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Bullpup assault weapons evolution: from the 1970s to our days

A Russian law enforcement Special Forces operator firing an OTs-14-4A "Groza" bullpup assault rifle
A Russian law enforcement Special Forces operator firing an OTs-14-4A "Groza" bullpup assault rifle
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the GM6 "Lynx", manufactured in Hungary
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the GM6 "Lynx", manufactured in Hungary
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the LEADER-50A1, manufactured in the United States
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the LEADER-50A1, manufactured in the United States
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the ASVK, manufactured in Russia
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the ASVK, manufactured in Russia
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the Barrett M95 and M99, manufactured in the United States
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the Barrett M95 and M99, manufactured in the United States
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the LR2A, manufactured in China
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the LR2A, manufactured in China
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the Desert-Tech HTI, manufactured in the United States
In the past twenty years, the global market saw a growing interest for bullpup sniper, anti-matériel and interdiction rifles − such as the Desert-Tech HTI, manufactured in the United States

From the 1960s onwards, actually, some attempts were made to develop and manufacture bullpup-configured firearms through the conversion of standard or conventionally-configured models; most of these attempts were meet coldly on the market, and achieved but a limited success. These include the High Standard Model 10 series of semi-automatic bullpup shotguns, used by some local Police departments in the U.S. and sold in very limited quantities the Argentinean Navy and to the Mexican Army; more recently – in the post-Cold War era – the Russian arms industry developed the Ots14 “Groza” assault rifle system and the SVU-A sniper rifle, currently in limited use with Russian law enforcement agencies.


The bulk of bullpup conversion systems for conventional firearms was however aimed to the commercial and civilian markets – most notable are the Muzzelite bullpup conversion system for the popular Ruger Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle and the AKU-94 conversion kit for AK-based rifles – and sales were always unimpressive, mostly due to the lack of user-friendliness towards left-handed shooters. Hence why some companies tried to implement fully ambidextrous controls and ejection systems on several commercial-grade bullpup firearms.

Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the South African "Neostead" NS2000
Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the South African "Neostead" NS2000
Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the US-manufactured Kel-Tec KSG
Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the US-manufactured Kel-Tec KSG
Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the Turkish-made UTAS UTS-15
Bullpup shotguns are becoming increasingly popular between civilian shooters and professional operators: hereby protrayed is the Turkish-made UTAS UTS-15

So far, the Florida-based Kel-Tec CNC Industries company has been the only one to meet a considerable degree of success in such an endeavor, by launching two ambidextrous semi-automatic bullpup rifles: the 7,62x51mm/.308 caliber RFB model, which features a forward ejection system through a chute and out of a window located over the handguard; and the .223/5,56mm, 6.5mm and 7,62x39mm RDB and M43 rifles, which feature a free-fall, downwards-ejection window located right behind the magazine housing.


The same company manufactures one of the very few commercially available bullpup shotguns, the KSG, also offering an downwards-ejection system; its only rival on the market is the Turkish-made UTAS UTS-15 shotgun, featuring a conventional right-side ejection port, although both are based on the South-African bull-pup, downwards-ejecting Neostead NS-2000. All said shotguns feed through dual, alternate-feeding or selectable tubes, and all are offered as home defense or tactical firearms.

The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
The Florida-based Kel-Tec company offers a line of semi-automatic centerfire bullpup carbines − the 7,62mm/.308 caliber RFB, the 5,56x45mm/.223 RDB and the 6,5mm Grendel and 7,62x39mm M43, − whose compact size and distinct non-conventional ejection systems make them fully ambidextrous and suitable for civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies alike
Some modern bullpup rifles, such as the Desert-Tech MDR, have their own way to solve one of the key issues of the bullpup layout − compatibility with left-handed shooting
Some modern bullpup rifles, such as the Desert-Tech MDR, have their own way to solve one of the key issues of the bullpup layout − compatibility with left-handed shooting

In more recent times, another American company – the above-mentioned Desert-Tech – introduced the MDR “Micro-Dynamic Rifle” bullpup weapon system, currently in final prototype stages; a multicaliber platform, conceived in a civilian-grade semi-automatic form and in a MIL/LE-oriented select-fire form, the Desert-Tech MDR can be switched instantly from a standard right-side ejection to a forward ejection pattern, which would put it in direct competition with both Kel-Tec designs, at least on the civilian markets.


To wrap it up, it appears that the bullpup configuration has firmly established itself as a mainstream design in modern small arms. Like any other configuration or system, it has its own pros and cons, proponents and opponents, but it is opinion of this author that its popularity will gradually increase with the time and evolution.

With a broadening number of enthusiast and a dwindling turnout of detractors, the bullpup design is now apparently well established as the mainstay tendence in the design of service weapon systems for modern times
With a broadening number of enthusiast and a dwindling turnout of detractors, the bullpup design is now apparently well established as the mainstay tendence in the design of service weapon systems for modern times
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