On the Way to Being Forgotten: AKU-94 Bullpup AK Conversion

The AKU-94 was a bullpup conversion kit made for standard AK rifles by K-Var a while back. They were never particularly popular, probably because in stock form they weren’t particularly good. The sights are wobbly and mediocre, the triggers were awful, the magazine was a very tight fit, and the furniture seemed pretty cheesy. Here’s what they were supposed to look like:

K-Var AKU-94 bullpup AK conversion
K-Var AKU-94 bullpup AK conversion – gotta love that front sight

In theory, they are sort of copying the short-lived Norinco 86S bullpup, but those were actually built from the ground up as bullpups, and a better design than this conversion.

A friend of mine recently took one of these AKU conversions as a project to see what he could fix, and made some pretty remarkable – and simple – improvements. With a better trigger and a good red dot optic, the AKU-94 really became a fairly nice gun, especially considering the cost relative to other bullpups. Of course, it will still knock your teeth out with the charging handle if fired left-handed, but hey, nothing’s perfect.


  1. Tactically and psychologically, bullpups generally suck.

    Tactically, the inabiity of most bullpups to be safely fired off the left shoulder is a major handicap, especially in MOBUA and police use. For instance, the old British Army mnual for the L1 (FAL) rifle said regarding shooting around a left-hand corner, “transfer rifle to left shoulder and continue firing”. When the L86 Enfield bullpup replaced the L1, the instruction changed to, “Take two steps out from corner and maintain fire”. Somehow, I don’t see that ever being a viable tactic when the targets are busy shooting back at you.

    The FN 2000 of course does not have this problem, because it uses an ejection method previously seen on a couple of tank MGs (ejection “tunnel” running parallel to bore, depositing empty cases in front). But what happens if you drop it in the mud? Like the P90, the 2000 seems better suited to cloak and dagger types with 007ish pretensions than actual combat.

    The psychological side is a matter of physics. The bullpup has its chamber right under your ear. Cuddling something like 45,000 (7.62 x 39) to 62,500 (5.56 x 45) PSI up to your cheek is not exactly reassuring when you know that every bit of the “container” was built by the lowest bidder.

    The one advantage to a bullpup in an intermediate caliber is that it is generally balanced well enough that in an emergency, it can be fired one-handed, from the hip, with the stock locked in to your side by your elbow, with some chance of hitting. This is roughly the same procedure as the older police method of “point shooting” with a handgun,as opposed to the more recent “shoulder point” method. (The police technique, which I learned many years ago, is mainly about weapon retention, BTW.)

    This “body point” method comes in handy when you need you “off” hand for something else (like holding on to a strap, etc., to avoid falling out of the bird when leaving an LZ that has decided to become “hot”). Other than that, a two-hand hold is preferred.

    The original intent of the bullpup was to allow a full-length barrel in a weapon short enough to be easily maneuvered in and out of a MICV. What this overlooks is that there’s a limit to how small you can make a MICV in interior volume and still fit in a reasonable percentage of an infantry section in full kit. The OAL of the rifle is not as important a factor as the OAL of the soldier using it in this respect. Even when sitting down inside.

    In short, the bullpup combat rifle is an ingenious answer to a question no sensible person ever asked to begin with.



    • They have longer barrels for a shorter weapon though eon, which I thought was the reason for doing it i.e. a longer barrel is more accurate. Don’t know if it is, but… I’m British, and have had some experience with our SA80 and it is quite short but heavy. I met a SAS guy in Kenya and he had a Colt Commando painted green about a decade ago now, and it was quite an experience because it was so light and small in comparison to our rifles. It had a shorter barrel though, hmmm… We had a variant of the rifle designated as a light support weapon, I didn’t think much of it as a Lsw given it only had the same magazine capacity as the rifle and it was the same calibre but it was very accurate as a rifle and it had a longer barrel.

      How would you make a bullpup ambidextrous? I know you could have a manual method of achieving this i.e. via swapping certain parts around like the Israeli Tabor, but a mechanism which facilitated this would be better.

      • I saw something on this website once which got me thinking about a potential method, it was the ejection system Japanese Type 97 the empties drop through the bolt. I am going to have a look at it again, on this Ak rifle the empties would fall out behind the magazine catch for example using a similar system tweaked to fit etc.

        • Actually they fall through the operating rod, but Ak’s have operating rods, turn it upside down. The bolt would need to travel further back, actually why bother moving the rod d’oh. Hmmm, think I was thinking about it in conjunction with a sort of An-94 system can’t remember, must be some way of doing it. And that would require the rounds to eject downwards I think…

          • I don’t really know much about how the An-94 works though, it lost me sort of a rack and pulley or something. Its offset magazine might help with ejecting rounds downwards from a bullpup in order to make it ambidextrous though, given in theory you may be able to put the ejection port next to it.

