Gun Review: The VLTOR AUG A3

The Steyr AUG has been around for quite a while. It was designed in the 1970’s, an era where terrific advances in special effects and movie making technology led to some of the most spectacularly corny science fiction movies of all time. Consequently the AUG looks like an Austrian engineer went to his local cinema on all of his days off and was inspired. Even today the AUG is a bizarre looking firearm, and I can only imagine the reaction of folks back then when it was introduced (maybe some guys will be nice enough to chime in on the comments section and share with us some of their initial opinions). The AUG made use of polymers wherever possible and its bullpup configuration was by no means a new idea, but it certainly went mainstream with the AUG.

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The AUG was the world’s first commercially successful bullpup rifle; It was quickly adopted by the Austrian army, and then made its way into the hands of the armed forces of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and quite a few other forces as well. It was even a success on the civilian market; Prior to 1989 the AUG was imported into the United States directly from Austria as a semi-automatic sporting rifle. Another interesting note is that since they were imported prior to 1986 a number of full-auto conversions exist for them, the mass of which are Fleming registered trigger packs. However it is worth noting that an AUG on full auto is one of the most bizarre shooting experiences you can have; My first time playing with one at a machine gun shoot I learned of the progressive trigger system. On an AUG capable of fully automatic fire, pulling the trigger half-way will result in semi-automatic fire. For rock-and-roll mode you need to smash that trigger in all the way with your pointer finger and the gun will chug along like a Swiss watch. You can always tell an inexperienced AUG shooter too, as you will hear the signature single shot followed up by a hellacious burst of full-auto fire. This feature is obviously not just an issue with civilian shooters either, as the Australians incorporated a full-auto lockout device on their F88 rifles (a license built copy of the AUG) to prevent the shooter from accidentally throwing around more rounds than needed.

Anyways, after the 1989 import ban Steyr sent the “USR” sporting rifle for a number of years over to the USA. It featured an odd thumb hole stock and no barrel device and was not a very hot seller. It seemed that the days of the commercially produced AUG were over until SABRE Defense was licensed by Steyr to build a domestic version. This was a godsend to AUG fans in the USA… until SABRE Defense went out of business due to legal troubles. Even the MSAR clones stoppped being made because I assume they were just not profitable (Microtechs website does however still list the STG E4 as one of their products). So the history of the AUG in the USA is one of sadness as it seems that every time someone tools up to give the people a variant, they go away in the blink of an eye. But hopefully this time is different as a new player has stepped in: VLTOR.

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VLTOR is a company best known for making very high quality machined firearm accessories such as quad rails, gas blocks, muzzle devices, and more but they have recently tooled up to produce the Steyr AUG with great oversight from Steyr engineers. Just by looking at the receiver you can tell that VLTOR is working hard to protect its name as a maker of quality products.

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Now the AUG A3 has some very cool features; Instead of the old Zeiss fixed optic you get a picatinny rail on which to mount the optic of your choice, a stock that can be configured to eject from the left or right with a bolt swap, a model that can accept AR15/M16 magazines is you prefer them over the translucent AUG mags, a remarkably quick barrel change method, and it is just about the simplest field strip of any 5.56 firearm I own.

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All in all the VLTOR/Steyr AUG A3 is a well machined piece, but how does it perform and handle? Well here is where it gets a bit turbulent. I went out to my range with the Aug and several loaded magazines ready to run the gun through the paces. I shot about 60 rounds after I dialed in the ACOG and then all of a sudden the trigger would not reset. Here is the trigger in the normal position:

augtriggerprob1

Here is how it remained after each trigger pull:

augtriggerprob

Ok, well that was a bummer but I continued to shoot the gun by manually resetting the trigger each time until it began to stovepipe or fail to extract every round. It chewed up my stock pretty good:

augplastic

Not to mention, clearing each jam required charging the gun violently and it did a number on my left hand:

hand

So major bummer. I was fuming as I had a brand new gun that was a paperweight, and it took me a while to cool down and call Steyr for support. I got on the horn with them and immediately they put me in touch with a technician who was incredibly kind and very eager to make this right (of course it would all be under warranty). I sent the gun via Fedex and after about 4 or 5 days I got a phone call from a man with a very thick German accent named Herbert who told me that he replaced the trigger pack, put in a new trigger bar (mine got bent somehow), adjusted my gas block, and put in a new bolt head:

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Within ten days I had my gun back and ready to rock! I must say while I was disappointed that the gun had some initial problems, I can say that dealing with Steyr customer service was a breeze and they really made it right quickly and efficiently.

