Which Is Better? Bullpup or Conventional?

Original caption: "The Reconnoissance Company of the Givati Brigade underwent a company training week in southern Israel, as part of their advanced training. Due to the elite nature of the company there were two separate company exercises, wherein the first was "dry" and the second included live fire." Image source: commons.wikimedia.com, photo by Michael Shvadron, IDF Spokesperson's Film Unit.

Recently, I wrote an article about one negative aspect of bullpups which is caused by their much-touted rearward balance. Even though its scope was extremely limited, this article caused a lot of discontent in my comments section, and many of my readers expressed a feeling that I was trying to slam bullpups or otherwise promote conventional rifles as the ideal weapons. In this post, therefore, I wanted to address the underlying issue behind this: How do I really feel about bullpups? Put differently, which do I think is better, bullpups, or conventionals?

Now that I have you here, I want to tell you something: This is the wrong question to ask. These two paradigms – the bullpup and the conventional – are a mess of tradeoffs and contrasts too numerous to properly account for. Even if one did account for them, and found one or the other to have more benefits than negatives, it would be completely unconvincing to someone who favored the other paradigm. It’s a simple matter in an argument to just weigh more heavily those aspects which favor your preferred type over the other. If you believe that oranges are better than apples, for example, you can just say “well, taste and texture are the most important things; how easy it is to eat is decidedly secondary.” Who is to say you are wrong? Even if the tradeoffs themselves are well-established as many are for bullpups versus conventionals, how those tradeoffs are perceived is entirely subjective. Since both weapons have been used successfully in combat, and there are no instances of armies equipped with one losing or suffering in engagements versus the other which can be attributed to the superiority of the layout of their rifles, these perceptions from each side color the entire debate. I don’t really believe it is subjective whether one type is better than the other, but it might as well be.

It is better to instead talk about the very real, tangible, and unequivocal state of bullpups on the military market today. In lieu of hashing over pros and cons, I think we can make a few broader observations that should help improve the focus and constructiveness of future discussions about bullpups:

  1. Bullpups are doing poorly on the military market. I plan to make the case that this is true in a future article, but for now, take it as my opinion that this should be an item of concern for bullpup advocates, not an item for dismissal.
  2. Most major manufacturers do not seem to think pursuing bullpup designs are a good investment. Where are all the production military/LEO bullpups? Many legacy bullpup manufacturers (e.g., Steyr, FN) are dropping them like a bad habit, and the only “new” designs on the market are updates of legacy ones (QBZ-95-1, EF88/F90 Atrax). In many cases those manufacturers are introducing brand new conventional rifle designs, too (e.g., NAR-556, NAR-762, RS-556). There does not seem to be the divide between bullpups and conventionals that we might expect of two different but equally valid styles. In fact no new military bullpup design exists which doesn’t have direct roots back to the Cold War/pre-GWOT bullpup concept. This is pretty concerning!
  3. Any future ammunition concept that relies on having a bullpup rifle with a long barrel will be a complete non-starter. The Infantry School at Fort Benning essentially rejects bullpups in general, and for most bullpup advocates concepts like this sacrifice what is perceived as the primary advantage of the bullpup: Shorter overall length. Regardless of what rifles become popular in the future, any new round should be designed for 14.5-16.5″ barrels, at the longest.
  4. Bullpups have demonstrable disadvantages versus conventionals. This doesn’t mean they are unusable or that they have no advantages, but it does mean that arguing bullpups are “just better” is a bit of kool-aid drinkery that won’t get one very far in the conversations that matter. Whether you think it’s true or not, a lot of people really, really do not. A tack of “here’s why the benefits are worth the tradeoffs” would be much more effective at convincing skeptics.

I think the conclusion we can draw from these four points is this: Designers and marketers of future bullpup rifles have a lot of work to do. I touch on this a little bit in What’s Killing the Bullpup (and How to Cure It), but I should mention that this conclusion goes beyond whether any given reader feels satisfied with modern bullpup, and acknowledges directly the fact that, put simply: Bullpups aren’t doing very well.

Now, in my opinion much of the blame for this can be attributed to the fact that current bullpup designs are fairly uncreative, being essentially nothing more than refinements of first-generation designs from the 1970s and 1980s. It doesn’t look like manufacturers are willing to spend their own R&D dollars to innovate in the bullpup market significantly, either, which could be disastrous for the concept. That then means whoever wants to solve the “bullpup problem” (and I certainly hope someone does) will need to undertake a true labor of love and passion to do so. The pursuit of the perfected bullpup rifle is something I definitely encourage, and it’s my hope that what I’ve written on the subject so far is helpful to anyone who chooses to go down this road.

I plan to continue writing about the bullpup rifle concept, of course. Future subjects will include taking a closer look at some of the observations listed above, as well as guides for what I feel could be improved in current bullpup designs. Regardless of whether you are a bullpup fan or critic, I plan to have something interesting for you, so stay tuned.





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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  • Blake

    Awesome article, thanks. More like this please.

    • Don’t plan on stopping. 😉

      • GaryOlson

        Newton’s first Law

        • Y

          Made my Day haha!

  • Blake

    “This is the wrong question to ask. These two paradigms – the bullpup and the conventional – are a mess of tradeoffs and contrasts too numerous to properly account for.”

    Exactly. It’s like asking “Which is better, horses or camels?”

    • Tom

      The problem is for an organisation that needs to standardise on one or the other means you have to determine which is better, or at least what you are willing to give up.

      • Hanzo

        How true. Standardization, when all factors are added, is always the problem also when equipping for different body types, sexes, etc., etc. Always a ton of variables.

    • tiger

      Camels. It is hard to smoke a Horse………

      • BillyOblivion

        Mmmm…horse jerky…

      • iksnilol

        No, it’s pretty easy. Meat is meat.

        • tiger

          I was referring to the Cigarette brand……

    • Camels in the desert. Horses everywhere else.

      • LCON

        Dogs in the high Arctic.

        • Uniform223

          Also antarctic. Early expeditions into the South pole used sled dogs. To this day sled dogs are still used in the antarctic.

      • Hanzo

        Dragons and Unicorns everywhere. They can fly.

    • Major Tom

      Llamas/alpacas. They can take you to the highest mountains on Earth through some of the roughest most rugged terrain around.

      Though camels can take you anywhere a horse can and survive the desert much better.

      Therefore…

      Llamas/alpacas > Camels > Horses.

      Horses are only used because they’re cheap. Kinda like AR’s and their fanboys.

      • iksnilol

        “A camel is unreliable. It works, and works, and works until it just stops dead in its tracks. A horse knows and lets you know when to stop before it is late.”

        -heavily paraphrased from “The Alchemist”

      • Hanzo

        Dragons and Unicorns all day long. They fly.

        • Don Ward
          • Tassiebush

            I considered a tiny manticore but it was a bit too neurotic
            https://youtu.be/-unV0m-jZHs

          • Don Ward

            I say why outsource these jobs to animals when you can do it yourself!
            http://www.band-shirt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Led-Zeppelin-Icarus-Logo.jpg

          • Hanzo
          • Don Ward

            About how many hours a day do you spend fantasizing about mythological creatures penetrating your enemies?

          • Hanzo

            Hmmm … Penetrating? You’re just overfilled with homoerotic tendencies, Donny. Try again!

          • Tassiebush

            Fair point I mean materials have come a long way. You could use epoxy instead of wax

          • Hanzo
          • Tassiebush

            I dunno about that choice. Those things are emotionally complicated
            https://youtu.be/K8ClxCGA1SI

          • Hanzo

            Who would have ever known? They seem so stoic.

          • Tassiebush

            They’re complicated things! That movie created a neurotic generation!
            I think the ultimate is probably the ancient psychic tandem war elephant
            https://youtu.be/s3obynrbidM

          • Hanzo

            No, just Dragons and Unicorns. Bro. Do you even comprehend? Never mind.

          • Hanzo

            Btw, what are you thinking of in your pic? Taking a crap?
            “As a man thinketh …”

          • Don Ward

            Oh look at the tough guy. Sorry fella. Where that picture is taken is at my “day job” so to speak which is the first or second most dangerous occupation in America depending on what metric you use. But do go on. It is rather amusing watching you make a fool of yourself over unicorns.

          • Hanzo

            Sure. “tough guy”, how do you get that?

            You obviously are ignorant of James Allen? He was one of the philosophical pillars of the 20th century. His pre-eminent work is “As a Man Thinketh”. Sorry to get too involved, I thought you were serious.

            ” … my “day job” so to speak which is the first or second most dangerous occupation in America depending on what metric you use ..blah blah” Who is the “tough guy”?

            This is the anonymous internet. I work for the CIA, and MI6. Pretty tough jobs in and of themselves.

          • Don Ward

            To recount.
            You come onto these comments with some Weeb sounding avatar name, strolling around calling people “Beta males” and insulting their masculinity while hurling other juvenile insults. Then you try to cop the intellectual superiority gambit by name-dropping an early 20th Century British philosopher while you’re at the same time behaving as a fool who doesn’t know the difference between unicorns and pegasus.
            Sorry tough guy but you just don’t impress me. Step up your game.
            Or don’t.
            Either way, you are an amusing diversion.

          • scatter arrow op plz nerf

          • Hanzo

            That’s all your opinion, egoist.

            Looks like you googled “James Allen” then. Good job, “thinker”.

            Once again, the internet is anonymous. It’s just chock-full of pseudo-intellectual wannabe’s, such as yourself. Venture out of your echo chamber sometime. That everyone (actually, mostly you) had their panties in a wad because Nate (are you his private fanboi?) gets into a spat because he can’t take a joke is very telling.

            No one is trying to impress you, it’s not about you. Frankly, you sound like an “entitled” mommy’s boy, whining about a ‘perceived’ lack of knowledge of Greek mythology.Are.You.Serious? You think I don’t know the difference between a Pegasus and a Unicorn? Where did this even come up? Your hubris is, both, amusing and sickening. The only explanation for your GM hysteria is that you don’t think Unicorn’s are supposed to have wings? Are you that entirely stupid? See below, and use google, it can be your friend.

            You also profess your love for children’s books. Grow up. Once again, the internet is anonymous (you’re not the guy your dog thinks you are), it’s not all about you, or your pseudo-intellect, and you are definitely not a “thinker”. Try again. Or not. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edd2bb379ac878edbad7ebdc5108ffff9adac6d93a780fd44176035654f6ec96.png

          • Don Ward

            For being such an Alpha male, Hanzo, you sure display a suspicious tendency to fixate on pictures of pretty pegasi and unicorns.

          • Hanzo

            That’s all you’ve got then? Ok.

            Pro tip: You better go back, yet again, and try for that elusive GED. Maybe you’ll learn something this time.
            It won’t be self-awareness, I’m sure of that.

          • Don Ward

            What is this thing called “self-awareness”.

            You seem to be a master at its use and development.

          • Hanzo

            More weaksauce. Yawn. Your lack of intellect or a sense of humor is quite boring.

            Pfffttt ….

          • Don Ward

            You’re leaving?So soon? But I too wish to learn the manly and robust activity of spamming pictures of a pretty pegasus on a firearms blog while quoting obscure British philosophers from the early 20th Century.

          • Hanzo

            I didn’t say I was leaving. Comprehend much? I visit TFB every day. So your blather, while a bit amusing, is for naught. It’s very telling how you jump into a spat between 2 unrelated people, instigate silly rhetoric, and then attempt to claim mantle of victim. Also, you are the one who brought up the entire Pegasus/Unicorn “issue” as a result of, once again, your abject stupidity on the subject. Very familiar. Hmm ….

            Btw, James Allen is hardly obscure. The fact you keep mentioning this just shows your ultimate ignorance. Please try again.

            You do sound like a very confused, spurned female.

            Hiss, spit. “Don’t come near me or my website, or Nate!”

          • Don Ward

            You seem to be the sort of Alpha male who can answer this question. When you are drawing pictures on your Pee Chee of a sweaty, scantily clad man riding a horned pegasus, skewering enemies left and right, is he armed with a bullpup or conventional rifle?

          • Hanzo

            Homoerotic projection much? How could your twisted mind even picture something such as that? I wonder ….

            Har har . ” … horned pegasus … ” Your simple, thick mind still cannot grasp there is such a thing (mythological, not “real”, don’t get confused) as a “winged unicorn”. Google too hard for you? Perhaps your ego is so huge you can’t bring yourself to do it. Your self-delusion runs deep, for all to see.
            Man, you are weak. This is getting to be like a back and forth with someone’s grandmama. You know they are predisposed to dementia, so one feels the need to stop. It’s not nice to make fun of the feeble-minded.

          • Don Ward

            So what are the taxonomic traits that you use when you differentiate horned pegasus and winged unicorns? You seem to be the sort of guy who is quite concerned about the difference.

          • Hanzo

            Why don’t you google it, like I said? You’re the one who made the distinction, own up to it.

          • Don Ward

            You seemed quite angry and offput that I called your winged unicorn a horned pegasus. Do you frequently lose your temper over topics like this?

          • Hanzo

            Hey Don, I’m not sure how you think you can divine one’s temperament over the internet. Seems like more hubris. I was just calling out more of your hypocrisy, and lack of self-awareness.
            Press on.

            Anyhow, I have to run for a few hours, CIA just called. You know how it is, having the “first or second most dangerous occupation in America”, as you do. I gotta’ catch a couple spies, be back soon.

            You’re welcome to post more inane drivel, I’ll reply when I return. 🙂

          • Don Ward

            Just who do you think you are kidding, Hanzo. You think I was born yesterday? CIA? You think I’d honestly fall for that sort of trick?
            Clearly, with your fixation on unicorns, you are a member of MI6.
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/31c5fa289f5e41fb9c37240b53b382152b6805f7255456da98a6af864a6c93a5.png

          • Hanzo

            Hey Don, I’m back. Mission fell through. No, I’m CIA. Plus, I don’t like Unicorns without wings, you moron.

            With your homoerotic projection we could come up with an emblem for you and adorn it with some of the homoerotic ideas you have. Would that be good?

            ” … first or second most dangerous occupation in America”. How’s that working out for ya’? Do you work on a crab boat? Not much more dangerous than that. I think you’re a Walmart greeter. Repeat after me “Hi, welcome to … “, you know the drill, I’m sure.

          • Don Ward
          • Hanzo

            Hmm. But, does Pegasus actually have a horn? I didn’t think so. Also, the word “Horned” was apparently shopped in by a 1st grader. The entire things appears to have been assembled be a person afflicted with mental retardation. Nice try though, Don! At least you’re progressing away from the homoerotic stuff.

            I say we explore your unhealthy affinity for Nate. You seemed more concerned about defending Nate, than Nate was concerned about defending Nate. Is your name actually Donna, and you’re his Nana?
            Or, and I’m sure this will definitely appeal to you, do you just have a mega fanboi mancrush on Nate? That’s not good Don. Not good at all.