      • A longer barrel is not more accurate, per se, as long as it’s long enough to spin the bullet up to RPM (which need only be 5 cm /2 inches or so except for a really fast turn). What a longer barrel gives you (to a point) is more velocity, which means you are closer to your point of aim, vertically, over a longer trajectory. If a barrel is cut down, but crowned properly, it will be as accurate as the longer one, you’ll just have more drop (or to be even more annoyingly pedantic, a deeper parabolic trajectory).

          • Yes, but the effects are fairly marginal. A few years ago Phil Dater did a publicly available test of a 5.56 rifle starting with a 24″ barrel and cutting off, IIRC, an inch at a time.

            http://sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=1093 and the slides from his NDIA presentation are:
            http://www.dtic.mil/ndia/2010armament/WednesdayCumberlandPhilipDater.pdf. (Sorry, haven’t time to check if links are live at the mo).

            I did a roundup of such tests back in 2012 (gee, I should have put that post in my gun tech page): http://weaponsman.com/?p=3223

            Again, no promises that the links are live. There are certainly more examples that could be added now.

          • Interesting technical information Kevin thanks, I assumed the LSW hit targets further away than the Sa80 because it had more rifling i.e. via the longer barrel, so the bullet span more or something and was more accurate. Were actually at 800yrds the shorter barreled SA80 may have just not had the velocity to get there in a reasonably straight line, so the LSW had a greater range technically not just because it had a bipod it was more powerful in away.

      • About the only practical way of making a bullpup fully ambidextrous short of going to a caseless round (like the H&K G11) is to use downward ejection like the Calico LWS designs. The problem there is catching hot brass in your pants. Also, like the FN 2000, dropping it in the mud is bad news.

        Some of the experiments with PCTA (Plastic Cased Telescoped Ammunition) were with combustible plastic cases (CPCTA?). A bullpup firing such a combustible-case round might be able to circumvent most of the drawbacks of both a cased-ammo bullpup and a caseless weapon (lack of ammunition durability- there was a PDF linked her a few months back on the subject).

        As for short barrels, maybe the answer is to (a) come up with improved propellants (say, monolithic-grain solid rocket-type) that have a faster-peaking pressure curve to generate maximum velocity in a shorter tube, and (b) improved projectile designs which either don’t need to be spun as fast by rifling for downrange stability (think; 6.5mm Mauser or Mannlicher-type bullets with high sectional density due to length relative to diameter), or ones which don’t need to be spun much, if at all (fin-stabilized flechettes like miniature 120mm long-rod penetrators fired from smoothbore tank guns).

        The latter course was pursued by the U.S. Army’s SPIW (Special Purpose Individual Weapon) project in the 1960s, but never went anywhere because the rifle design wasn’t that great. It came up gain in the JSSAP trials twenty years ago in the Steyr Advanced Combat Weapon prototype, but was rejected then because it wasn’t enough of an improvement in SSKP over the M-16A2. At least that time, the weapon actually worked as advertised. (They didn’t call it a “rifle” because, well, it wasn’t actually rifled. The fin-stabilized flechettes didn’t need it.)

        As long as we’re talking about engagement below about 500 meters, maybe the fin-stabilized flechette deserves another look, especially if coupled with CPCTA technology.

        For longer shots, I think the team long rifleman with the Accuracy International AW is still the one to hand the job over to.



        • The Calico’s magazine is mounted on top though, in a manner which would allow you to have a top mounted magazine on a bullpup unlike say in a Bren configuration. That FN90 with the top mounted magazine, and horizontally stacked rounds ejects downwards also.
          But I was thinking of a more conventional arrangement, a normal magazine in a similar position to this bullpup etc.

      • This year at SHOT Show there were two attempts at ambidextrous bullpups, which becomes a popular sport. One, MDR by Desert Tech, uses a patent-pending mechanism ejecting forward through a ejection cover-situated oblique channel. The other, RDB by Kel-Tec uses downward ejection, with ejection opening situated behind the magazine well. Unfortunately, neither was presented at the Media Day @ The Range, so I didn’t fire neither of them – but the ideas, especially the one by Kel-Tec, seems viable enough.

        • I like the keltec model Leszek just watched it on youtube since you mentioned it, I like quite alot of there weapons I have heard of the company.

          That model seems to be using a similar method to the Beretta mentioned by Woff65 i.e. the extra long stroke.