So anyways, the question now is did they fix my gun? Well an additional range trip was required.

I took the gun out with four 30 round magazines and a loaded up 42 round magazine to an annual shoot I attend and essentially just shot at random steel and targets.

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So I shot 162 rounds through the gun with no jams to speak of and about 60 rounds were fired with suppressor. All in all I was satisfied and happy that the gun was running well and ejecting properly.

In one more instance I took it out on August 9th, 2013 and shot six 30 round magazines for a total of 180 rounds. Again, no jams or malfunctions to speak of, so I was very happy. Thus far.

So the real question is how accurate is this thing? Well only a range test can reveal that. On 8/18 I took the rifle and seven magazines out to shoot it at 100 yards and do some plinking on a 200 yard gong.

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In this photo the paper on the left is at 50 yards and the far target is at 100. The 200 yard gong is not visible.

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In order to get the best possible results, I employed the help of my friend CJ who is very handy with a rifle. We both shot several 5 shot groups using Fiocchi 62 grain ammunition.

 

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At the end of the day I was left with 7 empty 30 round magazines for a total of 210 rounds and no malfunctions to speak of.

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But how accurate was the rifle? Well calipers don’t lie:

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To be honest I was not doing very well, nor was CJ. We averaged about 2.75 inches with this gun but were using very crumby ammo (that was doing poorly in our other rifles as well).

So lets do a breakdown here:

The Good:

  • Easy to handle
  • Very fun to shoot
  • Comfortable controls
  • Quick barrel change (quicker than any other gun I own)
  • Very compact
  • Easy to clean
  • Reliable after being worked over

The Bad:

  • Threaded some oddball metric thread
  • Mushy awful trigger
  • Not the most accurate gun I own to say the least
  • Can dig into your hand if you are not careful
  • Oddball magazines (stocks that take M16 magazines exist)
  • Left handed users need to buy an expensive bolt

The Ugly:

  • Gun immediately had to be sent back to the factory for repair

All in all I like this gun and will keep trying to get it to shoot accurately with different ammunition, and I will send Steve some updates for the TFB facebook page if I can eak out some better groups!





Alex C.

Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.


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  • Sulaco

    I love my MSAR version but parts and repairs are problematic now to say the least. This looks like it will be another non-crossing parts model and the mags will not work for me either as the standard Steyr Aug standard mags don’t work in the MSAR version. MSAR keeps saying its producing a new version but I don’t know that anybody has seen one yet and the MSAR rifles built with AK mags in mind that have been built don’t have a very good rep for reliability. If I could find a way for my MSAR version to interchange standard AUG or AK mags I would be major happy.

    • BOB

      The MSAR that runs their version of an AUG mag will work with the Steyr mags, you just have to lightly mod the styer mags if at all. I have a couple of Steyrs and like 2 doz of the MSAR mags and they all work fine

  • FourString

    Good review. Thanks for letting us know that this is out there.

  • theragnarr

    Well that is better customer support then I got out of Remingtion. Last time I buy a new rifle from them.

    • Flyingchipmunk

      I bought a new 870 a few months ago because I wanted a reliable pump that I could feed anything. It wouldn’t extract anything. In my first round of trap with it I had to jam the stock on the ground like 8 times and once it was so jammed in there it tore through the rim of the shell and I had to get it out with a ram rod. Someone clearly hadn’t checked to make sure the machine cut the chamber right. I sold it about a week later and I’ll never buy another Remington again

  • Esh325

    Tavor is all I have to say.

    • Vhyrus

      Once you go Tavor, the rest go out the door.

