Do Bullpups Have Better Balance? A Different Perspective

"What is this crap?", you may be asking. Well, read on.

The bullpup rifle tends to be – when it comes up – a pretty divisive subject among “tactical” rifle shooters. Bullpup detractors dismiss the layout as clunky and awkward, while its proponents cite the advantage of longer barrels and shorter overall lengths. Both camps are often correct in their criticism, but there is another aspect of the bullpup that I think often goes poorly addressed – if it is addressed at all. That is the subject of balance.

A quick aside regarding my personal feelings for bullpups: I don’t hate them, and find them to be an interesting and promising idea, provided designers of future bullpups step up their game to solve the many challenges presented by the concept. However, I also think modern bullpups (even the best ones currently on the market) aren’t really competitive with the common conventional rifle in many important ways. Today we’ll talk about one of those ways: Their balance.

You might be thinking: hold on, aren’t bullpups supposed to have better balance than conventional rifles? Well, yes and no. It’s true that the rearward balance of a bullpup makes it much easier to swing the muzzle of the rifle around for quick target changes – in fact, it was that characteristic that enamored me to bullpups the first time I encountered them in the wild – but that same balance point is less than ideal in other ways.

Now, let me show you why bullpup rifles are inconvenient to carry around. First, let’s just take a look at a modern bullpup compared to one of its conventional counterparts:

 

I chose these two because the images are clear, and I own examples of both (expect the RDB to feature in later articles). What we need to know is how these weapons balance not just from butt to muzzle, but also from top to bottom. Therefore, I have added red dots representing the rifles’ centers of gravity, according to my measurements:

(Note that the RDB has a more forward – and, in my opinion, better – balance than most bullpups, which is one of the reasons I used it for this comparison. If I used a Desert Tech MDR, for example, the dot would be somewhere aft of the buttplate.)

With just that we don’t yet have a good picture of the problem, so let’s rotate them a little and add hand markers. The image below represents how the rifles would be carried in the hands, as if on patrol for example. The rifle is held between the two hands, one on the firing grip, the other on the forend:

Note how the RDB’s center of balance is above the firing hand. This gives it a very pronounced “holding a hammer upright by the base of the handle” effect when toting it around. Not only that, but almost all the weight naturally wants to be supported by your firing hand, where a conventional rifle sits right between both hands. Subjectively, I’d say the weight distribution for the RDB is 90/10 firing hand to support hand, where the AK is about 30/70. That’s not a scientific measurement, but I think it’s reasonably illustrative of the problem here.

Basically, bullpups will tire the shooter more because the weight distribution when carrying them in the hands is much less evenly distributed. Not only that, but where the weight distribution of the AK and other conventional rifles rests more on the support hand (which isn’t doing the dextrous work of pulling triggers), the distribution for bullpups is overwhelmingly on the firing hand. This means that after a day of carrying the rifles around, the firing hand will be much more tired than with a conventional, while the support hand will be fresh; exactly the opposite of what a rifleman wants!

I found this effect to be so annoying that I went out and bought two different foregrips to try to mitigate it. Between the two, I found the Magpul AFG2 was the better solution, since it allowed me to rest more of the weight on my support hand, but it only addresses the problem to a degree. I still notice this problem all the time with this rifle while using and shooting it.

This weird balance also causes another issue when holding the rifle in one hand: The rifle wants to “hammer drop” in your hand to a position where the muzzle is pointing behind you and the optic is pointing towards the ground. I found this very weird, and not terribly convenient. You can either A.) just let the rifle drop, making returning to the two-hand grip a little awkward, or B.) clench your hand and keep the gun upright, which tires your firing hand out real quick. To visualize this:

Note how the grip is in a weird position with the RDB when it is center of mass down. This means when relaxing your hold on the the rifle with just a single hand, you have to either severely twist your wrist or shift your grip into a strange position. I find this really inconvenient, since it makes doing anything while holding the rifle in this way a sort of weird juggling act where you have to attend to the rifle somehow (or just sling it) or struggle with it if you want to use your off hand for anything. With a conventional rifle, I can simply let the rifle drop muzzle down while retaining a relatively normal grip on it.

Before I get hate mail from fans of the bullpup, this is just one negative aspect of bullpup balance. There are several tradeoffs here, involving a number of pros and cons which are weighed differently depending on use. If we imagine this rifle is being used by a military truck driver or other echelon personnel, none of this matters. They are less carrying the weapon than they are wearing it on a sling, and the RDB in particular slings beautifully, and if refined would probably make a great PDW. The reason I bring up the particular downsides that are the subject of this article is to illustrate that balance is a complex issue that will shake out differently for different purposes. For law enforcement, home defenders, or echelon military personnel, the rear balance of a bullpup is probably a net benefit.

For the infantryman, though, the rifle is in his hands all day long. The weird balance of the bullpup means a lot of stress is being put on the rifleman’s shooting wrist, and this definitely would negatively affect his marksmanship ability in my opinion. In an era where riflemen are increasingly being considered precision assets, this seems to me like a non-starter, and it seems like – for the moment, at least – the decision makers in the US Army agree.



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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • bull

    you have a interesting point. one thing ive been pondering is why not all bullpups have those m249 wire things on the stock:
    http://www.pkfirearms.com/sites/pkf.sdsaccess.net/files/M249-THREE_3.jpg
    that would make so you dont have to press the stock to the shoulder in the same way.

    • Form Factor

      <- YES, and it doesnt even need to be as large, usually a typical small angle and good rubber texture already works 100%

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      I believe those are specifically intended for use while prone. That being said I wont try to say they are useless when standing, but IIRC the intent was for prone use.

    • Amplified Heat

      Could say the same about non-pups needing a Schuetzen-style hooked buttplate to reduce wrist strain…

      You don’t think having the mass over the shooting hand would make prone shooting far easier without a bipod (and then only because attaching them is awkward)? Prone with no bipod is literally supporting a long iron bar in outstretched arms “accurately”

    • RealitiCzech

      I wanted one on mine, mostly for shooting from prone, where bullpups start to be very annoying. An AR is nice as it monopods off the magazine (where its balance point is). You can use a bipod from prone, but it’s not so helpful as one is on a bullpup.

      • Stable

        A verry light bipod/ frontgrip with legs should be used in general. Its much more stable and solid than on a mag. Ive seen a vid with legged frontgrip that made insane 1sec follow up shots at 600meter (bullpup with ACOG).

        With that you drop on the ground when shot at ,youre Rifle instantly sits rock solid & stable. Also a certain shoulder move will have less sway of the sight due the axis beeing further out, than when rested in middle on a mag.

      • Amplified Heat

        The TAVOR bipod is a decent solution, though odd/different since the support is not out at the muzzle. Whatever the gun, the box mag is anathema to prone shooting.

        • Stable

          The Tavor grip bipod is less accurate due to the axis point being closer to you, but lighter. After all definitly better than nothing.

  • No one

    I…. Just want to be first in a Nathaniel F. 500+ post likely topic.

  • Nicholas C

    I have notice an added benefit to the bull pup that you did not mention. The CG of the gun is closer to the shooter.

    Take both guns and hand them to a novice. They instinctively lean back instead of having an athletic forward leaning stance when shouldering the rifle.

    They are subconsciously compensating for the weight of the rifle. It is more exaggerated when the gun is longer like the AK. Handing them a bullpup, is not as tiring for them when the gun is up and shouldered. They don’t lean back as much with a bullpup.

    • PK

      I first noticed this with a Bushmaster M17S in the late 90s. I wondered if it was just a one-off happenstance, a coming together of various strange and unusual factors, or if it could be boiled down to the essence.

      It sounds like bullpup (or very light/well balanced carbine) plus very novice shooter equates to standing more forward than otherwise noted!

    • BillC

      I’ll buy that, but It,s a moot point and not a “benefit” because leaning forward, for any gun, takes very little instruction and training to correct for. The “instinctiveness” has no bearing in training a novice, nor should it be relied upon, because novice shooters are not the same. Same thing for “natural point of aim”. No, just train people to lean forward and aim.

      • Nicholas C

        Yes however the shooter does get fatigued faster when the weight of the gun is further away from them. People with lower upper body strength will find it more comfortable to shoot a bullpup over a rifle.

        • kzrkp

          unless it’s a rear-heavy bullpup, then they’ll be more fatigued by the need to hold it firmly to shoulder.

          • Nicholas C

            Perhaps. But having the weight closer to you is much easier. Try holding 8 lbs close to your chest. Now hold that same 8lbs out at Arms length.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The FS2000 is a bit rear heavy, and on me at least, it basically seats itself into your shoulder. I can relax the muscles in my shooting arm, letting the weight and connective tissue of that arm pull the rifle towards me, and the muzzle won’t try to tilt the stock pad out of the shoulder pocket the way a conventional rifle does.

          • Anonymoose

            Yeah, but what if you have an unfortunate FS2000ing accident and lose all your other guns? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/df549b5113a77638d67aea80beb5ca63d65bcbdfc59fcb520b262504e3f998cd.jpg

          • QuadGMoto

            FAL as a boat anchor. Nice!

          • Logic

            Its a G3…….

          • Anonymoose
          • QuadGMoto

            Well then, I guess it’s a G3. In my defense, they look very similar at that scale.

          • Anonymoose

            They don’t look as similar as the an FNC to an AR70/90. They weigh about the same but the G3 is more accurate, easier to scope, and cheaper in semi-auto form (PTR vs DSA). The FAL elitism mostly exists because of “muh Right Arm of the Free World” (even though the G3 is just as prolific) and “muh sheet metal.”

          • QuadGMoto

            That’s part of why I thought it was a FAL.

          • Anonymoose

            I just hope you noticed the Sea Deagles.

          • Amplified Heat

            And also because the G3 is kind of awkward (granted, a massive improvement over the CETME) with that selector knob an inch away from your thumb. Boat anchor should be a STGW57, anyways

          • Cynic

            But the fal at least with the British sand cuts is a better rifle than the g3 hell even with the T48 design of sand cuts its a better rifle which was cheaper then though the willingness to license production and produce specifically what countries wanted in terms of feature was probably a reason for that.

            Look at the Rhodesia conflict Fals were much preferred over G3 type weapons by those who used them.

          • Anonymoose

            The SAS preferred the G3 in Northern Ireland because they were more compact (especially the G3KA4).

          • Cynic

            have you got a source for that? The only source I have for g3 and armalite use by the SAS/DET was to do with weapons being tracable is if they were slotted or captured finding an L1A1 was a dead giveaway that they were brit especially accompanied with a browning and/or a ppk

            the G3 iv seen in NI stuff BUT that was more 90s era using things like the psg type guns for obs type stuff not really for assault type work and id be really interested.

          • Form Factor

            No you simply need to use a better angled buttpad on your bullpup……

        • Booter Wilson

          Perhaps women in the IFD indirectly spurred bullpup adoption?

          • Anonymoose

            No, I think it’s more of a matter of compactness for urban and vehicular operations. The IDF used to use Colt Commandos as their primary service rifle, and they considered the 14.5″ M4 as a “DMR.”

          • Cynic

            Yes because issuing a heavier rifle is JUST what we want to do to assist the intergration of women in combat arms roles that’s an excellent idea to issue weapons that are heavier, more awkward to handle and reload will totally make women soldiers more effective performing infantry tasking’s.

            .

          • Booter Wilson

            Don’t confuse weight with balance. Take an already front-heavy carbine and add the possibility of optics, lights, laser aiming modules, etc… and then hand it to the average female that already has a hard time with a slick gun. A neutral or rearward balance will help that person greatly. Also remember, the IDF aren’t humping these things through the jungle on long deployments. Think SWAT type missions of short duration. The overall weight will matter less.

            I’m not claiming that integration is THE cause for adoption, but you have to accept that it will lower the common denominator and affect gear and training in some way.

          • Cynic

            even if it carries better in the short mission say 30m to an hour its hideous carrying it for a full day when the majority of the day is static.

            i have experience with fairly intense cqb type airsoft with full weight weapons and real weight rigs for training and with 15-30m games and a 5m break between them (swat type room clearances with long distance shots of 60-100m type things) where the weapon type used mattered so there was a benefit to rifle calibre and while the Aug was nice for a couple of games coz of the size and the way it handled over the course of the day it sucked because of the extra weight especially when using a flashlight on the weapon and i tended to go back to my ar with 10.3 barrel and a can after a while because of the weight difference. It was pretty much force on force type stuff on occasion even playing opfor for one of the local firearms units

            iv also used a fairly wide range of the guns in live fire, blank fire training and In more of the Urban CWB as a vehicle mounted Rapid response team at a force on force event. The Aug was nice there, hated the L85 because of needing to swap shoulders for some fire angles and not being able to without canting the weapon which is a limiter for accuracy. The best was probably the tactical tuna BUT the weight and the reload time was problematic. Doing the same sort of event on foot where it was patroling an urban area guard duty with occasional bouts of intense firefights and room clearances over the course of the day I found the bull pups less and less enjoyable to use and much prefer we conventional weapons because i found reload speeds and weight to be an issue and in FISH/FIBUA i find the conventional weapon has the advantage with bayonets that extra barrel length gives you reach which is what you want in a knife situation to be able to reach them before they touch you

            woodland type long patrols that’s when the weight was a killer from the start, loose ground, hills, uneven paths, constantly dropping prone or too a knee the weight began to suck real early on.

            plus with the Aug its comfortable shooting in a tee shirt or a hoody for me but i find it really rather unpleasant in armour. The ar’s and the scar (with an adaptor) and similar guns i can at least adjust to what kit im using making it more comfortable and as an issue weapon what’s comfortable for me 6foot tall with long arms isn’t comfortable for female friends who are 2-6″ shorter than I am and have different reaches Bullpups don’t do adjustable LOP very well bore do many of then have an easy way of attaching cheek pieces or risers to get your cheekweld right.

            im going through the early stages of a potential transition and shooting with my breast padding means i have to alter my stance and my stocks position and length of pull further again not something bullpups do well.

            the balance does make a difference in so.e roles you’re right their but it in my experience it doesn’t make enough difference especially hen im carrying a flashlight 4x scope with cqb minidr on the op (British standard issue acog style) with a dbal/peq box potentially as well as the full kit of NVG’s ammo, armour that extra 2lb isn’t worth the trade off when i could have my fully equiped rifle for roughly the same weight as the barebones bullpup and have it fitted to my body shape, the armour and tog im wearing and take into account if im wearing NODS and a helmet or not.

            you would have to either have different length stocks in stores or have some adjustability in the length of pull built into the gun.

            bullpups i love them, their awesome for support troops but for infantry id want a conventional weapon for tabbing i want as little weight as possible, for long patrols the same thing. For urban i want the extra reach so i can mount a bayonet and be more effective with it than the bull pups

            its a great concept BUT not as a one for everyone duty weapon Imo as a replacement fir the smg/pdw/officers handgun or for issue to heavy weapons ops like the Milan or the machine gun or mortar sections teams brilliant but for standard infantry not sure they’re the best option tbh.

