Gun Review: JARD J67 9mm Bullpup Rifle – Bullpup Dream Come True?

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Few rifle designs make me stop in my tracks. The JARD J67 was one of them.

Browsing through Google looking to build my own pistol caliber carbine (and sick of all the AR variants), a lone photo grabbed my attention screeching for attention. Having been struggling through the decision of picking up a Sub2000 or a CZ, the black rifle was a welcome respite.

9mm?

Bullpup?

Designed & Made in the USA?

Fully Ambi and M-LOK Compatible?

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It was a dream come true and I immediately contacted the editors with a requirement (not a request, a requirement) to review one. Fortunately, JARD Inc. was amenable to the request and one of the new J67’s was on its way in short-order.

Innovative Design

The JARD J67 is the brainchild and product of a small shop in Iowa. Known for their excellent triggers, especially in the precision rifle community, JARD has been quietly toiling away on some fun rifle designs, including some buffer-tube free MSR upper receivers and side-charging uppers. The latest creation is the J67, a fully ambidextrous 9mm bullpup design.

In fact, it cannot be any more “ambidextrous”. All functions of the weapons system are mirrored on both sides of the gun. The charging handle is forward and non-reciprocating (note, no forward assist which is not needed, especially on a strong recoil spring pistol carbine), magazine release is trigger style in front of the magazine chute, and the safety is Garand-style blade built-in to the trigger guard area.

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Ejection is out the bottom through a true blow-back system. Similar to the Kel-Tec RDB, the weapons bolt over-travels the magazine and the round is ejected out the bottom behind the magazine, though the JARD uses a fixed ejector system, which is actually the recoil spring guide rod. Its a novel use of needed components.

The upper receiver is a monolithic machined extrusion from the handguard cap all the way to the rear. It has the bolt guide-rails shaped directly in, requiring almost no machining, save the picatinny rail up top and the M-LOK compatible (though not officially to-spec) vent holes across the front. The lower is stamped and bent metal housing the trigger (also stamped and bent) which uses a pull method to actuate the hammer behind the ejection chute. Mikail Kalashnikov would be proud of the manufacturability of the weapon. Its simple, inexpensive, and the design is novel. The only option for customization is the addition of a threaded muzzle.

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Field strip is a simple affair, as the two receivers are held together only through a large-thumb-screw at the front of the lower, which is screwed into the upper. Simply twist to remove the screw, slide the upper forward and pull up while watching to retain the recoil spring guide rod/fixed ejector. Once removed from the lower, the bolt slides and out the rear. Its as simple as it is elegant.

 

Shooting the JARD J67

Due to incessant rain in the Ohio Valley area (and 3-gun taking up off weekends), I saddled up and headed into the local indoor range, which has a 50-yard rifle bay so I could put some rounds down-range for real accuracy testing. For testing, the JARD was equipped with an OpticsPlanet OPMod EOTech optic and Magpul MBUS 2nd Generation sights.

Magazines available for testing included the included Magpul G17 polymer magazine, standard G17 magazines, extended G17 magazines (with Arredondo extensions), and a few of the new clear ETS magazines including a few “happy sticks” loaded with 33 rounds to bear. Ammuniton included Federal 9mm HST loads, Freedom Ammunition reloads in both 147 and 115 grain varieties, and truly “random” ammunition with a bevvy of rounds with mixed steel and brass-cased to test at the extreme.

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Unfortunately, the first range trip was not a good experience. Wanting to just blast-away on the rifle (nothing like breaking one in on some high-round counts), the ETS happy-sticks were up first and were very tight on the magazine well. While one could push up on them to get into place, hard, malfunctions abounded using the 115 grain Freedom. Rounds simply did not feed and due to the strength of the recoil spring, if they fell short, they were compressed, significantly.

Thinking it a glitch or an issue with the ETS magazines (which had only been used in my G22 9mm conversion), I swapped over the Glock magazines, loaded with 148 grain. Same issues. Nuts!

Fortunately, the owner of JARD is quite the hands-on fellow. Within hours of e-mail notification of the issue, I was called for a full debrief. Any first-generation of a firearm will have a few glitches, so the weapon went back to JARD for work-up, which was found to be the fixed ejector was too long, not allowing rounds to be ejected downwards behind the magazine thus causing malfuntions.