      • James

        I got one of the first US tavors..used for a month trades it for an AUG build quality is MUCH better on the AUG. Accuracy as well

        • Nokeo

          I also had a Tavor that I sold to get an AUG. I’m much happier now even though I did like the Tavor alot.

    • Chaim Goldstein

      Good goy, buy a $2000 gun with a trigger similar to a NYPD glock.

      • Cobalt-60

        You should watch sturmgewehr’s video on the quick trigger mod (removing one redundant spring) for the Tavor. Brings it down to a crisp and smooth 7lbs trigger pull.

        • Chaim Goldstein

          Yes goy, make your gun not drop safe. Its not like you’ll ever get sued.

          • Nojewsisgoodnews

            Screw the Jew pos. suppressor use sucks plus it is a knockoff of the chi com rifle

          • Jess-Avery Affentranger

            Jew Power! 😛

      • 306_AD

        Besides, it’s a civilian rifle based on a battle rifle. How light do you need the trigger to be??

        • José Pulido

          Americans like good triggers.

  • Paul O.

    Thanks for the review. Seen other folks have better luck on groups.

    • Cornelius Carroll

      Really hard to get the AUG to group well with the stock trigger.

      • dp

        Consider this (and nobody seem to mentioned it yet) – trigger movement transfer is PUSH bar type. On top of it goes into contact with plastic part (sear) They are all bad (with some exception of F2000 as some people are fixing it with metal plate). The trigger on Tavor is different with not heard of complains. Why?
        Let’s not forget this: AUG is an old design. I has gone thru its development curve in form of AUSteyr, but the parent model has aged (unlike wine) without increasing its quality or taste. It’s heavy, bulky and looks outlandish without true benefit. The world has since moved into more versatile folding and adjustable stock conventional layout rifles. Much better proposition.

        • Cornelius Carroll

          I’ve also heard that the F2000’s trigger is significantly better. I’d pick one up but I’m not real keen on the ejection mechanism. I’ve read and heard that it’s a VERY reliable weapon but the ejection thing is just a mental barrier to me.

          • Alex C.

            I have an FS2000 and it is a damn good gun, but the trigger is no better than the AUG’s. All the bullpups I have seem to have that mushy trigger except for the M17s.

          • dp

            Yeah, that’s understandable. The TM is just plain copy of Steyr’s. The Tavor to contrary has PULL link and that makes world of difference. Besides of metal only parts, that is.

  • Cornelius Carroll

    I picked up an AUG about nine months ago. I was really looking forward to it but, honestly, I’m disappointed. It’s a lot heavier than you’d expect, granted I’m spoiled by very light ARs, but still heavy for a rifle that makes extensive use of polymers. The charging handle is stupid heavy on mine and it’s tough not to scrape your hand on the 1913 rail when manipulating the weapon.

    The trigger SUCKS. This is my only experience with a bullpup and I usually don’t consider myself a trigger queen (stock AR triggers don’t bother me) but… wow, I really can’t stand the trigger on the AUG. Heavy, tons of take-up, and no feel. One other gripe: the foregrip on my unit wobbles about 5mm side to side. Not a lot but it’s not as solid as I’d like.

    All of that said, the AUG handles really well. The benefits of a bullpup for close range work are undeniable IMO. Mag changes on the AUG are very fast too once you practice them. It’s also a very reliable weapon in my experience (can’t think of a malfunction I’ve had). Still, there’s a pretty good chance I’m going to sell mine and try out a Tavor (if I can get my hands on one).

    • Alex C.

      For close range work I would prefer a nice autoloading 12 gauge or a submachine gun. Boy would I love to play with a 9mm select fire AUG!

      • Cornelius Carroll

        Perhaps I should have been more specific: 0-100 yards. A shotgun is great inside of 30 yards but beyond that its effectiveness diminishes rapidly.

  • Surfgun

    AUG magazines in my MSAR Stg, they only don’t work in the 1st gen. with the forward assist.

  • Edgar Castelo

    Okay, I’m not a Gun Expert, but IMHO this gun is a fugly, unwieldy, plastic bad idea. A gun that gnaws on your trigger finger? Come on! and can you imagine getting trough confined spaces with that clip; I mean those Bull-Pup are supposed to be more portable than real rifles, nor less!