        • noob

          In the Australian armed forces im told that patrolling infantry are taught to rest the buttpad on one of the ammo pouches on their load bearing equipment while holding the pistol grip with their strong hand (finger extended beside the trigger to prevent sticks and branches the large cold weather triggerguard).

          The austeyr is designed to balance in the web of the strong hand especially if accessories are mounted on the forward rail.

          Having the ammo pouch as a support point leaves your weak hand free to deal with bush and scrub. Here is a picture of the pose https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a845c0b8dddde9e75a819015e4d347cd5e2459bd24b34acd8209565701509645.jpg

      • iksnilol

        But leaning back is better for precision and accuracy. Only reason to lean forward is for recoil control.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Better recoil control gives faster follow up, which is nice when what you’re shooting at might shoot back.

          • iksnilol

            True, but I’m a gentleman, I shoot precisely… and from hella distance.

          • roguetechie

            I must be a degenerate then…since I distance shoot just enough to keep the skill from perishing.

          • iksnilol

            Why yes, you uncouth scoundrel. I am quite disappointed.

            *harumph*

          • roguetechie

            I blame living in the pacific northwest..

            Who the hell wants to brush bash 500 meters from your shooting position in the rain to put up targets which are going to get ate by the rain before you get back to your shooting position?

          • iksnilol

            Well, we give caramels to the orphans to do it for us.

          • roguetechie

            You use orphans with bad teeth as moving targets?

            That’s horrible!!!

          • iksnilol

            Well, we had to stop when the welfare state came in… lot less orphans nowadays… so we merely use electronic targets.

          • roguetechie

            Damn welfare state!

          • iksnilol

            Indeed, it is quite deplorable. People actually surviving. I remember back in my day, you had to pickpocket lint so that you’d not freeze to death. Nowadays they have it so easy.

          • SlowJoeCrow

            There’s an easy solution for that, just drive across the Cascades to the dry side. My local range even has a trail for you to ride your atv to set targets, plus prepositioned steel targets.

          • ostiariusalpha

            We’ve actually had a good bit more rain on the east side this year, but west siders would probably still think it was ridiculously sunny over here.

          • ostiariusalpha

            While I would say it is better precision for that ranged shot to steady your rifle on something, like the ground in a gravelbelly position, rather than a standing gangsta’ lean with your elbow on your ribs, I perfectly well understand that a gentleman does not muss his tie and jacket over a trifle like a firefight.

    • The CG being closer to the shoulder is something I do see being talked about elsewhere, so I didn’t directly mention it (although I did say the rear balance was an advantage in some roles, pretty much for that reason).

    • Denny

      Not so much leaning back is an issue here, I believe. Natural stance is to lean forward and have good cheek weld.

      But, you are making good point when you mention that CofG on bullpup is closer to shoulder. This is naturally helpful to body-weapon system dynamic behavior since effect of angular deviation from ideal alignment is minimized while on conventional rifle is augmented.

    • Denny

      Another detail which I left out, but someone already mentioned it further down is, that weight preponderance toward butt can be easily mitigated by negative butt slant which is often the case.

  • iksnilol

    Just I dunno, rest the rifle on your forearm?

    Sure, that means you won’t be holding your arm down and straight alongside your body, but what kind of sick people do that anyways?

    • ostiariusalpha

      It takes a little bit longer for some people to figure this out.

      • iksnilol

        I could take a picture tomorrow to illustrate my secret squirrel technique.

    • Bullpups are pretty awkward to rest on your arms like that, as they simply don’t have a lot of uncluttered space. I mean, you can do it, but it’s way easier and more natural with a conventional in my opinion.

      • iksnilol

        What I do with rifles in general( Haven’t tried bullpups) is to let the stock rest on my forearm past the elbow whilst holding about in front of the mag (where my support hand is when shooting). Sorta like cradling it with one hand.

        • Yeah, it’s significantly weirder with a bullpup. There’s just not that much free space on the gun.

          • iksnilol

            Just grab the forearm or something. Or do you have freakishly short arms?

          • ostiariusalpha

            Hey now, hey! Let’s not go there, Nathaniel’s arms are totally proportional.

          • “I have to say this, he hit my arms Nobody has ever hit my arms. I’ve never heard of this one. Look at those arms. Are they small arms? And he referred to my arms if they’re small, something else must be small; I guarantee you there’s no problem. I guarantee you.”

          • The forearm has an AFG on it for the aforementioned balance reasons. Do I need to take a picture or something?

          • iksnilol

            Sounds a bit awkward with an AFG, but I digress, I haven’t used one.

          • It’s a bit awkward regardless.

  • Although I agree with the mathematics and research behind this, I would argue that the awkward weight distribution of a bullpup is mitigated by the countless hours of training soldiers go through with their weapon systems. Sure it might be tiring and annoying at first, but as soldiers continue to carry their rifles day in and day out of training, and later throughout their careers, the muscles used to carry these rifles become strained, rebuild, and then it just becomes second nature because their muscles have accommodated to the new position.

    I mean, the same thing happened when I carried an M4/203, the 203 made it really awkward at times. What’d I do? Sucked it up and trucked on, eventually just got used to it. In Boot camp sucked even more because of all the DNC carry with M16A2s, arms hurt a lot, especially at port, or right shoulder.

    • Seamus Bradley

      HAHAHAHAHA what “countless hours of training”?

      MOST US Army soldiers get 60 rounds to qualify every year and some every 2 or 3 years. The Army is TERRIBLE at weapons training. Soldiers are to busy making sure everyone knows about Ebola and the rest of their 350-1 training.

      • Hey dude. Read what I wrote. ” continue to carry their rifles day in and day out of training, and later throughout their careers, the muscles used to carry these rifles become strained, rebuild, and then it just becomes second nature because their muscles have accommodated to the new position.”

        When did I ever say anything about live fire qualifications? I’m only referring to carrying a weapon system while in entry training, walking around a FOB or on patrol. Every time you pick that rifle up, certain muscle groups are being used and strengthened, to the point that carrying it becomes easier than it did when you first picked it up. So it actually doesn’t matter at all where the weight distribution is, because your body is going to acclimate to it anyways.

        Case in point, I’m right handed, recently I’ve started working with my left side to carry a rifle all day, in an attempt to be ambidextrous. My left wrist is really sore from doing it, but that’s because I’ve never carried a weapon using my left side much.

      • Joe Schmoe

        Is that really the case for deployed soldiers? Or just non-field personnel?

    • Obviously, if you are issued a bullpup, you’ll just deal with it. What else are you expected to do? So, this argument has more to do with procurement and whether it makes more sense to issue conventionals or bullpups in the first place.

  • Joe

    How about an RDB-S?
    The more traditional grip may lessen ergonomic fatigue, closer to toting a lever or bolt gun at the balance point, except with the RDB-S that balance point is also near the trigger.
    Weight can be redistributed further forward depending on accessories, like a 20 round mag in the rear and a suppressor up front.

    • XT6Wagon

      I think for most users the RDB-C will be a much easier rifle as its a good bit lighter, and you aren’t gripping it so far below the CG. The new adjustable stock should help users fit the gun to what they like as I wouldn’t mind another couple inches of reach.

      • Amplified Heat

        That’s a good point about the CG; your hand is also further back from the CG as well, so the balance will be more ‘familiar’ muzzle-heavy as a result (even with the pencil barrel). It’s just a shame the shooter’s hand must conform to the straight-line action, since that is where the awkwardness comes from (hand position as well as crazy-tall sights). If the bolt & comb above it could tilt back and reciprocate at an incline to the bore (like a KRISS but not as steep) it’d be way more practical.

    • roguetechie

      No, the RDB-S is stupid and the entire Cali and NY legal rifle game is pretty much a massive liability!

      Since we’re eventually going to see a bunch of morons shoot people because the retarded featureless grips are far from marginal let alone ideal from safety perspective!

      And then… You’re all going to act surprised when Pelosi et al just entirely ban the guns “for the safety of the children”

      • Amplified Heat

        Indeed it is a massive compromise meant to comply with idiot laws. However, the Grendel aspect is compelling (miniature WA2000?) and the lopped pistol grip would allow for a very slick scabbard setup for that style of carry. Doesn’t offset the silly shooting ergos, though.

        • roguetechie

          My beef is that the ergos aren’t just silly, they’re dangerous!

          They’ve kept forcing more and more ridiculous, totally arbitrary, and safety compromising design constraints on semiautomatic rifle designs that will eventually result in tragic loss of life when those compromised ergos bite people in the ass.

          Which will then be used as reasoning for outright bans…

          Oh and BTW, the legislature themselves voted to exempt themselves from all state specific restrictions when they voted in the first round of these restrictions.

          That should say everything you need to know.

          If it doesn’t, look at the patently insane amounts of select fire weapons California LEO’s have… Oh wait, they go out of their way to keep anyone from knowing that information, including themselves.. .
          Because you can’t FOIA data that has never been collected.

          Just like LEO’s nationwide, but most especially in anti gun districts states etc are militantly against any sort of inventory control, audits of existing weapons inventory, any sort of accountability of any kind at any level for “losing weapons” and etc ad nauseum…

          But what we do know is that California motorcycle cops either from LAPD or CHP but I’m too lazy to check which one have full up MP-7’s for every officer while the citizens aren’t allowed to have semiautos which aren’t ridiculous liabilities due to malicious and totally negligent legislative bullshit…

          The only thing worse than HK’s because you suck and we hate you ethos is the state of California’s ethos when it comes to legal gun ownership which can best be summed up as if we can’t get your neighbor or vindictive ex to SWAT you so we can kill you we’ll find a way to make you accidentally kill yourself!

          • Amplified Heat

            I’m afraid I can’t help you with your California problems, nor I think I should limit my options because of them (or what they might be). They’ll be banning semis outright over there next, anyway.

          • roguetechie

            Lol they aren’t my California problems … I haven’t lived there since I was 10… 25 years ago

          • Amplified Heat

            So why fret over what those idiots might say or do? The November election made it pretty clear CA isn’t calling the shots for the rest of us for the time being, and they’ll be banning all semi-autos soon in any case. Screw ’em. My point was, unlike most silly compliance designs, the RDB’s does seem to offer an actual benefit (shorter overall height, sleeker profile), even if it was inspired by Planet of the Californians.

      • iksnilol

        I like the RDB-S, super compact in regards to height.

        • roguetechie

          I hate it and it’s mother dresses it funny… If I want a midget pup I’ll buy or build a bushmaster arm pistol / colt imp-221 clone which also came in a round hilariously close to 300 blackout plus a sboted .17 caliber squirrelpocalypse special.

          • iksnilol

            But bushmaster ARM is hella tall.

  • Nick

    As far as the latter “analysis”, if you’re putting the rifle by your side, it should be in a sling. Bullpups orient pretty much the same as a conventional rifle when slung downward since all the weight is still past the rear sling attachment point.

    • Unless you’re an infantryman.

      • Laserbait

        Infantry are not issued slings?

        • I was referring to the first part of his statement. Infantry carry their rifles in their hands as a matter of course.

          • QuadGMoto

            I can see that being true in combat or when contact with the enemy can happen at any moment. But being a non-vet I don’t know how much time that is. Are there times when walking that the rifle can be (and is) slung? Are there sling arrangements that keep the rifle “near ready” that are used? (What I typically see in photos featuring guards such as at an airport.)

          • Yes, and yes. Slings are of course used to support the rifles when appropriate. But slinging a conventional is pretty comparable to slinging a bullpup for infantry purposes.

            The difference for infantry that I think some are missing (possibly because I didn’t make it clear enough) is that the rifles are carried in the hands at the ready much more routinely than they would be by other users. That is due to the nature of the infantry’s job: They have to be able to deploy the rifles at an instant. Slings can be cinched up to help with this a bit, but there’s a limit to how much because too tight and the rifle becomes much less maneuverable.

          • Justin Roney

            Are the Blue Force Gear/Vickers quick adjustable type slings not approved for general use?

          • I’m not the guy to ask. For the record: My RDB has a VTAC sling on it.

  • Nicks87

    I think rifles that are a bit front heavy are easier to keep on target. The front sight has less natural sway.