          I thought about that myself, not for any of the advantages they imply but simply to achieve rear ward ejection I didn’t think it would work though within available space at first. Clearly it does… Although I was looking at the Ak picture at the time.

        • That desert tech’s bullpup bolt rifle I quite like, I like the bullpup configuration long barrel shorter overall length than otherwise. They should make a straight pull one and put the charging handle on the left up front though in my opinion, Walther made a similar weapon and I said that, about that.

    • I’ve heard many complaints about bullpups by soldiers, but having your face close to the chamber has never been one of them. In fact, while my reading is by no means exhaustive, it seems to be largely limited to US gun media.
      As for lefty vs righty that’s largely an engineering issue and it’s being worked on.
      Also, the move to carbine length guns like the M14 is largely justified as making it easier to manoeuvre inside a vehicle, so there does seem to be a genuine call for bullpups.

    • The bullpup is the answer to a number of questions; how to build a decent assult rifle that’s manageable in vehicles, how to maintain accuracy and muzzle velocity within a reasonable overall length, etc..

      I agree the L85A2 is too heavy, mainly because some of its structure is ridiculously overspecified and because of the weight of the weight of the SUSAT which ought to be replaced with the Elcan the Canadian forces use. In fact an FN F2000 with that Elcan optic would be my ideal battlefied weapon.

      • We use Acogs now apparently, with new railed forends I don’t know if they are any lighter because of this I bet they shoot better though!

        The Susat was hard to break though, I dropped one from waist height attached to the gun and it landed sight first onto concrete no damage I was quite impressed.

      • The Elcan Spectre DR was part of the SOPMOD II program. It is a beautiful glass, much better on that score than the ACOG TA01NSN, and the two-magnification feature works; but it’s three times the cost and not, it turns out, durable enough IMHO. It’s possible that Elcan has addressed the durability problems since I got my “gold watch” in 2010. (Trijicon has had to make some mods to the ACOG also, after all, and they have a ~10 year lead on the Spectre).

    • The Fn2000 has the tunnel type ejection system does it, must have missed you saying that I spent all afternoon trying to work out a way of doing it that way then went for something else ha.

      • Well I am glad you mentioned that rifle I’ve never really looked at it, watched a video on youtube polymer working parts indeed gee whizz.

    • Eon, just in response to your point about a weapon not needing to be particularly small to get into vehicles, I think you are missing the point. It is not just the fact that a weapon can physically stand in the passenger compartment, but it is more due to the ease with which it can be stowed, and more importantly be able to get out of the door with it easily. At the height of the pre A2 SA80 bashing there were people calling for Britain to adopt a Colt/Diemaco AR-15 derivative, but one of the reasons this was quashed is that it would be too difficult (relative to the SA80) to get it in and out of the current generation of armored vehicles. Speaking as somebody who has used the SA80 family along with longer weapons like the Diemaca C7, L7A2 GPMG and L96A1, I would much rather maneuver around an L85 than anything longer when clambering out the back of a Warrior. It isn’t just the roof of the vehicle that is the limiting factor, it is the door frame, the other people in their with you, their weapons and equipment, and even your own legs that get tangled up with a long weapon when you are trying to get out of there.

      One of the main advantages of bullpups like the the L85 when it comes to an infantry rifle is that it can be used by everyone rather that having to have an additional carbine, like the M4A1 relative to the M16A2/A3/A4. With a standard bullpup it has the muzzle velocity to be suitable for a standard infantry weapon (as far as 5.56x45mm goes), but it can also be used by paratroopers, helicopter borne troops, vehicle crews (apart from the really tight ones like MBTs and attack helicopters) and aboard ships. Don’t get me wrong, bullpups have their disadvantages but that also have their positives, and it is a judgment call made by the country that adopts them as to which side of the line they are going to land on. I personally like the ergonomics of bullpups but this may be that prior to joining the armed forces I had little experience with firearms so their were no habits to unlearn (possibly a reason why bullpups may be less suitable for the US forces for example). Although the L85 is heavy (for its overall size but not so bad when you consider its barrel length relative to contemporary all steel guns) it has a central balance which means that you can hold it one handed with less effort whilst performing tasks with the other hand (short of the movies, NOBODY should ever be firing an assault rifle one handed, be it going into a hot LZ or otherwise).

