Are you in the market for a new rifle or shotgun?
Maybe you’re trying to decide if a bullpup design would be advantageous in your circumstances.
There are some caveats to this design, so make sure you are aware of the advantages and disadvantages of a BullPup Rifle or Shotgun.
“Bullpup” describes a modern firearm configuration, in which the action is located behind the trigger group and alongside the shooter’s face. In this layout, there is no wasted space for the buttstock, as there is in a conventional or traditional firearm design.
The bullpup is built in a way that it creates weapons that are shorter compared to rifles that have gun barrels of similar sizes.
One of its unique designs is that the gun’s action is positioned behind the trigger, which is often found in front of stock. As for the whole magazine, expect it to be positioned behind the trigger, too.
However, note that this is only essential for the feed location of the weapon to be in that spot so one can categorize it as a bullpup.
One reason why the bullpup firearm sports such a design is that it helps it become shorter and more lightweight without compromising its power as well as the length of the barrel.
Aside from being shorter, it is also easy to carry around when travelling. You can effortlessly carry it around during target practice or your hunting sessions.
Overall, you will find its design easy to use.
Bullpup firearms are perfect not only for beginners but also for those who view themselves as well-versed when it comes to firearms.
One advantage of this type of firearm is that it maintains accuracy while being more compact, which is usually a trade off with most compact style firearms.
Here’s a few more benefits we can take note of with the bullpup configuration.
Length and Weight – The bullpup configuration permits a shorter total firearm length, while maintain the same barrel length, typically reducing the weapon’s length overall around 25%.
Maneuverability – This compact design offers improved maneuverability in confined spaces, and reduces weight. A bullpup is typically held closer to the body, therefore this design may provide the advantage of causing less fatigue to the user when the arm is outstretched for long periods of time.
This, coupled with the reduced weight, may also provide a small reaction time advantage in raising the firearm to firing position from a downward pointed direction.
Saves space – Because the rifle is shorter, it’s easier to conceal and store in your safe or a vehicle and therefore more space efficient than long guns. Any tactical guys and gals know his equates to hi maneuverability in building and vehicles.
It is also a great choice for close quarter battles. As for the standard rifle, the only thing that you can do to reduce the size is to cut the barrel short. Not necessary with a bullpup.
Reaches the shoulder faster – Another advantage of the bullpup is that it tends to get to your shoulder quicker. With that, expect to spend less time when trying to get on your target.
The lower reaction time is a lifesaver, especially during a firefight as well as in a competition.
Easy to carry – Another incredible advantage of the bullpup is that its weight focuses at the rear or center of the firearm.
This promotes ease in carrying it around for long periods of time without feeling fatigues. Of course having a fresher mind and body equates to faster reaction times, better vision, and higher accuracy.
So far that sounds awesome.
The Bullpup rifle also has a few drawbacks that you have to take note of. By learning about these drawbacks, you can decide if this firearm is indeed a good choice for you.
Ejection ports – One shortcoming of bullpups is that, by design, their ejection ports are close to the face. This makes it difficult for left-handed shooters to use, because firearms in general have their ejection port on the right-hand side.
If the ejection ports are on the right side, that means that spent cartridge casings are ejected towards the right, and since the ejection port is now closer to the face, lefty’s will be getting lots of hot brass in their faces. Unless you’re a left-handed shooter who wants to shoot right-handed, you’ll have to shop around for BullPups that have left side, or bottom ejection ports.
They do exist!
- FAMAS assault rifle, the Steyr AUG and the Israeli Tavor TAR-21 have overcome this limitation, by allowing the bolt and ejection port cover to be swappable, turning the weapon into a left-handed version.
- The FN P90 ejects downward
- The FN F2000 and Kel-Tec RFB eject forward of the rifle.
- The Heckler & Koch G11 use caseless ammunition; in the event that a round fails to fire it can be manually ejected downward.
Proximity to face/head – If a bullpup firearm has a catastrophic failure, instead of the explosion happening six or eight inches in front of your eyes, it’s occurs right at your eyesocket, or touching your cheekbone or ear.
Of course, if the bolt explodes out the back of the firearm, it doesn’t end up in your eye socket. We’ll call this a Pseudo-advantage.
Balance – The bullpup’s extra weight towards the rear of the firearm, may adversely affect balance, with respect to muzzle rise and automatic firing accuracy.
Lack of Length – The bullpup, being more compact and having an overall shorter length, allows for greater close-in weapons usage; but this would nullify the effectiveness of a bayonet’s added length and reach.
Bad Trigger – One of the most common downsides of a bullpup is its poorly designed trigger.
In most cases, the trigger is designed to be spongy. This causes difficulties in shooting the firearm accurately. It also has a great impact on the weapon’s overall feel.
Harder to operate than an AR – While an AR is heavier compared to the bullpup, the former still has the advantage of being easier to operate.
The way it is designed lets you see the mag inside. Also, it gives you the chance to determine the type of stoppage that is present. It is even easy to check if the barrel is empty.