    • Stuki Moi

      Same reason why keeping a 5″ 1911 (or service revolver, or Glock 34, “on” target while moving, is more immediately intuitive than with a rear weighted Glock 19.

    • Yes, the very same thing that makes bullpups easier to swing makes them less steady on target. Just the nature of the beast.

    • iksnilol

      I find nose heavy guns want to dive.

  • derekkoz

    my argument would be that this rifle is more for a CQB situation, and is almost alway in a single point sling. When carried this way, it naturally falls in a straight line, and is easy to carry

  • Major Tom

    The big problem with this article….

    The RDB is not a combat rifle. It’s a semi-auto only.

    • CommonSense23

      Are you suggesting that a semi auto trigger is going to weight that much different than a full auto and effect the test. And how is a semi auto rifle not capable of being a combat rifle. One of the most common mods I saw people do to our MK18s is replace the select fire trigger with a geissele semi auto only one.

      • Major Tom

        “Are you suggesting that a semi auto trigger is going to weight that much different than a full auto and effect the test.”

        It’s not a matter of weight. It’s a matter of “Will this rifle be used for this role?”

        The answer for things like combat, patrol and the like with the RDB is no. So it’s not a fair or valid use for that comparison.

        • This objection seems to rely on an implicit assumption that military bullpups will have radically different balance characteristics.

          They don’t. If anything, the RDB is the best balanced of the breed.

          • Major Tom

            But that’s the other thing. Military bullpups vs civilian bullpups. The RDB may be the best balanced, but it’s not used in military roles.

            It would be a better comparison if it was a traditional military rifle vs a bullpup military rifle say the Tavor vs the M16/M4 for those things. Then you would have a separate comparison for civilian equivalents for the things they’re used for.

          • Form Factor

            This makes no diffrence, its about the bullpup layout itself…

          • You’d think that would be obvious, but Tom is a specialist in missing the plainly evident.

          • Form Factor

            Yes he is, i noticed that in the 7.62×51 topic.

            ..But doesnt you use the left arm to hold the rifle stable for shooting, and the right hand to carry the rifle, with bullpups you can carry it quite well by holding the grip with the right hand and have the stock between your arm and wrist. Its really well balanced and short for that. Also really fast to bring up. -with a normal Rifle because its long and front heavy you cant carry it this way, you would need to use the left arm which over time tires it.

            So if you use the right arm to carry, the left arm (which really holds the rifle stable) = is not at all fatigued.

            (And as noted, with a slightly angled good rubber textured buttpad you need dont even need to “push it back into the shoulder”)

          • Hint: Military bullpups score even worse.

          • Amplified Heat

            The only reason it is not used in military roles is because no military has bought & issued them. I’m not aware of it losing any contracts or other disqualifying criteria. The TAVOR series also had no military experience at all until fairly recently as well (though it’s now gained some inexplicable infamy in the space of several years despite the Israeli military not exactly leading the forefront of infantry operations anywhere past their own front yard, where parts, service, and support are at the ready)

          • Do you want bullpups to look even worse?

          • Amplified Heat

            Also a disturbing faith in military procurement systems as being the arbiter of a design’s merit. The M73 tank gun would beg to differ. The G36 would also like a word (not the trunnion thing that I think was overblown, but the criminally cheap optics mount designs)

          • Yeah, I picked out the RDB because – Kel-Tec’s reputation for QC aside – I think it represents some interesting bullpup concepts and design. Its balance is one of the best of the breed, and it has a far more elegant FCG design than everything else. Downward ejection was also something that I thought would be an improvement, but it turns out that creates a lot of problems that I didn’t really realize would be as significant as they are.

          • Amplified Heat

            I agree the downward ejection presents a different set of obstacles (as if catching a case in the face from your or your buddy’s rifle isn’t an obstacle), but it does offer related advantages, namely gas-shielding during suppressed usage. Which isn’t nothing considering the TAVOR is rather notorious for sooting up the shooter. I think if Kel Tec or someone develops a quality, sturdy brass catcher that’d help a lot on all fronts.

          • Maybe, but I gotta say it isn’t very fun having cases dump right in the middle of your shooting position during prone, or onto a concrete floor like shiny brass banana peels.

        • Uniform223

          It’s not a matter of weight. It’s a matter of “Will this rifle be used for this role?”

          > So if there were some type of out of control riot somewhere and someone uses his RDB to fend off would be looters and assaulters, would it still not be worth it in your opinion?
          Next are you going to tell us that certain features on rifles or carbines denotes them as “combat rifles”?

          2nd Lieutenant Tom… you’re missing the whole point to this article. Are you lost again? Did the grid map and compass give you a headache?

    • GD Ajax

      Kel-Tec have crappy guns. So the point is moot and would been better if it the weapon was an AUG or something better than the RDB.

      • How does that change the point about balance? Especially since I’m pretty sure the AUG suffers even more from this problem.

      • roguetechie

        No, that would be RSAF Enfield that produced a stupidly bad bullpup!

      • Amplified Heat

        Give Kel Tec some credit; the RDB (and RFB for that matter) is built to a higher quality than their disposable pocket guns that earned them their reputation. Now, I wouldn’t call them particularly ‘nice’ guns, like a SIG or HK or FN product, since there are rough edges and cheap coatings in places, but the RDB is several steps beyond the Hi Point reputation the maker has. I’d say the RDB is about as nice as garden-variety ARs as far as machining quality/etc. There are still reports of some occasional assembly screwups like you’d hear from an AR manufacturer that doesn’t have it’s QC dialed in perfectly, but the fabrication side is fairly good and QC issues much less than KT’s other new products in recent years (RFB, namely).

        • The RDB actually looks pretty polished. It doesn’t have the HK uberfinische on the metal components, but of course few guns do.

          And it is extremely creatively engineered, just like we’d expect from ol’ George.

    • Porty1119

      If you knew how little F/A was used on service rifles by trained troops, you’d feel otherwise.

      • Major Tom

        Maybe among US forces yes, but trained troops in a lot of places everywhere else do not share the same sentiment.

        FA seems useless or little used until you need it. And when you need FA, you’re thankful to have it.

        • Uniform223

          “but trained troops in a lot of places everywhere else do not share the same sentiment.

          FA seems useless or little used until you need it. And when you need FA, you’re thankful to have it.”

          > Really? I had the pleasure and honor to work with Australians. The common complaint when we talked about our guns was that they hated their trigger. They preferred to shoot our M16s and M4s when ever they got the chance. They very much preferred the selector switch over the trigger mechanics of their Steyr AUGs.
          At that time our M4s didn’t have the Full Auto selector. So that would seem by that account and experience that other well trained professional militaries do not feel full auto as a necessity on their rifles or carbines. Even today with M4A1s in the US Army, soldiers still use and prefer the semi-auto function. It’s nice to have it but really… in the grand scheme of things (as in how many people are in your platoon and what type of weapons they have) how often is an indiviual soldier with his rifle or carbine will ever truly need to switch to full auto?

          • Major Tom

            More than once if he ever sees contact with the enemy in large numbers and/or really tight spaces.

          • Uniform223

            “More than once if he ever sees contact with the enemy in large numbers and/or really tight spaces.”

            > you make it sound like that soldier will always be by himself and that all enemy contact will be at very very close ranges. Is this all from professional opinion and personal experience 2nd Lieutenant Tom? Watch this…

            https://youtu.be/dRRMFVZXBls

            That sounded like a lot of semi-auto action…

        • Amplified Heat

          Yup, full auto seems to be *very* popular fire mode among third world partisans. Highly effective.

    • Seamus Bradley

      The M1 Garand is semi-auto only, the M110 is semi-auto only, the M1 Carbine and loads of other guns were “combat” guns that were semi-auto and yet shockingly enough were used in combat. This of course says nothing about fact that most armies use semi-auto as primary function of their weapon.

      Silly comment

      • Major Tom

        Semi-auto in 1941 was bleeding edge, today it’s taken for granted. No combat arms organization anywhere fields semi-auto only stuff as standard issue for “patrol”.

        The points using that up there are very disingenuous. If you’re going to make points for/against bullpups on the merits of what it would handle like on patrol or in combat, use a bloody combat rifle that sees service like a Tavor or AUG.

        • Laserbait

          Then you should write an article about it.

          • roguetechie

            He should write an article about it with his selection of select fire guns since he’s obviously an 02/07 SOT….

            You know, because there’s no such thing as pre 86 transferrable tavor

        • Uniform223

          2nd Lieutenant Tom strikes again.

        • Which would balance even worse.

  • Bradley

    While you probably do have a point I don’t know why anyone would carry a rifle that way. There are plenty of slings available that will allow a rifle to be kept in a ready position while holding its weight.

      • Bradley

        Well I’m not sure what to ask them considering your image search has people doing exactly what I said, people doing exactly what you said, and people doing a thousand other things that have nothing to do with either.

        • Your thesis seems to exclude the possibility of anyone carrying a rifle in their hands… Which, if anything looks like the prevalent way soldiers carry their rifles.

      • Laserbait

        I’m not sure what that link is supposed to illustrate for the purposes of this article. I see a lot of slings, bipods, and rifles being rested on things in those pictures.

        • I guess you don’t also see all the rifles being carried in people’s hands.

          Yes slings are used, but most of those rifles are not free hanging from their slings. They are being supported primarily by the user’s hands, in many cases. Because they have to, that’s the job of an infantryman.

      • Blackhorse

        The vast majority of these guys “patrolling” (in your link) aren’t even carrying them like you described.
        More are using the sling, than are actually carrying it just in their hands like you describe.
        The majority have either their arms braced on their gear with the rifles resting on their arms/hands or has the rifle supported by their gear. The most popular is the old “rest the magazine on the gear or tucked behind the Web belt” carry they’ve done as long as soldiers have carried rifles with magazines and gear.
        Now in a 8 hr patrol they may shift their rifles between multiple “styles” of carry but few would ever carry them all day long by just their hands like you describe.
        As for Bullpups they tend to do the same things. Seems a favorite of the French is to hold onto the carry handle with the support hand while the butt rests on the crook of the trigger arm.
        Rifles have multiple ridges and protrusions to snag or rest on gear to support the rifle while on patrol.
        Then the soldiers can rest their arms on their gear and rest the rifle on the arms/hands which requires almost zero effort to carry since it’s supported by the Web gear/vest which transfers the weight to the shoulders.
        Then there is the supplied sling that a lot still use contrary to your stating otherwise (and multiple pics from your own link shows).

        • “More are using the sling, than are actually carrying it just in their hands like you describe.”

          Really? I mean the slings are there, but they look pretty slack to me.

          “The majority have either their arms braced on their gear with the *rifles resting on their arms/hands* or has the rifle supported by their gear.”

          Thank you.

          “The most popular is the old “rest the magazine on the gear or tucked behind the Web belt” carry they’ve done as long as soldiers have carried rifles with magazines and gear.”

          That old position that isn’t nearly as practical with a bullpup, yes.

          “Now in a 8 hr patrol they may shift their rifles between multiple “styles” of carry but few would ever carry them all day long by just their hands like you describe.”

          The rifles are loading their hands differentially, that’s the point. You don’t have to carry the things for more than a few minutes to notice this, that’s my point.

          “Then there is the supplied sling that a lot still use contrary to your stating otherwise (and multiple pics from your own link shows).”

          You’re off-base, there. I never said they don’t use their slings. I said often they are supporting the weight of the rifles with their hands.

  • MikeSmith13807

    Any discussion about what it’s like to carry a rifle for an extended period of time is irrelevant to almost all civilians outside of training. It’s either hanging from a sling or being shot. While mounted to the shoulder, all your complaints about weight distribution become advantages. Most people don’t have the shoulder strength to keep a conventional rifle up and on target for very long. With a bullpup the weight is held by friction at the buttpad, not muscle strength.

    • Seamus Bradley

      Sir, you have just contradicted yourself. Allow me to explain.

      You said, “Any discussion about what it’s like to carry a rifle for an extended period of time is irrelevant to almost all civilians outside of training.”

      but then go on to say, “Most people don’t have the shoulder strength to keep a conventional rifle up and on target for very long.”

      What possible scenario are you envisioning; where civilians will be required to “shoulder” their weapons for a long time but somehow not be “carrying” them for a long time? Which is it?

      Plus the FBI crime and firearm death statistics show clearly vast majority of gun deaths (to include justifiable homicides, armed citizen, home invasions etc.) show that handguns not rifles or shotguns are used by civilians to defend themselves. So clearly civilians are not using long guns (“classic” or “bullpup”) in any real numbers anyway and yet you postulate a scenario in which civilians will be required to “shoulder” and aim at a target for extended periods of time. Hogwash.

      I am no bullpup hater but your comment makes ZERO sense.

      • MikeSmith13807

        Allow me to clarify. I was describing two different scenarios. The original article discussed carrying a rifle with two hands for an extended period of time, which I say is irrelevant scenario for most civilians. If a civilian is picking up a rifle, it is because they are going to shoot it, not carry it for a long time like a soldier on patrol. Of, if you are deploying the rifle to stand on sentry duty somewhere it’s probably hanging from a sling and not being held with two hands.

        The other issue I was talking about was when you are actually putting the rifle on a target. Many people (including most females) don’t have the strength to hold an AR or AK up steady on target for more than a few seconds without shoulder muscle soreness commencing. Anything you can do to move the weight back is a good thing to solve that problem.

        • Denny

          I agree with your view with addition that it was missed in original article to specify type of user and nature of duty. Any rifle in military service is most of time carried on sling.

          If you missed anything which i would add and can hopefully help is to mention location of sling attachment points. I believe designers of Famas had it figured out very well. It might be helpful if author of article addressed that.