  • Julio

    I enjoyed the review, though I wonder if it’s fair to assess accuracy with a brand of ammo that’s known to be poor. Running at least one box of good stuff through the rifle shouldn’t break the bank and should give a better idea as to what can be achieved.

    My experience of the AUG is limited to owning a UK-legal manually-operated AUG Z-SP. With budget ammo (Radway Green or Wolf) This will group at around 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″ at 100 yards. To do this, you have to concentrate really hard on trigger technique though. Come to think of it, this -rather than ammo- maybe the issue here, as the group posted looks like 3 good shots and a couple of wayward pulls. it also takes a few shots to tune your technique when switching to the AUG from a rifle with a “normal” trigger (you need to take care when switching back again too!).

    Concerning the pull weight, performance is improved -on the SP model at least- by removing one of the springs, installing a Trigger Tamer, and adding a metal shim to the sear, but even then it’s only “less bad”. I’d love to know how/if the Ratworx 2020 trigger group -which lets you use your choice of AR trigger in the AUG improves things, but we can’t get them over here.

    Finally, if you think the AUG’s “rail rash” is bad when you’re running it in semi-auto, imagine what it can be like when you have to work that handle for EVERY shot! Which is why every UK AUG shooter keeps a heavy glove in their range bag or has some kind of extended charging handle fitted.

    I have no idea therefore why I still love my AUG, but whenever I get behind it I can rarely bring myself to stop shooting until I run out of ammo!

    • Alex C.

      Interesting information about UK legal AUGs Julio, most British shooters I have met stick with bolt guns or a straight pull AR. And I can only imagine what your hand looked like after a range trip when you did not know how bad the rail rash would get you!

      • Julio

        Strictly speaking the problem is less the rail itself than the optics mounts. Even if you set them up so the screw heads are on the other side, the corners of the mounts still get you. Then again, one look at the skinny A1-style charging handle on the UK AUG SP-Zs is enough to let you know you’re going to need some help!

  • Kav

    This review was well *crafted* at least, but as far as content is concerned far too much of the information is trivial, contradictory or just completely unusable.
    The “oddball metric threading”, if it’s actually something you would consider to detract from the rifle’s value, should be evaluated and explained because chances are fairly good it’s not in the slightest an “oddball metric threading”. Not to mention you criticize the again “oddball” magazines – when not only did you fail to evaluate the magazines in any meaningful way, but you fully acknowledged that if you don’t like them, you can just order a variant of the rifle that doesn’t use them.
    It’s the quickest barrel change of any 5.56 rifle you own? It’s not the most accurate rifle you own? What the hell does that mean? What rifles DO you own, and how EXACTLY do they compare?
    For that matter, what use is your range test? You used admittedly poor ammunition with absolutely NO relevant benchmark. That figure is meaningless because for all I know, I could get the same groups with a $10k match rifle or a Mosin made of potatoes.

    • Alex C.

      When I say oddball, I do mean oddball.13x1mm left hand to be exact, and the AUG is the only firearm I know that has 13x1mm left hand. I had to order a QD mount for my suppressor that will only fit this gun! As far as what I own, it is easier to tell you what I do not own; My goal is to collect a variant of every semi-automatic 5.56/.223 that has ever been made in or imported into the USA. Because of this there are only 3 or 4 I do not have.. However I wanted to keep the focus of this article on the AUG. I did test it against another rifle, but you will have to wait until Steve posts the review of it that I typed up.
      Thank you for reading, I am sorry you did not care for my review but I do appreciate constructive criticism to try and help give you guys better information!

      • ClintTorres

        I think Kav has some valid points but his criticism could have been less harsh, the article is free to read after all.

        His criticism of the missing details is spot on, however. Those details would help the reader put the AUG’s features/performance in perspective thus making your article more focused and informative.

        BTW, thanks for the article!