      Just quickly about the left handed thing, I have never really understood the massive importance that some people seem to place on this for a military weapon. It is a sight disadvantage in some limited situations, but lets face it, when you are clearing a building it isn’t like you are constantly throwing your rifle from one hand to the other depending on which way you are going round a corner. If nothing else, for most people you are much less effective when firing with your off hand not only due to the fact that you will have had much less training like this, but your equipment will be set up to be used right handed (personally, back in the day if I was to shoot left handed I would be using my offhand and non dominant eye, I would have had to unsling my rifle, the butt would have been resting on my radio, the cheek weld would be messed up by my headset, and my spare magazines would be on the wrong side of my body). If I met a corner on my right, I’ll just live with the fact that I need to expose a little bit more of my body (really not very much more if you are doing it right) to be able to shoot with my established technique and to not have to fumble around for a couple of seconds to swap hands. You can even shoot an L85 somewhat effectively around a corner if you wanted to and the situation warranted it, the taught practice is to cant it over at about 45 degrees so that the cases go downwards rather than into your face. The only people that really gain much advantage from being able to shoot left handed are special forces who train properly for it (who use AR-15s rather than L85s) and close protection teams who may need to fire left handed when contained within vehicles (who also use AR-15s, and before that HK33s and HK53s).

      • I’ve never handled an SA80A2, but the people who have actually used them on ops in Afghanistan and Iraq seem to be quite satisfied with them. They were unhappy with the A1 version due to various minor mechanical and QC issues (fixed in the A2), but the only real complaint they seem to have about the SA80A2 is they wish it was a bit lighter (but I guess you could say the same about a lot of other kit as well).

        The people actually using them on ops don’t see left-hand versus right-hand or magazine location as genuine practical issues. The people who seem to raise these issues seem to mainly be ones who never actually use bullpups on active operations.

        As well as being easier when clambering in and out of vehicles by the way, bullpups are also handier when moving around in buildings and tight compounds. You get a very short, handy, and easy to manoeuvre weapon which also has a long barrel for more effective fire at long range. When you are moving from open countryside into a village and back out again, that sort of flexibility is of much more practical advantage than being able to occasionally switch between right and left shoulders.

        By the way, the British Army used the AR-15 in Borneo and also to some extent in Northern Ireland. I believe they actually bought it before the US did. However when they switched to 5.56mm rifles across the board they decided that all things considered they would rather have a bullpup, and the SA80 was the result.

        • The A2 didn’t fix all the issues they repeatedly suffer from needing to forward assist, at the most inopportune moments for example when members of the Afghan National police “technically members” turn there guns on you.

    • You missed the point entirely. Bullpups were first thought of as full length rifles you could use inside buildings and MICVs. ( Not important, but still relevant?)
      The single largest reason that BPs are not universally accepted is that it brings the muzzle blast closer to your face. That is the only reason we have not adopted them, even though we invented them back in the 1880s.
      Most of those with out first hand experience pooh-pooh this, but place your hand out close, say six to ten inches, to but still behind the muzzle of your gun and pull the trigger. If that does not hurt, move your hand a little closer until it does. But be sure to stay at least several inches away from the muzzle.
      If the muzzle blast is half as far away, it is four time more intense. Your sinus cavities are very sensitive to this and prolonged shooting will make your brain hurt. Try fifty rounds of .50 out of a 33″ BBL McMillan WO a suppressor, but with a break, if you do not believe me. The smaller the cartridge, the longer it takes, but it happens all the same. It is also why they do not allow muzzle breaks in organized range matches. You know the kind where 500 guys lay on the ground a few feet apart and blast targets at 1000 yards.
      Buy the way, the L-85 family is one of my favorites and I’d buy one of each in a heart beat if the Brits would sell them!

      • I believe that one of the first Bullpup rifles was the British “Thorneycroft Rifle”. This rifle was allegedly a converted Lee Enfield SMLE No 1 MkIII rifle.

      • If you think the muzzle blast on a bullpup rifle is too much, then surely the problem would be even worse for a conventional carbine of similar OAL wouldn’t it? An L85A2 has an overall length of about 31″, as opposed to an M4A1 which is between 30″ and 33″ depending on the stock position so they are basically the same. However, the much longer barrel (about 20.5″ as opposed to 14.5″) means that the propellant will be more completely burnt meaning that there will be less blast and flash coming out of the muzzle. As the US has decided to make the M4A1 the standard rifle for combat units it appears that they think this overall length is optimal, and if your only aim was to reduce muzzle blast a bullpup of the same OAL but with a longer barrel would be the way to go.

        Even not comparing it to similar sized guns, the muzzle blast on an L85 has never seemed that bad to me at all. It is even used by 11 year old kids in schools and cadet forces and they have no problem with the muzzle blast hurting their soft little hands (and this used to be with the old manual action L98A1 which would have had even more muzzle blast due to the lack of a gas system and cycling bolt).

