The Cove is an Australian Army blog that covers everything related to soldiering. In a recent series of posts, author Solomon Birch took an in-depth look into the previously issued EF88 bullpup rifle. Mr. Birch used the M4 rifle as a comparative baseline.
The EF88 variant of the Steyr AUG was fielded by the Australian Defense Forces in 2016, which featured numerous upgrades over the Steyr AUG. You can view TFB’s coverage of the EF88’s development to deployment HERE.
Mr. Birch’s preface explained that the purpose of the articles was to assist those within the Australian Army in providing a resource, historical context, and the strengths and weaknesses of the EF88 and M4 rifles to further the overall discussion of small arms. Mr. Birch said that several documents were declassified to aid in the overall context. During the research for the articles, Mr. Birch came to the conclusion that the EF88 was the better of the two rifles.
In researching and writing these articles the author came to the view that the EF88 is a substantially better rifle than the M4A1 in most common-use cases for a service rifle because it is generally more accurate, more reliable, more lethal and easier to maintain, but that the M4A1 is better in some niche-use cases because it’s lighter, more ergonomic, handles better in most ways, and is more commonly used world-wide, resulting in a better parts aftermarket for it.
Naturally, PART 1 covers the early history of the development and adoption of the M16 and Steyr AUG’s by their respective militaries. Mr. Birch’s documentation is thorough and well stated while staying succinct and to the point. PART 2 discusses the “Middle History” of the variations of the two AR and AUG pattern rifles, as well as the development of ammunition and 5.56mm projectiles. PART 3 details the late history of the development towards the current EF88, the minor upgrades to the AR platforms from the U.S. civilian market, and a brief look into lethality. In PART 4, Mr. Birch begins his look into the “human factor” of the debate between preferring one rifle over another as it relates to the EF88 and M4 rifles. PART 5 wraps up the series with a look at the mentality to prefer the M4 because Special Forces use it.
Feel free to give Mr. Birch’s series a read and let us know what you think in the comment section below. If you’ve had the opportunity to shoot an AUG style rifle, how do you think it stacks up against the AR platform? Do you agree that the use of something by Special Forces overshadows potentially better equipment?