18 November 2011


All the cool kids are talking about them, so I'll chime in my 2¢ too.

Just in case you don't know what one is, it's a normal rifle with the action behind the firing hand.

You can, from where the magazine is positioned, see what I am talking about.

Bullpups have made it into issue with various nations.

Infamously with the British with the L85.
Austrians (Image licensed under creative commons from Steyr.) with the Armee Universal Gewher.
French with the FAMAS, also known as Le Clarion.

Let's not forget the Israelis and the TAVOR! Shown without magazine.

But it sort of started with the Brits with the Rifle Number 9 Mark 1.  Also known as the EM-2.

Where to start?  First off, I like the idea of them.  Shorter overall length for a given barrel length seems like a great idea!

I'm not the only one who likes the idea, look how many have been designed and adopted!  There are even a couple of non-military bullpups.

A friend of mine even bought one, the Bushmaster M17S.
What we learned is they balance funny and the manual of arms is charitably described as "awkward".  So awkward, in fact, he never fired it.

The next most obvious issue with bullpups is where the ejection port is located.  Firing from your left hand is absolutely unavoidable for a combat gun.  Lefties already have enough trouble eating brass when the ejection port is out in front of their face; it doesn't get better putting it under your ear!

 Kel-Tec addressed the ejection issue by spitting the rounds forward.

Though Fabrique National did that first with their F2000 and FS2000.

I've got to handle all of these, and fire most of them.  I like the idea of bullpups.  Length of pull is always too long.  The forearm is always too short.  The optics are always too high.  Field stripping is often needlessly complicated or difficult.  The linkage for the trigger has to be longer than a conventional configuration and that normally means a vile trigger pull.  Gritty, creepy and spongy!  Woot!

And this is just stuff that's inherent to the configuration.

The L85 and L86 (the Brit guns) have been plagued with quality control issues since day one and even H&K has been unable to do more than put a band-aid on them.

The Steyr AUG as made by the Australians (issued as the F88) was also a nightmare when first produced.  At least the design is sound.  As sound as this idea gets anyways.

The funny thing is, I came to be enamored with bullpups because of a table-top pen-and-paper role playing game.  Twilight 2000.  They had three bullpups statted out.  The L85A1 (called the IW), L86A1 (called LSW) and the caseless G11.  I loved how the L85A1 looked and since it took a standard M16 magazine using one didn't cause a supply problem with the other players.  There were no game stat reasons to avoid them.

Did you know that a 1985 rpg is not an accurate predictor of firearm reliability?  You did?  Me too.

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