Major set-back.

Major set-back.

JARD J67 Range Trip 2.0

With the weapon back fresh from the factory (including new-weapon smell again), I headed back to the same range with the exact same loads. This time, it was far more successful. With the feeding issues largely resolved, the weapon performed well.

Not worrying about having a significant problem, I was able to focus on the weapon, which was a welcome treat. Being a firm believer in all things MUST be ambi, the JARD ticked all the right boxes. Everything, and I mean everything is 100% mirrored and opposite from one another. The charging handle is located in a great position (far enough back to be easy to rack, not too far back that one bonks their face when charging), the trigger-style magazine release worked well (but does force purposeful magazine removal), and the safety works well, despite being Garand-style.

With rounds humming downrange at a good clip, I was able to now enjoy the trigger, which is good, even for a stock weapon. Considering that the JARD is a bullpup, its an utterly fantastic pull. Coming in around 5 lbs, it performs as a solid 2-stage with take-up and a good wall prior to break. Reset is a little mushy, but with the hammer next to ones face when firing, its easily heard.

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Accuracy was likewise excellent, considering it was 9mm and shot only with a red-dot (for reference, I am able to shoot about 1″ even with match ammo and an EOTech, so divide my groups by .75 to get a rough magnified result). At 50 yards using Freedom 115 grain, groups were about 4″ extreme spread, with a solid mean radius (I’d estimate about mean 1.2″ radius). 148 grain was slightly better at 3.2″ extreme spread shooting 10+ round groups.

Unfortunately, the malfunction issue raised its head again and after about 200 rounds, was running into similar failure to eject/failure to feed. While significantly less common, it was still persistent, with at least one round from magazine having issues (though strangely, the PMag never had a problem, jus the Glock and ETS magazines). The malfunctions were frustrating to clear, as normal remedial action will make the problem worse.

The issue is that one cannot see into the chamber to diagnose an issue. Most of the time the gun just speaks to the shooter with an unusual recoil pulse or dead trigger. Since the chamber is visible only when the magazine is released, one must remove the magazine and then clearing a malfunction gets interesting. To see the malfunction, one must flip the gun upside down. When flipped, the fixed ejector has to work against gravity (or the round has fallen off the bolt face and is rattle around the receiver). So, one then has to flip it right-side up, manipulate the action, watch the bad rounds fall out, flip over to check for clearance again, and then load and charge. Despite being a novel system, I would not call it combat-ready.

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In the JARD’s defense, this is not a unique problem. The Kel-Tec RDB also faces the same issues, which will be typical of any weapon using the long-stroke downward ejection pattern. Its fully ambi, but comes at a cost of malfunction clearance when one inevitably comes around. Its then up to the designer to ensure the weapon is largely reliable.

With nearly 500 rounds down the pipe, I walked away from the range appreciative of the design, but disappointed in the final reliability. While I would not select it as a home-defense carbine, it is a great weapon to teach one to shoot on, varmint hunt, or plink on a weekend.

The Good

  • Compact “Just Legal” Rifle at 26.2″ and 16″ barrel.
  • Excellent trigger for a bullpup (or stock rifle, for that matter…)
  • 100% Completely Ambidextrous Function
  • M-LOK compatible forearm.
  • Uses common Glock magazines.
  • Easy break-down of the upper and lower receivers.

The Notable

  • Novel design that uses the recoil rod as the ejector
  • Garand-style safety. I would prefer to keep my finger out of the trigger guard but it is so far out front, I forgive it.
  • A manufacturing design that Kalashnikov would be proud of. Stamped and folded lower, extruded upper, and bent steel trigger system.

The Bad:

  • Not combat-reliable, but pinking fun ready.
  • Excellent design execution, but would like to see more rounded corners on the trigger guard, especially for the price.
  • Some rough finishes and machine marks throughout internal components.
  • Metal for a cheek-rest. Gets cold in winter!

Final Thoughts:

JARD is an interesting company with interesting rifles. The J67 is no exception. Its a novel solution for a bullpup rifle and certainly has many positive attributes going for it. First, the trigger is excellent (even for any stock rifle). Its the minimum legal everything in the US (length, barrel, etc) and is 100% fully and totally ambidextrous. From there, its M-LOK compatible, easily broken down and serviced, and with downward ejection, the J67 is not just ambi but southpaw friendly.

