Australian Army Fielding F90 (EF88) For Trials

steyr

The Australian Army’s program to produce a successor to the F88 “Austeyr” is on the verge of bearing fruit. Army.gov.au reports that the F90, formerly designated “EF88” is now being issued for trials, in preparation for final modifications and production. The F90 is a lighter, more modular system that fixes many of the flaws of the original Steyr AUG design:

Equipping 1 RAR with what has been described by those who participated in trials as an exceptional weapon and a sign of things to come, with the introduction of the EF88 being provided by Project Land 125-3C.

Colonel Scotty Palmer, of Army Headquarters, said the EF88 being issued to 1 RAR this year was a comprehensive enhancement to the current F88.

“Trial results have confirmed our soldiers consider this weapon to be remarkably modular, balanced and accurate during combat and longer range shooting,” Colonel Palmer said.

Operations Officer 1 RAR, Major Peter Van de Peer, said the EF88 was already a popular weapon with the soldiers who used it during trials to date.

“We are very much looking forward to employing the new EF88 during coming support company courses, Tully jungle training rotations and Exercise Wantok Warrior in Papua New Guinea,” Major Van de Peer said.

Private Jake Whitlock of 1 RAR was involved in a previous trial of the EF88.

“The EF88 impressed everyone with its accuracy, reliability and design,” Private Whitlock said.

The EF88 being issued to 1 RAR will be equipped with an enhanced day sight, foregrip and, for grenadiers, a grenade launcher attachment.

Lessons learned from the rollout of the EF88 to 1 RAR will influence the introduction into service of the EF88 and ancillary packs provided by Land 125-3C from 2016.

Land 125-3C Project Officer Major Mick O’Sullivan of Army Headquarters said in addition to the introduction of the EF88, Land 125-3C would include a range of state-of-the-art weapon ancillaries to optimise the performance of the EF88.

“Land 125-3C will deliver the EF88 with ancillary packs configured to the tier and role of the recipient,” Major O’Sullivan said.

“These ancillary packs, combined with creative, persistent and challenging training, will empower Army’s Tier 2 and 3 combatants to achieve superior competence in combat shooting and marksmanship.”

I was originally skeptical of the Australian government’s ability to reduce weight and increase the capability of the excellent Steyr rifle, but it seems they have indeed achieved this. The Rogue Adventurer has additional information on the EF88/F90 and the F1A1 ammunition it will be issued with, as does Maxim Popenker’s excellent website.

The F90 is set to become “top dog” in the bullpup world, if all goes well for the Australians.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Esh325

    Is it good enough they can get Aussie SF to give up their M4’s for it?

    • Joshua

      It’s doubtful. Australias SF have a program similar to our SOPMOD program that keeps their M4’s current.

    • Dave

      Some fellow commandoes preferred their F88’s over M4A5’s and carried them in the field, I wasn’t as lucky to be given a choice and was stuck carrying a Maximi but the choice is there as well as equipment and accessories to kit one out similar to our M4A5’s.

    • Tom

      Pretty much all NATO and allied special forces carry M4s or derivatives there of so it makes sense to keep using M4s.

      Also I think (and I mean no offence here) Spec Ops guys like to have a different rifle to the regular army.

      • Manny Fal

        Yeah special forces cross training between nations is more numerous than normal infantry.

    • Manny Fal

      Possibly. The deal breakers with the Steyr Aug were that quick attachment/detachment of torch/laser aiming module was impossible, attaching a grenade launcher required an armourer, shooting on the left shoulder without malfunction was very difficult and it didn’t suppress well. All these problems appear to be solved. So it will probably become more popular with Commandos, but SASR prefer their M4 and SBR M4s, along with their HK417 DMR in 308. Makes sense for them to stick with the AR platform. If they develop a .308 DMR version of the Steyr Aug, then we may see widespread adoption in the SASR.

      • Dave

        Mate the regiment fully switched to 416’s and 417’s a couple years back though there are a few old hands who are adverse to change and still carry CAR-15’s.

        • Manny Fal

          Well tell’em to update their wikipedia page.

          • Dave

            Why on earth would they ever want that?