  • Zius Patagus

    And what does that bad boy which broke when you used it cost??? I had to look it up since it is not mentioned. Best I can find is that the Vltor costs around $2000. I got a chance to try an original back in the day as a demo for our department. It looked cool and everyone wanted to play with it. In the end it was heavy, unbalanced, and not very accurate. Actually I should say hard to shoot accurately because it has a horrible trigger and is a bullpup.

  • Tater22

    It’s not a VLTOR produced AUG. it is a steyr produced AUG made up of an imported AUG kit, VLTOR manufactured receiver and FN manufactured barrel. The components are assymbled by Steyer in Alabama.

    • Alex C.

      VLTOR manufactures the receiver for Steyr, and of course we all know that in the USA the receiver = the firearm in the eyes of the law! But yes it is an amalgamation of US and Austrian parts to keep it nice and 922r compliant. The barrels are made here in the USA too, assumingly at FN’s facility that makes SAW barrels and whatnot.

  • norm

    Can you be more specific about malfunctions? You keep saying “no malfunctions to speak of”. Does that mean none? I interpret the ‘to speak of’ phrase to mean something did happen, but it was not significant or important to the story. It’s like saying, we had some very minor troubles on our trip, but none to speak of. Did it malfunction or not? Thanks.

    • Alex C.

      Yes, it means I had no malfunctions. If there was a malfunction I would have noted it. Herbert got the gun running correctly!

  • Sid Collins

    I had the good fortune to participate in a ABCA exercise in 1988. Australian, British, Canadian & American forces. I was a liaison to 1st Para Regiment but had the time to visit with the Australian unit. They had fielded the AUG recently and loved it. Easy to field strip, can wash it (on the barrel and bold are metal), and short length (jungle, urban, and vehicle carry).
    The only drawback they noted was accuracy. Practically, it is accurate enough. But they still needed a designated marksman in each squad. You have to understand that the rifle is accurate enough for the intended use. Being fired in close proximity of the enemy after being carried through mud and pigsties for several weeks.

  • Aussie Gunslinger.

    I’ve carried an F88 since the Australian Defence Force adopted them (even had some involvement in the trial). Accuracy with the F88 is quite good. (30mm five round groups at 100 metres/50mm twenty round groups @ 100M). The trigger bar coming loose (what caused the triiger to fail to re-set) was an issue in the early days, but once we worked out what the problem was, easily rectified. As for skinning your knuckles on the rail when cocking the rifle, the trick is to “hook” the cocking handle with your fingers (knuckles facing away from the rifle) rather than have the back of your hand toward the rifle. This method also makes it easier to engage the cocking handle in the “hold open” recess.

  • Every man a Tiger

    When you’ve fired 20,000 or more rounds thru this new bullpup variant let me know. Until its had that and some real field time its just another wannabe. My AUG and MSAR are both field and battle proven carry weapons for me that I rely on. Also if they arnt producing it with the ability to use either the AUG or AR mags (ie interchangeable) then there way behind the times. You should have got an MSAR than dick round with an unproven entry to the field.

    • Alex C.

      What battles have you carried them into? I am legitimately curious.

      • Every man a Tiger

        Sorry Alex, been away for a few days. Both weapons have seen service in the Middle East Far East and the STG more recently in Africa. Beyond this I’m not permitted to say more. Somewhat less than two years ago I converted my SOCOM 16 to a bullpup configuration. This reduced the operational leant about 11 inches. The bull pup stock adds about 2 lbs to the overall weight however with the action, receiver, and barrel being moved toward the shoulder the CG changes significantly. Seemly to reduce its weigh. With the overall leant reduced this platform becomes an excellent CQ tool providing substantially heavier fire support with the 7.62×51 cartridge than it smaller brother in 5.56. The heavier round and this platform also provides for an increase in the depth of the operational field of engagement while still remaining fairly low profile. Both pups travel with me. Just a suggestion but if VLTOR maintained the design specs there will be an adjustment at the gas block. You may find that your shot grouping may improve somewhat with adjustment. The AUG and its verious Lic. Mods and variants seem to like to be feed the better grades of munitions. My STG, functions flawlessly using any Blackhills product and Federal Prem Tactical. Three or five shot groups from your platform should be producing off the bench and bags groups of 1.5 to 1.75 inch.. I would also suggest that ones stays away from the general use of steel cased munitions. They do not seem to function as well or be as accurate. If you don’t like the trigger as it comes out of the box there is several ways that hey may be tuned up. You will need to find a smith who is familiar with AUG designs and if possible someone who is an Armorer with expierance on these platforms. The only other suggestion would be to have your bolt and barrel assemblies CyroTempered or Cryogenic Hardening. This will produce excellent results with improvement in accuracy and smoothness of operation.

