can take a mean hiding. If i had an A CAT licence I’d love the original 5.56. Aah memories.

    • Peter, does the NZ Army use any of the 9mm AUG carbines? Do you know if the Au army does?

  • Not That I’m aware of. We had standard AUG 5.56 carbines for our armoured troops. (Still the same amount of rotations in the shorter barrel) I might add.

    The only 9 mm subguns I saw in my time were a few ancient Stirling Stens and the SAS were using the HK Mp5’s of various configurations. Im pretty confident that the stens are now in the museum. The remaining weapons are still pretty much the standard MP5 – although I’m sure that they are using the latest incarnations. The M4 carbine is also used but remains in standard 5.56 as far as I am aware.

    I was lucky enough to participate in a couple of major exercises with the Aussie troops. The Aussies steyrs came without the solid state iron sights. They had various aftermarket and much more practical optics on their weapons which were jealously coveted by their Kiwi counterparts. I’m not sure if they were using the Austrian guns or had already started producing their own under licence at that stage.

    I may be wrong, but I do keep a “hand in” so to speak, so if anyone else has a clue, they may feel free to correct me.



  • zach

    I would rather have an MP5 or similar carbine. lighter, and heck just get a class 3 license and get an actual full-auto one.

  • Doug

    Thanks for answering my questions about the 9×21 everyone. Very interesting and very true that laws aren’t always supposed to make sense., IIRC Mexico is one of those countries that ban “military” cartridges.

    Now that I think about it, is that one of the reasons .380acp came about?

  • James.Denholm

    Being an Australian teenager who’s only knowledge of guns is probably quite limited and wrong (thank you, COD, thank you, internet), I must say, awesome to see more Bullpups these days.

    That said, the photos of the Italian model – did someone say RAILS? That seems rather awkward – I just hope that’s removable/replaceable. What would be the point of having an upper section to the rail that close to the barrel, anyway?

  • Carl

    There is no a minimum barrel lenght (or total lenght) required for a civilian gun in Italy, but some sbr (like a semiautomatic version of HK mp5) are considered legally “handguns”, not “rifles”, so you need a pistol carry license to carry them.

    Please explain, who can get a carry license in Italy? Civilians? What do you need to do to get it?

  • Brian

    Steyr USA really is a sad, sad company. I doubt they will bring this one in. In fact, I am almost hoping they won’t.

    Ex-Steyr customer

  • Thomas

    Brian.. Why are you down on Steyr USA ?

  • Mountainbear

    The STG77 in a 9mm setup is actually what the police uses in Austria. The COBRA (which is the anti-terror unit of the Austrian police, formerly “Gendarmerieeinsatz-kommando COBRA” as part of the Gendarmerie -which has been merged with the normal Bundespolizei not that long ago) has been using the setup for years (among many other weapons.)

    That, of course, is pretty much an STG77 chambered in 9mm, nothing else. It’s sometimes called Maschinenpistole MP 88 and comes with 25 and 32 round clips. COBRA uses both versions, 9mm and 5.56mm.

    Normal police officers have to qualify regularly with the P80 (also known as Glock 17) and the STG77, at least, it was like that when my father was still a cop (but considering how our police is getting castrated all the time they might end up qualifying with spitballs soon.)

    But a civilian version of it? Very nice idea.

    Pity they removed the optical part. It’s fun shooting it when you’re not used to that tube. I’ve seen enough recruits giving themselves a black eye with it.

  • knice

    Looks like leftys need not apply since it doesn’t look like it can be made ambi like the original. That is disappointing. Can anyone confirm this?

  • G11

    Yawn. 1970s technology with the addition of picatinny rails and user-unfriendly trigger pull.
    I will pick the Kel-Tec RFB over other bullpups.

  • Robert

    .222 Remington was made for markets like Mexico

    Brazil allows no civilian ownership of calibers above .38 and no rifles except those that accept pistol cartridges (under .38).

    • Nater

      .222 Remington has been around longer than the .223. The .222 was developed, then the .222 Magnum, which gave way to the .223 Remington.

  • Greg

    Actually, now thinking about it, This gun, if they wanna use a pistol ammunition, I mean it’s FN’s ammo but I would love to see this in 5.7 and I’m sure that it would gain more popularity than say an mp5.

  • AK™

    a 9mm with a muzzle break? some pretty weak shooters then.

  • Benny

    @ Carl: “who can get a carry license in Italy?”
    You can get a carry license if you work in some kind of security (protecting a bank or a shop selling something particularly attractive for robbers, like jewels, guns and so on).

    You also could get a carry license if you can provide evidences supporting that you have a good reason to go around armed; that’s what law says, but the notion of “good reason” is extremely neboulus, so each “prefettura” (that is roughly the same of a police department) can decide to give or not to give you a carry license as they prefer; so usually the license is denied if you are not a politician or some kind of a VIP…

    It is far more easy to get an hunting or sporting license: they both allow you to buy rifles, shotguns and handguns (and of course ammo), but you can just carry them on regular shooting ranges, at home and while hunting (but while hunting you can carry only firearms approved for hunting, so no handguns and no .22lr and other small calibers)

  • Cahal Mcgirr

    The view in Europe has always been positive on the 9mm especially as a police weapon calibre. Fewer through and throughs in an urban environment and with hollow points fewer ricochets and maximum impact for the calibre. Though the Irish police tactical firearms now use MP 7’s ‘due to the increased use of ballistic vests by some criminals’.

  • Ricky Jones

    Ok, steyr is my favorite brand of all time and now I really want one chambered in .40 cal. Can anybody hook me up?

  • R. Williams

    Anybody know where I can find a parts kit for a steyr mpi 69?