    • John

      Special Forces give up nothing and use everything. When phased plasma rifles start becoming portable, you bet they’ll be using those.

  • Ben

    Dat Crye kit though….

    • G0rdon_Fr33man

      Oper8in…

      • Ben

        Like a boss!

    • Manny Fal

      Actually it’s part of the new official uniform now. (crye top and pants in ‘australian’ multicam)

      • Ben

        Yeah. Some were getting Airframes too. Are you sure that’s Auscam? It looks a lot like Standard too me.

  • Sianmink

    Don’t suppose we’ll get a US civilian version any time soon?

  • Zebra Dun

    I handled but did not fire one of these AUG’s long ago in a gunstore.
    It felt weirdly as if I was holding a hammer backwards.
    I would not have one.

    • Kivaari

      I was able to fire one having 4 different barrel and sight arrangements. The old pattern 1.5x scope was terrible. Additionally the owner had a 9mm conversion kit and a suppressor. I liked shooting it – but in 5.56mm the short barrel let off a gut churning muzzle blast. It really needed a Noveske blast diverter. I’d never buy one, as I dislike the ejection and the awkward bull pup feel. So far I have never found a bull pup that handles like an AR.

      • iksnilol

        *facepalm*

        The only thing that will handle like an AR is an AR.

        • Bear The Grizzly

          Haha +1
          If only it took Glock mags too 😉

        • ostiariusalpha

          Ha ha, nice! In the most technical sense you are correct, but I think he mostly means by rifles that “handle like an AR” those with somewhat similar control layouts and ergonomics. Like the Howa Type 89, Daewoo K2, CIS SR-88, AR-18, Beretta AR-70/90, SIG 550, HK G36, FN SCAR, etc.

        • Kivaari

          Right. Did you notice when the A2 appeared the way people reacted? Going from the lightweight A1, with its neutral balance, to th A2 made me comment, “Now that handles like a real rifle”. I had a nice FN-FAL that seemed closer that about any other rifle I had. I had a few dozen of the best of the era from 70s-90s. I foolishly sold all of them.

          • iksnilol

            No offense, when the A2 appeared I wasn’t even planned nor born yet. Personally I got no dog in the fight. Wouldn’t mind a couple of bullpups (AUG and Famas are on the list, + those are the ones I can realistically find). Still, even if I get fancy western guns I will still likely stick to my AK. So at this point they are more for novelty and curiosities sake than for any real use.

            I am really interested in the MSBS that the Poles are making.

        • Kivaari

          Should I have said, “I haven’t found a bull pup that handles as well as an AR”? I really like the mid-length AR having a Magpul fixed stock. It is A1 length and with a light weight barrel profile it’s great. My HBAR is simply heavy, but it still feels like a conventional rifle. I like conventional rifles.

      • Chuck

        Possibly due to the fact an AR is not a bullpup…DUH…

        • Kivaari

          Duh! No kidding. That’s the point. A conventionally configured rifle handles better than any bull pup. An AR can be fired either handed. The old M16A1 did leave burns on ones neck if the shooter is wearing his helmet and shooting left handed. That “case bump” works.

  • ant1248

    If they make it work with stanag AR-15 mags with LRBHO and this other improvements I want it.

    • FourString

      Or if Magpul comes out with cheap AUG mags like they did with the G36

      • ant1248

        No I want full compatibility with my existing stuff and the most common gun magazine ever.

        • FourString

          Good for you, you’re not the only buyer.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Actually, they did put out a limited run of windowed AUG PMags for the Australian military with some civilian sales on the side, but you seem to have missed the boat on that one. Their product model was PMAG AUS GEN M3; you could try to find another AUG owner that has some, but I doubt they would part with them. Magpul still has the molds, so maybe if the Australians order another batch you could score some then. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for it though.

        • Nigel Tegg

          well they never issued them to the military, that I can tell you…

          • Dave

            I can tell you otherwise, my unit were issued them in Afghanistan for and Austeyrs we had troopers fielding.

          • ostiariusalpha

            What did you think of them versus the Steyr mags?

          • Dave

            I didn’t use them personally, but the guys who did use them liked them, though they tended to carry a 40rounder in the gun and the PMAG’s in their rigs.