        • Alex C.

          I must say that your post and it’s outrageous claims gave me a very good laugh. I needed that, thank you!

          • I thought I was the only one:-)

          • Every man a Tiger

            If your are a senior writer for TFB and you support the kind of blog that was written here concerning this new platform I’m hoping TFB isn’t paying you money for that support. It would seem that from your point of view a few rounds at the range, trip back to the manufacture due to defect and no real range data to speak of is a far better claim of knowledge than actual but “outrageous” time with the weapon in the field. Really?? Your no more competent than Alex if that’s the case. Ahhhh, what the hell, I’m never going to have to rely and trust on either of you two to cover my back so this is indeed pointless. FNG Legs like you guys are everywhere but at least your where you can’t hurt anybody else.

          • Every man a Tiger

            Your welcome, always a pleasure to make someone resort bluster and insult because of the own insecurities and inabilities to produce solid data due to a lack of operational expierance on their part. Your information is bogus, and based on little or no actual data. Talk about giving up a good laugh, we should be thanking you if you weren’t such a self serving idiot.

          • ThatOneGuy

            Gecko45?! I heard you were dead!

        • Troy Emge

          Possible but don’t buy it for a second. Pretty much all PMC types carry common weapons

    • BaconLovingInfidel

      Yeah, this thing shouldn’t be compared to an AUG. What was Alex thinking?

  • Gabe Suarez

    Our people have been working hard with the Steyr AUG. Some of us have shot them with CT Units in Europe as well. They are the best designed bullpups in the USA, in my opinion, and far better quality than the well-marketed Tavor.

    I don’t work for Steyr but I will share some thought on your “CONS” list –

    Threaded some oddball metric thread: Yes…silly to sell a rifle in the US that is not 1/2×28. But there are several top shelf muzzle devices specifically made for the AUG in the AUG thread now.

    Mushy awful trigger – Compared to a Knights SR-15, yes. But the Glock-like trigger is a trait common to all bullpups. We were able to hit out to 600 yards easily when combining a stock Steyr AUG with a Browe BCO optic so is the trigger that much of a problem?

    Not the most accurate gun I own to say the least – Again, compared to what? My Steyr AUG with Corbon ammo is far more accurate than the one in your article. Steyr is selling accessory barrels in 1:7 now so that should allow the use of heavier match rounds as well.

    Can dig into your hand if you are not careful – Training…training…training.

    Oddball magazines (stocks that take M16 magazines exist) – Yes…I suspect the NATO AUG that accepts all M4 magazines will sell better. Nonetheless, Steyr is trying to flood the market with their Austrian mags so now is the time to get these.

    Left handed users need to buy an expensive bolt – Nope…that is not the case at all. That is a training issue and I will be happy to show anyone who is left handed, or wants to shoot an AUG left handed exactly what they need to do.

    Gabe Suarez
    CEO – The Suarez Group

  • znby

    “This feature is obviously not just an issue with civilian shooters either, as the Australians incorporated a full-auto lockout device on their F88 rifles (a license built copy of the AUG) to prevent the shooter from accidentally throwing around more rounds than needed.”

    I believe the Irish Army has made a similar modification to their AUG A1s.

  • Troy S.

    My aug is pretty accurate printing 1 moa with good ammo including some military type ball (IMI ect.). The trigger does suck. I have shot several semi and auto tavors. The trigger on the tavor is a little better but the guns is LESS accurate than the steyr.

