American Bullpup startups

    Tavors, SA80s, FAMASs, AUGs, QBZ 95s. Whether for better or worse, the majority of bullpup weapon systems in the world are manufactured and in use by countries and militaries outside of the United States. Sure there was the Bushmaster M17S way back when, and now we have Keltec’s shotguns and rifles, in addition to the ever lofty Desert Tech MDR that’ll probably enter the civilian market in a dream while we sleep at night. These American designs haven’t experienced too much success in the U.S, market, apart from the Keltec KSG. Whether or not an American design does go to the forefront of bullpup popularity time can only tell. However for now, I’d like to introduce two designs that I saw at Bullpup 2015 which if not really original, just refreshing from everyone else. It was a good change of pace to see people coming out with their own ideas of what a bullpup should be.

    K & M Arms is a company in Arizona owned by a gentleman named Ken McAlister, who was at the shoot. Essentially the company was making modifications of the Bushmaster M17S from the 1990s, a rifle that didn’t exactly do so hot commercially. Now however, they are producing full rifles, from the modifications they’ve made, to really bring the M17S up to speed. They make them in 5.56x45mm, 7.62×51, .300 AAC, and 6.5 Grendel. MSRP is around $1799. The biggest claim to fame that Ken has about his rifle, is the trigger pull is from 3.5 lbs to 5 lbs out of the box. Certainly one of the lightest stock bullpup trigger pulls out there. It uses a number of AR parts, which is a change over from the original M17S. And certainly its almost “bare bones” aspect of the design. Tim from Military Arms Channel makes a point of this by comparing the rifle to a 1950s Chevy in that everything is visible and not packed away.

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    The 7.62x51mm version

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    The 5.56x45mm version. Notice the interchangeable AR pistol grips.

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    7.62 bolt on the left, 5.56 bolt on the right.

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    Some of the internals are simply AR internals.

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    This is a good video showing the differences and modifications done by J&M on the original Bushmaster M17S.

    And an extremely in depth review by Military Arms Channel.

     

    The other American bullpup rifle I want to talk about isn’t available to the public as of yet, and was only in prototype form at the shoot. JARD, Inc is a small manufacturer that produces both complete AR rifles, pistols, and does small parts. But Dean Van Marel was there from the company with a bullpup rifle he was working on. I would have gotten a chance to shoot it, but unfortunately the charging handle broke on it, and Dean was looking into going back to the drawing board. If you saw my post about Freezing Firearms, Dean is the shorter of the two guys in lab coats. Dependent on working out all the kinks with the rifle, the important bit of information to note is that it takes Glock magazines, and the MSRP will certainly be under a thousand dollars if it comes to the public. It also uses an M1 Garand style rocking safety in the trigger guard.

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    Dean with his creation.

    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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