These things are harder to do when using a bullpup. Also, the way the magazine is positioned in the bullpup causes difficulty in rapidly reloading the firearm.
Ok, maybe some of these disadvantages make the bullpup sound a tad bit less awesome!
Quick Breakdown of Advantages and Disadvantages of a BullPup firearm:
As you may have started to notice, the positives and negatives seem to almost cancel each other out.
The IWI Tavor X95 is made for those who would like to take advantage of the bullpup for heavy use. It boasts a modern and well-though-out design as well as its easy-to-use controls.
It is a good choice even for left-handed users because you can swap its ejection port to either side.
|Barrel Length||Weight||Type of action||Cartridge||Capacity||Type of magazine||Stock material|
|16.5 inches||7.95 lbs.||Direct impingement||5.56 mm NATO||30+1-round||Removable||Polymer|
2. STEYR AUG A3 M1
Another remarkable bullpup rifle is the STEYR AUG A3 M1.
This shooting rifle has a high level of accuracy and features an integrated optic for clarity. It is easy to use. You can also easily carry and maneuver it with its less than 9-lb. weight.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Weight||Optic||Color||Stock material|
|28.15 inches||16 inches||9 lbs.||Integrated 1.5 or 3.0||White, mud, green, or black||Black synthetic|
3. IWI TAVOR SAR
Ideal for use as a battle or heavy rifle, the IWI TAVOR SAR is one bullpup rifle you should check out. One of its best advantages is the fact that it is customizable due to the full-length Picatinny rail on top.
Furthermore, it features high capacity magazines that can hold 30 rounds.
|Overall length:||Barrel length||Action||Sights||Caliber|
|26.inches||16.5 inches||Semi-auto||Folding, rear||5.56 NATO|
4. DESERT TECH MDR 223 WYLDE
You can also choose the DESERT TECH MDR 223 WYLDE if you are looking for a highly accurate bullpup rifle. It is unique with its caliber-conversion capabilities.
The button-rifled barrel helps boost accuracy. It is also powered by gas, allowing you to shoot faster than usual.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Weight||Finish||Type of magazine|
|26.2 inches||16 inches||8.67 lbs.||All-black or flat dark earth||Removable|
5. High Tower Armory Ruger 10/22
The 5th choice for the best bullpup rifle is the High Tower Armory Ruger 10/22. Created around the 10/22 receiver, this bullpup rifle can take 10/22 magazines.
It is affordable and famous for its incredible compactness. The fact that it is short and lightweight also makes it easy to manage and handle.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Material||Model|
|26.5 inches||18 inches||Polymer||10/22|
1. Mossberg 500
The first bullpup shotgun I want to recommend is the Mossberg 500.
It is favored because of its superior functionality and reliability, so much so that you will see it being used by the US military. The compact design of this shotgun also improves tactical response.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Materials||Caliber||Color|
|28.5 inches||18.5 inches||Plastic and steel||12 gauge||Black|
2. KEL-TEC KSG 18.5-inch Shotgun
Another highly recommended bullpup shotgun is KEL-TEC – KSG, which has a length of around 18.5 inches. It is reliable with its pump-action and the manual feed selector level, which you can feed from the left and right. It is lightweight, too, promoting ease of maneuverability.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Weight||Action||Gauge||Type of magazine|
|26.1 inches||18.5 inches||.44 lbs.||Pump||12 gauge||Removable|
3. Panzer Arms BP-12
Offered at a reasonable price, this magazine-fed and semi-automatic shotgun appeals to a lot of possible users. It comes with a complete Picattiny rail, which you can find on top. Because it is a magazine-fed shotgun, expect it to be quite picky with the ammo that you can use.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Weight||Caliber||Type of magazine||Capacity|
|29.5 inches||18.5 inches||9 lbs.||12 gauge||Removable||5+1-round|
4. IWI TAVOR TS12
Packed with several innovative and functional features, IWI TAVOR TS12 is also an appealing and dependable choice for semi-automatic bullpup shotgun. It is one of the best weapons for home defense considering its huge capacity combined with its compact and small size.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Sights||Caliber||Action||Type of magazine|
|28.34 inches||18.5 inches||Rail mounted||12 gauge||Semi-automatic||Fixed|
5. EAA MKA 1923
The EAA MKA 1923 is also sports several nice features – one of which is the detachable box magazine. It takes pride in its cutlass-style grip as well as the built-in trigger guard. It also works effectively for those looking for a home defense weapon with a semi-auto action.
|Overall length||Barrel length||Action||Sights||Caliber|
|29.5 inches||20 inches||Semi-auto||Adjustable rear||12 gauge|
Does the Bullpup Have an Advantage?
I can see an advantage of having a bullpup stock, when used in a home defense situation. The compact design, which allows for improved maneuverability in confined spaces, would make a shotgun more effective in the hallways and rooms of an average home.
What is my take on the bullpup design?