          • Don Ward

            Please HELP! When I typed “Horned Pegasus” into the Google as you recommended, I got this image. http://images4.fanpop.com/image/photos/23900000/Unipeg-horned-pegasus-23981575-300-231.jpg

          • Hanzo

            What’s a “horned pegasus”?

            “That’s might big talk for a man who doesn’t know the basics of mythological creatures in the Greek pantheon.”
            You tell me Don!

          • Don Ward

            But when I typed “Winged Unicorn” into The Google, I got this image. Only an Alpha Male like you can tell me which is which! http://cdn8.staztic.com/app/a/365/365185/winged-unicorn-live-wallpaper-2-0-s-307×512.jpg

          • Hanzo

            “That’s might big talk for a man who doesn’t know the basics of mythological creatures in the Greek pantheon.”
            You tell me Don, you’re the expert.
            I say we discuss your fanboi-osity. How about you? Or we could talk about your unhealthy homoerotic tendencies. Not good Don! Sad!

          • Hanzo

            You know why I googled “winged-Unicorns”? Well, because I knew you were an idiot of immense proportions (being a pseudo-intellectual), so I googled it to see if there would be an image. There it was.
            Aren’t you glad I made you aware of “google”?

            I don’t know if you should be googling for that homo-erotic artwork you were fantasizing about earlier though. Someone might notice. But hey, it’s ok if you want to come out. Be proud Don!

          • It’s really amazing how loudly and spectacularly things go over your head. One after another, in a never-ending procession.

          • Hanzo

            So says a moron who comments on threads that are fin. Go home.

            Wow, another drama queen. This site just breeds ’em.

            I can’t help yet another a**holes lack of comprehension. FU.

          • Wow, you love your own writing so much that you couldn’t choose just one rebuke, so you’ve posted all three in succession.

            (It kind of weakens all of them, though – like you dropped your final, witty bon mot, triumphantly made for the door amongst stunned silence… then suddenly turned around and continued the conversation.)

          • Hanzo

            Says the moron who comments on threads that are fin, as I said. Get a life, 3rd stringer. I don’t even read the sh*t you regurgitate on the screen. Have a nice life, regardless if you’re a facile beta-male.

          • You win.

          • Hanzo

            No one is trying to win anything. You’re just a poor excuse for a person.

          • I am.

          • Hanzo

            Yes, on both counts. Now, go to Nate and Don and repent. You miserable failure. Have a nice life.

          • Thank you. I only wished you well, and would like to also wish your family and friends good health and success in their endeavours.

          • Hanzo

            Poot. Don’t breathe. Oops …. too late.

          • You make good points (not really), but I’m afraid I just can’t take anyone who mains Hanzo seriously. KoreanAnimePrincess4Lyfe

          • Hanzo

            Well, I don’t take any anonymous internet a**hole (you) seriously, so ….

            Pile on by the panties-in-a-wad Brigade , I see.

            Btw, just for you – Hanzo Hattori is a non-fictional, historical figure from the Samurai Period of Feudal Japan (not Korea). I can see why all the anime-aware fanboi’s could get confused.

          • Hanzo

            ” … drawing pictures on your Pee Chee of a sweaty, scantily clad man riding a horned pegasus, skewering enemies left and right, …”
            I’ll have to say, this really makes one wonder how you occupy your spare time.

          • Hanzo
      • int19h

        Unless you need speed, humans beat all of these. More endurance, better bang for the buck (i.e. lbs/mile/calorie traveled). Expensive, though.

        • izhmash

          this thread is literally the worse thing i’ve ever read on this website

      • Al Wise

        Not true at all. Horses have speed, Camels have range. Llamas/alpacas have neither.

    • Juice

      “Another obsolete Nathaniel F opinion piece nobody asked for.”

      How much do I need to donate to the patreon to get a “ignore Nathaniel’s columns” button on this site? I’m not even going to call them articles, they’re just his personal soapbox.

      Case in point, the Steyr 1907 article and the PCC article.

      • Blake

        It’s called an “editorial” or an “opinion piece”.

        Much like the knife & flashlight reviews, if you don’t like it, just don’t click on it :-).

      • So what sort of content would you like to see more of?

        • Nathaniela

          nude pic’s of you lol

          • You really don’t.

          • Nathaniela

            no i really do

          • Your funeral.

          • Hanzo

            You got a wife?

            JK Nathaniel F.

          • another useless hanzo main

          • Hanzo

            You mad bro? JK means Just Kidding. What a twit, and a little person.

            I see why all these others speak disparagingly of you.

          • I thought you were comparing me to the author of Harry Potter. Jeeze.

          • Hanzo

            I suppose you would. Just sayin’.

          • Feel like I’m talking with Eliza right now…

          • Hanzo

            How profound. Leave it all on the floor, babe ….

            Btw, if that’s another HP reference, I’m lost. I really don’t get into children’s books. Non-fiction for me.

          • Don Ward

            I DEMAND a fanfic titled “Harry Potter and the 6.5 Grendel Bullpup”.

          • Hanzo

            I didn’t even know what you were squawking about when you used “hanzo main”. Apparently, in this isolated site, “main” means your avi, pic, moniker, etc.

            Well, my “useless hanzo main” doesn’t actually conform to your preconceived notions. Hanzo Hattori was a non-fictional (means “real), historical figure of the Samurai Period of Feudal Japan. While I wouldn’t expect intellectual lightweights to be able to make that distinction, it’s still a bit disturbing to see “grown men” so attuned to pop culture. Especially pop culture for children. Just sayin’.

          • Hanzo

            I see, you must identify with this then: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2917ead82e2e357a3463c2194b96fbd6080d5657da9678cac5f7a1595907f35c.gif

            Thanks for the reply, tells me everything.

          • I would identify that as some kind of Pokeman, yes.

          • Hanzo

            That’s it? How disappointing, yet somehow expected.

            Carry on. You probably have to meet your next deadline.

          • Sounds like you’re getting enlightened by your own intelligence!

          • Hanzo

            Sure Nate. Just like the other pearls you have deposited. Your intellect really shines through, and I mean that.

          • Don Ward

            Hattori Hanzo. Literally the first guy talked about in any Weeb 101 level of Internet discourse.

            We all stand in awe of your historical acumen.

          • Hanzo

            You should, you illiterate ba*tard (it’s Hanzo Hattori, you fanboi to the end, you know of only the anime version). 🙂

            “That’s might big talk for a man who doesn’t know the basics of mythological creatures in the Greek pantheon.”

            And I do mean that. Now let’s talk about the deep affinity you have for Nate, as it shows in your stalking the thread, sniffing about for Nate and those who dare to oppose him.

          • Don Ward

            Well since you spammed a picture of a horned pegasus in four different places and have name dropped Hattori Hanzo in – what? – three different places, I’m not going to go searching up and down the forums trying to appease you by only responding in the “correct” spot.

            But please. Do go on. It is fascinating to watch you make believe that you are the only one privy to a commonly known Japanese historical figure who is also the basis of hundreds of pop culture references.

          • Hanzo

            The hubris, and delusion, runs deep in this one. Do I bother, *heavy sigh*: ” .. you are the only one privy to a commonly known Japanese historical figure who is also the basis of hundreds of pop culture references.”
            Really. I guess that’s why you acted ignorant, to “trick” someone, huh?

            Are you serious, Donald? I mean , come on. How can you get anymore supercilious? Seriously? I know: “That’s might big talk for a man who doesn’t know the basics of mythological creatures in the Greek pantheon.”, and “my “day job” so to speak which is the first or second most dangerous occupation in America”, that should do it.

            I gotta’ hit the rack Don. Have a good one, we know what you’re going to be dreaming about, without mentioning what you’re going to do to yourself, to wit, “drawing pictures on your Pee Chee of a sweaty, scantily clad man”.

        • int19h

          No offense, but this particular piece basically reads like “I’m right; you’re wrong”. There’s very little substantial content here.

          Which is a shame, because it’s a very interesting subject. What would be great is if you could find some people with experience of actually using bullpup and non-bullpup designs in service (esp. in combat) – IDF, Aussies etc – with varying opinions on what’s better, and host a virtual round table of sorts. I doubt it would give a definitive answer to the question, but I’m pretty sure it would give a lot of good information for people to make up their own minds.

          • Whom am I saying is wrong?

          • int19h

            People who negatively responded to your previous entry. You don’t say it outright, but it does come across that way.

          • Oooookay.

          • Owl

            That would be me.
            From Singapore here,

            M-16 from 1996-1997 before they gave me an M-4. Loved the M-4, no heavy wooden stock, compact with a retractable stock. used it from 1997-2004 or 2006. SAR-21 after that till the present day.

            Personally, I’ve never found either system to be so idiosyncratic that you can’t get used to them nor were the systems so outstandingly different in performance that one could be said to be superior to the other.

            What we did find out was that people who started their training on one system would find the other ‘annoying’ lol. The recruits trained initially on the SAR-21 would complain that the M-16/M-4 was cumbersome and awkward to hold while the ones trained on the M-16 would call the SAR-21 cumbersome! All it does is show how easily human beings get into habits of behaviour.

            As for Nathaniel’s ‘point’ about the lack of sales, I’d call it a false factoid. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 6 countries with bullpups in service as a major weapon. Singapore, Israel, China, the UK, Australia, Austria, Argentina, India and a few more I forgot. Hardly ‘lack of sales’. The problem I believe is that he assumes ‘not advertised openly’ is the same as ‘not existing’. Countries, when they want to buy weapons, usually do not do off the shelf, they would contact the manufacturer or supplier and ask for a competitive design/redesign, not just grab civilian or preexisting models.

            You won’t see them advertising but when a country buys a service rifle, they do it in hundreds if not thousands and if it is the main service rifle of the country, the order can go up to hundreds of thousands. So fewer sales but once they do get one, it’s a big one.

            Bullpup or conventional, as long as the round flies when you pull the trigger, it’s a good rifle.

            Now a more in depth look of the real pros and cons.

            Bullpup-
            Lefties beware, your face is going to be close to the ejection port.
            Lots of slack in the trigger before you reach the ‘biting point’. We compensate by not totally releasing the trigger once the round fires.
            This one is a nitpick but when you down arms, the bullpup is short enough that you have to slightly lean to one side just to keep a few fingers on the flash suppressor.
            Conventional-
            M-4 is ok but lost count of the number of times the sling of the M-16s hooked on something at the obstacle course. This is mostly due to the front sling pivot extending so far forward that it juts out from the side of our bodies, so when you pass parallel to something, it just hooks onto stuff. Other than this, there really isn’t anything outright ‘wrong’ about conventional layouts. If you want me to complain about the DI system, that’s a different story but that isn’t due to the layout so I can’t blame it. You can conventional a gas piston too after all.

            Overall, I have to say neither system is superior, the main thing is that as a human, you got to stay flexible.
            Unless you’re a leftie. In that case, it’s a device to induce suicide. Deflector anyone? lol.

        • Juice

          Whatever you guys pay Ronaldo Olive, pay more. His articles are incredibly interesting. You’re obviously a well-taught guy who is proficient with guns. You’ve written articles in the past that I really like as well, so I don’t want to imply that I have something against you personally.

          Your interview series on the LSAT was amazing, and so are your articles on the history of different calibers. Also love the hi-res pics you post of the Cody Firearms Museum and whenever you plug Gun Jesus. I like your stuff, basically.

          It’s just that your opinion pieces lean to much towards hypothetical scenarios and, in the case of the Steyr 1907/1911 article, circlejerking and contrarianism. You’re obviously passionate about these subjects, but it can seem as if you’re using TFB as your personal blog/soapbox when writing these.

          Your series on operating systems is still my all-time favourite by the way, I regularily refer people to it when they want to learn more about how guns work.

          • Olive is a treasure, for sure. I don’t manage the pocketbooks so I don’t know how much we pay him, but I hope it’s enough.

            Fair criticism on the opinion pieces. I’m not sure opinion pieces can be anything but soapbox-y, but that doesn’t make yours an unfair observation.

            The Steyr 1907 article was humor (not to say that it didn’t have a point). It was something I brainstormed with Grant Cunningham, and he liked it a lot so I figured it would find an audience. It was well-received, so I think I was right. Some people, of course, didn’t like it – but that’s true of literally everything I write.

            Opinion pieces will, naturally, reflect what are just my opinions. I hope everyone understands that I know that, and I’m not trying to oppress everyone into thinking exactly the same way I do. A LOT of people are like this, and I understand that I’ll often get a similar response as if I were trying to get everyone to think the same way. I don’t think I can really do more to prevent that than what I’m already doing.

            So I see three potential courses of action here:

            1. Stop writing opinion pieces entirely, or water them down until they’re little more than “WHAT DO YOU THINK?” audience trolling.

            2. Add more technical/data-centric articles.

            3. Keep doing what I’m doing.

            Frankly, the first isn’t an option. I hate writing articles that are just springboards for conversation. I’d like to introduce ideas of my own or little-known concepts from others. That makes the best springboard for the comments section, anyway.

            Number 2 is “the plan” but right now it’s not really possible due to my personal circumstances. I’m set up to give you all a lot more data-centric articles in the future but at this time you won’t see very many. The reasons why are ones that don’t need to be made public. So the proportion of “opinion” pieces to educational/data-centric pieces is going to continue to be higher than either you or I would like, at least for a little while. Light at the end of the tunnel: I should be able to do some real cool stuff once things calm down.

            Operating Systems is not done yet. More like “on hiatus”. We’ll see it again.

          • Juice

            I’ll be looking forward to those! And massive props to you for handling criticism, I hope I brought it constructive enough!

      • Hanzo

        True, he is pretty much useless and hyper-sensitive, like a beta-male.

        • Honestly always been more of a VHS person.

        • Don Ward

          That’s might big talk for a man who doesn’t know the basics of mythological creatures in the Greek pantheon.

          • Hanzo

            Yeah, that should be everyone’s specialty. Try comic books. Derp.

          • Wait, why are you insisting that knowing Greek mythology is unbearably smug nerdery, while knowing what unicorns are is fine and OK? I mean both are basically the same, mythical creatures. Maybe I don’t get something?

          • Hanzo

            I’d say you don’t “get” a lot, not just comprehension. Go home. This thread is over, lil’ tough guy.

            Are Don and Nate calling in the backbenchers? What a disgrace.

          • The Dude (Noveske Fan)

            Yawn, whatever you say weeb.

          • The Dude (Noveske Fan)

            Bee tee dub, hanza was a hack. He also molested goats.

