The M17S began as an Australian design by a man named Alex Hand, apparently intended for Australian military trials. It did not succeed in that effort, although the Australian military did adopt a bullpup rifle (a version of the Steyr AUG). Instead, the company went in search of commercial sales. By the time it reached American store shelves, it would have passed through two addition companies (first Armstech, then Edenfire, and finally Bushmaster) and been substantially modified.
In its final form, it was a remarkably economical design to manufacture, with an extruded aluminum receiver tube and the remaining parts mostly made of Zytel glass-filled nylon. Mechanically, it is a copy of the AR-18/180 rifle, with the same rotating bolt, dual guide rods, and short stroke gas piston. It was manufactured in the United States from 1993 until 2005, and was one of relatively few bullpup style options available in the US during that time.