      • Cynic

        The only situation i have carried a long arm at the ready for a while (outside of as stuff obviously and cadet type stuff) is hunting when im tracking/hike hunting searching the area rather than tree stand style statc hunting tracking through theres always that chance for a shot so…. Having the time for the rifle to come up from slung may not be possible and with more bullpups becoming available in common hunting cartridges it could be a valid option

    • Aerindel Prime

      And yet most modern militaries have adopted bullpups.

      • That is downright counterfactual.

        • tiger

          Ok, replace “Most” with” Several” Or “Notable.”

          • “One or two”.

          • tiger

            More closer to a dozen nations have used bullpup rifles.

          • I accounted for the number of countries that use bullpup rifles as standard issue relatively recently. I don’t recall the exact number, but it was pretty disappointing. That was one of the things that started me on the road of taking a closer look at bullpups and their advantages and disadvantages.

            The reality is that very few nations today use bullpups as their standard infantry rifle, and that number is decreasing, not increasing. That is one of the reasons I want to document the disadvantages of the bullpup: Not just to explain to procurement types why the type is lacking, but also to make very clear to potential bullpup inventors what issue they want to address.

            I would really like the bullpup to succeed, you see, but it has to succeed on its real merits, not just because everyone plays pretend that it’s better.

      • Really? New Zealand just dumped their bullpup (Steyr) in favour of a conventional layout AR platform.

        • iksnilol

          Dumping 30-40 year old rifles for brand new ones has less to do with layound and more to do with economy and common sense.

      • n0truscotsman

        No they haven’t. Next.

      • Uniform223

        France replaced their FAMAS with the HK416.

        • tiger

          Not yet, And still part of a dozen list nations that use Bullpups

          • Tom

            its pretty much a done deal though. And even if they do not go for the 416 (maybe they opt instead for the HK433 instead) its unlikely we will see a bullpup chosen.

            Off the top of my head Australia and China are the only ‘major’ military to have replaced a bullpup with a bullpup (and even here its more of an A2 of their current rifle than a new weapon system) and Israel is the only ‘major’ military to introduce a new bullpup into service in the last decade.

            While there was a time in the late 70s through the 90s when it looked like the bullpup would reign supreme there has not been a lot of adoptions since (Israel is the notable exception). And in the case of New Zeland and France moving from a bullpup back to a conventional weapon.

            I am using the term major to include militaries that have seen a lot of combat of late as opposed to just size.

      • Jack

        I heard they were all going to 300blk Tavors!!

        • Kivaari

          I doubt that. They may buy a few for suppressed use but to adopt it service wide would not make any sense at all.

          • Jack

            It was a joke. Aerindel and I had a disagreement on whether or not .300 was a boutique/hobbiest round in a different article.

          • Kivaari

            OK

      • Kivaari

        We have close to 200 nations now. A dozen or so have equipped soldier and POLICE with bullpups. When a little podunk country buys 200 AUGs for its national police force, I don’t consider that as much of a usage.

        • 01

          China…

          • Kivaari

            Good point.

          • Cynic

            but their elite tend to use a locally produced ar pattern rifle from things i have seen.

            The Chinese bullpups are pretty nicely balanced however having handled one of the training weapons they had Real Sword produce (airsoft as a training weapon its the reason RS exist effectively their the one legal manufacturer) using real stocks and true weight its a nice design dog shot or mounting optics however. I really want to see some reviews on the 5/56 version i hear is available in China.

      • No one

        You have a very strange definition of the word “most”.

      • RealitiCzech

        Some have. Some are going away from them (France and military superpower New Zealand).
        I think they have a lot of value as sniper rifles, where you need a long barrel and you will have a bipod.

      • Cynic

        Most who did adopt bullpups did so in the 50’s through 80’s and the issues and foibles weren’t as well understood so nobody knew the issues that bullpups have making them arguably inferior to a more conventional rifle weight, reload times some handling stuff etc etc

        I know that the MoD desire to build a bullpup was more about it being the Standard Arm (and the program was started in 1980 hence S80) one of the main reasons for the bullpup design was to shorten he rifle so that we didn’t have to issue an SMG or a carbine type weapon to support troops thereby increasing their firepower and meaning training and issue kit could standardize on one weapon. The main pro’s for the bullpup were small size for troops that rifles get in the way of because its not a primary role/weapon of theirs.

        Yeah vehicle mounted ops were also looked at as a plus to the bullpup but honestly a shorter barrelled standard rifle would have made just as much an improvement vs the 22″ barrel 43″ long SLR

        and it didn’t standardise things for standard infantry roles because we still issue a 7.62 rifle for ship guard in port (HK51 iirc some 7.62 roller lock because we realised we needed 7.62 for that roll after we got rid of the fal plus its better as a first response in static position because of barrier penetration and effective range vs the ball 5.56 at least on paper as well as anti vehicle stuff)

        The Close Protection teams use the same HK in 7.62 as well, as a small unit directly protecting the senior officer their using them to buy time for the support teams to turn up and help with extraction.

        So the guys moving round tight awkward confines and most in and out of civilian vehicles don’t seem to want the bullpup (though the cp thing may be them making a we are elite different than you sort of statement as well i suppose)

        The considerations that got us the bullpup weren’t primarily the rifles benefits to ‘the warfighter’ I hate that term btw. It was about making life easier for the support guys and giving people something easier smaller to carry and less likely to interfere with their basic kit. It’s effectively the justification for PDW type weapons small better than a pistol easier to shoot and isn’t getting in the way of their main role.

        (i have often mused that an sa80 in A2 configuration which is one of the more reliable military arms out there after a British weapons manufacturerfixed it (the private arm of the MOD’s weapons research guys had bought H&K before that contract to reevaluate the sa80 after the public inquiry and outcry) chambered in the shortened 5.56 that colt developed for their pdw was it the MARS? Would be ah awesome little thing for room to room type stuff and defense of a dignitary certainly better than the MoD Plod’s mp7’s

    • n0truscotsman

      Its not irrelevant at all. You couldn’t be more incorrect.

      Thats like arguing that weight isn’t relevant because civilians wont be carrying a rifle for an extended period of time. It will either be hanging from a sling or shot.

      Its perfectly relevant because of the context of the 2A.

      • MikeSmith13807

        You are welcome to dwell in your theoretical world. I’m quite happy in my realistic world. I need no schooling in the 2A, I just focus on the probable, not the theoretically possible.

        • n0truscotsman

          What exactly, from what I posted above, is “theory”?

          • MikeSmith13807

            Tell me your scenario outside of training where civilians would be holding a rifle for an extended period of time with two hands.

          • n0truscotsman

            https://goo.gl/WCg8EV
            https://goo.gl/NefBQ4

            Just these *two* examples

          • Southpaw89

            Can back that up, you don’t want to sling a rifle or shotgun while hunting, as chances at game can be very fleeting, and depending on your method of choice you may be lugging that rifle or shotgun for 6 to 12 hours in a day. Bullpups aren’t really being marketed to hunters right now, but that may change, their potential in dense brush has not be lost on me.

          • Cal S.

            It’s their own fault if they’re not using them. They’re chambered in .223Rem, .308Win, and .22mag/lr (and several others with aftermarket stocks) which pretty much hits the sweet spots from small to large game. The ‘problem’ with using bullpups for hunters is that there’s about 10.5 million different hunting cartridges, everyone has their own favorite, and not all states allow for semi-autos in hunting yet.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            Bullpups are meant to be used in tight spaces, like while inside vehicles or buildings, while retaining a full length barrel.

            Why would the merit’s of a bullpup matter if you are outside? Just choose the gun that’s best for the situation you are in.

          • Cynic

            Dense brush, long grass, tight winding runs of trees, bushes everywhere, being able to cut through gaps in the foliage. I can see bullpups being helpful and practical as well as the longer barrel for the size thing meaning more velocity and people do tend to get hung up on that extra 2.2.2 fps lost between 29 and 28 inches.

            i know airsofting which is probably a fairly valid test of gunhandling in terms of guns being carried in the up position for hours on end from a practical pic i have seen less bullpups end up with damaged barrels when their user falls in the woods or turns and hits a tree or dropps his rifle from the tree stand type events than i have conventional rifles.

            Theresmerits and drawbacks to bullpups i struggle with most of them but find the Aug is beautifully balanced but that’s probably an experience and training thing as that’s he one iv handled the most over the years.

          • Sunshine_Shooter

            My bad. When I said “outside”, I was thinking of what is outside around me, which is prairie. I would consider tight, thick brush as comparable to being inside a house or vehicle, in which the bullpup would once again become advantageous over a conventional rifle with a similar barrel and also over an SBR of similar overall length.

          • Cynic

            there’s benefits and disadvantages to both options on the prairie im probably going to be working out of a vehicle due to my situation being in and out of a wheelchair and walking with a cane so I’d be tempted to go for a FAL because im comfortable with it in a hunting scenario knowing im not walking far on the pen ground prairie if people are shooting at me I don’t care whether its a bullpup or not as long as it has more range than the other guy.

          • Dave

            I don’t see where your *two* examples are relevant. Even as Cal S. states, not all states even allow semi-auto for hunting, and even if they did, one can still use the off-hand to carry more of the weight, rather than the shooting hand. But then I an a Lefty and I am used to having to adjust to right-handedness; so those issues are much less significant to me.

          • Wow!

            In a simple home defense scenario it is very likely you will have your rifle pointed at the badguy for 15min to an hour until police arrive.

            Militias that do operations to gather information on organized crime for LE also would need lightweight firearms as many marijuana farms are usually pretty far in a forest (if they aren’t hidden in a cheap bought home), although for the most part they stay concealed and stick with handguns.

    • Joe Schmoe

      I was about to write this as well. No one carries a gun in the field like in the movies, you make sure that it is well supported by the strap/sling/attachment, and then there is always that comfortable spot on the vest that you can let it sit.

      In the movies they always hold the rifle like this:
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/445ad6685633253d8a2aa9765251c7a336c30643f3908557a978f054cc77a01b.jpg

      In real life, you walk around like this until you are almost certain you immediately have to use it (in which case, you are holding it nearly at the shoulder, so points to the bullpup balance):
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4e3d69ba4dc35343c532ec134ae6236fc3afd00abda6cd1eee4edf7f729a58b4.jpg
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/946c7a68ae955746a126806da0d90519928d84eb79233585ee24ccc6e34fff3e.jpg
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5b4b30ae9eff63bb50e3957c0ec3421712ed6b7defd822ebb0e2a00b30469cc7.jpg

      At least that’s my experience in the infantry.

      • Amplified Heat

        Quick, someone demerit those guys! They’re doing it wrong (I’ve been told)!

  • wetcorps

    Any French soldier here? If anyone know about carrying a bullpup for long periods of time its these guys, they have been patrolling the streets of major cities for years now.

    Look for “operation sentinelle” in google image to see a few examples of how they do it.

  • XT6Wagon

    Having a RDB, I’ve found it to not be too bad carrying it with one hand, but I also have a scope with large glass mounted more forward than you have yours.

    That said I’d love to try a 20″ barrel with a good brake/compensator stuck on the end as mine likes to kick the muzzle up well before the recoil hits the shoulder when I tested it with a minimal grip on the gun. Little more forward weight and some extra compensation should “fix” that.

    That said, perhaps the more important carry balance is on a sling since if you can sling it comfortably in a position that is easy to bring up to a firing position would be of more value to most people than directly in the hand for something like the RDB where hunting coyotes is about a million times more likely than military engagements.

    • For the record, that isn’t my RDB in the image. Mine has a Meprolight Trudot.

    • Not sure if you are, but I just want to clarify that is a stock Kel-Tec image, not a photo of my RDB.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    You have to also look at the arms and body as mechanisms in this as well. Sure, it’s more weight on the firing hand, but the leverage is significantly less. That hand is close to your shoulder, reducing excess strain while your support hand is out with a significantly higher leverage bearing on your elbow, shoulder, and back.

    The question that should be raised here, is how much does that balance really affect fatigue being that the arms are in non-equivalent positions. You’d really need hard calculations on it. I find my FS2000 to give me much less fatigue than my AK’s while standing, but that’s anecdotal obviously.

  • USMC03Vet

    Bullpups are retarded. Sure there are very limited things they excel at but far more things they don’t which include most positions one would use a firearm in including the aforementioned basic carrying of said weapon. It’s a good on paper theory for a weapon design but once you actually have to go use it in the field good luck.

    • Stuki Moi

      It’s a conceptually better platform for most use. Taking proper advantage of that, may in some instances require ammo designed with longer barrels in mind. But not always.

      Current developments are making bullpups much more obviously relevant:

      CQB is one. 5.56 is very strained at the overall lengths more and more influential users prefer. BLK is better, but when OAL is critical, bullpups are just more natural candidates.

      Increased silencer use is another. Bullpups balance much better with a heavy can up front than an already front heavy conventional. And they don’t need as big a can to begin with. And the can won’t heat up as fast. Both benefits of the longer barrel.

      Then, there is improved sighting systems. Crying out for higher BC projectiles. Which resolves to greater overbore to keep velocity and trajectory reasonable . Hence increased benefit from longer barrels, compared to back when sighting systems limited effective range to a greater extent.

      And then, there is increased emphasis on defeating armor. Which benefits bullpups in two ways:

      The same push towards higher BC, higher SD projectiles described above. Which needs to still be pushed to high velocities to give them optimal armor defeating performance. Putting even greater emphasis on barrel length within a given max tolerable OAL.