          • Hanzo

            Yawn. Intellectual lightweight that you appear to be, with every new word you type …. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/edd2bb379ac878edbad7ebdc5108ffff9adac6d93a780fd44176035654f6ec96.png

      • Chris

        Liked the Steyr 1907parody ,one of the best I’ve read !

      • jam

        Glad I’m not alone. Preach it brother!

    • RealitiCzech

      The US Cavalry asked that question. On paper, camels were far better for the desert southwest. In reality, the other pack animals were skittish with the unfamiliar camels, so movements become even more chaotic than before.

      • Chris

        And they ate the cactus corrals they tried to make for them !

      • Stephen Paraski

        In school in 1960s they taught that the stones and sharp rocks in western terrain stopped use of camels as they could not be shod with shoes.

    • Hanzo

      Personally I like Dragons, and Unicorns. They both fly.

    • Giolli Joker

      They both taste really good.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I’ve noticed the uptick in militaries switching to conventional rifles as well, which made me sad for the concept, but I can’t fault them either. I’ll always like bullpups, but until I either get a massive pay raise, or bullpups compete with $1000 ARs I probably won’t be getting one.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      I think that part of the reason for the military switch is that bullpups made sense when armies expected to be driving around Europe in APCs and having firefights in wide open fields at 600 metres. More recently most fighting has been done in towns and cities where the barrel length is less of an advantage but the ergonimic and maneuverability shortcomings are more relevent.

      • Y

        More velocity, more penetration (cover/ militant armor), slightly increased lethality, less muzzle flash, less Muzzle blast, excellent pointing speed.

        /Or shorther overall lenght with same barrel lenght.

        With flared Magwell reloading would be damn fast too.
        Dont see much speaking against the Bullpup in Urban combat.

      • Jason Culligan

        The bullpup would be a useful tool in an urban environment once the ambidexterity issues are resolved. The barrel length of an M4 in a package that’s as long as an MP5 would be a godsend for troops moving from building to building.

        • Evaris

          So you mean when more companies than just Kel Tec and JARD adopt the whole bottom-ejecting and full ambi controls thing?

        • Alexandru Ianu

          Uhm, F2000, RDB, VHS-2, MDR, hell, even the protoype TKB-022PM from the 60s, and possibly the Prilutski rifle from 1943-44 are ambi.

  • RSG

    What original iteration from the 70’s and 80’s did the Tavor result from?

    • The Tavor’s the latest, but it still dates back to the mid-90s, before the GWOT. And it’s not really so different in design that you can carve out an exception for it.

  • Gregory

    I have a IWI X95. It goes bang every time the trigger is pulled. It hits everything I aim at. It is 100% reliable. It does not eat where it craps. It does not get fouled after 30 rounds are fired. It is compact. It can be easily held on target for long periods of time. It suits my needs, what more can I ask for in a rifle?

    • No one

      You could ask for a rifle that isn’t an overrated POS while ironically being a gun hipster bashing on the AR-15 which is a much better rifle for starters.

      • Gregory

        You base this on what 1st hand knowledge? How many rounds do you have down range and in how many different AR-15’s? Did I hurt your little feelings? Would you like me to send you an AR-15 coloring book so you can feel better about yourself? Really, give us a break! You shoot whatever you like and I will do the same. As far as I am concerned, the D.I. gas system is fatally flawed, proven time and time again.

        • Y

          The DI gas System blowed ANY debree away flying towards the ejection port while cycling in the extrem harsh InRange Sand test, no other gun has yet passed it.

          It passed the Mud test too, even with open dustcover. FAL, G3, AK, M14, M1 have failed miserably.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Pfft, test data. I say we just stick with making assertions with no empirical backing like Greg does. That’s what makes for good, dramatic flame wars.

          • Gregory

            You can defend your choice just as I do, it does not matter. As for the mud tests, sand test and all the other tests, you’ll never see that in your lifetime with your gun. You can fantasize all day long about getting into battles with your gun, dragging it through the mud, the sand and dirt. At the end of the day you’re going to come home from work, sit down sit down and swill your beer. The closest you and your gun will ever come to combat (soldiers and law-enforcement officers excluded) is punching holes through paper targets on the weekends. So, the “my dick is bigger than yours” crap just doesn’t get it, get over yourself.

          • 8166PC1

            They aren’t really scientific tests. You would have to try multiple rifles with different kinds of mud and sand to get any conclusive result. And IWI has videos of the Tavor passing mud and sand tests. Also there are a bunch of HK416 videos passing sand and mud tests without malfunction.

          • Y

            As far as i remember the IWI test was casually laying it into the sand, than taking it out and shooting it.

            The AR15 test was a pile of sand BLOWN directly into the Ejection Port while firing.

          • 8166PC1

            How do you know the Tavor couldn’t pass the same test if they haven’t done it?

          • Y

            It failed the Mud test miserably and wasnt yet tested in sand – but it has no gas blowing away debree flying towards the ejection port, it will enter without any resistance and jam it up.

          • 8166PC1

            It passed the mud test in IWI’s video so what’s your point? And the DI gas system doesn’t aid in blowing debris away because any gas piston AR15 will pass the same test any DI AR15 can, just look up the numerous videos of HK416’s passing sand tests.

          • Y

            Well than IWI seem to use p**** Mud for marketing purposes.

            No… as said laying in the sand is TOTALLY diffrent, than directly blowing a pile of sand into the ejection port while firing……

          • 8166PC1

            What makes their mud more “p****y” than the mud inrange test? My point is that these unscientific mud and dust tests done by youtubers are really a role of the dice the rifle might work in one instance and fail in another instance.

          • Y

            A test by a Company that sells the thing (!money!), overdramatic music etc -VS- a wide known Channel with excellent reputation, >serval< tests with other Rifles under the same condition, calm analysis rather than senceless overdramatic music.

          • 8166PC1

            How does the music in the background have anything to do with the actual content of the video?

          • 8166PC1

            And in fact in extreme sand tests the army did the M4 chalked up the most malfunctions when it was being compared to other gas piston rifles.

          • Y

            What exactly was the test….. casually laying it into the sand / or directly blowing a pile of sand into the ejection port while firing…. two totally different things.

          • roguetechie

            As you’ve had explained twice already, the m4’s magazines racked up the overwhelming majority of those malfunctions…which BTW, the actual test documentation clearly states for everyone but people trying to flog their oh so awesome m4 killer!

          • ostiariusalpha

            Actually, the InRange blowing sand and mud tests are not bad at replicating the kind of conditions that would cause real world malfunctions. They’re certainly more rigorous than the stupid sand test that the HK416 went through on the Vickers channel.

          • 8166PC1

            What makes you think they completely replicate the same conditions arms makers put their guns through? They aren’t using more than one rifle they aren’t testing different consistencies of mud and sand. Whether the rifle works or not is more of a coin toss. The HK416 will pass any sand or mud test an M4 can seemingly pass.

          • Y

            “the HK416 will pass any sand or mud test an M4 can seemingly pass.” ohh we got a fanboy here.

            The sand will directly fly straight into the ejection port of the HK416 with NO RESISTANCE and jam it… = physic fact

          • 8166PC1

            What exactly makes the HK416 jam more than the M4 in sand? In fact in the army sand tests the M4 chalked up more failures than the HK416 did https://www.defensetech.org/2007/12/17/m4-comes-in-last-place-in-dust-test/

          • Those dust tests are worth ’bout nothing: http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/08/25/2004-m4-dust-tests/

          • 8166PC1

            Of course people with too much emotional attachment to an object will try anything to say a perfectly valid test was invalid.

          • I highly recommend you read the EoP article before you dismiss it like that.

            You’ll probably still dismiss it, but I can’t do nothing bout that.

          • 8166PC1

            The M4 is perfect and without flaw la la la la

          • Y

            No its not, but >you< act as the HK416 is, its overpriced, heavy, and by far not as special as fanboys like to think to j*** off.

          • 8166PC1

            What’s the weight difference between an M4 with a free float rail versus a HK416?

          • Not much, honestly.

          • 8166PC1

            That’s what I thought.

          • The 416 has a better barrel, I guess.

          • ostiariusalpha

            I hate the M203 cuts, they do nothing beneficial for the barrel. What would have been so damn hard about putting bigger clamps on the stupid grenade launcher?

          • Army logic: but then when we dragged ’70s era M203s out of storage, we might have to spend money modifying them to work! Much better to put a weak spot in the barrel of every carbine!

          • Chris

            But then l see bubba’s putting them on model 94s !

          • Yeah, you didn’t read it, did you? Here’s a clue, from Mac’s bio:

            “I am a ‘3rd Generation Aerospace’ Professional and a retired Air Force Senior NCO. I maintained and tested airborne precision guided weapons the first half of my Air Force career [including AIMVAL/ACEVAL, TASVAL79, AIM-9L FOT&E–IYAAYAS!] and flight tested RPVs, Drones and Cruise Missiles [XBQM-106A, Pave Tiger/Panther, CALCM, ACM and ‘others’] the second half. Since my AF retirement I have worked on many aircraft, UAV and weapons programs. I have worked systems, flight, and laboratory test programs about half the time, and have worked R&M Engineering, Depot Operations, and Operations Analysis (Combat and Logistics) the other half, I am now the Lead Engineer xx x xxxxxxxxxxxx xxxx xxxx (doing ‘stuff’) on yet another major weapon systems program and still involved in a wide range of Aerospace Engineering and Military Operations Research activities for multiple programs.”

            Sounds like a real M4 apologist, don’t it?

          • roguetechie

            Truthfully…

            A well set up AR is about as close to perfection as you can get yeah.

            I have a few very basic part upgrades I put in every AR I own and with those in place I get guns that can easily go several thousand rounds without cleaning or maintenance beyond making sure that I’m using the right lubrication for the temperatures I am going to operate gun in.

            This and making sure to use known good magazines makes for a gun that goes bang every time with an almost BORING level of consistency!

            Truthfully I am more and more convinced that this almost boring consistency is what makes people hate on the AR!

            the thing just works!

            I get it, don’t get me wrong I totally get it, but rather than hate on the AR for working so well I just occasionally build Frankenstein’s monster level firearms monstrosities!

            These provide me with the excitement and endless cycles of tinkering and reworking parts and wondering if this will be the range trip where it doesn’t s*** the bed halfway through magazine 3!

          • Y

            What makes it less good in that situation….? PHYSICS

            The HK416 has no gas coming out of its bolt carrier = the Sand will fly STRAIGHT into the ejection port with >NO RESTISTANCE<

            AR15 – gas blows away debee flying towards the ejection port, it creates an actual active resistance.

          • 8166PC1

            Like I said a billion times the HK416 on youtube videos can pass the same exact sand test a M4 can. And if water gets in the gas tube of an M4 it will blow up if fired. Look up the video.

          • You’ve apparently not watched that video, because it ain’t the gas tube that blows up.

          • 8166PC1

            The reciever and bolt appear to have fragmented from what I recall.

          • Which would be caused by what? 😉

          • 8166PC1

            Obstruction of the gas tube or barrel if I had to take a guess.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Obstruction of the gas tube would simply stop the bolt from cycling at all, and a bore obstruction would damage the HK416 bolt the same.

          • 8166PC1

            And the HK416 doesn’t have a gas tube with gas going down it for an gas tube obstruction to happen.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Wunderbar. Now about Nate’s question, try guessing again.

          • 8166PC1

            Huh?

          • Y

            Send me the test where a HK416 gets blown a pile of sand DIRECTLY into the ejection port while firing……

          • 8166PC1

            I can’t find any such test, but I see no reason why a HK416 wouldn’t pass the test considering the chambers and ejection port are exactly the same to my knowledge. And let’s say it did have more chance of failure with blowing sand, there are more aspects to reliability than just sand. The gas system of the M4 runs dirtier and needs more frequent lubrication to run reliability where a HK416 needs less.

          • Y

            “chambers and ejection port are exactly the same to my knowledge”
            Again:
            The HK416 has no gas coming out of its bolt carrier = the Sand will fly STRAIGHT into the ejection port with >NO RESTISTANCE<

            AR15 – gas blows away debee flying towards the ejection port, it creates an actual active resistance.

            The "to my knowledge" part seem to not include much….

          • 8166PC1

            Like I said even if it has more chance of failing, there are other aspects to rifle reliability than just blowing sand.

          • Y

            Yes thats what im saying…. but you Quote: “the HK416 will pass any sand or mud test an M4 can seemingly pass.” Such claims are simply to narrow.

          • roguetechie

            LOL…

            needs more frequent lubrication….

            Imagine that, guns need lubrication…. Except for the magic 416/417 because the Germans know how to make guns so good they don’t need lubrication…

            ROFL

          • 8166PC1

            I never said the HK416 didn’t need lubrication.

          • 8166PC1

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=docC1bU7fJU&t=87s Look at this video it passes the sand test

          • Y

            Are you retarded? ive said DOZENDS of times, direct BLOWN INTO the ejection port while firing. NOT casually laying into the sand taking it out.

            Youre ignorance is enormous.

          • 8166PC1

            It’s “You’re” by the way, not “Youre”.

          • Y

            I dont f* care, its not native english, were on the Internetz, get used to it or go crying.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Bringing up the 2007 Aberdeen test as an example of scientific rigor isn’t going to get you very far around here.

          • 8166PC1

            And by the way the M4 chalked up more failures in the army’s dust test than the HK416 https://www.defensetech.org/2007/12/17/m4-comes-in-last-place-in-dust-test/

          • LCON

            most of those were Magazine related. The M4 rifles used USGI, the Rifles with the lowest mean failures were using enhanced reliability Steel STANAG Magazines or G36 polymer box magazines.

          • 8166PC1

            You can’t put a G36 polymer magazine in a M4 though

          • LCON

            No you couldn’t but you can have the Magazine redesigned. Like what FN and HK did with steel high reliably magazines or Magpul with the Pmag.

          • ostiariusalpha

            No, but you can put a half-dozen other polymer mags in it.

          • LCON

            No, but you can move to the steel magazines of the Scar or HK416 you can also get improved magazines or new design magazines like the PMAg.

          • Gregory

            You can defend your choice just as I do, it does not matter. As for the mud tests, sand test and all the other tests, you’ll never see that in your lifetime with your gun. You can fantasize all day long about getting into battles with your gun, dragging it through the mud, the sand and dirt. At the end of the day you’re going to come home from work, sit down and swill your beer. The closest you and your gun will ever come to combat (soldiers and law-enforcement officers excluded) is punching holes through paper targets on the weekends. So, the “mine is bigger than yours” crap just doesn’t get it, get over yourself.

          • roguetechie

            You do realize that your initial post did exactly what you’re accusing other people of doing right?

        • No one

          Owned a Colt, a POF 415, and now an LMT SLK8 there champ, Still infinetely better then a Tavor/X95 which are dumpster tier rifles only adopted by Israel and poor countries. (would you like me to list all the proven design flaws of that rifle or would you just like to keep your dignity for spending that much on a piece of garbage?)