          • Nigel Tegg

            Well I mean they never issued them on home soil out to regular units, if they did that would be a nice change.

    • Manny Fal

      last round bolt hold open and AR-15 magazine compatibility is built in as this Aug variant will be licensed to Steyr for them to build and sell. And Australia has wanted to change magazines for a while.

    • Jeff

      That’s a really good point. I wonder if Steyr refuse to allow that mod?

      • ostiariusalpha

        The knife company, Microtech, had their Microtech Small Arms Research division. They made an AUG clone that was STANAG compatible, but it didn’t sell all that well and ended up being dropped from production.

        • Kivaari

          Was it another $2000 to $3000 rifle? I my old age it is hard to spend that much on a rifle that needs another $1500 to $2000 in optics and other gear. In my youth I’d do. It’s hard spend more money on scope mounts when we used to buy AR15s for $125 and AR180s for $100 used and nearly new. Heck we could buy used Colt Commanders for $39.99. It was a lifetime ago.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The price was exactly what ended up killing the MSAR, it seems. Bullpups are a more niche part of the firearms market anyways, the popularity of the less expensive Tavor pushed the MSAR out; it also probably caused the end of production for the FS2000.

          • Kivaari

            I handled the FS2000 ONCE. It was club-like. It’s about the only time I listened to writer Leroy Thompson. He said it wouldn’t shoot worth a damn. I normally ignored his stuff. starting when he said the Benelli M121 M1, was the best combat shotgun ever. That after he fired 65 rounds. I had had more failures to function in two of them. I talk to the then HK representative. He quietly said the guns did not work. Confirmation! That was 30 years ago. Like Chuck Taylor’s phony articles. The big names are often simply scammers with little more background than the readers. They just get published.

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, Leroy is still a fool. The Tactical Tuna takes some getting used to on it’s ergos, but that broad butt pad seats very solidly in the shoulder and the space for the grenade launcher battery can be used to store a lot of useful stuff. The trigger makes me laugh: loose, spongy, long take up that reminds me of an old NES light gun trigger. There are trigger mods that can make it acceptable, but it will never achieve greatness. As to Mr. Thompson’s claim of unreliability, this has almost entirely to do with the magazine, as the FS2000 has little tolerance for mags without anti-tilt followers and is rather picky about feed lip angle. Once you get a set of mags it likes though, it runs like a sewing machine.

      • Steyr offers that option.

  • Patrick M.

    Incredible that after all these years it still looks like a space gun

  • Fdfas Jlkjl

    I would still rather have a proper trigger and sear rather than a Rube Goldberg machine and changing mags in my armpit. But that’s just me.

    • Rube Goldberg machine – you mean like a 1911 has? 😉

      • Fdfas Jlkjl

        I’m not a 1911 fan, but at least the relevant parts are metal.

        Can you change mags on a bullpup as fast as you can on an AR? I just don’t think the loss of ergonomics is worth what you gain.

        • Manny Fal

          Delta operator or competitive 3 gun? Cause that’s the only two groups where these concerns would matter imo.

          • Fdfas Jlkjl

            Ordinary infantry soldiers don’t need to be able to change magazines quickly?

          • Kivaari

            What? What is an ordinary infantryman? In what I have learned, it is the special operators that don’t often need to rush the magazine change. Some are reported as replacing the full auto selectors, and using better semi-auto triggers and selectors. Relying on aimed fire, in a slower but fast manner. The “go, fast slowly” means you don’t let the adrenaline overwhelm your brain and body. I did that once where I did have to beat a man to the draw. I remained very clam, until they were cuffed and stuffed. I sat in my patrol car, reached for a pen, and couldn’t stop shaking for half-an-hour. At least I didn’t wet myself.
            As much as I like the M16/M4 in full-auto, I know that a SSA trigger gives me more control and doesn’t waste ammo. I suspect the SOF-types use their ammo more effectively.

          • CommonSense23

            Changing mags quickly is extremely overrated. Its a great way to be able to see overall skills, and as stated great for competition, but its one of those things that is low on the priority of a combat rifle. I am not stating that taking 10 seconds to change a mag is acceptable, but getting a new mag in roughly 4 or 5 seconds is completely acceptable.