      Rifle ammo is pushing handgun caliber subguns/PDWs aside due to armor penetrating needs (amongst other reasons). And if rifle ammo is required/indicated, barrel length requirements of PDWs/Subguns trend longer. Which, in PDW scenarios, again strongly favors bullpups.

      IOW, while the past may have predominantly been a conventional one, the future is very likely belongs to the bullpup.

      • CommonSense23

        5.56 is no longer strained at even 10inches. The problem is most people use crap rounds and then complain about performance.

        • Stuki Moi

          The fact that it is possible to build “short barrel” rounds that nominally “works” in a snub nose j-frame, doesn’t somehow mean .38 is not strained at those barrel lengths….

          You have soo much more leeway to optimize ammunition for either range, trajectory, armor defeat, silencing, whatnot, if you are allowed 18″ instead of 10 in 5.56. Which moving to a bullpup can easily give you, within the same OAL.

          • Wordmahn

            In addition to the other comment I just made (Sorry, Amplified, it really shouldn’t have been directed at you.) I want to add one thought that I haven’t seen addressed here about bullpups — They give us civies the shortness advantages of an SBR without getting mixed up with the NFA junk. So, there’s that.

      • Amplified Heat

        +1 It’s funny to me that we go to the trouble of fielding M855A1 or that 77gr VLD round, only to hamstring it with ever shorter barrels

        • Wordmahn

          With a conventional carbine you have to choose: More pop and longer range along with longer, even more front heavy set-up OR short and handy but with limited power and range. With a bullpup you can have your cake and eat it. Improved ammo helps with the dilemma but does not completely resolve it.

          Stuki Moi makes excellent points when he points to the trend for increasing military use of suppressors that make front heavy rifles more so. And the revolution in combat optics which is pushing practical engagement distances farther and therefore favoring increased power that an SBR just can’t deliver. And, I believe he’s correct that the proliferation of body armor will also further drive the need for heavier, high velocity projectiles that, again, SBRs just can’t deliver. Bullpups offer much potential to alleviate all of this.

          Okay bullpups involve some handling trad-offs, but IMHO the big advantages they offer more than offset the comparatively small problems they bring. Also, they are improving the concept rapidly. All said, I agree that bullpups might be the inevitable solution unless some other technological advances can address many of the above challenges.

  • Form Factor

    The Problem is not the bullpup layout, its that all avaiable bullpups all have theyr own certain flaws. So one is needed that combines really good features, but >not< contains theyr old flaws.

    • Form Factor

      + as said an slightly angled buttpad with good rubber texture holds PERFECTLY FINE itself without any additional pressure.

      • Form Factor

        Btw, while crouching your torso is leaned forward, bullpups make a BIG difference in balace (fatigue) then.

        • Amplified Heat

          Big time; prone doesn’t work well with any hi-cap magazine unless a bipod is present, so it’s been less useful for decades than the M1/1903 days for getting close to the ground. But at least with a pup, the offhand can be placed under the pistol grip to raise the mag off the ground and stabilize the shot without supporting a cantilevered mass out front while prone.

      • Amplified Heat

        Buttpad is easily removed/replaced on the RDB, so this solution is easily doable

  • YZAS

    Good post. For me personally, I just haven’t found anything advantageous enough to make the leap. Because they feel so awkward to me, particularly with mag changes, it would take me a while to get used to them, and I’m not sure I want to make that investment as there is no major foreseeable gain and I am quite adept and comfortable with a traditional rifle config. Besides, I’m spoiled on great triggers at this point anyway. As far as overall length reduction, for that use-case, I prefer to just pay the $200 and pass Go.

  • TDog

    I prefer bullpups, but I can see where other folks might prefer the traditional layout. In the end, there’s very little that can be done with firearms design short of moving away from chemical propellants that will revolutionize the way we use firearms.

    In short, we live in America – we can have whatever we want… except anything made by Norinco. ;-D

  • French Balloon

    This criticism is stupid since infantrymen use adjustable slings that take most of the weight off of your hands and arms when walking. All of the gadgets added to assault rifles these days also shifts the center of balance forward. For your precious AR-15, that makes the center of balance horrendous. For bullpups, it makes them perfect.

    • I use an adjustable sling with my RDB, and it still has this problem when I hold it in my hands.

      Extra “gadgets” don’t change the CoM that much, unless it’s a 40mm. Plus, lights, lasers, rails, etc are getting lighter all the time.

    • n0truscotsman

      No infantryman worth his salt has his rifle slung while ‘walking’ or on patrol for that matter.

      Slings are only a necessary evil. Otherwise they are considered a PITA.

    • Porty1119

      Rifles are not slung when on patrol, period. That represents absolutely awful discipline, and the ensuing chewing-out would be nearly Biblical.

      Slings are for civilians, movement behind friendly lines, and stabilization when shooting from the prone.

      • int19h

        Can you explain why? What’s wrong with using a 2-point sling to secure the rifle in front, in the normal “patrol carry” position (from which it can be instantly shouldered and fired)?

        • Porty1119

          Nothing wrong with that, or single-point slings. The issue is when the rifle is slung over a shoulder and unavailable for immediate use. React-to-contact drills are going to be difficult if you’re also fumbling about trying to unsling your rifle.

          • int19h

            But no-one is talking about slinging the rifle over the shoulder. All the comments that point out that this criticism about the rifle’s balance is moot in the presence of a sling, are talking about that kind of carry, not over-the-shoulder.

      • Reuven Mizraha

        In the IDF, not only do they have their rifles, M4s or Tavors slinged around their neck at all times when on patrol, but they often even clip it them with a carabiner. Why? One reason because IEDs tend to throw soldiers around and if the rifle isn’t practically tied to you, you won’t find it when you get up and need to get back in the fight. Another reason, is you often need two hands, especially to provide first aid and you never ever lay your gun on the ground or lean it against a wall; it is a part of you, an appendage.

        When I see rifles without slings, they seem naked. That’s not a rifle that’s ready for a fight.

  • pablo4twenty

    The feeling of the round firing and ejecting inches under your face is not a feeling I savor.

    • The_Champ

      I’ve no real experience with bullpups but I can’t imagine it is any more strange than that big ‘ker-chunk’ of the AR buffer tube. I found that really strange at first, but don’t really notice it anymore.

    • Porty1119

      It’s not really that bad. That said, I’m a bit of an old-school rifleman and shoot with slings and peep sights. The terrible trigger and short sight radius of most bullpups makes them very hard to use effectively beyond about a hundred yards without optics.

  • The_Champ

    I get that the author is addressing a specific, commonly made point, however I think in the real world, where soldiers carry these rifles, these are non-issues.

    An infanteer likely wants:

    A) A rifle that functions each and every time he pulls the trigger

    And that’s about it. Every other concern is secondary. I’d say the number one secondary concern would likely be weight. Any infanteer would appreciate a lighter rifle.

    Honestly this was my experience in the military. All of the heated debates about the tiny details of this or that rifle, or this or that caliber didn’t seem to occur among soldiers. These are debates mainly for all us gun nuts.
    My two cents.

  • Amplified Heat

    Using an AK in an ergonomic comparison really does say it all.
    -The RDB is much lighter
    -The RDB is smaller in every dimension
    -The RDB has fewer points & corners to jab you (especially since the mag curves toward the grip, not away from it)
    -The RDB has neutral balance as shown, which *would* be tiresome for the main support hand were the gun itself not so lightweight
    -There are these cool new things called slings out there, and the RDB even comes with a cheap one
    -The notion a muzzle-heavy weight distribution is an asset is laughable, especially considering how adamant AR guys are about C-clamping, the light weight of the stoner gas system (which was still too heavy so the mid-length is now preferred), carbon fiber hand gaurds, the necessity of muzzle compensators (front-heavy guns don’t need to combat rise as much), action shooting games that require swinging the gun side to side rapidly, and of course the entire culture of short barrels that dominates everywhere outside the NFA
    -“Holding a hammer upright by the base of the handle effect?” Jesus, get a writer. It’s top heavy because there’s a good 2″ polymer lower receiver between the pistol grip and the action, unlike an AK that’s much shorter; AR15’s have the same non-issue. All you need is a second hand or contact with the torso to stabilize an upending moment. The effect of heavy optics is far higher for all these platforms than their intrinsic differences, anyway.
    -Who carries a loaded AK pointed at their foot all day on patrol? Also a non-issue for two-handed carriage or slings. Not to mention, I thought you said the center of mass was over the hand; why are you rocking the gun forward to the point that the center of mass in in front of your hand? At least that awful tipping moment isn’t in play when your ‘dextrous hand’ is trying to shoot the thing (and at its worst, is far smaller than for the AK since that gun’s CM is at least twice the distance from your shooting hand)

    I think I know what caused the author’s experiences; the RDB is so much easier to operate one-handed, he unknowingly relied on that one hand a lot more than he thought he was, and used two hands for the AK stuff almost exclusively (a safe bet since it’s hand to do almost anything including changing the mag on a full-length AK without bracing the butt in your armpit to control that heavy muzzle). That one shooting hand may more frequently have to handle the full weight and inertia of the gun by itself if you don’t consciously assist it, whereas the AK leaves you no such option as both hands are more frequently in play.

    BTW, because the balance is so neutral, it is possible to use the support hand at the rear of the RDB, and make direct use of the shooting hand’s greater dexterity & precision,
    while keeping the heavy, blood-starved limbs closer to the torso (obviously highly practiced shooters have this skill in that support hand). I suppose you do get that apparently beloved “muzzle heavy” inertia aspect this way as well to some extent.

    Lastly, the neutral balance allows for much higher magazine capacity without impacting the balance of the gun. A D60 PMAG drum makes the gun heavier, but the balance is about the same for one-handed actions (still barely muzzle heavy). On a forward-mag setup, the mass quickly become untenable and people tend to opt for faster/easier mag changes of lower capacity as opposed to delaying them. The D60 is narrow enough to not be awkward around the shooting hand when held or slung, also (more a testament to the D60 than the RDB, though)

    • Don’t let me stand in the way of your confirmation bias, buddy.

      • Amplified Heat

        I do believe I’ve been refuted. Hey, I’m not the guy knocking a rifle for not carrying like every other rifle, now am I? Time to catch some Z’s while spooning the RDB…

        • Your arguments are half-baked, I would double-check them if I were you.

          • Amplified Heat

            Twice I’ve been refuted, but I still haven’t learned anything. I must be a fool or a sucker for punishment.

          • A fool:

            “-The RDB is much lighter”

            Depending on the AK variant, the RDB is 0.4 to 0.7 pounds lighter (0.18-32 kg). So not really “much” lighter, more like the difference between an M4 and an M4A1.

            “-The RDB is smaller in every dimension”

            So? That isn’t really an ergonomic concern, at least not directly. Nobody claimed bullpups were larger, either.

            “-The RDB has fewer points & corners to jab you (especially since the mag curves toward the grip, not away from it)”

            As the owner of an RDB, I have to say you are wrong about this. Plus, at least the AK doesn’t have cross-pins that get scalding hot under even a leisurely pace of fire.

            “-The RDB has neutral balance as shown, which *would* be tiresome for the main support hand were the gun itself not so lightweight”

            Exaggeration. Plus, which is more tiresome, carrying one 7 pound weight in one hand, or one 3.5lb weight in each hand? Again, the RDB is not that light; it’s heavier than an M4A1 for example.

            “-There are these cool new things called slings out there, and the RDB even comes with a cheap one”

            Strawman (I mentioned slings in the article), and refuted in the article’s text anyway.

            “-The notion a muzzle-heavy weight distribution is an asset is laughable,”

            Unsupported statement. Weak.

            “especially considering how adamant AR guys are about C-clamping, the light weight of the stoner gas system (which was still too heavy so the mid-length is now preferred), carbon fiber hand gaurds, the necessity of muzzle compensators (front-heavy guns don’t need to combat rise as much),”

            This is all pretty much nonsense strung together. C-clamping is a technique invented basically for square range shooting, and it’s about recoil control not fatigue. Something something something Stoner gas? OK. Carbon fiber handguards… Sure, those are neat, what’s your point? Then we have some nonsense about compensators and how front heavy guns don’t need to combat rise as much (but wait, I thought front-heavy was bad! You sound a little confused tbh).

            “action shooting games that require swinging the gun side to side rapidly,”

            According to your theory, these guys should all be flocking to bullpups, but they’re not. Weird.

            “and of course the entire culture of short barrels that dominates everywhere outside the NFA”

            So what you’re saying is that just about everyone prefers a conventional with a chopped barrel to bullpups. Alright.

            “-“Holding a hammer upright by the base of the handle effect?” Jesus, get a writer.”

            It turns out I am one. You know how I know? The checks.

            “It’s top heavy because there’s a good 2″ polymer lower receiver between the pistol grip and the action, unlike an AK that’s much shorter; AR15’s have the same non-issue.”

            Wait, I thought the RDB was smaller in every dimension than the AK?

            It’s plain to see that the reason the RDB is top heavy is because of where the CoG is front-to-back, not top-to-bottom. Look at where the CoGs are relative to the barrels on both rifles. They’re almost directly in-line with them in both cases. So the reason the RDB feels top-heavy is because it isn’t front-heavy.

            If you’d paid attention, you could have seen that.

            “All you need is a second hand or contact with the torso to stabilize an upending moment.”

            You don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah, you can stabilize the gun, but it takes more effort. That’s the whole point of the article.

            “-Who carries a loaded AK pointed at their foot all day on patrol?”

            Strawman. Read the article, that’s not the scenario I present.

            “Not to mention, I thought you said the center of mass was over the hand; why are you rocking the gun forward to the point that the center of mass in in front of your hand?”

            This sentence strongly suggests that you don’t know how CoMs work.