On the flip side, its not 100% reliable (more like 95%), it feels a bit chunky (but balances well as most bullpups), the length of pull is a bit long for my tastes, and is a bit clunky too, as one might say of an AK. If I didn’t know anything about the company I would say the design was Soviet for its sparseness and simplicity. I don’t say that as a hit to the rifle, but for the price at $899 with great options like the Kel-Tec Sub2000, I did hope for slightly better.

That said, if one compares it to the Tavor (at $2500+ for the rifle and then the conversion kit), the $899 price looks very attractive.

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Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Thamuze Ulfrsson

    9×21 Dilon model anyone?

    • LG

      10 mm Auto.

      • me

        .50ae

        • Anonymoose

          .440 Corbon.

          • PK

            .460 Rowland.

          • Gary Kirk

            .460 S&W rimless..

        • Anomanom

          .454 Casull

    • Austin

      *9×25

    • A.WChuck

      Plasma in 40 watt range.

  • hikerguy

    It seems some bugs need to be worked out, but looks like a very promising design. looks like a good platform for .300 Blackout as well.

    • plingr2

      Yeah, blowback in .300 Blackout and the bolt could weigh 8kg.

      • Anonymoose

        What if we did an HK-style roller-delayed bolt?

        • Twilight sparkle

          Then it would be too expensive

          • jamezb

            And they might decide we suck and start hating us.

      • hikerguy

        It would have to have some internals changed, of course, but there is room in there for a gas operated system with an M-16 style bolt.

        • Mack

          You guys need to think outside of the box…

          30×173 mm

          • DaveP

            When is that new Israeli 130mm gonna hit the shelves?

          • Gary Kirk

            12.7×99

          • Austin

            Only if it’s belt fed

        • Gary Kirk

          Aluminum is not allowed anywhere near said cartridge…

          • Austin

            Just a matter of how much

          • Gary Kirk

            No no no… Don’t you know, safari calibers are only allowed in the presence of blued steel, and walnut…

          • Austin

            So polished aluminum and mahogany are out of the question?

          • Gary Kirk

            That’s for over/under shotguns

      • hikerguy

        It would have to have some internals changed, of course, but there is room in there for a gas operated system with an M-16 style bolt.

      • MemorableC

        Me and a friend actually did the math last night and its around a 6.5lb bolt for straight blowback

  • Edeco

    Inchersting. Glad it’s being tried… kind of makes sense to do a PCC bullpup with only the short action needed and since the less light-and-crisp trigger wouldn’t matter as much in the range of pistol ammo. Still for the price, and if reliability is questionable, I would rather a glock-mag MPA or Kel Tec. Just wish MPA would put a rail-less handguard on their glock-mag using PCC

  • borekfk

    Looks pretty cool. Nice that they’re going with common magazines.

    • thedonn007

      Yes, and it looks like it uses AR grips as well.

  • UCSPanther

    This should be made in .45 ACP as well.

    • Austin

      Or 10mm

      • Anonymoose

        .460 Rowland and .50GI.

        • Twilight sparkle

          7.62×25 would make a lot of sense actually

          • Mike L

            I’d be all over that, especially for ~$5-600.

          • jcitizen

            That takes PPSH drums! 🙂

          • Twilight sparkle

            And ppsh sticks

        • Austin

          Why not make a rimless .454 to really make it go

          • Anonymoose

            How ’bout a rimless .50-110?

          • Austin

            Make it .700 Nitro and you’ve got a deal.

          • jamezb

            FIVE HUNNERT’ MAGNUM..!

          • Iggy

            .22 earschplittenloudenboomer!

          • Gary Kirk

            Winchester finally went full on out of it…

          • El Duderino

            Barrel life is overrated anyway.

          • Stephen Paraski

            Wehrmacht last sub gun cartridge design, 50mm

          • Gary Kirk

            .460 S&W

        • Vitsaus

          8mm Gasser.

        • Gary Kirk

          I like the .460 Rowland.. Working on a 1911 build now.. But Damn, that’d be expensive for a toy like this.