          • Kivaari

            Well, At least if the other guys shooting at you are poor shots.

          • CommonSense23

            If the other guys are shooting at you, you shouldn’t be in a spot without cover, you should have others providing support, so when you run dry, you stop, get behind cover, then reload. This whole I am going to change a mag, on the move in the open while being shot at and then pull off a couple of headshots on the fly is hollywood.

          • Iksnilol

            Now I am no soldier but all the soldiers I have talked to don’t recommend reliading in the open. Get to cover, reload, then carry on.

            And reloading a bullpup can’t take more than 5 seconds after practice (this is with retaining the mag). Not much slower than reloading an AR (if you retain the mag). ARs are lightning fast if you use drop free mags and don’t retain them. Otherwise you still “waste” time removing the mag and dumping it into a pouch/mag carrier.

          • Richard

            Do you work for the Australian Army procurement team by any chance?

            It used to blow me away that there were two completely different streams of equipment – what was used on operations, and what was actually issued to the Army in Australia.

            Standard optic – a 1.5 x sight with no central aiming reticule and the smallest FOV I’ve ever seen on any scope. Hard to aim off with that one, and forget shooting past 300m! Even the official manual pointed out that a target at 500m would be completely obscured by the donut reticule, and you’d have to ‘estimate’ where it was. A more minor point – the backup sights on top of the scope were based 3-dot pistol style – try getting a good sight picture with that setup 3″ away from your face.

            Standard mag pouch was another classic – a 3-mag design, seemingly based around M16 magazines. Steyr mags were a heavy force fit, and if you put them in rounds down, then the mag catch would catch on the seams of the pouch.

            I’ll never understand why the Army would just take whatever Thales have created, given that they are newly manufactured rifles. Why not competitively test the market and take advantage of what’s happened in small arms design in the last 40 years?

            In other words, build HK416s under licence and issue them.

          • CommonSense23

            I am no way for this weapon, I am a AR guy overall, but changing a mag quickly is a overstated skill set.

        • iksnilol

          You can change out mags on bullpups just as fast as you can with a conventional rifle. The problem arises from the fact that people shoot ARs and AKs their entire life then when they try something completely different they aren’t as proficent with it as they are with their conventional rifle.

          A decent comparison would be if you drive a car your entire life and then you try a motorcycle. Of course you aren’t going to be as good on the motorcycle as you are in the car.

          • Fdfas Jlkjl

            A decent comparison would be if you moved the gear shifter behind the drivers seat. Practice all you like, between your hands is not ergonomically equivalent to your armpit. I’ve only ever deployed with a steyr, the suggestion that I just need a bit of practice is pretty funny. Steyr fanboys really are a religious cult.

          • iksnilol

            Not a Steyr fanboy. I still haven’t moved on from the AK.

          • Richard

            Haha yes that is a better comparison, to my mind.

            I hope the new version has a fixed barrel – the drill we had to remove the barrel literally every time the weapon was issued and returned to the armoury was the stupidest thing I ever saw in the Army.

            And that includes the photocopiers with COMCARE safey risk assessments on photocopying stuck on them. (Ozone build up and untrained personnel were the biggest hazards apparently, in case you’re wondering).

            I saw more than a few older F88s where the barrel retaining lugs were severely worn – and the zero would shift by up to 100 mm every time the barrel was replaced.

        • Dave

          Yes you can, and you don’t lose any ergonomics, so stop talking out your ass about a platform you’ve never trained or used under fire.

  • Leonidas

    I read somewhere, a North African country(may be Tunis) tested “Steir AUG” in desert conditions and it fails because of extreme heat so they prefer another rifle.Plastic can’t take heat.

    I think it may fail in intensive and prolonged clashes.

    • Manny Fal

      Well that’s the value of Australian military spearheading this project. They have a active, competent and not corrupt military so if they adopt a rifle it must work in all environments.

      • Richard

        I wouldn’t call the Australian military particularly active – at least not the main infantry units. They have not had a major combat role since the Vietnam War. I do not think the F88 has ever seen serious combat use.
        I served in an Australian Army unit that operated small boats – we were taught that if the F88 was immersed in water it had to be stripped before it could be fired, as the bolt carrier guide rods would fill up with water and cause the weapon to hydraulically lock.