            “At least that awful tipping moment isn’t in play when your ‘dextrous hand’ is trying to shoot the thing (and at its worst, is far smaller than for the AK since that gun’s CM is at least twice the distance from your shooting hand)”

            This argument is substantially non-congruent with reality. Re-read the article, and pay attention this time.

            “I think I know what caused the author’s experiences; the RDB is so much easier to operate one-handed, he unknowingly relied on that one hand a lot more than he thought he was, and used two hands for the AK stuff almost exclusively (a safe bet since it’s hand to do almost anything including changing the mag on a full-length AK without bracing the butt in your armpit to control that heavy muzzle).”

            ‘I know what you experienced better than you do’ is a pretty clear sign of confirmation bias in action. You don’t want to hear what I have to say, so you’re going to handwave it away by “explaining” my experiences in a way that fits your narrative.

            “That one shooting hand may more frequently have to handle the full weight and inertia of the gun by itself if you don’t consciously assist it, whereas the AK leaves you no such option as both hands are more frequently in play.”

            That is backwards: It’s harder to shift the weight of the gun to the other hand with a bullpup, whereas a conventional’s weight is easily shifted between hands. This is directly related to the location of the CoG.

            I can hold an AK up pretty easily with either just my dominant or non-dominant hand. It’s challening to hold a bullpup up with just my non-dominant hand, because the weight is so far away from the hand. The flip-side of this is that it’s comparatively easy to hold a bullpup up by the dominant hand, but doing this all day tires the dominant hand out pretty good.

            As Miles pointed out, that’s nothing that you can’t get used to if a bullpup’s what you’ve got, but it’s still an issue.

            “BTW, because the balance is so neutral, it is possible to use the support hand at the rear of the RDB, and make direct use of the shooting hand’s greater dexterity & precision,
            while keeping the heavy, blood-starved limbs closer to the torso (obviously highly practiced shooters have this skill in that support hand). I suppose you do get that apparently beloved “muzzle heavy” inertia aspect this way as well to some extent.”

            This is the dumbest thing you’ve said so far. You can’t use your support hand on the rear of the rifle, there’s no room. You can discover this by… Looking at a picture of an RDB!

            “Lastly, the neutral balance allows for much higher magazine capacity without impacting the balance of the gun.”

            Um, what? The magazine is further away from the CoG in the RDB, so this statement is downright counterfactual.

            “A D60 PMAG drum makes the gun heavier, but the balance is about the same for one-handed actions (still barely muzzle heavy).”

            Dude, have you ever tried stuffing a drum mag into a bullpup? You can do it, but it’s awkward as hell.

            “On a forward-mag setup, the mass quickly become untenable and people tend to opt for faster/easier mag changes of lower capacity as opposed to delaying them.”

            You’re in fantasyland, mate.

            “The D60 is narrow enough to not be awkward around the shooting hand when held or slung, also (more a testament to the D60 than the RDB, though)”

            Not really, it chunks into your wrist a lot.

            In sum: Wow, confirmation bias is a helluva drug.

          • Rocky Mountain 9

            You realize he’s divested himself from the discussion, right, Nathaniel F? Writing a novel in response makes you look like the fool here.

          • Amplified Heat

            I’m right here, lol (sorry, I found your response funny since I’m typing another novel)

          • Took me about 5 minutes, so I’m not too worried.

          • Amplified Heat

            Thanks for actually replying this time. I likely missed some of your points since Discus is a terrible format for multi-pointed argument (and far more optimized for hit & run poo-flinging)

            If multiple AK configurations are allowed for comparison, equivalent RDB/bullpup ones are, too (most points are RDB-specific since I find it to be the best execution of the concept yet), which includes short barrel arrangements. A gun that’s all polymer but the bolt & barrel will always weigh less than the proverbial tank of the service rifle world, that should be obvious. Of course the RDB can’t be much lighter than an M4, they’re both structurally lightweight (one has no piston but aluminum chassis, the other a piston but polymer chassis)

            Hot pins are not much of an issue for me, though I know for mag-dumps it’s slightly annoying. it’s also not a very hard issue to fix if you can see past the current configuration of the gun and conceive of someone bothering to make plastic-tipped pins or deeper recesses in the handguard. At any rate, my point was there is no charging handle spur jutting out, no square corners of the receiver or iron sights, no mag/pistol grip pointing opposite directions. It’s a sleeker profile all around.

            I would submit that carrying a 7lb weight in one hand (*either* hand, technically) leaves one far less encumbered than having to keep 3.5lb in each hand or be faced with “holding a hammer by the base” because of a distant center of gravity. Way easier to open doors, steady oneself when moving around, and just generally do non-carrying-a-gun-two-handed-stuff all day while patrol. I assume soldiers do have to perform tasks beyond holding their rifles all day. At any rate, that ~3.5lb in either hand hasn’t been enough to stop the adoption of accessories that dwarf the difference, so clearly it isn’t that big of a barrier to usage (7lb to 10.5lb in one hand would be, however, so *perhaps* this balance issue could effect where or how many doodads can be tacked on a rifle. Luckily the smaller size helps counteract those good idea fairies)

            I’m willing to grant your point on the slings, but it seems odd we’re so insistent on fielding them if they aren’t ever used. A single-point on a non-floated AR isn’t exactly useful for increasing accuracy, so if it isn’t also used to carry the thing, it seem superfluous.

            “Unsupported statement. Weak.”
            You know what else is an unsupported, weak statement? Statements that call others unsupported & weak without any context. Especially when the initial statement being rebutted is immediately followed by supporting arguments, which you then go into great detail dismissing rather than refuting. My point is that AR shooters seem to go to great lengths to reduce weight toward the muzzle when they have the option to, which contradicts this supposed advantage of having it 6″ forward of the trigger finger. Maybe you’re right, that it’s all a range-shooter fad, since they hold the gun out more than patrolling troops, so the further CG is more tiring. The bit about compensators refers to how comps are preferred to muzzle-heavy configurations that have less need for assistance in combating muzzle-rise. Lighter barrels balanced more to the rear of the gun need them more (as little as 5.56’s need compensation, anyway)

            Action games also focus heavily on rapid/frequent reloads, which bullpups will always trail non-pups on to some degree. Your arguments are about patrolling, not firefights, however.

            Everyone prefers a chopped barrel to a long gun, because the shorter overall package is worth the tradeoff in ballistic power, and in some guns like the AK, sight radius. Heck, AK owners are willing to endure awful folding stocks simply to get the gangly package a bit smaller during the down-times. Bullpups accomplish the same length reduction with *different* trade offs that many find more acceptable than a barrel-chop.

            Me: “Jesus, get a writer.”
            “It turns out I am one. You know how I know? The checks.”
            Sorry, teasing joke about an awkward phrasing that may have come off as taunting. C’mon, it is a lot more syllables than “top heavy” or “awkward.” Your wallet feels nice on my face, though; must be very expensive leather.

            “Wait, I thought the RDB was smaller in every dimension than the AK?”
            Well, between the down-canted buttstock and scope arrangement (apples to apples, since RDB has no fixed iron sights) of AKs, they are still slightly taller (at least my scoped M76 is; an underfolder with irons probably isn’t). Plus, the magazine…

            Okay, you say this;
            “It’s plain to see that the reason the RDB is top heavy is because of where the CoG is front-to-back, not top-to-bottom.”
            But then this;
            “This sentence strongly suggests that you don’t know how CoMs work.”
            Rather than take up gun blogging for a living, I took up aerospace engineering. Have you drawn a free-body diagram to prove out your claim? You’re halfway there with your CG diagrams, you just need to add up the force vectors to see where the resultant moment on the CG is pointing. Torque about any point is force times distance, and gravity always points down. If your hand is under the CG, there is no torque.

            “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Yeah, you can stabilize the gun, but it takes more effort [to stabilize the gun one-handed]. That’s the whole point of the article.”
            1) Stabilizing with two hands is also more effort
            2) The only reason one would stabilize a weapon one-handed on their torso or gear to reduce the burden on the hand is because…it reduces the burden on the hand. Otherwise, why would you do it? Pictures were posted by others showing how other nations have successfully done this.

            “Strawman [carrying an AK pointed at the foot]. Read the article, that’s not the scenario I present.”
            Why show a static hang diagram of the barrel pointed muzzle down, then, in an article about patrol carry? You also state the inverted RDB orientation is awkward for doing one-handed tasks, suggesting you would do similar one-handed tasks with the AK…necessarily pointed straight down.

            “‘I know what you experienced better than you do’ is a pretty clear sign of confirmation bias in action. You don’t want to hear what I have to say, so you’re going to handwave it away by “explaining” my experiences in a way that fits your narrative.”
            So, you did carefully record how many times and how often you held each rifle one or two-handed for maneuvers & for how long? Because I find myself doing things less if they are awkward for me (like dealing with a Discus comment tree), which makes it really easy to fall prey to bias, either confirmation or selection variety.

            “I can hold an AK up pretty easily with either just my dominant or non-dominant hand. It’s challening to hold a bullpup up with just my non-dominant hand, because the weight is so far away from the hand. The flip-side of this is that it’s comparatively easy to hold a bullpup up by the dominant hand, but doing this all day tires the dominant hand out pretty good.

            As Miles pointed out, that’s nothing that you can’t get used to if a bullpup’s what you’ve got, but it’s still an issue.”
            Hmm, kind of sounds like it’s simply not much of an issue, then. BTW, on the RDB your support hand is right on the front side of the trigger guard 3″ forward of the primary since there’s no magwell; the distance to CG is maybe an inch longer (less if the barrel is tipped down slightly). It also seems like the fact the RDB is completely ambidextrous makes it easy to simply flip it over & carry by the opposite hand if a breather is needed by the primary (or are we patrolling with safeties off, fingers on triggers, 10hrs a day everyday, now?)

            “You can’t use your support hand on the rear of the rifle, there’s no room. You can discover this by… Looking at a picture of an RDB!”
            Interesting…that’ not what I found when actually shooting it vs. looking at pictures online. My hand it on the comb in front of my jaw, btw. The sight rail is tall enough to accommodate this. It’s a very comfy/stable prone position if the grip is rested on something, actually.

            “Um, what? The magazine is further away from the CoG in the RDB, so this statement is downright counterfactual.”
            But it’s placement counteracts the forward tipping moment, thus reducing the overall load on the wrist. The RDB is still slightly front-heavy.

            “Dude, have you ever tried stuffing a drum mag into a bullpup? You can do it, but it’s awkward as hell.”
            I was expecting the worst as well, but the D60 is narrow enough that it can be done. Again, because the mag/ammo are light and their weight counteracts the muzzle end, the balance shifted from barely-nose-heavy to barely-butt-heavy; a smaller impact on balance than the same mag stuffed into an AR or (God help us) Chinese AK drum. I’m not saying they’re more practical than box-mags, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well they work on the RDB, especially since I hear they are awful on the TAVOR.

            “You’re in fantasyland, mate.”
            Eh, perhaps, if only because most of the high cap drum options aren’t very reliable. I’ve had no issues at all with the D60, however (just some gen2 PMAGs that don’t latch in any of my STANAG guns) so maybe that’s my bias. Sixty rounds in my AR feels very awkward & front heavy, but in the RDB it simply feels slightly chunkier; neither is an improvement over box-mag carriage, but there *is* double the ammo on tap before a reload, which counts for something.

            “Not really, it chunks into your wrist a lot.”
            If by ‘a lot’ you mean some, or are unwilling to tip your elbow out any at all. I never said it was ideal, I said was it was surprisingly not terrible, and a viable alternative to more frequent & slightly more awkward mag changes.

          • “A gun that’s all polymer but the bolt & barrel will always weigh less than the proverbial tank of the service rifle world, that should be obvious.”

            Not for anyone who understands the difference between density and mass, it isn’t.

            The RDB is also not “all polymer but the bolt & barrel”. It has an aluminum optics rail, steel block supports, and a steel receiver cover, among other things. A G36 is more substantially polymer than an RDB, by a good bit (and hey! A G36 is heavier than an AK, too).

            This is why talking to you feels like a complete waste of my time. You don’t seem to have a good hold on even very basic elements of the discussion. So why should I spend my time holding your hand through every step?

          • Amplified Heat

            1) G36 has a rather large receiver, overall (I was surprised, at least)
            2) Has a surprisingly dense polymer, and rather thick construction for an injection-molded part. Some areas over 3/8″ thick.
            3) Clever but massive & heavy barrel extension design
            4) Which AK? Something with hollow plastic furniture & a short barrel? AK barrels, trunnions, magazines, stocks, everything are all heavier than equivalent G36 parts.

            Basically, the G36 was just about the worst way to make a lightweight all-polymer rifle, almost as though they were trying to make it as heavy as possible.

            As far as the RDB, I was treating the optics rail as part of the barrel assembly…since it’s part of the barrel assembly. That receiver cover is *it* as far as the metallic chassis parts. Also rather amazing they got the ATF to deem that cheap piece of folded sheet metal to be the serialized receiver.

            If you don’t think I’m worth responding to, then don’t. I don’t read every article on the site since some don’t interest me, and I comment in even fewer.

          • English

            can you not be a ass to the people who support this website?

  • Tassiebush

    It’s refreshing to see handling as a consideration in evaluating desirable characteristics. It’s easily overlooked but very important.

  • It seems like most bullpups would really shine with the proper placement of a single point sling mount that keeps them hanging right up front on a plate carrier like the current style used for the M4.