      • Ryobiwankenobi

        25 NAA and 7mms pinfire!

      • A.WChuck

        Or plasma in 40 watt range…

  • therealgreenplease

    I really like the design of this rifle! With some scale I bet they could get the price down to $500. If it were 100% reliable I would 100% pick one up tomorrow. I’ll keep my eye on this one.

  • VF 1777

    Very interesting. Thanks for the review. Very valuable feedback and an honest assessment. I really like the novel design, I very much appreciate the company’s innovation, and understand it’s still in it’s embryonic phase, so it’s too early to say they can’t work out the kinks with the reliability issue. PCC’s are just plain fun. Maybe some day down the road this will be a real contender in this space.

    I do have to add quickly though that I now have 750+ rounds of all varieties of ammo through my Sub2K Gen2 9mm without so much as a hiccup. They made the ejection port 40% larger for a reason. That said, it does have it’s limitations – with no last round bolt hold open, an unusual charging handle location, and not the best irons in the world (but with a QD red dot, I never even notice) – however with those trade offs come simplicity, reliability, and incredible portability in a light, fast, quick-to-bring-on-target PCC that is just a blast to shoot. Right now, it dominates this space. Sure there are better full-sized, much more expensive, heavier, less portable PCC’s – but they are not the same ‘class’ as the super portable S2K.

  • DropGun25

    Maybe I’m the only one, but there’s no way id even think about wasting money on this thing. The gun is hideous, and based on the article it doesn’t sound like it works reliably. I get it, too each their own. I guess my disdain and shock is more of a result of such a positive review for a firearm that fails to check all the boxes. Especially the most important, firing reliably.

  • Mark

    $899?

    When is JARD going to finalize the design and choose a distributor?

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Having such a long travel with a short round is going to be hard to get to function 100%. It’s a cool idea I think a lot of people have had, but having the round eject anywhere, but immediately out of the chamber, is challenging to say the least.

  • gunsandrockets

    Weight?

  • Gary Kirk

    Fugly.. And go figure, it took Jard to finally make a bullpup with a decent trigger

  • marathag

    So a lot less reliable than a Calico?
    Ouch.

    • Gary Kirk

      Damn!!.. That ain’t good, maybe they shoulda put a bayonet lug on it…

  • Southpaw89

    Interesting, but it’ll need to be more reliable than my M1-9 before I’ll buy one, at least is sounds like the company is willing to work on it.

  • Cymond

    Fix the reliability and I say they have a winner (even if it means reversible side ejection).

    I’m investigating PCC options. I’ve been assuming I would get a pistol and eventually SBR it, but this would be affordable and easier overall.
    A TNW Aero Survival Pistol + tax stamp + stock = $900.
    An Evo-3 + tax stamp + 922r kit & stock = $1200

    I’m also interested in a MPA 30DMG and a 2nd gen Sub2000. I’m not sure how well the MPA would handle hollowpoints since MACs have a reputation, and I would prefer something shorter than the Sub2000 for indoor defense.

    • IndyToddrick

      The Sub2k is pretty small. Definitely not too big for HD, and it’s very light. Frankly I don’t think a shorter barrel or bullpup layout would be much of an improvement over the Sub2K.

  • El Duderino

    So, a big semi-auto 9mm.

    Rifles should be in rifle calibers 🙂

  • iksnilol

    Y’all know that the spring stiffness has very little to do with preventing a blowback gun from blowing up?

    You do, right?

  • stfram1

    On the plus side, you know they didn’t “hand pick” one to send out. At least they’re confident of the design.
    On the minus side, if they had bothered to test-fire the thing, they could’ve fixed it before shipment. Ruger learned that running a full mag/cylinder through each gun before shipment reduced their warranty return numbers by a significant amount.

  • kgallerno

    Jard designed and released the Jard-J48 for the Canadian market. After being on sale in Canada for a week, all rifles were recalled and the owners refunded their money.

    The rifles suffered from numerous different problems. They were supposed to be redesigned and sold again here. But that was over a year ago. Haven’t seen them since the recall this side of the border.

    I would not buy Jard ever.

  • Blake

    Thanks for the great review. It’s on my shortlist…

  • Kivaari

    Try the Beretta CX4. Mine is PX4 compatible, shoots 3-4″ 50 yd. groups and is very well made. It works.

  • Mike L

    I almost bought one but I heard of issues so I held off, partially due to the price as well.