When you need to move fast, lightweight gear is an advantage. Bullpup weapons, either a shotgun or rifle, locate the action behind the trigger group, making the weapon shorter than a standard rifle or shotgun. These designs still use a barrel the same length as a standard shotgun or rifle, however, so there is no degradation in performance in the decreased package size.
With the action built into the buttstock, reducing the overall length, the weight of the weapon is shifted to the rear. This makes the bullpup more maneuverable in confined environments like those found in urban environments—moving through doorways, pieing corners, working your way through rooms, negotiating piles of debris as well as getting in and out of vehicles. This center of balance also generally makes bullpup-style weapons more comfortable to carry and fast to shoulder.
Bullpup Shotgun and Rifle Options
Bullpups are small packages that provide a lot of bite. They are designed for close-quarters use and are quite capable out to 100 yards or more when paired with a low-power optic. The controls on bullpups are closer to the user, too. Here are top bullpup shotgun and rifle picks worth considering for your bug-out bag.
IWI Tavor SAR-IDF IDF16
Discontinued in early 2016, the IDF16 variant of the IWI Tavor SAR comes equipped with a Meprolight MEPRO 21 day/night reflex sight mounted to the top rail. This is similar to the setup supplied to the Israeli Defense Forces. The MEPRO 21 is an illuminated reflex sight with adjustable reticle illumination to match environmental lighting conditions day or night. Out of the box, the IDF16 is ready to handle whatever threat awaits you. For even more info, please visit IWI.us.
Desert Tech MDR
The MDR (Micro Dynamic Rifle) from Desert Tech is a bullpup rifle that is completely ambidextrous, and can quickly convert its chambering by swapping out barrels and switching magazines. The forward-mounted ejection port spits out cases forward and away from the operator. The design comes equipped with a 16-inch barrel and only has an overall length of 27 inches. The MDR is also compatible with AR magazines. For even more info, please visit deserttech.com.
Steyr AUG / A3 SA NATO
The AUG/A3 SA NATO variant is similar to the A3 SA except that it is compatible with AR-style magazines, which means your AR-style carbine and AUG can share magazines. All AUG variants field-strip quickly into six primary components: barrel, receiver, bolt, trigger mechanism, stock and magazine. The AUG/A3 SA NATO features a long Picatinny rail on top that allows the user to mount an optic. It employs a gas-operated system with a two-position gas regulator. For even more info, please visit steyr-arms.com.
Standard MFG. Co. DP-12
The DP-12 is a bullpup that combines features of a pump-action shotgun and a double-barreled shotgun. Want 12-gauge firepower? This beast has it. The DP-12 can hold 16 2¾-inch shells that are fired via a single trigger. The trigger fires one barrel at a time—the right barrel and then the left. When the operator cycles the pump action, empties are shucked downward from both barrels. Standard also includes an optics-ready rail for further tactical enhancement. For even more info, please visit stdgun.com.
Steyr AUG A3 M1
The AUG was the first bullpup design to be adopted by a major military. Both the Austrian Army and the Australian Army adopted the design in the 1970s. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel also use the AUG. It is an iconic design that looks as radical as it did nearly 40 years ago.
The AUG is a modular design allowing users to quickly change barrels. Similar to the classic AUG A2, the AUG A3 M1 comes in both Short-Rail and High-Rail versions. Integrated-optics versions come with either a 1.5X or 3X scope as well as three Picatinny rail sections for mounting tactical accessories as well as red-dot or holographic sights. Steyr made the A3 M1 model for the U.S. civilian market with a 16-inch barrel. For even more info, please visit steyr-arms.com.
KelTec applied the bullpup design to the pump-action shotgun platform to make the unique KSG. Also interesting is that the operator can manually select either of the KSG’s magazine tubes via a lever located behind the triggerguard. This means a tube can be loaded with slugs for long-range work or with buckshot for close-range shooting.
Each tube holds six rounds for a total capacity of 12+1. The pump has a rail for a vertical foregrip. KelTec manufactures the KSG’s receiver from hardened steel and encased in a grip and stock assembly made from glass-reinforced nylon. For even more info, please visit keltecweapons.com.
FN America designed its PS90 to shrink the footprint of a weapon and make it super compact. It looks high-tech because it is high-tech. Fitted with a 16.1-inch barrel, the PS90 is slightly more than 26 inches long. The weapon is chambered in FN’s bottleneck 5.7x28mm cartridge, the same cartridge chambered in FN’s Five-seveN handgun, and holds 30 rounds in a clear polymer magazine along the top of the weapon. It uses a blowback operating system and fires from a closed bolt. The integrated muzzle brake helps reduce recoil. The gun’s controls are completely ambidextrous. For even more info, please visit fnamerica.com.
SRM M1216 Gen 2
While the SRM M1216 Gen 2 might not be a bullpup, it is pretty unusual, as it offers 16 rounds of 12-gauge firepower in a semi-auto shotgun. SRM made the unique detachable rotary magazine of reinforced Zytel. It consists of four tubes that hold four rounds each for either 2¾- or 3-inch shells. The 18.5-inch barrel is hammer forged. Meanwhile, the roller-delayed action provides fast cycling and reduces felt recoil.
The M1216 can be loaded for a variety of shotshell options, including game loads, buckshot and slugs. Compared to other shotguns, it is shorter and has a higher magazine capacity. It is also optics ready thanks to a Picatinny rail. For even more info, please visit srmarms.com.
Desert Tech SRS-A1
The Stealth Recon Scout A1 (SRS-A1) sniper system is a compact, accurate rifle well suited for hunting or engaging targets at a distance. The SRS-A1 was designed for dedicated sniper use and is 12 inches shorter than a conventional sniper system. The company also offers kits that allow users to swap out calibers in the field. Match-grade, free-floated barrels and match triggers are standard, giving the rifle 0.5-MOA accuracy with quality match ammo. It is rugged and made to perform under the harshest conditions. For even more info, please visit deserttech.com.
If low recoil and low noise signature are requirements, then the Appeal chambered in .22 LR or .22 WMR will suit your needs. The weapon is lightweight thanks to its polymer stock and action housing. It is a handy rimfire bullpup. The controls are totally ambidextrous, and the length of pull is adjustable. Equipped with irons sights, the Appeal also has an elevated Picatinny top rail for mounting an optic like a red-dot or reflex sight. For even more info, please visit eaacorp.com.
FN FS2000 CQB
FN refined the bullpup design with the FN FS2000. The FN FS2000 uses a gas-operated rotating bolt lockup with a forward-mounted ejection port. This means empty cases eject away from the operator. FN housed the action and magazine in a polymer stock, making the FS2000 a short, compact weapon even with a 17.44-inch-long barrel fitted with a muzzle brake. Controls are ambidextrous, and the exterior of the weapon is smooth and snag free, so there is less chance it will get tangled up on gear or the operating environment. The 5.56mm FS2000 CQB (shown) features a tri-rail forend. For even more info, please visit fnamerica.com.
UTAS UTS 15
The older UTS 15 is a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun with a 14+1 capacity. Dual magazine tubes are located above the barrel, and each tube holds seven 2¾-inch shells or six 3-inch shells. The 18.5-inch barrel accepts a variety of choke tubes, including breeching tubes.
The UTS 15 weighs only 6.9 pounds unloaded. It’s unique because UTAS made the receiver completely from injection-molded polymer. The use of polymer decreases the shotgun’s weight while increasing its corrosion resistance, which may likely be a factor if it’s ever needed as a bug-out option. A top Picatinny rail makes it easy to add sights.