    • Amplified Heat

      RDB has like six locations from butt to fore end, but Nat is right that they need to be higher above the cg so the gun doesn’t invert while hanging.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    I would rock the shit out of a bullpup but for two reasons: they aren’t standardized enough to have economy of scale so the price of entry is too much compared to conventional carbines, and… I don’t actually care about them being less intuitive to reload. So really just the price.

    • Amplified Heat

      Doze 1200$ fancy ARs, tho…;)

      • Cynic

        I wouldn’t call a Daniel Defence style price fancy in the ar market stuff like the B33F CH1Ck5n SuPR3m3 Rapid Accurate Firepower Leverage Engine from Frattac industries with free flat brimmed cap (normal price 200$ and transformation into a womans health accessory) with each purchase are the overpriced fancy ars.

  • mikee

    Semantics aside, I don’t like to concept of catastrophic action failure where your face is in harms way as in a bullpup design. In a AR 15 (M16) style action chances are that you will escape unharmed or with minimal injuires. With a bullpup, chances are you will be killed. Have used early L85A1’s and Steyr F88’s.

    • Amplified Heat

      If it makes you feel better, the RDB has a firing pin return spring so it is less slam fire prone than an AR could be, and would probably protect your eyes better in a Kaboom since there is no path for gas to exit unlike an AR’s charging handle or ejection port. Bigger risk is the mag being spat out hard into your torso, I’d imagine. Case failures are violent, but they aren’t explosive (i.e. they won’t blow that steel cheekpiece into your face like an explosively formed penetrator) so all you really need is something to protect against small high speed particulates, since modern action designs don’t grenade under reasonable failure conditions.

    • XT6Wagon

      RDB is going to be safer than most as your head is still well back of the chamber, the path for gas is pretty open in a direction other than where your body is, and the receiver is decently thick steel between your head and the chamber. Mostly its that the burning gases have a place to go down through the not tightly sealed mag well and the huge downward facing ejection port.

      More importantly it has the now pretty standard design features to keep the round from being fired unless its properly chambered and the bolt is locked. It also lacks stupid crap like a forward assist or a fixed charging handle where by a user can break the gun more trying to get a round to chamber. RDB, if it doesn’t go in properly, you got to fix why it isn’t chambering instead of hammering on it.

    • iksnilol

      So an explosion 5 cm in front of your face is safer than an explosion 5 cm under your face? Why is that?

      • Amplified Heat

        Because it is not an explosion. The pressure is high, but gas volume from even 5.56 is low, and the RDB is both roomy inside and has large openings downward. Venting gas pressure likely won’t get high enough to blow the comb piece upward without a whole lot of wtf going on with the ammo. Blank powder & wrong-size bullets will injure/kill shooters of other designs, too. RDB also cycles slower than an AR and unlocks later when pressures are lower, so early timing is less of a concern as well.

        • iksnilol

          That’s a more technical way of putting it. I’m just annoyed by everybody saying “but what if it explodes” in regards to bullpups. Like, no offense, but you’re gonna have a bad day if anything decides to go grenade on you.

          • Amplified Heat

            “All barrels proofed with RDX charges…”

  • missourisam

    Granted I have not had any dealings with a bull pup in years, but before my retirement I had occasion to test two for the use of the police department I worked for. Both of them were jam prone, and very hard to control rapid fire with the muzzle having a tendency to climb off the target. All in all, despite the plus of a short weapon for use in close quarters, although not as fast on target as a handgun, I found them to be a poor excuse for what was needed when a rifle was called for. Despite my evaluation, the police chief, who had never worked the streets bought one of each. They were relegated to safe queens until they were destroyed as inoperable and undesirable weapons.

    • Logic

      Which simply has to do with really bad quality NOT the bullpup shape……

    • Amplified Heat

      A bullpup what? Tapco SKS or something?

      • XT6Wagon

        Bushmaster M17S? Those are known to be pretty questionable with the love and care of a good owner. Hate to see how bad they would be just taken out to be played with then dumped back in the cabinet.

        • Amplified Heat

          Should we judge all ARs, or better, all non-pup semi autos by Carbon 15s, then, lol? The new M17 is supposed to be pretty nice, the guy just can’t make enough of them.

  • jerry young

    I don’t care if a bullpup can balance on a tight wire over the grand canyon I don’t like the looks of them and to me they are awkward to shoot and carry, this is just my opinion and has nothing to do with whether a rifle is lighter, shorter balances better or any other reason other than personal preference.

  • noone

    Hi, guys i just wander why there isn’t a bullpop design ever tried to shorten the receiver length which would in turn make a shorter stock.

    • ActionPhysicalMan

      The F.A.V.S. Stradivari does this in spades:-)

    • Form Factor

      “Ever” youre talking a giant bunch of crap here… There where multiple. Just not adopted, and had some other technical flaws.

    • iksnilol

      Google the Korobov TKB 022. It had the shortest receiver of anything.

      • Amplified Heat

        Supposedly that thing was put together wrong by some museum dummies, and may be empty inside in any case. However, there was a more recent design being pursued by some other Russians, basically a sliding block action. The bolt was L-shaped with the short leg hanging down in line with the breech, and pivoted along the long leg’s axis above the chamber to swing side-to-side in and out of locking lugs before retracting.

        • Where are you getting that it was put together wrong?

        • You’re getting it from this ATS thread, aren’t you?

          “The second is that this weapon was made in the 50s, but the picture was made about 40 years later… which means that a museum curator might have put this weapon together completely wrong, and that the mag inserts into the seemingly nonsensical hole in front of the magazine, which is missing a magwell but more or less shaped just like the mag. The spent cases are then ejected downward the little ramp towards the end of the “weapon”.”

          Doesn’t sound plausible to me. Look at how short the barrel is, and then note that there’s a mag catch behind where the mag is inserted:

          http://orig14.deviantart.net/fe4a/f/2013/335/2/7/tkb_022pm_by_ohlopkov-d6wc16h.jpg

          In other words, somebody spewed BS without thinking about it.

        • iksnilol

          Nah, isn’t empty inside, I’ve seen the drawings.

  • Gregory

    I have an IWI X95. The rifle is compact and easy on the arms when in a shooting position. I have held an AR-15 in the shooting position for extended periods of time. I have had to hold my sights on a suspect for more that 30 minutes while he was threatening to jump from an overpass. It would have been much easier with the X95. You can keep your dirty, finicky AR-15.

  • Tinkerer

    A bullpup rifle stole Nathaniel’s girlfriend.

    • Amplified Heat

      Dazzled her with superior balance, while still having a hand free for more important things, I’d imagine…

      • CJS

        And with a longer barrel for better penetration! 😉

        • Tinkerer

          “AUG-senpai!! L-lewd!!”

          • Insider

            I heard Nathaniels Girlfriend doesnt like his …SBR barrel. *cough*

          • Cynic

            Japanese anime references oddly appropriate for easy to store with an easy to clean and wipe down after use body items

    • RealitiCzech

      Turns out she liked its tendency to eject in her face.

    • Yeah, I hate bullpups, that’s why I spent over a grand to get one.

      • Amplified Heat

        Exactly; now you can hate one at your leisure, in the comfort of your own home, lol

  • ActionPhysicalMan

    Thanks for a thoughtful article that I had not read somewhere else first and was not a collection of vanity images of yourself. It is articles like this that keep me coming back.

  • El Coyote

    As an Infantryman my weapon was mostly supported by a sling while on patrols or marches. I think it is the manual of arms keeping bulpups from being adopted not the balance.

    • XT6Wagon

      Its $600 “m16″s that keeps conventional rifles showing up in mass issue. If the latest trend of buying really fancy and expensive platforms with conventional ergonomics, it will in the end open back up the idea of using bullpups for mass issue. No sense in handing some forces $2000 rifles that are a modest amount better than the mass issue $600 guns if everyone can just enjoy a single properly designed rifle that isn’t that much more.

      • Form Factor

        With a good construction you can make a bullpup with the same price when mass issued, theres nothing magic about it.

        Its rather as said before, that they all had some certain minor flaws, but if you combine needed features, and have learned enough from other firearms to prevent the flaws, an optimized bullpup is possible with no problem (which just isnt done yet).

        Lets think it the other way around, not if you should go from conventional to bullpup, but when having the choice from the beginning.
        If an engineer sees the numbers between 10″ and 18″ barrels in velocity, penetration, trajectory, !wind drift! , supersonic range, etc. He really start to wonder if he should give up 8inches for, for… what exactly? This way around the question is much more interesting.

        • XT6Wagon

          Its hard to compete with the existing tooling and decades of refinement with a new gun of any kind. worse if its a proper bid system most companies will chase it with a near 0 margin bid as military contracts are like riding a tiger, hard to get on, harder to get off and survive.

        • My friend whose really into the FS2000 is an engineer, and he was amazed how few metal parts are in the FS2K. It’s basically a barrel, gas piston, bolt, and springs and screws that are metal. He calls it a “5.56 airsoft gun” in terms of how much it would cost to manufacture.

          Once you had the tooling set up, the cost of manufacturing the rifle would be quite low, due to the tremendous cost savings of injection molded plastic parts over CNC’d steel and aluminum.

          It’s a shame FN hasn’t taken a more aggressive price structure to marketing the F2K – they could likely have undercut the prices of most rifles on the market due to how it’s constructed.

          • Amplified Heat

            If it’s anything like their “airsoft” five-seven pistol, there’s a lot more surface grinding & polishing of important parts as well as expensive quality control than you see coming out of Hong Kong.

          • Of course the actual QC and production costs are higher for a real gun vs airsoft. But the F2000 does have less metal parts than any other 5.56 rifle that I’m aware of.

            If we compared the production costs for FN for their F2000 vs their M4’s, we’d likely see the cost of the F2000 being a good deal less, as much less metal, and metal machining, polishing, coating, QC, is required in its construction.

          • Amplified Heat

            Of course economy of scale would bring down prices, but the fact remains the F2000 is a more complicated design (ejection, gas, and trigger systems), produced by expensive European labor, to a fairly high standard. Not to mention that with the miracle of high-speed CNC automation, metallic parts aren’t necessarily more expensive than polymer ones. The lack of flash and tight fit of quality polymer parts also implies a significant amount of secondary cleanup operation; Kel Tec is more what you get for fresh-from-the-mold production (also airsoft). It may work just as fine, but the quality difference is obvious.

            But to your point, the fact the RDB can be sold for under a grand puts the lie to the whole “bullpups are necessarily expensive to produce” refrain we hear so often. I wouldn’t expect the much nicer F2000 to be anywhere near as economical to produce, however.

        • Amplified Heat

          Not when cheap companies won’t make them because it costs less to reproduce others’ public domain work. Bullpups are kind of synonymous with higher-end European makers, the cheaper East European and Kel Tec offerings are a new development, that was started (sort of) by the Tavor being introduced at a (slightly) more reasonable price. RDB’s are less than a grand, often times; not bad for a short-stroke 5.56.

        • Cynic

          Which is why engineers need a shooter behind them who has served in combat to slap them when they make stupid decisions that would be crap in actual use emg the SA80a1 where there’s a part in the gas system that can be installed backwards after a full cleaning breakdown the parts look dam near identical either way round and as soon as you do install it backwards you have locked up the rifle you can’t unstrip it or remove the part coz of how its held in place in that position and the rifle needs to go back to DEPOT possibly FACTORY level armourers for fixing.

          Though watching the unit ‘im a master who can strip and rebuild blindfolded’ bellend do this trying to show off is very very very funny

      • Amplified Heat

        Not even $600, considering how many of our guns we straight up give away. The AK dwindled in popularity when USSR stopped giving them away, now everyone has M16s since we gave a ton away; big deal. It not like there’s as much development of the AR platform on a basic level as the AK ever saw; I’ve still never heard of another gun that uses the Stoner gas system & isn’t an AR15 or AR10 clone (to the point of being incompatible with their uppers)

  • kyphe

    Nathaniel. Check out the military arms channel video on the F90 Atrax. Tim shows the balance is now almost central. This shows that a rear heavy nature is not intrinsic to the bull-pup format. Balance in typical rear heavy bull-pups is an advantage once you add heavy/long barrels as conventional layout rifles become front heavy like the SCAR where as bull-pups become balanced.

    • I’ve handled the Atrax, it looks pretty promising.

      • Form Factor

        Would rather like to have an Mlock rail on it.

      • Amplified Heat

        Why do you think so, in particular? It’s a nice product improvement/update for sure. Not hugely different in function from the serviceable A3 AUG, though, right?

        I found it odd Thales was involved; I thought they made RADARs, lol (Ball Aerospace made mason jars, so I guess it makes sense)

        • They paid a lot of attention to the balance and brought the weight down. It won’t be a revolution or anything, but I was fairly impressed with it.

        • Form Factor

          Brass deflector.

  • Matt Robinson

    Some bullpup fans feel the need to prove the layout is better than anything else. It’s the same as a Camaro driver saying mustangs suck (or vice versa). I really enjoy bullpups. I also really enjoy conventional firearms. I don’t understand the need to argue one over the other.

    • My angle on it is this: Bullpups look like they’re dying out on the military market. I want to know why, which is one of the reasons I bought the RDB. Put the platform through its paces and see what might be causing it problems with acceptance.

      A lot of people think the RDB is a weird choice for this, and at first glance it is, but I put quite a bit of thought into it and that’s the one I decided on.

      • Form Factor

        Its simple, the ejection on some is bad for left hand use, and those who dont have this problem, have theyr own certain flaws, all of them have theyr own small flaws.
        If one really well designed would be made and without flaws, things would be diffrent. But that takes someone with real interest, time, motivation.

        Also interesting would be an flared magwell, so reloading would be faster.