        • You are correct on all points above! How ever think how much less the muzzle blast would be in a conventional rifle with the same length of BBL/cartridge, but farther away from your face than in a bullpup?
          Or how much worse it would be with a short BBL carbine the same distance from your face as the bullpup? ( Sorry, you made this point!)
          Our Army and several foreign ones I am familiar with have decided that all long distance sniper rifles used in training will have silencers on them to eliminate the muzzle blast problem in the long hours of practice required to make excellent very long range snipers out of the men.
          Extensive tests in training have shown conclusively that average trainees learn to be much better shots with smaller caliber weapons than they do with larger caliber rifles. In our Army the difference makes low grade Marksmen (the lowest grade to pass and qualify) into medium grade Sharpshooters, (the mid level of three grades we use) and high level Marksmen into low grade Experts. ( All based on the distribution of scores from typical training battalions before and after the introduction of the M-16!)

  2. I just picked up a Norinco 86S Bullpup. I bought it because of its rarity. Unfortunately, 30 round mags are a tight fit to the pistol grip. It comes/came with a 20. Trigger is long but fairly smooth. Clearly not as elegant as one of the newer bullpup. Maybe it is just an American thing to have the mag in front?

    • I think it is kind of an American thing to have the magazine at the front, well for keeping it at the front at least given it is more conventional for it to be at the front.

      Magazine changes are probably easier with it being forward of the trigger, due to physical ergonomics etc.

      • As I understand it, as long as there’s a decent amount of room to manoeuvre the magazine around it’s simply a matter of training.

        • With the position of Ak’s mag release, in conjunction with that magazine alignment feature on the pistol grip in this configuration it may actually be an improvement on the SA80’s. I’ve had plenty of training and its still somewhat fiddley, you can whip them off and replace them quickly enough for sure but as a design it could be improved.

  3. While the chamber right next to the face isn’t comfortable at the beginning, realizing that your face is normally straight in line with the bolt isn’t all that different. I really like my P90 for the handling aspect, up to 100 yards there’s nothing I’d exchange it for – but a P90 in 9 mm.

    • That would be a huge mistake. The P-90 only works because it shoots tiny little pills WO recoil. It is far to lite to shoot 9 mm WO the gun bouncing around too much to hit anything rapid fire. Try a MP-5K to see what I mean. Besides why would you want to give up so much KE? Caliber is irrelevant if it does not shoot through and through, only impact energy counts and the more of it you have, the better it works. Ask any cop who has witnessed, or had a firefight up close with both a hand gun of your choice and a pipsqueak rifle like the 5.56X45!

  4. Well after watching the video that “turd” is certainly more polished, I quite like it, that magazine liner upper is an interesting feature.

  5. Do love that that your review of the original design comes down to- ‘it’s crap- but the handle groove is kind of clever.’ – High praise indeed.
    Also a series of- ‘fixing up/improving interesting ideas with terrible design flaws’ videos could be pretty cool.

  6. These things were also sold by Century, although I’m not aware of any particular value-subtracted in the Century version. (If you thought an AK was idiot-proof, their AKs are hit and miss with front sight post alignment to the vertical plane).

    As well as Norinco, Valmet made a decent AK bullpup, the Model 82, and it was actually adopted by a small military unit in at least one small country.

    One of the AK’s design weaknesses is its poor cooling of the forearm area. (This seems to be a Russian thing. The otherwise wonderful RPD has the same problem. The PK avoids it by dispensing with the forearm). If you’ve never set a wooden forearm on fire, you were probably buying your own ammo. That tendency could be unwelcome in a bullpup.

    Even the Valmet 82 which had some minimal insulation got unpleasant in rapid, sustained fire. The country that I know bought them did not have the advantages of Finland’s climate for cooling).

    • While in Korea as part of the 2nd Infantry Division OPFOR team, I once set the handguards on a Chinese Type 58 on fire by rapid firing the 75 round drum from a Romanian RPK through it. 100% reliable. I just sat it on the sandbags, let it cool off and started shooting again when it stopped smoking.

  7. 25″ long barrel on our Lsw variant of the SA80 and you can hit targets over 800″ away consistently, for an overall length of 35″ that’s quite good. The bullpup configuration allows a long barrel to be used, the SA80 isn’t as good at those ranges but it doesn’t have a bipod and is 5″ shorter overall I would use the longer barrel, for the sake of 5″ its still 6″ shorter than the Fn fal. And they found a lack of range was a problem in Afghan apparently, 35″ is not overly long for an assault rifle if you Americans want a bullbup one day.