        If the Australian Army is wanting to adopt a new rifle, why hasn’t there been any competitive trials?

        • Manny Fal

          Well by ‘active’ I mean in a relative sense. Really the only countries with any real recent war experience is the U.S and Russia. Australia was active in Afghanistan and East Timor. Which is more than you can say for the majority of nations. I believe the performance of the Steyr Aug in East Timor in 1999+ was what spurred the look for a replacement, as it performed poorly. (Special forces/commandos adopted the M4 as standard shortly after this experience I believe)

          As for why the Aug again and no new rifle? It’s cause of the ‘future soldier’ program they have planned. East Timor 1999 forced Australia to buy a crapton of night vision goggles, what was at that time believed to be a useful luxury, turned out to be a necessity. Every single soldier must have one, which also requires a laser aiming module on their rifle, and don’t forget the torch. And don’t forget the suppressor to eliminate flash at night. The Steyr Aug sucked for all of this and had to be modified, but problems still remained. Now thermal vision is also believed to be a necessity. More weight on the rifle, making a bullpup format necessary. Now that the Steyr Aug patents have lapsed, they might as well modify an existing design they are very familiar with than adopt a less proven and more expensive bullpup platform. (Like the tavor)

          • ostiariusalpha

            Oh Manny, I can dismiss that statement as your simple, honest ignorance, but you just seriously insulted hundreds of Commonwealth soldiers that fought & died serving in Iraq & Afghanistan. Not to mention all those that were severely wounded fighting along with the US.

          • Bill

            IIRC, there have been at least 40 other countries besides the US involved in overseas operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Bosnia, and Haiti, and the Horn of Africa……I’m sure that my figure is low.

          • Manny Fal

            Some coalition partners were more active than others. Germany weren’t allowed to fight so they didn’t. France paid off the taliban to not attack them. Australia in contrast was one of the most active coalition partners in it’s area of responsibility.

          • Bill

            Yes, and there were a couple that sent fewer than a hundred people in strictly non-combatant roles. My point was that the Canadians, Aussies, Brits, and a number of others played an extremely active role in the wars. Off the top of my head I don’t know they populations of each country, the numbers in their military, or the amount of GDP each push into their militaries, but those are factors to consider also. If a country didn’t fight, OK, maybe they did something else so we didn’t have to – water purification, medical clinics, vehicle maintenance, clerking, it all needs doing.

        • Dave

          “at least not the main infantry units.” 4RAR here, it was a rare occasion when we could get together more than 2 companies back at the regimental grounds because we were deployed overseas so much constantly.

        • John

          >we were taught that if the F88 was immersed in water it had to be
          stripped before it could be fired, as the bolt carrier guide rods would
          fill up with water and cause the weapon to hydraulically lock.

          Huh. That would explain why the new EF-88 and F90 models are held together with screws; easy disassembly for drainage and repair perhaps.

    • Kivaari

      A few months back there was another terrorist attack there. Not yesterdays. The cops and soldiers running around had the AUG.

  • kingghidorah

    All this national pride bs costs the people who pay taxes $. you want a better bullpup? Try a tavor with a new trigger.

    • iksnilol

      Why bother? They already have the AUG, so they have the training and spare parts for it. Much easier to just improve it than change out the entire thing. That’s like asking why the US doesn’t just switch over to a new rifle instead of using the M4 and M16.

      • MAUSERMAN

        Its because tavor is the BEST gun since someone invented sliced bread. Don’t you know? LOL and everyone else must love it as I do. And every country in the world needs to adopt it as their service weapon!!! Damn it!!

        • FarmerB

          Does it take Glock magazines?

          • MAUSERMAN

            If it dosent chuck Norris will kick the Shiiiiittt out of it and make it fit.

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          It’s made by HK?????

      • jmcelrone

        The US has far more people to equip…

    • Canadian Vet

      Why reinvent the wheel? The Aussies already use the AUG and they like it well enough so why should they go for a completely different platform, one with which they have no institutional experience? It makes a lot more sense, as a way of reducing the operational turn-around time to refine what they already got and only need to get accustomed to new optics and some accessories while the platform itself is mostly unchanged.

