More and more bullpup weapons are being developed. While many people like them, there are some issues that companies are trying hard to fix.
Biggest issue seems to be the ejection of the spent case. This mainly concerns opposite side shooters dealing with spent cases.
Next is the usual complaint about the spongy trigger feel or that the controls are not what they are used to.
Well there are companies that are spending millions to try to fix all of these issues because of the gains of having a bullpup are apparent to just about everyone. Over all size for a given barrel length and balance of the weapon especially for smaller stature shooters.
There are companies making retrofit kits for traditional weapons converting them into bullpups, even new weapons have kits for them. The CZ Scorpion has a kit available now that is being reported being excellent and is at factory quality. (Oh, there are kits out there that are below gimmick quality, be wary) There is a kit that converts the beloved M-14 rifle. By all accounts, the Juggernaut is a really great setup despite being heavy. We have handled one and really like it.
I remember a kit for the Mini-14 a few years back that was good, I have not seen that on the market for a while. There is the Muzzlelite… but the quality doesn’t seem to be there. Issue with these setups is that it takes an already existing weapon and converts it. This seems to be the status quo for the majority of bullpups out there and because of this, bullpups while having a die hard following are still looked upon as a side step to traditional weapons just trying to muscle in on what’s popular.
Meanwhile, companies like Keltec have been thinking outside the box (something we love to do) and developing bullpup weapons systems that are not based off of an already existing system. Their shotguns and rifles are quite interesting in design and if they would work reliably across the board then their popularity would go up. Keltec’s biggest improvement has been on the mitigation of spent cases. With either forward eject or bottom ejection solving the issues of left handed shooters or being able to just switch to a weak sided shooting position.
To be honest, I am not one for weapons that are not up to military grade or above. So many designs while interesting, do not grab me or my hard earned money.
What did grab me way back in the 1980s was the Steyr AUG, and despite some of the drawbacks, has always been a love of mine. Now with the newer A3 model and the all new Lithgow F90 some really great new design features are coming out that will be available to the civilian markets. MAC has a video up on the later that is quite good.
Most people are already familiar with IWI and the TAVOR or the X95 that they make. Both are great weapons, can be converted to a left hand eject with extra parts and are quite robust. They even do well suppressed. The first offering, the TAVOR had trigger issues though. While companies like Timeny and Geissele came out with fixes for these, the fixes were and still are expensive for the most part. The X95 saw some much needed improvement and balance along with a needed update on fire controls though and is in my opinion a definite go to weapon.
We were excited for the release of the TAVOR 7, but that has been delayed due to accuracy issues. At least they caught this before it made it to market unlike other companies (Sig… cough cough) and once it is released will be a much anticipated 308 calibered offering.
I own several IWI weapons and I am still impressed with them even suppressed.
While there is quite a list of bullpups, some being even in military service like the SA80 and the limited use of the P-90 by FN they are still struggling to be come mainstream. Companies like Desert Tech are helping change this and so are companies like Barrett
Desert Tech MDR has addressed a multitude of the issues in a very unique way. Mainly the ejection and fire control system. Desert Tech has incorporated controls that anyone familiar with an M-4 rifle will recognize. They still incorporate a second set of controls in the rear for magazine release, but the bolt release still remains in the rear section of the weapon much like an IWI offering. What is great about them is the ability to switch ejection port sides in field. Also unique to the MDR is the forward ejection of spent cases. Making this a truly ambidextrous weapon. Trigger pull is decent also and ours has a better trigger than most AR platform fire controls.
Desert Tech first made a name for itself with it’s bullpup bolt action rifles that are quite impressive not only with their design but their accuracy and size.
As new designs come out, and improvements in production and machining forge ahead in all aspects of weapon production, do not be surprised to see more and more bullpup designs being offered. Next time you are at a shop, pick one up, study it… there is quite a bit to be offered with one. If you have the opportunity to have some range time, take advantage of it. You maybe pleasantly surprised!