          Also yeah, It’s been proven time and time again, which is why the AR-15 Is to this day one of the most popular military, police, and civilian/competition rifles worldwide and most tests have shown that gas piston ARs aren’t even significantly more reliable if at all then DI ones.

          Try not talking out of your — next time, I know it’s hard, but just give it a shot, thanks!

          • 8166PC1

            Why is the Tavor more expensive than the M4/M16 if its a “dumpster tire rifle”? And if it was so bad why the Israelis replace the M4/M16 with it?

          • Y

            Because they wanted a Bullpup etc, the Tavor meets that, but its still a VERRY unperfected Rifle.

            Weight, ergonomics, crappy bore-to-sight height. Etc

          • 8166PC1

            They fixed some of the ergos with the X95 such as having a magazine release like the M16. What does the bore-to-sight height matter if it can hit Targets?

          • Height over bore mostly matters with small targets at very close range. With a roughly 4″ height over bore, zerod at 100 yards, you will be hitting roughly 4″ low at 7-10 yards.

            So if you were in house to house fighting, trying to tag an exposed elbow or foot of a guy firing at you from behind cover, you would need to aim a bit above the target to make the shot. Since you naturally want to put the dot on where you’re shooting, “knowing your offsets” requires a good bit of training to do under stress.

          • No one

            “Why is the ACR more expensive then the M4/M16 if it’s a dumpster tier rifle?!”

            Hey, spoiler alert, just because something is overpriced (which IWI can get away with because next to German gun fanboys, Israeli gun fanboys are perhaps the most rabidly fanatical and over defensive on the market.) or overly built and thus costs more doesn’t make it better, get an actual argument.

            Better question, if the Tavor/X95 is so much better, why is the AR-15 and it’s derivatives used by far more countries (and still being adopted by major ones at that) whereas the Tavor/X95 are only generally used by Israel and poor countries with corrupt treasuries who are easily fooled into buying anything?

          • 8166PC1

            The M16 has been around for 50 years that’s why it’s being used more. If a country is poor wouldn’t they use a M4 or M16 rather than a Tavor because it costs less? Honestly though I wouldn’t take anybody seriously that says the Tavor is a dumpster rifle because the people who actually have used them generally like them even with some of its problems it has.

          • No one

            And for every person I see that’s liked them, I see about 3 more who hate them and wish they got another rifle, kind of like the “more expensive therefore better” ACR.

            Also, I’m not just referring to the M16, New Zealand ditched the UAG for LMT made AR-15s, France is ditching their FAMAS rifles for the HK 416 (which, whether anyone likes it or not, is yet another AR-15 variant), Pretty much every single SF branch of the UK and even some non SF branches ditched the L85A2 for Colt Canada C7 and C8 rifles.

            But you’re right, no one is adopting new AR-15s and the Tavor just isn’t as popular because it hasn’t been around as long.

            Also, if you think the problems with the Tavor are “minor”, you have a very loose definition of that word, there’s a very good reason Alex C. perhaps the best and most experienced writer this site ever had called it the worst bullpup on the market and listed it in the top 5 most overrated guns out there, but clearly someone who owns things from literal museum pieces to machine guns to pretty much every modern gun (or at least tested them) wouldn’t know better, his video nailed all the problems of the Tavor perfectly that I will also confirm do infact exist and are well noted elsewhere.

          • 8166PC1

            There are people in the Israeli army that like them.

          • roguetechie

            Seriously?

            Probably because the AR15 producing firms have long since amortized their entire production lines worth of equipment 5 times over in their first 5 years of business from selling so many guns!

            That’s why…

            If you don’t even know and implicitly understand that then you have no business even commenting on things.

          • PSeudo

            Actually, yes. I’d like you to list all of the proven design flaws of the Tavor/X95. I’m pretty divorced from this conversation because I own neither a tavor nor an AR15, but it’s fascinating to watch 8166pc1 and Y talk straight past each other. Since you’ve joined the fray to just on someone, I would actually really appreciate it if you could inform me of the Tavor’s proven flaws. I’m always looking to reduce my ignorance.

    • Major Tom

      Full auto and an anti-tank railgun.

      • iksnilol

        Both at the same time I hope.

        • Major Tom

          The railgun might have to be an underslung attachment.

          • iksnilol

            I was thinking fully automatic anti tank railgun.

            Weight reductions by combining into one.

          • Major Tom

            I like the cut of your gib. Let’s do that.

          • Jeremy

            I can only be so erect

    • ThisCoffeeTastesFunny

      I have an X95 too. I like it quite a bit. That being said, I own several ARs and prefer to shoot them, though the X95 fills quite a nice niche of home defense/vehicle carbine. While super reliable (so are my ARs…), the X95 is on the heavy side and it recoils in a notable see-saw motion.

      There is a place for a bullpup, but it’s more of a specialist than a jack-of-all trades. Extreme CQB/Urban/Vehicle or for using discreet packaging (tennis racket bag…), it’s great. It still doesn’t hold a candle to my split times or hits/time with an AR. Really, any AR…any trigger.

      • Porty1119

        The Tavor trigger is bad. Like, “the worst rifle trigger I’ve ever shot” levels of bad.

        • ostiariusalpha

          It’s modular though, there are better aftermarket drop-in units available.

        • PeterGriffin’sBastard

          the X95 trigger is a few shades better than the original SAR trigger. Still no decent AR trigger, for sure. Even the Geissele Super Sabra, while light, is still a spongy mess compared to a cheap but decent AR trigger (See ALG Defense ACT trigger, or any Armalite Trigger).

          Also, I’m not wearing any pants right now.

          • roguetechie

            It’s kinda funny but sad that as of right now the best factory bullpup trigger right now is on the reincarnation of the bushmaster M17 made by k&m aerospace!

        • Still not as bad as the Uzi Pro.

    • Slovko

      I agree. Although I prefer the Tavor myself, both a good platforms. However, I’m assuming you were referring to the AR direct impingement design when you say that, “it does not eat where it craps” Actually, that part of the design of the AR is a feature rather than a flaw and can be a significant strength in areas where both the X95 and Tavor will fall flat on their face. Again, both are good designs, but it just depends on what you’re doing with them.

      • 8166PC1

        In what way it is a feature and not a flaw?

        • ostiariusalpha

          Really? It’s been pointed out to you several times already that the AR-15 blows debris away from its ejection port due to that gas system. In fact, all DI systems, such as the Ljungman and MAS-49, do an excellent job at keeping debris out of their actions by “crapping where they eat.”

          • 8166PC1

            The first time I’ve ever read that Stoner’s gas system was made to blow debris away from the action were these Internet comments. In fact in the various literature written about the M16/M4 you’ll find that this is never in fact mentioned. I think what you will find is that there are a number of op rod rifles that will meet or exceed the M16/M4 in adverse conditions. The FS2000 for example has a sealed ejection port. If I recall correctly in these unscientific Inrange tests you guys love the MAS-49 choked early on when blowing sand was introduced.

          • *doesn’t mention what happened to the M14 and M1 and AK and…*

          • 8166PC1

            I didn’t mention them because it doesn’t have relevance to what I was saying. They seemingly failed because of their open action, not because they have operating rods, the same reason MAS-49 probably also failed.

          • Then why bring up the MAS?

          • 8166PC1

            Because you guys said that DI blows sand away from the chamber which means it shouldn’t fail at all and if what you were saying was actually true it shouldn’t have failed at all but it did.

          • The AR-15 and MAS-49 varieties of DI work differently, now, don’t they?

          • 8166PC1

            They do work differently.

          • 8166PC1

            And besides the M1 Garand and M14 choking in sand or mud had nothing to do with why the M1 Garand and M14 were replaced.

          • So?

          • ostiariusalpha

            The MAS made it through 7 rounds before its first malf, and even got another shot off; that’s not choking early. The VEPR made it 5 rounds in a similar test by the AK Operators Union.

          • 8166PC1

            But it did choke.

          • Who gives a flip?

          • roguetechie

            You must own a trucking company with how often you move the goal posts ROFL…

            We don’t pay by the mile for goal post moving around here.

          • 8166PC1

            Huh?

        • Slovko

          Blowing gas back into the BCG to cycle the action has the added benefit of clearing debris in adverse conditions. Direct impingement isn’t a design that, “eats where is craps”. In contrary, the gas can actually clear crap from areas of the gun that could otherwise cause it to malfunction. This TFB article along with the accompanying video from In Range TV best summarizes what I’m describing.

          http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2016/01/06/inrange-tv-mud-ar-15-will-choke/

    • AC97

      “It does not get fouled after 30 rounds are fired.”

      Lol, whatever you say kid.

    • 22winmag

      Ask for better ergonomics and 50% off.

      For that price, you could have got a Galil ACE.

    • Porty1119

      In my experience, the Tavor starts having trouble at about 200 yards. However, as a civilian’s defensive rifle, I see nothing wrong with that. I like the balance of the rifle, despise the trigger, but recognize it for what it is: a compact CQB rifle. For that role, the Tavor is excellent, and it’s great that it suits your needs.

      It doesn’t really meet my needs. I either need 300-400+ yard engagement capability out in the desert, or maximum terminal effectiveness at spitting distance versus feral hogs. Portability and balance for ease of carry are essential as well. My solution winds up being an M16A1-type rifle, and a 12ga pump shotgun respectively, with a Marlin .30-30 levergun as a middle point between the two.

  • Logic

    Correct, its not the Bullpup thats the Problem its the >yet unperfected< Bullpup.

  • FT_Ward

    The only real draw back from most bull pups is that you can’t instantaneously switch shoulders to fire around cover.

    • Tom

      Well according to the British Army most soldiers cannot hit the broad side of a barn firing from the left shoulder so its not necessarily (providing you accept it of course) a big problem.

      • I bet they can’t with the charging handle knocking their teeth in every shot.

        • JT303

          We had a cadet who was left eye dominant. She shouldered the L98A2 (an L85 without the giggle switch) from the left shoulder and fired off a single round. There was a stunned look on her face when she registered the impact of the charging handle. Then she proceeded to fire off the remainder of the mag. From the left shoulder.

          • Y

            Wth, was she hit every time or did she moved her head back?

          • JT303

            Every time. 10 shots loaded. 10 fired. 10 solid connections with the charging handle.

          • Y

            Ouch… what did she said, did it made a wound?

          • JT303

            Yes. There was a good bit of blood on various parts of the rifle by the time she had finished. She’s not the only person to have done it either. A friend of mine, who is an instructor(!), managed to do it as well. He wasn’t quite thinking when he also shouldered it on the left and got hit square in the lip by the charging handle. Still has the scar as well.

          • Y

            Damn surely a bit embarrassing to have a charging handle scar as an instructor…. But its atleast a good warning for new cadets haha.
            And did she sayd anything or tough it was normal?

          • JT303

            That’s the oddest thing. She was a bit surprised on the first shot and then continued anyway until she realised how badly she was bleeding.

          • DW

            She likes it that way huh…

        • RealitiCzech

          That’s a plus! Gives British dentistry more opportunities to improve their craft.

      • ostiariusalpha

        Even with conventional rifles, the vast majority of soldiers still shoot from the right shoulder when shooting around corners that would favor the left shoulder.

        • Major Tom

          Because most folks including a lot of left-handed folks (like me) shoot right-handed.

          • ostiariusalpha

            Right, they just don’t practice ambidextrous shooting, despite that it would make them a smaller target when shooting around righthand corners.

          • snmp

            But you coud found many right–handed shoot Rifle left-handed. Cause, the dominant eyes is the left

        • iksnilol

          Probably eye domination. I shoot with both eyes so I face the issue less.

      • FT_Ward

        How would the British Army know that? Since they don’t practice it I expect it’s true but I’d be surprised if there was any data to point to.

        Due to optics such as EOTechs switching shoulders to shoot around cover has never been easier and should be taught to all soldiers- if you have a rifle that allows it- which removes most bull pups.

        • CJS

          Agreed it should be taught. But, most countries don’t have the money to give their forces more than the minimum range time so teaching to shoot weak side isn’t really going to happen is it?

          • FT_Ward

            Given the HQ bloat most western armies have I don’t think it’s really a lack of money- just a preference to spend it on staff officers and clerks- but most now have some sort of FATS type system and you can always get .22 conversion kits. Failing to train infantrymen properly on their rifle is always a failure of will.

          • CJS

            By coincidence, yesterday I was watching a couple of videos on YouTube of cqb training. The USMC kept their m4’s permanently on their strong side, but the Royal Marines using L85’s were moving their rifles to middle of the chest when needed – so was getting closer to weak side firing than troops armed with m4’s!?!

        • Tom

          I would imagine/speculate they did some test with ether an L1A1 or AR15 rifle prior to selecting the L85 and based on this concluded that the inability to shoot from the left shoulder was not that great a problem.

          Of course considering the massive political pressure on HM Forces to adopt the L85 such tests may have been less than objective.

    • Logic

      *forward/downward ejecting bullpups disagree

    • Alexandru Ianu

      Not all bullpups eject straight to the side.

  • Weren’t modern bullpups (i.e., not the Thorneycroft carbine) built around the paradigm of large scale mechanized warfare against the Soviet Union? If that’s the case, it would make sense to have a very compact rifle for troops spending plenty of time in APCs.

  • Bas

    UK,Australia,France…….elite units answuered this question.Every spec operator want AR15 style weapons.

    • Bas

      I think that bullpup platform are better for lightweight compact DRMs

      • CommonSense23

        What bullpup actually has a good trigger?

        • Evaris

          Kel Tec RDB, JARD J67 and J68 have good triggers out of the box?

          • ostiariusalpha

            As do the Desert Tech bolt actions.

        • The RDB, for its many other faults, actually has a great trigger.

          • roguetechie

            Have you got to fire a k&m m17 Nathaniel?

            I’m very curious about how it stacks up compared to the RDB, which I’ve never got to fire.

          • Haven’t fired the K&M, but I did handle it. It has a very light trigger. Handling seemed pretty standard for a bullpup, maybe a bit better than some.

          • roguetechie

            Yeah, I’m with you on handling. However the trigger is supremely amazing for any gun not just good for a bullpup…

            But, unfortunately it’s yet another gun that has SOME rather than all the features really needed to make THE bullpup.

          • Yeah, nothing has the whole package yet.

            And I don’t think it will be easy or simple to design one that does.

          • roguetechie

            We’re definitely on the same page there!

            I’ve experimented off and on with trying to find the magic combination like you have, and had similar luck with it

        • roguetechie

          The k&m aerospace M17 in 5.56 & 7.62×51 has an excellent trigger…

          I’m not talking excellent for a bullpup here either!