    • Superjuice

      Steyr is from Austria, not Australia, how is this about national pride?

      • Sianmink

        The F90 is manufactured under license in Australia by an Australian company.

        • mikko

          No. It was the original F88 Austeyr that was licensed to ADI Lithgow (now owned by Thales). The EF88/F90 is engineered by Thales Australia who in turn has licensed Steyr Mannlicher to manufacture and sell this to clients outside Australia/New Zealand.

          • Chuck

            Wait, New Zealand has an Army???

          • ostiariusalpha

            Of hobbits. Or didn’t you know?

    • Unfirtunately, the Tavor is not an improvement over the AUG.

      • asoro

        its suppose to be, I have shot both many times, they are very close but the edge goes to the Tavor

        • You really think so? What’s your reasoning? I really don’t like the Tavor very much in comparison.

          • asoro

            there both great guns, very good battle type of gun ( bullpup) style, the Tavor was designed from the Aug, The Aug does have a Plastic trigger group in it and the Tavor has a better one from what I read, they both shoot nice they are both a bit heavy but great guns.you can’t go wrong with either gun. It all comes down to the one you like better. Heck Israel solders like it……

          • Here’s my dissenting opinion. The Tavor is heavier, has a poor mag release (that is easily inadvertently activated) and bolt catch. The height above bore is insane, and there’s less hand real-estate than an AUG.

            The Tavor’s not bad overall, but I would prefer the AUG every time, based on my experience with the two.

  • Goody

    I can’t wait to see what they will oppress us with next!

  • noob

    Indeed the Thales F90 is a licensed copy of the venerable AUG, but there are a number of changes, including the interesting choice to avoid the ultrasonic vibration welded construction of the original AUG and go with screws(!) to hold the stock halves together. supposedly this is so that an armorer can open up the rifle stock and install future soldier systems electronics when they become available.

    Do you really want an F90? the main user enhancements are things like a hole in the front of the triggerguard so that the second trigger from the grenade launcher can be closer to your finger. These features may not be relevant to you in your jurisdiction.

  • Nigel Tegg

    It’s a pity all those soldiers in the test only had the older F88 to compare the new F90 to. I’m sure if they tested the Tavor, MDR, MSBS or even an AR-15 platform I can guarantee they would of preferred something else.

    • Dave

      I can guarantee you would be wrong.

      • Nigel Tegg

        In my career I haven’t met an infantryman who is a fan of the F88, I’m sure there’s a few but so far co-workers I’ve got into depth discussions about it all agree the F88 has a lot of short falls in pure design ergonomics which can’t be fixed with a new version.

        • MAUSERMAN

          Sounds like someone got a TAVOR! And everyone else better love it!

        • Richard

          I’ve had the same experience re: many soldiers not favouring the AUG – particularly the few that have used AR pattern rifles.

          Most Australian soldiers have never used another modern rifle – remember that semi-automatic rifles are effectively prohibited in Australia so most will only ever use the AUG throughout their entire career.

          I think it’s rather telling that New Zealand have been completely dissatisfied with the Australian made F88 and are replacing it well ahead of schedule

          • FarmerB

            Exactly – given that just about 100% of 18-20 year olds have never even seen a semi-auto rifle and certainly none with a pistol grip, it’s not hard to impress them.

          • Spiker

            Looking very much like the LMT AR is the favoured replacement as well.

    • John

      Yes. They would preferred glorious Kalashnikov for make great war upon foreign aggressors, comrade. Waste of rubles for capitalist guns of Zion; true soldier need Kalashnikov for battle!

      • LCON

        and the internetz of the day Goes to….

  • Ryan

    Surely the Digger’s are better ditching the weight adding battery sapping EOTech for an Aimpoint?

    • Sianmink

      Last I looked they were standardizing on an ACOG 1.5x or 2.5x scope.

  • Sianmink

    The AuSteyr has a lot of improvements though.

  • I wasn’t all that impressed with it, despite the hype. It’s a good example in my opinion of the sort of compromises you have to make when trying to add features to a bullpup.