    • 35″ is the overall length of the Em2 so if you are building a bullpup, that rifle isn’t a bad place to start.

        • You think the Army, take your choice, needs a larger caliber cartridge, unlike most professionals in the Army business who think we, all of us world wide, do not need a larger caliber AR cartridge! At common combat ranges, the (take your pick of caliber and type) is too powerful, heavy and expensive to maximize the soldiers effectiveness! Heavier ammo means fewer rounds. Less ammo means fewer targets engaged, less effectively.
          Why are they spending many millions, if not a billion (insert currency of choice) to find a smaller and thus lighter caliber option?
          The more powerful the ammo, the more it recoils. The heavier the bullet at any given ME, the more it recoils. The more it recoils, the poorer the typical soldier’s marksmanship.
          The case costs about 2/3rds of the total of most Military ammo. The larger cases required to get more power cost and weigh more. More weight equals less bullets.
          Finally; it is more important to get hits than keep their heads down. Secondly it is more important to keep their heads down than miss. Better marksmanship does both, more bullets does both. Carrying more weight hurts both and the soldiers ability to stay alive and succeed at his mission through movement. A first world soldier is so weighed down buy all of the equipment he carries that make him a much more powerful weapon, that he would be much less effective with a larger caliber rifle.
          I foresee a time when our range problems are solved with aerodynamics, not projectile weight, where any perceived shortfall in casualty causation is fixed by projectile construction, not the simple expedient of adding more weight. Where lighter and less recoiling ammo makes our soldiers more effective across the board, not one where they are handicapped by over weight, over powered ammo that is less accurate than what we have now.

          • I do think the .280 approx ideas are good Stewart, but failing that bullpups but with longer barrels in 5.56mm an extra length barrel improves the rounds performance seemingly, and a bullpup design allows you to have a 25″ barrel but still keep the rifles overall length fairly short 6″ shorter than the FN Fal in the case of the Em2 which is short enough in my opinion for general use.

    • You are right about the LSW/SA-80! They are great shooting poodle poppers! Look up the KelTec RFB to see it done right! They can’t make them fast enough, in spite of costing much more than originally promised!
      I just wish that the Brits had won the NATO shoot off several decades ago now. Their 4.85/5 MM Cartridge was far and away the best AR round to be actually considered for service, but not fielded. The 5.45X40 is far and away the best in service AR ammo now available from an engineering point of view. Just think how much better our AR Ammo could be with 5-7 MM more ogive and loaded out in the case to restore lost MV!

  8. Most of my objections to the bullpup design have little to do with the inherent mechanical issues, but everything to do with the ergonomics. Every single bullpup I’ve handled has had abysmal manual of arms, and the way they’re laid out, they’re inherently more difficult to perform any kind of rapid reloading drill or immediate action drill with.

    About the only exception to this is the Israeli X95, which I’ve been unable to handle in the flesh. For me, the key issue is being able to maintain control of the weapon with the primary hand never leaving the pistol grip during manual of arms or immediate action drills, and you just don’t get that with the majority of the bullpup designs. You also need to be able to release the magazine with the primary hand, while the non-primary is acquiring a fresh magazine. Anything else just slows the reload process, which can cost lives in exigent circumstances.

    In my opinion, the bullpup has a place, but it’s not a weapon I would chose to carry into battle, unless I were serving in a mostly-mounted specialty with a need to work within close quarters at all times. Any other position, I want a conventional layout for the superior speed it affords me in doing reloads and immediate action drills.

    • I can see were you coming from, but extra length barrels provide increased velocity and this equates to extra range apparently. And bullpups allow longer barrels in a gun without making it overly long, range is a factor with 5.56mm given its not as powerful of a round than others.

      • Okay, so from what I’ve read, the issues with bullpup weapons are mechanical complexity and a lack of ergonomics. But what about the trigger mechanism? Isn’t a wire connection with the sear too risky?

        • Unravel it, use it booby traps tripwire trigger.

          Our SA80 uses a connecting rod, I think this one uses wire because its a conversion kit.

      • I object to qualifying range this way. Even in Afghanistan, most infantry battles are at point blank range as defined by militaries since the musket was replaced by the rifle, or longer. For every mountain top ambush, there are five village battles.
        Most infantry battles are at ranges much less than half the effective range of most sub-machine guns, let alone rifles of any caliber.
        Why not leave the longer ranged firepower to the Designated Marksman and Grenadier, better yet make the grenadier the designated long range go to guy! Give the riflemen a lighter less powerful, but still effective weapon that allows him to carry more ammo! Preferably much more ammo!