  • Gabe Suarez

    I will add one more thing. Any AUG owners that truly hate their rifles and have bought the internet kool-aid from the uninformed that “they all suck”. If your rifle is in good condition, I will buy it from you at a fair market price.

    Gabe Suarez
    CEO-Suarez Group

  • Jess-Avery Affentranger

    “Even the MSAR clones stoppped being made because I assume they were just not profitable (Microtechs website does however still list the STG E4 as one of their products). ”

    I believe that MSAR is back in business and that they are also offering support for their old rifles.

  • Spooder

    Few comments about the rifle. I have two.

    The first is an original USR I bought legally in CA back in the day. 100% made in Austria. Upgraded the optic to the optional rail and installed an aimpoint Comp M3, and later an ACOG TA33GH with the 223 reticle. Never failed to feed, fire or eject. Prolly 2000 rounds through it to date. Eventually had to register it in CA when the law was changed, now I have a legacy and permanently legal rifle should I ever move back there, which I never will.

    Second is the new A3, mine is a Sabre Defense version. Again, never failed to feed, fire or eject. Again installed the trigger tamer. Also upgraded to the longer 2020 precision top rail which is long enough that BUIS open sights are actually useful. This one uses an aimpoint micro, with the optional PVS-14 for the darkness. Furthermore I installed the AAC flash hider/can adapter no problem, though it took a while to find one with the LH 13 metric thread. Bought the can in Oct 2012 and still waiting for BATF to send the paperwork to my local shop so I can finally pick it up. I have a LED/IR surefire lamp which goes on the rail on the right side of the receiver. I have had no interest in the special CQ front end rail system as it only adds weight to what many consider to be an already heavy rifle (yeah, by what 1 lb?).

    Regarding the trigger. Agreed about the mush and creep. I use the trigger tamer and find it to eliminate most of the complaint. I also bought the Ratworks AR15 trigger pack which is as advertised and makes it feel just like a nice AR, though it is light which is not what is necessarily wanted for true applications. Also it does not include the A3 bolt release feature, I am considering getting an A3 trigger pack and seeing if I can install it there (it comes in an MSAR trigger pack housing).

    Regarding accuracy, it varies wildly depending on ammo. Most mil grade ammo gives me a pattern of about 1-1/2 inch at 50 yards on a bench rest with the good optics. BUT load it up with, for instance, 62 grain Hornady TAP BTHP and that pattern decreases to about 1/2 inch which is not bad. Both guns have 1 in 9 twist, and as stated below, the 1 in 7 barrels are now available in 16 and 20 inches. Just bought some 75 grain high quality ammo and am hoping it holds good groups with the 1 in 9 as I see it to be folly to have to buy another $550 barrel just to shoot 75 grain ammo. Finally, there was a lot of hype about the new FN CHF barrels, so of course I went out and got one (unfortunately before the 1 in 7 were available), and so far it has only been test fired. Now I think it was dumb to buy another barrel as the original Sabre barrel seems just fine. No reported issues with the original Sabre barrels.

    Regarding handling: This is my favorite rifle design, because of the balance, short profile, breakdown and reliability. And I have owned FN-FAL, HK91, Colt AR. Now with the longer 2020 precision rail allowing use of open back up sights, the new A3 design does everything I could ever want from a light auto rifle. I am particularly fond of the gas piston system which does not fill my receiver with grime. Cleaning the gun is very easy and fast.

    The latest VLTOR versions were test fired to 16,000 rounds. I bought complete spares kits for both rifles, but have never needed to change any parts out. This is a reliable and durable rifle. I do prefer the original Steyr magazines, and they are plentiful and cheap.

    Whenever at the range allowing others to fire it, they are always impressed with its handling and overall quality. The failure described in the article is the first I have heard of, and appears to be rectified bringing the gun to the expected standard of quality.

    I did consider the Tavor, but after reading about it at length, seems the accuracy is not there and there were some other aggravating features as well. So I am sticking with the Aug.

  • Nokeo

    One correction to this article. The original AUG did not use glass from Zeiss. Swarovski provided the original A1 scopes. The new AUG A3 SF optics is made by Aimpoint.