          Straight up excellent for any gun that doesn’t cost 5 figures, and even then it likely has a better trigger than many of those!

        • snmp

          FAMAS, P90 …..

          • Pseudo

            I’ve never shot the FAMAS nor a fully automatic P90, but the PS90 has one of the most abysmal triggers I’ve ever put my finger on. I used to own one.

        • Treiz

          none

      • LCON

        I would say PDW class.

    • Mr Mxyzptlk

      I’m just talking about the UK here as that is all that I have first hand knowledge of, but the use of AR-15 by SFs is not actually due to the bullpup issue. It goes all the way back to when the standard rifle was the L1A1 SLR in 7.62 and they chose the AR-15 (the pre M16 AR-15, they actually adopted it before the US) and they wanted something in 5.56x45mm to make the weapon and ammo load lighter. When the SA80 came about, they didn’t want it as they were allready well established with AR-15 style rifles, and the L85A1 lacked the modularity that the AR had in terms of grenade launchers sights, stuff like that.

      There are reasons that special forces and some units would not be able to use bullpups though, an obvious one is the clsoe protection role. Even conventional RM and RMP close protection teams do not use bullpubs instead using SBR AR-15s (previously they used H&K SMGs and 5.56 carbines) for the main reason that they have a very high chance of having to fire their weapons from vehicles which is far more difficult with bullpups (basically impossible with the L85 or L22 if you want to fire out of the right window). These guns have a far shorter barrel than comparable bullpups though, but in this role a loss of muzzle velocity and accuracy is not that big of a concern.

      • forrest1985

        I think if you asked most British squadies whether they would rather have a C8 or L85, I know what they would say! Personally I would take a conventional layout over a bullpup anyday. I do get the advantage of a bullpup but in practice it doesn’t work out as well. Bit like buying a camel and expecting it to act and behave like a horse!

        • kjack

          >I think if you asked most British squadies whether they would rather have a C8 or L85, I know what they would say!

          Considering the L85’s reputation, they’d probably choose mostly anything you might offer them, bullpup or not. Same goes for if you offered French troops something other than the FAMAS or Indian troops something other than the conventional INSAS.

          • forrest1985

            I’d take a lee-enfield over an L85 personally!

          • snmp

            FAMAS is not bad weapon (triger is not bad, thta’s just an havy military trigger). But after, 30 years of duties, the old wornoff rifle need replacement

    • Logic

      And yet its not about the Bullpup shape but because there isnt yet a perfected Bullpup Rifle…

  • iksnilol

    I never understood the whole “bullpups are shorter, thus we can have longer barrels” argument.

    Because, a conventional rifle with a 50 cm barrel is long, right? The same rifle with a 40 cm is somewhat handy. A bullpup with a 50 cm barrel is handy (just like the conventional with the 40 cm barrel). But what about a bullpup with a short barrel ? That allows you to have normal performance in a hella short package. Something like an aug with a 35 cm barrel is about the length of an MP5. and I don’t have to tell you that it has a better range and effect than a MP5.

    • EC

      A bullpup essentially allows you to get a rifle down to carbine length, and a carbine down to SMG length.

      M16 (20″ barrel)- 39.5″ OAL

      AK-74 (16.2″ barrel)- 37.1″ OAL

      QBZ-95 (18.2″ barrel)- 29.3″ OAL

      M4 (14.5″ barrel)- 29.75″ OAL

      AK-74U (8.1″ barrel)- 28.9″ OAL
      QBZ-95B (14.5″ barrel)- 24″ OAL

      If a shorter OAL while retaining the benefits of a longer barrel is the goal, then a bullpup design is a decent way of achieving it.

      • LCON

        20 inch barrel argument I think is dated prior to the turn the century mark. like the full length rifles that started WW1 but ended being cut down, The Worlds Armies have realized that modern close quarters battles and cartridges makes the full barrel a Dinosaur.
        I mean from an accuracy standpoint shorter barrels have better Harmonics making them more accurate, but they generate less pressure to a point. by about 17-18 inches though most modern propellent has been completely combusted so after that point the full 2-3 inches is just there with no function.

        • ostiariusalpha

          The propellant is 95% combusted by the first few inches after firing, it’s the pressure level that accelerates the bullet, and that is still plenty high enough that the extra 3 inches is making a very measurable difference in velocity. A propellant that has a burn-rate optimized for the longer barrel will give a definite advantage in external ballistics from that 20″ bbl, versus one optimized for an 18″ or shorter pipe.

          • LCON

            but the pressure peak is actually at the gas port not the muzzle. Accuracy is not granted by Barrel length only velocity but most actual combat is below 400 meters A short barreled carbine like an M4 will do fine at that range. It’s a case Ohh I have a bullpup! I can put a 20 inch barrel in the same overall of your M4A1 but when it comes to fighting your not using that extra velocity.

          • ostiariusalpha

            The peak pressure with propellant designed for <18" barrels is also further back. If you take a Mk262 and fire it from an 18" bbl w/midlength gas system, you get around 2680fps; with a rifle length gas system, it's around 2710fps. Compare that to a 77gr SMK bullet loaded with Varget from a 20" bbl using a rifle length gas system, which gets to 2760fps at 5.56 pressures. That's an extra 50fps for just 2" even with identical length gas systems. It was very important for M193 and M855 to have that increased velocity for their fragmentation, and even on an improved EPR round like M855A1, better velocity means better penetration and more energetic terminal performance. That's not something so easily dismissed.

          • Y

            + less muzzle blast and muzzle flash, higher Supersonic Range, less wind drift, less drop.

            (besides penetration you noted)

          • LCON

            Academic as the combat use of the M855A1 is from an Army that issues M4A1 not a full length M16A4 M855A1 was optimized for the M4A1. M855 was optimized for the 20 inch M249 and M16A2.

          • Y

            Which doesnt mean it isnt faster from a longer barrel…..

          • LCON

            oh sure. but you are arguing the wrong point. I am not saying you don’t I am saying “Is that faster speed actually needed?”
            Even nations with Bullpups have started cutting down their barrel lengths. The F2000 16 inch, X95 13.5 inch, Singapore’s Bullpup Multirole Combat Rifle concept 14.5 inch, the EF88 16 inch barrel Other than the DMR gunner The modern rifle squad lacks a barrel longer than 17 inches

          • Y

            Its not just velocity. Its reduced muzzle blast, reduced muzzle flash, less wind drift, less drop, higher supersonic range.

            Yes Bullpups with carbine barrels are cool, but for there size a conventional will have such a short barrel that both muzzle blast&flash, and exterior ballistics (winddrift, drop, supersonic range) become really bad.

          • LCON

            Muzzle blast can be mitigated Chemically. otherwise correct except I Do not deny those I simply point out that objectively speaking it’s rare that infantry actually get to use those advantages.
            Most infantry combat is inside 300 meters.
            At that range a 20 inch barreled 5.56mm Bullpup using the same ammo as has no practical advantage vs a 14.5 inch barreled 5.56mm Carbine.
            You can bring up charts and mathematical displays but in the end the poor SOB on the receiving end is just as dead.

          • ostiariusalpha

            M855A1 is truly amazing for its ability to wring dependable lethality out of the M4 barrel without sacrificing light barrier penetration. Nonetheless, despite being tailor made for shorter barrels, it still does everything better the longer its barrel gets. That “poor SOB” can find quite a bit of cover in an urban environment, and his being dead-right-there after shooting him through 2 car doors is a little more iffy from the M4.

          • LCON

            A little more is not impossible. In urban the issue is maneuver, a Bullpup can shine there but a shorter Bullpup is even more nimble. The “Sob” on the receiving end might grab some cover but be pinned well the rest of the giving squad maneuvers to his end.

          • roguetechie

            In a 5.56×45 rifle there really is performance lost which is pretty necessary even within the 300 meter range constraint you’re talking about.

            It’s very much a known tradeoff which modern 5.56 ammo mitigates to a degree, but only to a degree!

          • Stuki Moi

            …But there is lots and lots of pressure from end users cut the oal of their carbine, to what in an AR platform would require a 9″, or even shorter, barrel…..

          • LCON

            … A bullpup is not a Magical thing. It’s not A TARDIS from Doctor Who. It’s basically cutting the stock and pistol grip off a rifle, rigging the trigger set to extensions and attaching a pistol grip in front of the magazine along with the extensions. The Length of two rifles with identical barrels, one a bullpup the other conventional with a folding stock should be about the same ( barring mechanism differences) if the stock is folded.

            A 20 Inch barreled L85A2 is about 31 inches. sig 550 ( 20 inch barrel) with the stock folded is 30.4 The length of a M4A1 with a 14.5 inch barrel with stock retracted is about 30 Inches.
            So if you yield to the argument of a even shorter overall length.
            a 9 inch barreled AR would have a length of about 25 inches Overall To match that you would still need to cut the barrel of a Bullpup rifle back to about 13-15 inches. The IDF issued X95 Tavor has a overall length of about 23 inches with a 13 inch barrel.
            But the Question for End users is what do they need that very short overall length for? If it’s just for storage or carry Then a Folding stock does just as well.

          • roguetechie

            Now that we have ammunition actually capable of doing it’s thing from shorter barrels you kinda have a point, but you also kinda don’t.

            You keep asking if the extra velocity is needed and acting like the answer is self evidently no.

            This isn’t the case though!

            Yes, the extra velocity is needed, especially when talking about SCHV cartridges!

            The HV does after all stand for high velocity, and by going to 14.5 inch barrels you do inevitably leave a pretty important amount of performance on the table if you’re using a 5.56×45 firearm!

            The reality is that there are ways around this as the AK74 shows us, and if we were to move to a different chambering which still primarily fires .223/5.56 bullets we could easily wind up with a round that performs extraordinarily well to beyond 500 meters!

            However, if we are constrained to the 5.56×45 chambering then a barrel greater than 14.5 inches is absolutely necessary since performance which is very much needed in the form of “extra velocity” gets left on the table otherwise.

          • One interesting thing though is that the M855A1 is rated as defeating a cinderblock at 40 yards out of the 14.5″ M4, but 90 yards out of the 20″ M16 barrel.

          • M40

            You are entirely correct, but the military seems to be changing the training and unit configuration to suit. They recognized the value of sniping, but also realized that you don’t need a full-fledged sniper in every unit. They are specializing such that they can have one or two “designated marksmen” in a unit with longer, heavier barrels. No need for everyone to hump the extra size and weight.

            Most of the engagements are taking place at a couple hundred yards or less, so most of the time a longer or shorter barrel makes no difference. In those engagements where an enemy can be engaged at 500 yards or more, the DM roles come into play.

        • EC

          Pretty much for M855:
          20″- 3,000 FPS
          14.5″- 2,700 FPS

          Most tests suggest anywhere from a 300-500 FPS drop when you go down from an M16 to an M4. Just going 1″ down from 20″ can result in a 100 FPS loss.

          A bullpup essentially allows you to keep that higher velocity within a more compact overall package. The 29″ QBZ-95, for example, gets the same muzzle velocity of 3,050 FPS as the 37″ QBZ-03 firing the same ammunition.

          • LCON

            but what does that added velocity give you down range? It simply means that the round theoretically longer reach, but few Realistic cases actually can use those extended ranges. I mean if it was a Sniper rifle maybe but general infantry ( because you are pointing to a 5.56)

          • EC

            Increased velocity does a number of things, from improved ballistics (accuracy) to wounding capability.

            I would say that if you’re just interested in shooting paper targets, then reduced velocity doesn’t matter much. But if your goal is to accurately and reliably induce trauma at range, then increased velocity is indeed a good thing.

          • LCON

            Accuracy is not an advantage to a longer barrel. Barrel harmonics come into play here. A shorter barrel of equal profile has less flex than a longer one. it’s external factors IE wind drift and velocity drop that change the dynamics down range.

          • int19h

            It’s not just longer reach. It’s also longer fragmentation and/or expansion range, meaning higher lethality. And when talking about these, it’s not some crazy ranges, but 200-300 yards, quite realistic for combat.

          • roguetechie

            Good to know that the ranger carbine course and squad designated marksmen don’t actually exist…

            You’re arguing from a POV of because you’re unaware of what advantages are conferred upon a shooter by using a longer barrel in 5.56 there must not be any.

            This isn’t the case

          • LCON

            No I recognize that you get a higher range and penetration. But I am arguing from the basic rifle not the DMR. The Designated Marksmen is the shooter who’s job it is to extend the lethal range of the squad for those few cases where the fight is beyond 400 meters.

          • roguetechie

            There’s several parts of what I’m saying that apply to ALL the guns in the squad like fragmentation threshold and the threshold velocities needed to even have a CHANCE at penetrating a level 3 NIJ rifle plate.

            In the case of BOTH of those you’re not even getting CLOSE to your 400 meter engagement basket that the average rifleman needs to concern themselves with when using 14.5/16 inch barrels!

            That’s why I said what I said.

            Heck even the much better chambering of 5.56 I know to be possible only solves one of the problems out to 300 or beyond!

          • 2,700 ft/s is pretty low for M855 from an M4. If your gun shoots that low, it’s either very, very cold, or your gun’s barrel needs changing.

          • EC

            Data taken from the Small Arms Defense Journal. It seems reasonably reliable given the sheer amount of equipment that they have access to.

          • The study (which anyone watching can read here) is a good study, don’t get me wrong, but its results do not match the results of other evaluations. There may be a number of explanations:

            1. The ammunition may have been chilled before firing. The paper simply says “stored in a cooler”, it’s not clear whether this meant it was chilled or that it was just insulated.

            2. The ammunition may have been factory seconds or remanufactured ammunition. All we know is that it was “Lake City 2009 M855”. This is very important, because it’s possible this was lot that was rejected for low muzzle velocity. Indeed, the velocity values for the 20″ barrel length given in the article (approx. 2,980 ft/s) are well below the minimum acceptable muzzle velocity for M855 (approx. 3,064 ft/s at 0′)

            3. The condition and type of the barrel is not given. Was this a used barrel? What make was it? Was it chrome-lined, or not? What was its rifling profile (we are only given “1/7 twist”)? These factors may make a substantial difference in the muzzle velocity, but we are not told anything about them.

            Don’t get me wrong, the study’s results regarding muzzle pressure and other factors are very interesting. However, their results for muzzle velocity are entirely misleading and not reflective of any other study or test I have seen on the subject, nor do they make any sense given the characteristics of the 5.56mm cartridge. The fact that the authors of this paper then springboard from these questionable results into conclusions about the lethality of the M4 Carbine and Mk. 18 is pretty irresponsible, as well.

      • iksnilol

        That’s what I mean, why not try to capitalize more on short barrel bullpups? Instead of advertising short length with a long barrel, rather advertise a supershort length with a short barrel.