        • But it is the same ammo Stewart, 5.56mm I mean the barrel length allows you to get more range so in a bullpup use a good length barrel 25″ say, in a gun which still isn’t to long.

  9. I recall that Valmet( manufacturer of finnish version of AK) tried this bullpup-version sometimes in 1980-ties. Biggest problem was the ystem itself – gun was horrible to shoot cause working mechanism was so close to shooter face and eyes. Also the sights were problematic.

  10. Hello I’ve been looking at this site for a while but until now never really felt I knew enough about the weapons that have been shown to comment.
    Bear in mind this experience doesn’t come from military service or anything like that so I’m not really qualified to talk on those issues, that said I spent a while shooting the L98A1 and A2 as well as the LSW while I was an army cadet. So I thought I could give some information on ergonomics and left handed shooting. If anyone’s wondering the Army Cadet Force Is a British youth organisation for people aged 12-18 (I joined at 12) that is affiliated with the British army and provides activities like shooting, drill etc. (I’m told the closest approximation in the states would be Jrotc but don’t hold me to that)
    Anyway in regards to left handed shooting I am a lefty and it’s never been a real issue for me as they simply taught me to shoot right handed. Despite shooting with my non dominant hand, I used to get pretty good groupings whenever we shot and I don’t feel that it disadvantaged me in any way as my results were always just as good as everyone else’s.
    With regards to the shooting around corners thing I did once ask an ex-services instructor about it. Apparently it never seemed an issue to him in CQB as room clearance was done with Grenades and the rifle was just to finish people off. Bear in mind though that he served in the late 80’s and so training has changed from since then. Anyway it does look like it’s possible to fire some bullpups left handed if you are careful; just look at this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7XTXdLf3_o.
    With regards to ergonomics I never really had any real problems with the L98 series. The safety catch etc. are all easy to reach, changing the magazine never gave me any trouble and the weight wasn’t really an issue either. Speaking of weight I think some others have already pointed out that it is centred at the back of the rifle, which is actually quite good in my opinion as you don’t really feel too much weight on your supporting hand. In fact when I broke my left hand once I was still able to shoot the rifle on the range and during field-craft exercises (blanks) with my hand in a cast. (Who says Brits are obsessed with health and safety). I guess my point is that if the ergonomics of a bullpup rifle can be handled by a bunch of scrawny kids then they shouldn’t present a trained soldier with any issues.
    I do wonder if bullpups don’t catch on in America because of pre-existing firearms knowledge, with me the instructor was teaching a kid with no previous experience, whereas transferring to a bullpup having shot before would require unlearning large chunks of what you know about weapon handling because of the drastically different configuration.
    Anyway I think this is an excellent site showing some really interesting weaponry. I hope my comments prove useful to people. As I said before they are just some personal observations about bullpups but I thought they might be of interest given the discussion.

    • KB–The issues with a bullpup’s ergonomics aren’t really clear unless you’ve at least some knowledge of and experience with a conventionally laid-out rifle.

      With the M16 and M4 weapons, it is inherently faster to reload and clear, and you’re able to keep your focus downrange on your potential targets. With the L85, which I’ve got around a thousand rounds through over the years, it’s just not possible to maintain as much situational awareness–No matter what, your reloads will be slower, and you are going to be forced to remove your attention from your potential targets and focus it on your weapon.

      Key issue for me is the maladaptive locations of the magazine release and the fire selector switch on the L85. M16 and M4 are set up so that your primary hand never leaves the pistol grip, and you will be able to perform two actions at the same time with your hands. I can release the magazine, shake it free if it fails to drop, while my left hand is removing a fresh magazine from my webbing. On an L85, at some point, my off hand is going to have to release that empty magazine, which prevents the simultaneity of action I get with the M16/M4. And, then you have the problem: Release the empty before getting a fresh magazine, or while I have it in my hands, exponentially increasing the likelihood I’ll fumble the damn thing?

      Then, there’s the immediate action drill: With the M16/M4, all I need to do to check the chamber area is tip the rifle over to bring it into my sight, and I can do that without completely removing it from my shoulder. Everything is up in front of me, where I can visually find it, if need be, and where it’s natural for my hands to meet. Using my index finger, I can index a fresh magazine, using the natural “hand-finds-hand” senses built into all of us. With the L85, you’re reaching around under your armpit, and hoping–The instinctive loading index isn’t there, and no matter how much practice you’ve got, it’s still more awkward.