    • ostiariusalpha

      I would be interested in the specifics of your view on the compromises the MDR makes. I find that gun intriguing, a short action bullpup that takes SR-25/LR-308 mags and can be converted to fire intermediate cartridges as a bonus. Even with some compromises, it’s competition is the Kel-Tec RFB which fails to impress even as a rifle without “added features.”

      • I dunno how much more I can say, as DT was being pretty hush-hush. I did get a peek inside, though.

    • Plumbiphilious

      Can you tell us more about your experience? If you’ve previously written an article about it, then I must have missed it.

      I wanted at least one bullpup, and it came down to the AUG or MDR, and there’s just not a lot of info on the MDR (as well because it goes through so many design variations to fix any input complaints apparently).

      • No, I haven’t written an article about it. I had thought to, but got caught up in other things.

        I have seen the rifle in person, and gotten a look inside. The MDR is “bullpup heavy” (e.g., ~4 kg, it felt like), but the prototypes I saw were pretty complex with parts that looked thinner and less durable than those on comparable rifles.

        This makes sense; the MDR is trying to pack a lot of features in as small a package as possible, everything from a good trigger to a user-demountable barrel, to caliber conversions, ambidexterity, controls near the firing hand, etc. All this means added linkages, couplings, etc, and if you try to bring the weight down at the same time, those parts need to get smaller and thinner. Couple this with the bullpup design, where the trigger and controls have to be remoted from the actual devices, and you get something with a lot of complexity, a correspondingly high price, and possibly compromised durability (to an extent this last may be mitigated through materials selection – but that’s likely to exacerbate the cost).

        The MDR is definitely designed by “gun guys” who want to make the bullpup really shine, but I predict it will be an uphill battle for them. At the same time, I wish them luck.

  • Manny Fal

    New Zealand military is underfunded. They outsourced their airforce to Australia, and probably use the old original Steyr Aug and not the newer updated Australian variants, so they are antiques. The reason why they want an off the shelf rifle is they weren’t willing to pay for the new EF88, which is too expensive in their view. Overall though buying M4s along with other cheap deals from the U.S, would be a good idea and wouldn’t bother Australia much seeing it’s special forces use the M4 platform. But overall I think New Zealand is immature, unless they want to become a weakling european military, their gear needs to be compatible with Australias gear, their closest military partner and where they get all their military exercise experience from.

    • DaveB

      New Zealand was NOT embedded with Australia in Afghanistan. We had our own AO, quite separate, both geographically and in command structure, from the ADF. We are just as likely to go into a coalition with the US, or Canada as with Australia.
      For your information Thales declined to offer the EF88 for the small arms competition. Further, the original Steyr didn’t win the last small arms competition more than 20 years ago – the M16A2 did. Buying the Steyr from Australia was a political decision.
      As to whether the NZ military is underfunded – show me one today that isn’t. That so-called ‘peace dividend’ hit everybody hard.

      • Ryan Faulkner

        Pretty sure the two sided ANZUS triangle nowadays means the kiwis won’t be deploying with the yanks anytime soon…

  • Rock or Something

    “It is a highly overrated assault rifle and if given the choice, I would
    rather throw stones at the enemy than carry that stoppage prone piece
    of crap,” one ex-soldier wrote on The Firearm Blog.”

    Oooh they quoted a comment on this site. How self-fullfilling!

  • John Double

    I just want a a1 style 308 aug with a better optic.

  • Chuck

    Wait, Australia has an Army???

    • ostiariusalpha

      Duh.

    • Kivaari

      A pretty good one. They sent combat troops to Vietnam. Like ROK did, with some real warriors.

  • shooter2009

    Got my black AUG back in 1990 under the police purchase program for about $1,300. Best investment ever.

  • Phil Hsueh

    I’m curious, where did they manage to shave the extra weight off of the AUG? I’ve never held a real AUG before but it doesn’t look to be all that heavy, it seems pretty slim as is and I can’t imagine where the weight savings comes from.

    • Fluted barrel was the primary way, but also they deleted the barrel change feature and skeletonized the receiver housing.

      • Phil Hsueh

        That makes sense, I guess I was just looking at more obvious, external changes.