        I mean, you mentioned the QBZ. If you chopped the barrel down to 14 inches you’d have similar efficency to the M4 just 5 inches shorter. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chinese 5.8mm cartridge could work without issue from a 12 inch barrel.

        EDIT: they make a version with a 14.5 inch barrel, the QBZ-95B Carbine. It’s only 24 inches total length whilst being able to reach out to 500 meters. That’s smaller than a MP5.

        • SP mclaughlin

          In civvie terms the short barrel part is a bit harder to market at least in America.

          • iksnilol

            Just make a sleeve that extends past. And then sell internals and endcaps to make a suppressor outta it (for those who want).

        • oldman

          The other reason is the 26 inch/ 66cm minimum over all length requirement. Another reason is with a shorter barrel your face is closer to the muzzle which in a conventional rifle is not that big a deal in a bull pup your face is already over the chamber or very close to it therefor there is a limit to how much shorter you can make a barrel.

          • Stuki Moi

            It’s manly to burn off your eyelashes. And shoot your support hand…..

      • Sam P

        FN P90 (10.4″ barrel) – 19.9″ OAL

        Uzi (10.2″ barrel) – 17.5″ OAL (stockless), 25″ OAL (stock extended)

        H&K MP5A2 (8.9″ barrel) – 27″ OAL

    • LCON

      The Israelis are doing just that with the X95.

      • iksnilol

        I think somebody made one in 300 BLK with a 9 inch barrel. Was beautiful.

    • wetcorps

      They did this with the Groza. And the underslung grenade launcher even fixes the balance issue.

  • Edeco

    Never shot one. I like the idea of more room for barrel, 20+ inches. The ones with short barrels, meh, doesn’t look like it would feel right, muzzle too close to face. I think folding stock will usually make more sense with a short barrel.

  • EC

    I’m pretty sure that when anyone says “bullpups are doing poorly in the military market” they overlook the Chinese QBZ-95s… when the largest military in the world is using a bullpup layout as its standard issue weapon it’s difficult to consider it any sort of failure.

    • Twilight sparkle

      China has also been developing conventional rifles as a replacement lately. The only bullpup that’s kind of successful right now and growing in the market is the tavor and its derivatives

      • EC

        There has been the QBZ-03, but with the QBZ-95-1 coming out it’s difficult to see that the QBZ-03 has a future.

        Norinco came out with their NAR series, but only in 5.56, 7.62×39, and 7.61×51. They are meant only for export, not for domestic use.

        For the foreseeable future, the QBZ is here to stay.

        • LCON

          The PLA has adopted the QBZ95 yes, but they also adopted the QBZ03 and have other new rifles in the Works. The PLA likes to diversify. I think the PLA hit a number of design limitation in the QBZ95 and are trying to compensate.
          https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54d0c33115587520dc2220a192c293897dfe2416ba58e072eb31ba7d65b540e9.jpg

          • EC

            Yes, most likely the CS/LR17 or NAR series that I mentioned above. Again, made for export. The Chinese have a surprising amount of military hardware that they make which has no equivalent domestic use. So far, the NAR is one of them.

            The role of the QBZ-03 is diminished by the introduction of the QBZ-95-1. The QBZ-03 was meant to be a rear-echelon or militia rifle, but with the old QBZ-95s retiring to make way for the 95-1s, I really don’t see the use of the QBZ-03.

          • LCON

            QBZ95-1 is an attempt at correcting issues with the QBZ95. It has the worst features of the bullpup that came about because of it’s rapid adoption back in 96. basically the PLA wanted to look modern so they rushed it into production. The Selector switch is on the back of the rifle, the sight rail is impossible to properly scope ( production and QC issues did not help), the trigger is a disaster, even the rounds it fires were not ready yet. So years later they introduced the 95-1. but they still have production issues so the QBZ03 remains besides they also use the QBZ03 for the basis of the QST 11. The Chinese are also slowly waking up to optics and accessories options as well as body armor and LOP the 95 and 95-1 does not offer itself to. meaning they may need a QBZ95-2 before to long either way I would not point to the QBZ95 as a sucess story. And QBZ03 remains.

          • EC

            I agree with you that the Chinese are definitely experimenting. Even if the QBZ-03 and NAR never become standard issue rifles, they were signs that the Chinese have been working with different designs. But I think the major rehaul of the QBZ-95 shows that the bullpup design is far from gone.

            In terms of optics, that’s a problem that is decently easy to solve. Norinco already makes a “flat top” version of the QBZ that is exported for civilian use. If the Chinese felt that it was necessary, such an adoption wouldn’t be difficult to make. The current QBZ-95-1 uses a proprietary QC mount anyhow.

            Accessories can be mounted to the front post of the QBZ-95-1. Not as much surface area as say an M4, but reasonable.

            Length of pull can be an issue for sure when your action is behind the grip, it’s one of those things that is a definite downside of the bullpup design. The QBZ-95-1 has a LOP of maybe 15-16″, which is 2-3 inches longer than an M16/M14.

            In the end, much of it is dictated by the different doctrines. The PLA still doesn’t issue a whole lot of lights, lasers, or red dots. Modern body armour is not universally handed out to every soldier. The Chinese just can’t do that with the money they spend on the military and given how many infantry they have. In that regards, the QBZ-95 series does everything the Chinese need it to do for them… for now at least.

          • Jason Culligan

            The QBZ-03 was designed for non-mechanised militia and rear echelon troops. The QBZ-95 is the primary weapon for frontline Chinese soldiers where the bullpup design works well for troops who will spend a good bit of time in their cramped APC’s. It’s a similar story with Israel and the Tavor.

          • Twilight sparkle

            I was going to post that same pic

          • roguetechie

            Whoa, thanks for those pictures…. Now I want a qbz-03 damnit!

        • DW

          QBZ03 has even more disastrous ergonomics,namely the charging handle is too low and too forward so if you dont grab her by the handguard your finger will be smacked. Otherwise the rifle is a modernized Type81 in 5.8, and actually gets even more similar to being a Vz58 than the type81.

          • int19h

            For my edification, what’s similar to Vz58 about it? Striker? Locking system?

      • john huscio

        AUG

        • Twilight sparkle

          I wouldn’t say the aug is growing, it’s just being upgraded in the countries where it was already well established

  • Slovko

    Your arguments 1 thru 3 are based purely on an appeal to authority and a myth that, if the military and major manufacturers are following a given trend, then it must be better than some other alternative. While I certainly respect the authorities you mentioned, their trends mean little to me unless I’m given a chance to understand the data they used to base their decisions. At best, the arguments in this article are speculative and carry little weight on their own without such understanding. Just my two cents.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      My understanding of the article was he was not asserting that the conventional design is better because it is favored by governments and industry, but simply that there must be some reasons that they are avoiding bullpups and it would be worthwhile to explore what those reasons are.

      Though it is quite refreshing to find people who are familiar with logical fallacies.

      • That is correct. I am not saying “ergo, bullpups are worse”.

        • Pseudo

          No, but it also might be unreasonable to expect there to be a good reason that pops out once you dig deeper. I’m with Slovko, though. The data should speak.

        • Slovko

          I definitely understood that. Personally, I love my AR, Tavor and AK74 equally and appreciate their respective strengths within a given context.

        • M40

          That’s what I took from it… it IS worth noting that 20 and 30 years ago, there were all kinds of people predicting that bullpup designs would supplant everything else on the market. These were supposed to be the weapons of the future, but that never seemed to materialize.

          I think everyone would love to see a revolution where some new bullpup concept changes the way people think about firearms design (ala AK47 or Glock). Instead what we see too much of is manufacturers trying to cram existing designs into bullpup configurations.

          If you’d asked me back in the 1980’s what kind of guns we’d be firing after the turn of the century, I would have answered that we’d all be using bullpup configurations that electrically ignited caseless “trounds” (triangular rounds pack tighter in magazines).
          It was predicted that there would be no cases to carry or eject… the whole round would be made of molded and sealed propellant with the projectile at the front.

          Back then they were talking about fully disposable magazines that came sealed, pre-loaded and carried twice the ammunition in the same size/weight as today’s magazines.

      • Slovko

        Agreed. Understanding those reasons would definitely be worthwhile.

  • Max Müller

    How to make a good and usefull bullpup.
    Step one: have a good design. Iwi Tavor or Desert Tech Mdr seem to be somewhat modern and original. Completely new design would be even better.
    Step two: design them around their final role. What do you want? A Cqb gun that packs a hell of a punch out of the same package as a Smg? Make it lightweight and done. Probably some innovation to allow for quick reloads.
    Or you can go for a longer barrel in the same length as a m4 or m16. Build the perfect squad dmr. The current designs would need to become lighter, get a better trigger and there you go, done as well.

    • The Thales F90 is already down to 7.13lbs for the 16″ model, making it the 2nd lightest piston rifle on the market (Berretta ARX100 is 6.8lbs.)

      • I don’t think it’s really the 2nd lightest, and those comparisons are misleading at any rate (the HK416 for example scores poorly because of its very heavy barrel profile). Having said that, I do like what Thales/Lithgow have done with the receiver, it’s pretty clever.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Bullpups definitely need more refinement and work before they would be a truly legitimate contender these days. While I would say FN and Kel-tec’s offerings have pushed it forward a lot, there are still areas needing attention. Unfortunately, they’ll probably die a slow death before the designs can be brought to that point.

  • LCON

    To bull or not to bull that is the Question….
    Well the answer is depends on who you are and what you want to do.
    If you are a civilian buy what makes you happy. It’s your Second Amendment right! And your hard earned Money!

    If you are an Agency like Police or Military then things get more interesting. First is what do you intend to do with your Rifle. If you intend to use it universally as Carbine, Rifle and SMG then a Bull might be right for you. If you want super compact system and don’t mind the problems of a bullpup, bad triggers, hard choices on shooting offhand, Loading off target, fixed Length of pull ( mostly an issue for body armor) then a bull pup might be a good option. yet modern conventional rifles can be very compact when Stored, can be used as a SMG, Carbine and Rifle to.
    There is only one mission set where Bullpups absolutely rule, That is if you want an Individual Airbursting weapons system. like the XM25, K11, Neopup or QST 11 that’s it.
    For Every argument a Bull proponent makes a conventional proponent can counter and visa versa.

    • snmp

      bullpup rifle bad trigger is more an bad mouth than the reality

      • I agree, the bad trigger is a red herring. Any competent next-generation bullpup should have a fine trigger, although admittedly a lot of firearms designers don’t seem to have figured that one out yet.

  • john huscio

    “Many legacy bullpup manufacturers (e.g., Steyr, FN) are dropping them like a bad habit,”

    So when is steyr dropping the AUG? I gotta believe that the AUG and its offspring (and maybe the Tavor) will be the last bullpup standing and will continue to be issued long into the future.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Well, “dropping” is a bit of a Nathanielism, but Steyr’s STM 556 is definitely a move away from their dedication to the AUG.

      • In some instances it’s not an exaggeration. FN doesn’t even have the F2K in its catalog anymore, and Steyr seems to be moving rapidly away from the AUG.

  • CJS

    ” In fact no new military bullpup design exists which doesn’t have direct roots back to the Cold War/pre-GWOT bullpup concept”.
    Are you forgetting the Polish msbs? Or not including it because it’s still in development?

    • I am only including rifles currently on the military market, yes.

      • CJS

        Fair enough. So what conventional rifles “doesn’t have direct roots back to the Cold War/pre-GWOT” if you don’t mind me asking?

        • As points of reference, I would identify the following:

          FN SCAR
          Remington ACR*
          Beretta ARX-100
          CZ 805/806 Bren
          FB Radom MSBS
          HK433**

          In the case of conventionals, I think their roots are less important because they present fewer ergonomic challenges to begin with. Having said that, an example of a conventional that has suffered from Cold War-era/pre-GWOT philosophy would be the G36.

          Even so, we still see way more new conventional designs than bullpups. I think this supports the case that mfgrs are not hot on bullpups right now.

          • CJS

            Have to agree. Bullpups are at version 1.5 of their evolution and to get to 2.0 nowadays requires a push from the civilian market (in the past it would have been military paying). But who is going to pay 2k (guessed average) for a new unproven design and with cheap ar15’s everywhere that can do the same job?

            Read somewhere that if the ar15 was released today, that it would have a 2k price tag. Wonder if it would still improve and grow to saturate the market then?

          • Y

            2k….? Thats a civilian price.

            With an actually Bullpup 2.0 Rifle it includes perfected manufacturing, and large scale military production makes it cheap.

          • CJS

            Yes I know, as I tried to say, nowadays civilian market is pushing innovation so. Civilian price is valid.

          • Y

            “innovation” -aka- “neva been dun befoa!!11oneeleven”

          • Well that brings up a point that is not covered by the lack of bullpup sales, which is the general lack of sales for any “next gen” carbine on the international market outside of the country in which they are made.

            The SCAR 16 is an awesome rifle, but to my knowledge only Belgium has adopted it for regular troops. Likewise the ARX 100 and CZ 805 bren are both adopted by the armies of their manufacture country, but are not taking over the world (although to be fair, the 805 is being licensed by Pakistan.)

          • I think that’s a bit confused, as the carbines I listed are all “rifles that don’t have direct roots back to the Cold War/pre-GWOT”. A lot of refined conventional designs are achieving sales, they just are mostly AR-15 or AK derivatives.

            And perhaps even more importantly we’re seeing companies being much more willing to invest in new conventional designs than bullpups.

          • Right, but if we were to look at non-AR or AK designs that have achieved export sales success, the Tavor likely is the biggest seller – over 40,000 sold here in the US, 100,000 to Thailand, licensing deals to the Ukraine, India, Vietnam and Brazil. The F2000, despite being abandoned by FN, has sold 55,000 to Saudi Arabia and 14,000 to the Slovenian Army – larger export sales then I can find for the SCAR 16.

            Is there a non AR or AK design that has achieved export sales of comparable numbers?

            Meanwhile, I don’t think firearms companies being slow to develop bullpups is a useful data point, given the extremely conservative and slow nature of firearms manufacturers.

            For example, take the polymer striker fired pistol – an unambiguous, clear seller since 1982. Look how long it took for other firearms companies to develop their own – a much less risky or R&D intensive endevour then developing a new military rifle.
            -S&W Sigma 1994 (12 years later, just a direct glock clone) M&P 2005
            -Walther P99 1996
            -FN FNP 2006
            -Ruger 2007
            -H&K 2014
            -SIG 320 2014
            -CZ P10 2016
            -Beretta APX 2016

            Frankly whether it’s pistols or conventional rifles or bullpups, firearms manufacturers are pretty slow and conservative to release anything genuinely new.

          • Flip that around, ask yourself: Why is the Tavor being outsold by ARs and/or AKs?