        • Sure, I could just be dismissive like that, but I’d still like to spend some quality time with one over several months. Maybe that’s more of a romantic feeling, I’m not sure, but I’m doing it.

      • Amplified Heat

        Yet they seem to be exploding on the civilian market, with more options than ever this year. Telling, considering the US civilian maket developed many of the technologies that have advanced small arms in more recent years. Without the Armory system, .mil isn’t leading the way like they used to (France ditching the FAMAS is less significant than the fact MAS went broke because France wouldn’t pay to develop or improve that rifle)

        To be fair to the RDB, it isn’t exactly chasing military RFPs, so some aspects won’t be optimized for that role (sling mount locations, barrel length, sight rail configuration, chassis materials). More development could and likely will, alleviate some of these minor gripes.

        • Cynic

          I think the explosion of bullpups in the us market is more to do with shooter age meaning the kids who saw bullpups in 80s action and scifi films and played ghost recon games growing up as wes counestrike are now old enough to be able to back the production by putting them into production (MSAR’s aug as well as the small shots doing kits for the mosin and al and 1022 and building weird and wonderful one offs) tech to produce polymer stocks as intricate as most bullpups being more attainable now vs being something only producable by giant’s of the industry with experience. The M4 saturating the market as well as the cost comparable to things like fals and g3s and the HK guns as well as nice aks meaning someone who ‘wants something different’ has a price range of 1-3k to get something to scratch that itch vs 600-900 for the conventional weapons vs 1500-6k for the bullpup in the majority of states today im not risking a ban via interpretation my f90 is actually a banned by name in the AWB Aug and i can have an EEEEEVIBABYKILLING ASSUALT WEAPON *Nancy pelosi voice* so military type weapons and features have a market beyond limited authorised LEO Buyers.

          Plus the explosion of the firearms market in the last20 years means that manufacturers are going to actually build factories in the us to be able to comply with weapons import laws and still bring to market guns people want. Glock bringing in the subcompacts then removing and replacing parts. FNUSA grinding out a steel rod to turn single shot scars into real usable rifles and then realising holy hell with a us factory i can bid for us military contracts and get big American weapons designers to do stuff as well.

  • Treiz

    I had the RFB*, it was garbage. After having used it and the FS2k and AUG I concluded that bullpups are a terrible cost benefit ratio. OAL and slight velocity boost vs poor ergos, more complexity, more weight, more cost, worse maintenance, much less compatibility and customization, etc etc etc. No thanks.

    Fixed

    • Kýr

      Dude… youre talking about some bad designed bullpups NOT the bullpup shape itself. A conventional Rifle with bad design wouldnt be better too.

      A smart engineer can prevent flaws and without any problem reach -> good ergonomic, same weight (+less front heavy), same cost, simple maintence, excellent compability/customisation.

      Its not the bullpup shape itself, its the uninnovative non-visionary Engineers.
      Theres nothing magic about creating a good Rifle, it simply takes a lot of patience and motivation.

      Lets assume you have 2 perfectly designed Rifles available, one bullpup without usual flaws, one conventional, – why suffer entire 8inches (velocity, penetration, trajectory, !wind drift!, supersonic range), … for no large advantages.

    • Amplified Heat

      Already ditched the RDB? Wow, you really hump ’em ‘n dump ’em. Did you mean the RFB? RDB is pretty stupid simple, actually.

      • Treiz

        RFB, yes, I fixed it, thanks.

        • Amplified Heat

          I figured; yeah, that gun was honestly a bit ambitious for kel tec in my opinion (no surprise there). At least it’s clear from my RDB they learned a lot from that process, since everything from the gas system to the receiver construction is much simpler and better thought out. Easier to assemble, too. I’ve heard the RFB is far more expensive to make, so much more that the end-goal is to phase it out entirely for a scaled-up RDB with a longer action for the bigger rounds.

    • Treiz

      why are my comments being removed, edited, and reposted?

  • Im pretty sure the deserttech mdr is just vapor ware by now

    • If it ever reaches production, people are gonna be pretty disappointed I think.

      • just because of overhyped expectations or is there something wrong with it?

        • Balance is possibly the worst I’ve seen on a bullpup. I also hear that they don’t work, and that worried me at this late stage of development. Bolt configuration also looks pretty weak to me.

          • huh mac hyped it pretty hard but I guess that guy just has more money than taste

          • Amplified Heat

            Had a good chuckle reading the comments about the ‘incipient delivery’ of MDRs from three months ago. Since you get to go to the trade shows, have you managed to get a close look at the actual bolt assembly? Best I can find are all from a good distance away, though it resembles the SCAR or RDB bolt carrier system (but much heftier at the bolt area due to the looooong magazine well).

          • Yes, here are some images of the bolt assy and ejector:

            http://i.imgur.com/7Ku5nlv.jpg

            http://i.imgur.com/Bjrd1Si.jpg

            And here’s an article describing the ejection system: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2017/03/21/desert-tech-mdr-ejection-mechanism-explained/

            So note that the second image is backwards to the first. Basically, the way the MDR works is there’s a sweep ejector which comes out from the opposite blocked ejection port module and sweeps the case over the bolt face and into a trap in the opposite ejection port module. Upon the return of the bolt, the sweep ejector is collapsed again and the cartridge case in the trap is pushed out of the trap by the front of the bolt.

            I see two potential serious issues here: One is that the bolt lugs are heavily relieved to accommodate the sweep ejector and may be weak, and two is that it doesn’t look like the sweep ejector has a whole lot of momentum to push the cartridge out. I wonder about the balance of forces in the gun during its operation: Does it have enough momentum to accomplish all the tasks it needs to do, or not? These look like they’d all be soluble issues, but we’re still seeing a ton of delays on the MDR, even three years after it was first announced (and there were already several functional prototypes then).

            It makes me wonder if the system isn’t kind of flawed. If that sweep ejector doesn’t have enough power, or if it saps too much from the bolt, or if the cartridge isn’t injected into the trap positively enough, then the gun’s operating system might be too difficult to balance to achieve current expected reliability standards.

            Now, it’s a neat idea for sure. I’d love to see the concept work, since it addresses some of the ejection issues that bullpups have.

            The MDR itself I think is sort of a brute force approach to solving the bullpup problem, and I think it has some negative consequences as a result. Balance is one, but I think cost and complexity will be others. This might come with fragility and reliability issues, as well.

          • Amplified Heat

            Thanks a ton for the info. I figured it was similar to other art, seeing as there’s only so many ways to do a short-stroke Johnson-bolt rifle.

            That ejector is kind of worrisome; I thought it was like the STGW57’s and pushed the case off the bolt to either side into an ejection slot, but it just tips the forward end to either side through a tiny ejection hole? Seems like a backed-out primer that makes the case tilt in an odd direction would tie the gun up rapidly. You’re also even more reliant on the extractor claw and (I’m guessing there’s one) ejector plunger remaining consistent. Overall, the case just isn’t being controlled as positively before the lever arms direct it out of the gun.

            At any rate, that thing (somehow) has even more moving parts than the STGW57’s wacky setup. Which should have been a red flag, that even if it worked well, it’d be expensive to produce.

            “The MDR itself I think is sort of a brute force approach to solving the bullpup problem, and I think it has some negative consequences as a result. Balance is one, but I think cost and complexity will be others. This might come with fragility and reliability issues, as well.”
            That seems normal for a first-generation technology…if only gas operated rifles weren’t on generation seven or so. Maybe Desert Tech should have collaborated with some other group before trying to perfect a mature technology from zero experience (it’d be like if they decided to start producing diesel engines based on their success making fine bolt rifles; very similar, from an engineering design standpoint).

            Man, if Kel Tec had directed the mechanical design phase, but had Desert Tech’s production standards, price point, and with their military contacts…we’d finally have an innovative, well-conceived weapon that’s *also* made to a high standard, and has the potential for front-line adoption in some capacity. KT seems to have a lot of good/great ideas, but rather unimpressive execution for the most part (I do maintain the RDB is something of an exception to that rule)

          • Amplified Heat

            Free samples, man… (allegedly)

          • Amplified Heat

            Poor marketing beyond greasing palms to get it featured in that video game, too (which is the only reason non-industry-nerds even know about it, I understand). I worried the ‘feel’ of the gun would be harmed by using a long action receiver to shoot 5.56, but it appears they somehow managed to make a gun even heavier than long-action AR10s or the RFB. The needlessly long action for the 5.56 configuration only exacerbates the rear-ward imbalance. Lastly, rumor has it the end result isn’t terribly more accurate than the competition, either, at least not the promised 1MOA (they should have just copied the FNAR/BAR/WA2000 action and run a floated barrel, then called it a day)

            I still don’t understand the fawning over the ejection system. It’s kind of cool as far as novelty (assuming it works well), but it’s not ‘compelling’ or anything like that, and clearly introduces another likely failure mode.

  • RealitiCzech

    Bullpups are more annoying to carry than pistol-gripped rifles, which are more annoying to carry than traditionally stocked weapons. The closer your gun is to a stick, the easier it is to haul around.

    • Form Factor

      Always depends on how you carry it. Leaning the Rifle against your torso, with the hand on the grip at your stomache, side of the mag touching your upper torso, the side of the stock against your shoulder- its actually more comfortable to carry because its not frontheavy and long.

      So youre left hand is not used, which in combat holds the Rifle steady when aiming.

  • .308 51st State

    Not that I’m fighting wars with it, but my Norinco T97 feels more agile than my SKS. As a side benefit it takes up less room in my truck 🙂

    • That’s a good reason to use it.

      Also we’ll annex you yet!

      • .308 51st State

        Don’t annex America’s hat !!!!

        • 1814 will be avenged!

          • .308 51st State

            Well, that was a bit of a pants-down moment for the USA. I’m sure that a similar attempt today wouldn’t go so well for Canada 😉

          • Amplified Heat

            More of a “pants were never patched after the last scuffle because we are broke” moment

  • SimonSays

    I love bullpups, I am a fairly short guy (5.5) and was issued the M16 during my time in the military. I was fine handling the rifle and qualified on anything I could, but once I got to Afghanistan and started working with the Ausies and their AUG’s. I started noticing that that was significantly more comfortable. Even the M4 I was issued wasn’t as well balanced.

    So in my experience bullpups have a significant added ergonomic benefit and no tradeoffs for people with short arms.

  • Cal S.

    I don’t care. I’m still buying that High Tower stock for my Hi-Point when it drops.

    So there.

  • Thanks for the informative post, really enlightened me about the pros and cons of a bullpup design.

    Because all I know is from the widely touted ‘same barrel length in a smaller package’ advantage. So now that you mentioned about center-of-gravity, I’m sure militaries take this into consideration as well, given the time and money they will be spending with their standard-issue arms.

    That said, they still look badass just because, you know… bullpups.

    • As a total cyberpunk fanboy, I think they look rad as all hell.

  • mig1nc

    Now add a silencer and re-check the balance.

  • MartinWoodhead

    Well the Sa80 was fine to carry day in day out and certainly less akward clambering in and out of vehicles and helicopters than the SLR one of its main selling points actually.
    Pity it was dog toffee at doing the going bang and not breaking part but carrying was fine

  • Colonel K

    Feels great or less weight? When I carry a carbine in the field, I’m usually climbing or descending hills. I constantly shift the way I hold it to avoid muscle fatigue. Weight is of greater importance to me than balance, but balance ranks second. It’s too bad rifles don’t have roller weights that can slide forward and aft as needed for carrying and shooting, but that would add weight, and so the cycle repeats itself.

  • jcitizen

    I only have two objections to using a bullpup:
    1. Weight
    2. Trigger control.
    Both can be solved if they just would. I remember reading somewhere here on TFB that an author found one with a terrific trigger design, so now all we need is a puppy that weighs under 7 lbs empty. Of course there are always the other points like ambidextrous control, ect. but those have been solved on many of the modern designs. As far as having to hold the weapon for extended periods, I see no problem as long as the sling is properly designed and attached at the proper points, so it can be slung in such a way that it can be instantly grasped and taken into battery – just like the M4 already is.

    • Tassiebush

      I often ponder the weight factor because you’d really think how could it not be the same weight or lighter than conventional. I guess stocks
      aren’t a very heavy part so savings there are limited and trigger groups made to a larger size would weigh more.
      I wonder if a decent trigger mechanism could be made using the approach of the fg42 where the striker is attached directly to the cocking handle. It wouldn’t have to be a cocking handle but it could be a striker extension. It’d probably need to be as light as possible given the bulk but it would probably be easier to make a good trigger working with a long striker rather than a long trigger group. The focus then would need to be on trying to make the striker light for it’s size.

      • jcitizen

        I read a good review of a bullpup for its trigger system, but I don’t remember the make. You are bringing up very good points on the design subject.

  • disqus_bWgpxkykWl

    I disagree. There is an obvious disregard for the “shoulder” supporting any weight, Use of slings when “carried” in most any tactical situation, or most importantly weight on “extended” support arm vs more retracted support arm. Try holding a 2 lb dumbbell in both positions and see which tires your arm more, thusly creating wobble, shakes and tremors when trying to get and stay on target.

  • NCY

    you have forgotten the effects of leverage. In the cases you have brought forward the centre of mass being further out on the AK causes more effective weight OVERALL to be put on BOTH hands, especially the support hand but probably the trigger hand AS WELL. In the Bullpup the weight is further back, meaning less leverage, so less effective weight. Moreover, the balance at the back means you can rest a lot of the weight on the friction of the butt-pad on your shoulder while the gun is shouldered.
    Your point about the gun wanting to tip over when holding it in one hand is totally valid though and something that I noticed with my Bullpup.