            Well, the manufacturers weren’t slow to develop bullpups in the ’70s and ’80s, but they are now, even though they still aggressively develop and market conventionals. I think that says something.

            The striker-fired pistol example doesn’t really cut it, because there wasn’t a large surge of striker-fired pistols being developed and marketed several decades ago.

          • The reason development has slowed is the end of the Cold War, and generally poor export arms sales for any new rifle design, whether it’s a new conventional or new bullpup.

            Also, it’s not like we’re seeing a huge proliferation in innovative new conventional rifle designs. We’ve got the SCAR / 805 / APC 556, which are nearly the same rifle as one another, the very bold but bulky Beretta ARX, and now the HK 433. The ACR and Robinson XCR as well, but neither have really entered the market in any real way (which is a bummer as both had tons of promise- love the XCR bolt release.)

            So we’ve got slightly more then a handful of military grade new conventionals, and slightly less then a handful new bullpups.

          • You say that with no supporting evidence. I see pretty brisk sales of conventional rifles, honestly.

          • Which non AR conventional rifles are seeing brisk sales either abroad or here in the US?

          • snmp

            Simply, Who would buy rifle, when US offer you an M16A1 & A2 (for less than 300USD) or China & Russian for AK47 Rifle (for same price) and some time for free

          • Cost no doubt plays a role as well. However interestingly, two countries with ready stocks of cheap / free M16 and M4 rifles have replaced them – Israel and Thailand – with both now using the Tavor.

  • jeffrey melton

    Bullpups offer sniper length barrels in carbine application. Like a pistol a bullpup is easier to handle in tight urban type close quarter battle environments. Choose the right tool for the job.

    • Treiz

      In tight spaces the right tool is a SBR, not a bullpup. Bullpups answer the question no one asked, and they aren’t even a particularly good answer.

      • jeffrey melton

        Not everyone wants to purchase the stamp to be sbr legal, for those the bullpup is an alternative. I have two and love them for their balance and maneuverability. Opinions, everybody has one.

        • Treiz

          Nonsense. For the difference in cost you could SBR several lowers, or just build pistols if you live in a communist state. Either way, there is no reason to waste money on a long obsolete design paradigm. >.>

  • 22winmag

    Imagine you won a gun raffle with the following two choices: Upvote for Galil ACE, Downvote for Tavor X95.

    • snmp

      Galil ACE is develope by Indumil (for IWI) in colombia (south Ameria) and Tavor X95 is devlope par IWI for Tsahale.
      Galil ACE => combat in jungle with soldiers in simple truck
      Tavor X95 =>Desert and Urban combat with soldier in APC

  • Keiichi

    I’ll answer the title question with a question…

    What does a man with two penises tell his tailor when asked: “To which side do you tuck?”

    [Hint: the answer is “Yes.”]

  • Wordmahn

    Okay, true story. I want a general use carbine that is suppressed, just like all modern armies want. And just like them, I want it to be as light and maneuverable as possible. What to do? So I look intosomething like a 10.5 or 11.5 SBR cause even with a short can hanging off the end of the thing even a 14.5 becomes somewhat long and front heavy. But, now my 10.5-11.5″ barreled weapon has reduced effective range and reduced lethality at all ranges. The bullpup is the only answer I know to solve this dilemma. The latest developments in good ammo helps, but does not solve this problem.

    Now also consider the prolifiation of body armor in modern times. Even M555A1 doesn’t solve this. If they ever develop a carbine round that can defeat good body armor at moderate combat distances (and I’m thinking that soon or or later they must) you can bet that such a cartridge will involve velocity and mass. Until directed energy small arms become a reality that spells greater barrel length and the only way to achieve that length without going back to M14 sized things is a bullpup. Physics rules. I think bullpups are inevitable. The concept is just too elegant to not exploit.

    • Hi Wordmahn,

      Depends what you’re trying to do, and what your needs are. Some things worth considering before you shut the book on conventionals:

      1. How much range do you need? If you are selecting an SBR, are you intending to use it at ranges beyond 200m? If not, the 5.56mm ammunition of today is probably satisfactory from those barrel lengths.

      2. If we are considering military purposes, then yes, I think we can expect shorter barrels in the future (no longer than 16.5″, possibly as short as 10.5 or 11.5 if suppressors remain as long as they currently are).

      3. The bullpup, at least as currently incarnated, seems to “solve” the dilemma by introducing another axis to it. Now you’re trading between overall length/effectiveness and ergonomics/weight/complexity/cost/durability and potentially a few other factors.

      4. Proliferation of hard body armor will pretty much nullify all current non-tungsten ammunition from all barrel lengths. So bullpups hardly enter into this equation.

      5. New rounds can be designed which produce higher muzzle velocities from shorter barrels. This has penalties with regards to the ammunition, but given the climate right now I think most procurement organizations would rather accept these penalties than accept the bullpup configuration.

      Just some things to think about. And maybe I’m wrong ultimately, who knows?

      • iksnilol

        Wasn’t John Noveske fan of 12.5 inch barrels?

    • 22winmag

      Body armor is great when kicking down doors at the local meth lab and you’re facing a .38 Special or a sawed-off, but in static/defensive/patrol roles (aka 95% of “combat”) it only serves invites head shots and thigh shots. If you haven’t seen the Iraq occupation headshot compilation videos, you should.

    • Chris

      Or a small shaped charge projectile as an AP round ! Would probably need to be at least 7.62 , but even with reduced velocity of 8-10″ barreled carbines a properly designed AP bullet containing a small shaped charge (RDX or similar explosives ) would defeat any armour you could wear ! Yeah , HEAP rounds !
      ( High Explosives ,Anti armoured Personnel – rounds )
      Yeah ,there is probably some treaty or convention somewhere to prevent this ,
      But it would work !

  • vwVwwVwv

    YOU ARE WRONG ALL OF YOU, i prefer light sabres.

    • Johannes von’ Strauch

      Nah those tiny sabres, i much prefer Deutsche Bidenhänder (2Meter Swords).

      • vwVwwVwv

        Danke. 😉

        • Johannes von’ Strauch

          ? Bitte

          • vwVwwVwv

            greating from germany, nice you like large kitchen gear. 😉
            http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-mMILHqyQrTI/TfeIJQfQiGI/AAAAAAAAAlE/gluuvVJmKIc/s1600/montante1.jpg

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            Thats juts a small Flammberge…

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            *just

          • vwVwwVwv

            its larger than my cise and i am 190 cm.
            there is a 2,50 cm sword in germany but i dont
            know if it was of any use.
            this is a gassenhauer, a path cutter, great for bushcraft. (lol)

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            This Flammberge has a tiny grip… Will be wielded really slow. And the Blade (geflammte Klinge) just increases weight for no good reason, and its tip is shaped bad too.

            My Bidenhänder has a 70cm grip (27,5591″), 60cm crossquard (23,622″), 130cm Blade (51,1811″). Ofcourse parry rings, and parry lugs.
            Well shaped tip, excellent balance &vibration knot placement.
            It handles verry quick due to the grip lenght, and has insane reach.

          • vwVwwVwv

            ok but i refused to afford an original and this beidhänder
            was not the personal weapon, only used when the spikes
            of the soldiers locked to ambush the spike man.
            for good reason the doppelsöldner (soldiers who used such arms for
            double salary) has a so called katzbalger one handed short sword
            for infight and personal protection.

            http://www.madhammers.com/images/348_1.jpg

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            The Katzbalger is literally useless in that age on the battlefield….

            And much worse than a normal Longsword in self defence too.

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            + “only” is the wrong word, also used by body quards against groups

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            And Duels!

          • vwVwwVwv

            oh this is actually not the case but it is about bullpup and i mention lightsabers
            you couldn’t fight a Jedi anyway with a late medieval sword.

          • Johannes von’ Strauch

            I could, im faster than theyr idiotic dancing choreography.
            Do you know how fast a perfected Zornhau is?

          • vwVwwVwv

            oh, come on, i was kidding and you are not faster with a 8 pound sword than
            a light sabre which weighs nothing and don’t forget
            you must draw and they use force
            and its sci fi and i was
            kidding ok.
            😀

  • vwVwwVwv

    it would be nice if a conventional rifle could be turned in to a bullpup and back

    • CJS

      FB msbs.

    • MrPotato

      You mean like the FB MSBS?

      • vwVwwVwv

        may be, its a good step.
        but i would like it like a folding stock,
        to exchange the mode in one system.
        i know i dream but if you
        will its not a dream.

        • MrPotato

          That sounds like something absolutely cool/crazy from a cyberpunk.
          Tough i do wonder how such a thing would or could even work.

          • vwVwwVwv

            front and back handle and a folding stock
            and two optional triggers for each handle, may be.
            if you fold the stock you have a bullpup and use
            the front trigger while the back handle is the shoulder stock,
            opening the folding stock gives you the conventional rifle.

            sorry for my bad english.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Yeah, that would have a lot of logistical benefits. Wish some country would develop one, even if it came from a former Warsaw Pact nation, even if that nation actually had Warsaw amongst its cities.

    • Y

      I would much prefer if the effort is rather put in an actual >perfected< bullpup…

      Because then you would have no need in the first place to change it to conventional, + it will increase cost for no reason

      • Y

        (mean that it will increase cost for no reason buying serval parts for one Rifle, rather then one good designed)

        • vwVwwVwv

          it was just an idea, i didn’t thought it tru.

      • Don’t forget it would increase weight, too!

    • The MSBS Radom from Poland does this, one of the cooler new rifle designs out there.

    • roguetechie

      You could always get Daewoo k1 and then modify the warfairy bullpup AR stock design so that it would mate properly with a k1 upper….

      Bam!!!

      Convertible bullpup AND DI at that!

      I trust that check for my consulting fee will be in the mail first thing Monday morning.

      • vwVwwVwv

        man i am in germany, i can only dream about your toys. 🙁

        • roguetechie

          You should move here to the states then LOL

          • vwVwwVwv

            LOL,
            that’s why i don’t, it’s addictive like hell and
            you have enough illegal immigrants,
            you don’t need legal ones. 😉

          • roguetechie

            It’s definitely addictive lol…

            I have over time built myself a very elaborate and well equipped work space so I can make my own gun parts etc because my “habit” was so out of control that I could no longer afford to pay retail from my “dealer” anymore hahaha…

            Now even that isn’t enough so I’m thinking about dealing myself and even manufacturing ROFL…

            that’s actually kinda disturbing now that I think about it…

            If someone were to read what I just wrote and not know that I’m a gun guy they’d figure I was about to build a breaking bad style meth empire!

          • vwVwwVwv

            Great, good luck, waiting for reports about your creations. 🙂

          • Reuven Mizraha

            No lol at all. Seriously, make your way here. Legal immigrants are great.

          • vwVwwVwv

            i am on the way to make it to israel,
            not that its greater then the USA but its
            the only place a jew can call home. 😉

    • iksnilol

      Russians did it already.

      AK-74 with pistol grip on handguard and some form of collapsing stock IIRC. Collaps/fold stock and use the handguard pistol grip. Unfold and use regular pistol grip.

      • vwVwwVwv

        thank all of you for the interesting answers, have seen lots of
        interesting things because of you online. thank’s.

  • Don Ward

    I want Nate to write an article that simply reads “Bullpup rifle. Ooga booga! Ooga booga! OOGA BOOGA!” and watch it descend into a 300-400 comment flame war.

    • roguetechie

      I bet it hits 700

  • Andrew Sutton

    Few points I’d like to put out there that don’t pay out on bullpups so much on the requirements for longer rifles in general noting that the reason for the bullpup in the first place is long rifle in a compact package.
    1. If bullpups are dying Full length (16″+) conventional rifles are dead.
    2. DMRs, now that armies have them, there is no need for every rifle to be one.
    3. M855A1 solves the problem of short barrel rifles not hitting hard enough
    4. Combat Optics. The longer sight radius which helped accuracy of longer weapons doesn’t matter any more. While this doesn’t affect bullpups as such, it is another nail in the coffin for the full sized rifle in general.

    With these factors the short barrel rifle becomes very attractive.

    Having said all that; the standard EF88 for the Australians will be the Marksman version (commercially) with a 20″ barrel, which does put it at odds with most other armies that have adopted 11-15″ weapons of late.

    • Kalash

      Don’t worry, Nat will bring back all those points again when they’re convenient to make some other argument of his to look good.

  • Tassiebush

    I’m curious about how much the experience of muzzle blast is influenced by layout vs barrel length. A longer barrel on a bullpup could still be closer to the users face. So less muzzle blast but closer distance. Does anyone have any insights or experience on this? I think it would be a factor (one of many. Probably not the biggest) in choice of layout for sporting arms if other things are improved upon.

    • ostiariusalpha

      I’ve noticed absolutely no difference in blast between my FS2000 and my 16″ Recce AR-15. The barrel length seems to make a pretty big impact on the amount of blast.

      • Tassiebush

        Thanks for that insight!

      • Tassiebush

        That certainly supports the concept for sporting rifles.

  • Hanzo

    “Which Is Better? Bullpup or Conventional?”

    IMO, whichever you shoot best comfortably.

  • Cal S.

    The reason that manufacturers don’t spend their R&D $$ on making bullpups is because the civilian market doesn’t like the price tag. That includes police departments. The main advantage of the bullpup layout is the OAL. Police don’t have to worry about the NFA, so they can just chop an M4 barrel down to whatever length they want or use subguns. Sure, it may not offer the a 300yrd effective range, but their are police marksmen for that job.

    Pretty much any difference between the two could be overcome with training, so it boils down to second kind of cool (or legit OAL) if you want a bullpup.

  • HemingwaysBeard

    What about precision bullpup rifles, like Desert Tech’s bolt actions?

  • valorius

    The only bullpup i like is the Aug.

  • Ark

    Awkward ergonomics, slow reload, bad triggers, uncomfortable balance, zero sight radius, difficult to get enough eye relief for optics, often more difficult to disassemble and service, and oh yeah that muzzle is closer to your face.

    Bullpups are a failed experiment. The overall length savings simply aren’t worth the disadvantages, and procurement decisions for militaries all over the world are reflecting that. In a few years they’ll be nothing but range toys, because no credible professional organizations will use them anymore.

  • TGugs

    So the Tavor is obsolete? Vulcan logic…….

  • VieteranGunsmith

    Bullpups are awkward, look funny and have terrible triggers. It is a bad concept that refuses to die, and that’s the honest truth. There is no battlefield advantage the design provides other than compactness, and that isn’t enough to justify their use by the military – which would you rather have if you need to fight using a bayonet – A conventional battle rifle, or a bullpup?
    Anyone who says bullpup needs to try fending off an opponent armed with a conventional battle rifle while they are armed with the bullpup – I think that will serve as a pointed commentary on the subject, a point that most can do without.

    • Ironically, the most notable bayonet attack in the 21st century has been conducted by the British in 2005, using their Bullpup SA80 rifles. They also have conducted bayonet charges in Afghanistan in 2015.

      • Rnasser Rnasser

        Don’t confuse a “charge” hyped by propaganda to an actual “bayonet charge” in which bayonets have any real practical use. Soldiers have charged successfully many times with just about anything; speed, aggression and audacity is what wins the day, not a bayonet on top of a M4 or SA80, ill fitted weapons for that use.

  • 3of11

    Other bullpup problems:
    1) aside from balance, in general they are too heavy
    2) their LOPs tend to be TOO long, longer than an AR stock fully extended… stop doing that.

    The problem you mention of bullpups being back-heavy could be mitigated by designing a bullpup with a 10-14″ barrel + integrated suppressor. Said design would need to be gas tight, but I see a suppressible / integrally suppressed bullpup as being a sellable design since even 10.5″ AR’s with suppressors are a bit unwieldly.

    Figure out a design for a bullpup under 8 lbs, 24-30″ long, 10-16″ barrel + integral suppressor UNDER some heat resistant handguards (to prevent burning) and a gas system tuned for always-suppressed.

    THAT in my mind would make a bullpup worth owning as it gives so many advantages as to make the typical disadvantages of bullpups worth it.

    Or, even better, do a super short bottom eject 9mm bullpup, takes glock mags, 4.5″ barrel integrally suppressed (suppressor fully underneath handguard), with the weight and length of a P90. Top it with an aimpoint T/H-1/2

  • Gordon Couger

    Putting a good trigger on bullpup is almost if not impossible. Firring one from the prone position with a high capacity doesn’t work either. Those 2 things alone are enough to keep me from carrying any gun that I may have to bet my life on. No matter how good the sights and barrel are a crappy trigger will spoil a guns accuracy. I sure don’t want to have to stick my head up any more than I have to when shooting back at someone trying to kill me so the location of the magazine in a bullpup sucks too.

    If it’s all I had to use I would make the trigger work some way and cut off some magazines short enough they didn’t get in the way when shooting prone. Until I got something better.

    • Have you tried shooting a Bullpup from prone? It’s actually extremely stable – the rear mag serves as a rear monopod, while the hand below the vertical grip serves as a forward monopod – creating two solid contact points with the ground.

      And why would the location of the mag have any effect at all on your ability to keep your head down in prone? This is only a function of the length of the magazine as it sits below the rifle, which is identical between conventional and bullpup rifles.

      As for the trigger, the Desert Tech sniper rifles are bullpups with excellent triggers, and the new K&M bullpups also feature a 4lb, crisp trigger.

    • roguetechie

      You’re 100% wrong about the trigger since there’s several bullpups on the market right now which have insanely good triggers.

      There’s also work around for the magazine thing too that just haven’t been implemented in production rifles.

  • Dario B.

    So many bullpup butthurt people right there!
    How can you like change magazine under your armpit? Or having rounds exploding just under your cheek?
    Then the design! every bullpup is “fat” on the rear, and it doesn’t look right!
    The balance, and the hand position when firing, feels wrong and less stable!
    The hands are closer to the body generally, and they are closer to each other. that means that if i pull up my left arm proportionally the muzzle is higher than if i do the same movement wit my left arm positioned on the hand guard in a normal rifle

  • jerry young

    I prefer traditional rifles over bullpups, mainly because I don’t like the looks or the way a bullpup feels but mostly because I’d rather the action be in front of my face rather than it being under my cheek so if there is a mishap I stand a better chance of surviving than having the side of my face blown off, this is not a slam against bullpups if you like them that’s fine I don’t, call me old call me set in my ways but something’s are better left to individual taste

  • iksnilol

    FN2k was well designed.

    • ostiariusalpha

      It has well designed elements, but also some really annoying ones. Clearing malfunctions is a bit more involved of a procedure compared to the AR or AK, it hates all magazines that are not USGI contract mags w/the anti-tilt follower, the feed lips on that mag better be just right also, its charging handle has a surprisingly delicate latching toggle (FN seems to put at least one easy to break part on all their polymer rifles), the stock handguard encourages you to put your thumb over the gas relief port on the piston, the trigger pack has more polymer parts than is probably a good idea, and that trigger pull is a heavy, spongy mess of course.

    • Sal F

      Perhaps, but it was relatively unsuccessful. Also, that ejection port seems to be of dubious reliability under adverse conditions.

      • ostiariusalpha

        The ejection port is as close to 100% reliable as you could ever reasonably desire. It usually has the port cover closed till the gun is fired, and even if you get some mud in there when it is open, it’ll blast out anything but the most serious obstructions. FN did a particularly excellent job in the design of the ejection chute/port.

  • spiff1

    I find it strange that the only battle proven bullpup design was not mentioned…perhaps the success of the Steyr AUG multi caliber design would make for a less interesting article…

    • Kalash

      Nat loves to come up with biased arguments that start from positions designed to make his standpoint initially look unfeasible, but then make himself look like a genius when he is somehow proven right by the end. And not by experiences or feedbacks from field personnel or end users, but by what he feels according to whatever numbers he deigns to put up. Look at his past debacles with 6.8. 6.5, Wanat, 5.56, AK’s, and universal calibers.

  • Treiz

    Was glad to see the piston AR fad die, still waiting for the bullpup nonsense to die. Seems the armies are way ahead of the interwebz on this one. >.>

    • CJS

      Curious to know how the piston are fad has died? France has just adopted, Germany could be next, etc.

      • Treiz

        The how is easy, increased cost, complexity, and weight without an increase in reliability.

        • CJS

          And yet you still didn’t answer: fad had died… When was this?

          • Treiz

            You asked “how” not “when” moron. Are you asking a new question?

  • BBMW

    Funny, the article above this is how warfare is getting more urbanized. What’s going to work better for urban warfare, a conventional rifle or a bullpup? Ask the Israelis, who do a lot of it.

    • “What’s going to work better for urban warfare, a conventional rifle or a bullpup?”

      That’s a debatable point.

      • BBMW

        I don’t think so. Shorter is better for CBQ. That much isn’t really debatable. But in a conventional platform, shorter means a too short barrel. This is especially true with the 5.56×45 round, which needs all the velocity it can get to be effective (and complaints about ineffectiveness have dogged this round since the beginning.)

        To a big extent, the allure of a bullpup is the “you have your cake and eat it too” factor of having the longer barrel in a shorter gun. So if on one patrol, you you kicking doors house to house, and on another have to engage enemy a few hundred yards away, you have both missions covered well.

        Yes, there are other downsides to bullpups. But I think the above is more than enough reason to deal with or make the effort to solve them.

        And by the way, I’m skeptical that your balance issue is one of them. The Israelis balanced the Tavor SAR and X95/Microtavor the way it is intentionally. Because they have a lot of CQB to deal with, the rearward balance is better for one handed operation.

        • The tradeoff doesn’t really work that way, though. It’s not “you can have both short length and a longer barrel”, it’s really “you can have short length and a longer barrel, but you sacrifice other characteristics of the gun”. Characteristics that it seems many are not willing to sacrifice.

          I really don’t think the Tavor’s designers had a choice how they balanced that gun.

    • Don Ward

      Funny. What is the author’s byline in this bullpup article? What is the author’s byline in the urban combat?

    • No one

      Yes, because the US clearly has never flought a war in any uranized areas, including the fairly recent end to the second Iraq war!

      ….Wait.

      • BBMW

        The US fought with what it had. There have been severe criticism of the M16 platform since day 1 (in Viet Nam), and they’ve never really gone away. The military seems to not want to deal with the logistical/financial issues of moving to a new rifle platform, so they’ve stuck with what they had. But that’s all it is. Likely they should have ditched the M16 platform a couple of decades ago (and likely moved to a bullpup.)

  • Erm, Nathan, you realize that most modern combat rifles are just refinements from designs from the 50s and 60s (or earlier), right? I mean, if we’re going to use “uncreative” as a point against something, why give a pass to the non-bullpups and then use it against bullpups?

    • Because the bullpups appear to be suffering due to it, while the conventionals aren’t.

      • Suffering in what way? Aside from the fact that they really aren’t noticed and are relatively expensive compared to conventional designs, I don’t see them really “suffering” from anything. Literally a bullpup design is nothing more than a conventional design with the control set moved forward. It’s not like it’s anything ground-breaking or extremely different.

        This is why these articles really don’t make sense to me. It’s not a case of some radical new design like the P90’s magazine and loading system. nothing different or weird about their bolt system, or their loading mechanism or anything.

        They literally took the FCG and chamber section, moved it into the stock, and relocated the trigger.

        There are certainly reasons not to like them, like where the magazine and ejection port sit, but just because they’re a different config from the conventional?

        • I mean suffering in sales. I’ll be writing more about this later, but it really seems like the military bullpup is not doing well.

          • That’s a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, though. Military small arms designs are heavily entrenched ones, and without political or specific impetus behind it, they don’t change, as evidenced by history.

            Right now, the 5.56mm is the ‘accepted’ carbine caliber, and the M4/M16 platform, like the AK-47, is an accepted standard blueprint that anyone can make. The tooling is ubiquitous and entrenched, and there’s nothing coming down the pipe that would suggest a change in caliber that would offer an ‘in’ for another rifle.

            So, to supplant such an entrenched platform world-wide is a monumental task for any new design to undertake, no matter WHAT the real or perceived benefits are, whether it offers a significant advantage, etc.

            Hell, look at the HK416 which brought piston designs to the AR. SOCOM loved them, the design had major technical advantages over the traditional DI system, and yet, it wasn’t seen as a sufficient “new thing” to win approval for wide use.

            Right now, the best that such a company can hope for is wide spread popularity with the civilian markets, which may “Trickle up” the way the Glock 19 did, and the way many of the current kit for M4s did.

            However, no matter what you do, you can’t use political entrenchment or lethargy as a benchmark for whether the design is objectively good or not. Judge the platform on its technical merits, and be done with it. We can argue forever about the perceived merits and political landscape in small arms adoption without resolution.

  • Rabies

    The problems I have with the current generation of bullpups consist primarily with long LOP’s, short forearms, and heavy plastic shells. Once these are overcome, I think the will thrive. This current generation has however seen marked improvement, especially in trigger quality. I see no reason why they won’t be the standard in the future.

  • vwVwwVwv

    is this bulpupe
    http://i-hls.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/nono-drone-.jpg
    i fear in 10 to 20 years a man held gun will be something for history museums.

  • Sal F

    As an infantry issue weapon, bullpups are not cutting it right now, but one are awhere they really shine are in large caliber DMR/anti-material rifle; Barret, DesertTech, AI, etc are making some sweet bullpups in .338, .416, .475, .50 BMG, etc. The issue about reloading and balance are non-existent, since you are firing from a bipod/prone, fixed position, far away from the fight – and the reduced overall length for such a big system is probably very welcome for the guys on the ground.

  • Kelly Harbeson

    I find my Tavor SAR-21 to be mostly used in a home defense role. The compact size especially with a suppressor is very well suited to a cramped environment. Nearly all of my recreational shooting and training involves one of my AK74 variants. They “feel” more like the guns I trained on.

  • nick

    I run both , and the BP I run is a T-97 with the FTU mod…any way , different jobs, different tools…
    both have their strong and weak points. in tight forest, I like the T-97, in more open places, a conventional layout is better for me

  • tjcrowley65@aol.com

    My problem with the M16, in combat on the 1960’s was the magazine got in the way of the way I was used to holding a rifle. Starting with the m1grand. On the M14’s and M16’s the magazine was in the way of the supporting arm, as I had been taught to use it. A question of who figures it out first is what everyone else will use, or just use your own style.

  • rdsii64

    The proper question is not “which is better” but which is BETTER FOR YOU.

  • Michael

    The disadvantage of the bull pup has been the trigger. However they are getting better. The fact that I can have access to a full length barrel in a firearm the total length of an SBR is a big plus for me. It is much easier for manufacturers to make the same thing that they have been making than it is to do a total makeover, financially, engineering and sales wise

  • supergun

    I love the bullpups. They are cool. But I will always have my COLT AR 15.

  • Eric B.

    SHORTER IS BETTER!
    I have two bullpups, a Steyr AUG and a PS90. I like ’em both but have difficulty shooting the AUG around the left corner of a building due to a right ejection port.
    The PS90 is TOTALLY ambidextrious and bottom ejecting so no problem in any position with it. FN designed it very well, like their now discontinued 5.56 P2000 bullpup.

    If I had the money I’d get a Desert Tactical bullpup switch-barrel in 6.5 CM, .300 Win mag and .338 LM.

  • Sense Offender

    The MDR is about to make a big impact on the market and could be a contender to finally replace that Vietnam Dinosaur in the US Military.

  • BenjiMac

    OK, tired of unicorns and camels, this discussion is supposed to be about rifles.
    A bullpup rifle is better than a short barrel conventional rifle because US ATF says so. They require a certain barrel length. So fine, with more or less 17 inch barrel length…
    A bullpup clearly has a shorter overall length, which is easier to carry and easier to deploy within or from a vehicle.
    A conventional rifle has a longer overall length, which gives a longer distance between sights for better accuracy with iron sights. This advantage goes away when using optical sights mounted at the same distance from the stock.
    With the same barrel length and similar action, there is no difference in bullet velocity or accuracy.
    A bullpup may have a problem with the location of the ejection port. If that is adjacent the user’s head, and ejecting sideways, then a right handed rifle cannot be fired left handed without ejecting shells into the user’s head. A partial solution would be a flip switch, similar in operation to a safety actuator, that causes shells to be ejected left or right by operator choice. This is not quite as good as a solution that works for both left and right handed shooting without any difference. Someone makes a gun that ejects cases forward, over or under the barrel, which would solve that problem. Some other ejection direction, such as straight down, may also work.
    Bullpup rifles are more complex than conventional rifles, although not necessarily too much. Instead of the trigger directly connecting to the sear, a link is required to attach the trigger to the rear mounted sear. This does not need to be more complex than a 1911 pistol with a U-shaped connection between trigger and sear bypassing the magazine.
    A bullpup rifle has the muzzle closer to the shooter, which may increase noise and similar problems. A properly designed sound director (or sound reducer) should solve this problem.
    My conclusion: I would like to have one in a suitable caliber for hunting, like .308. I have difficulty raising a conventional rifle for action within a camouflage shelter tent, and a shorter overall length at the same level of power and accuracy would help a lot, also easier to carry through the woods. This should be a good market for a suitable design. It does not even need to be a perfect design, just suitable for enough people who might buy it.

  • sutanker

    Your article should have been titled “How many ways can I beat up on bullpups without actually saying anything definite.