      I did a lot of IPSC-style shooting with handguns when I was younger, and taking many of those techniques over into the rifle/carbine was something I deliberately did. With the British Army guys who came over to train, we did some comparisons between the weapons, pitting their most practiced shooter against what I could do with the M16/M4. The comparisons were not even in the same ballpark–He was taking at least two to three times longer on the same drills as I was, and when we went to check how long it took to “burn through” our basic loads of ammo in terms of magazine swaps, I could run through my 9 magazines in my carry load before he managed to change out 4. There’s a huge difference between the inherent ergonomics on the L85 and other similar bullpup weapons. The only bullpup I know of that might change my mind is the IMI X95, which has a mag release accessible to the primary hand on the pistol grip. Even then, you’ve got that difficulty going of indexing the magazine under your armpit–The natural flow of putting it in that you have with the M16/M4 just isn’t there.

      I’ve got a lot of issues with what they did with the design of the M16, but I’ll assert to my dying day that Stoner et al got the ergonomics utterly right, if only by accident, especially when it comes to gunfighting skills and techniques. It’s the difference between the Euro-style mag release being at the butt of the pistol, as opposed to the American standard of having it on the frame for thumb release, only on larger scale. The only improvement I can come up with that I’d like for the M16/M4 would be a true ambidextrous mag release, and a bolt release akin to the one on the Robinson Arms XCR.

      If all you’ve ever fired is a bullpup, you can’t recognize the inherent issues with these weapons. It seems perfectly natural, and not knowing a “better way” is out there, you never get the visceral “feel” for why they’re horrible weapons for fighting with.

      Of course, others will contend that magazine changes, reloading, and immediate action drill speed are all trivialities, unimportant to the individual soldier on the battlefield. My contention is that life in combat being what it is, speed is of the essence in everything you do, and anything that slows you returning your weapon to a functional state is a bad thing, and possibly something that may cost you your life or a significant wounding. I can point to actual cases of guys on our side who nearly died because they had never been exposed to the idea of speed reloads, or any of this stuff. It’s not something we really trained on that well, or doctrinally–I had my basis for this passed on by a Vietnam-era veteran who I had as a leader early in my career, and much of what he passed on to me wasn’t ever laid out in the manuals, where it should have been.

      • Cheers for the reply Kirk
        Can’t really comment on the magazine changes I know some of the ex-squaddies could change them pretty fast but like you said I’ve got nothing to compare it to really. Plus never really got trained how to change magazines as quickly as possible. ACF ran on a budget so letting magazines drop to the floor would get you “gently reprimanded” for damaging their kit, god help you if you left an expended mag behind in the field on exercise.
        With that in mind the drill was usually *weapon clicks *check chamber *remove empty magazine *try to shove it in webbing *fail *stuff into pocket on smock *get new mag,*reload*repeat (all steps after third to be carried out while swearing under breath)*be sure to get the magazines out of your smock and back into webbing by Endex or once again, god help you.
        Just going to have to say that I’m going to have to disagree with you on bullpups being horrible for combat, I know too many people who rate the l85A2 as a good rifle (few mates joined the army, another one the R.M) for me to hold the same opinion as you there. I personally think it boils down to a compromise; the army wanted a shorter length rifle because the old SLR’s were causing trouble for armoured infantry (just going on what I’ve been told here) they didn’t want to sacrifice longer range performance by shortening barrel length which left bullpup as the only alternative.
        That said thanks for taking the time to reply and tell me about the mag change issue, never really considered it before and it makes a lot of sense.

        • One of the best “real-life, no-shit, there I was…” accounts of why such minutiae as rapid mag changes are important can be found here:


          The young Marine who wrote the initial account on that thread was an unfortunate victim of institutional memory failure on the part of his service, the USMC. When I was coming up through the ranks, I had old-hand combat veterans from the Vietnam era still around to beat survival lessons about fieldcraft and weapons-handling into my head, and I paid attention to them.

          There are reasons why the bullpup is not a preferred design for people who know what they’re doing with a rifle or carbine. Unfortunately, none of those people are often consulted when the politicians are picking out the weapon they’re going to put on general issue, and the individual soldier winds up suffering. People who’ve never “been there” just don’t get it, because they think that every mag change or immediate action drill happens in combat the same way that those things go down on the range and in training evolutions. They don’t. Every second you have a weapon in your hands that’s not ready to fire is a second where you are defenseless, and the inherent design features of the current lot of bullpups militate against reducing those delays to the bare minimum with the way those weapons have been designed.

          My personal opinion is that there isn’t a bullpup on the market that I’d willingly take to war. The X95 might prove to be an exception, but I would want extensive time on it to see if I can overcome the issues of locating that damn magazine well where it’s going to spend most of its time–Up under my armpit, and obstructed by the body armor and chest pouches we all seem to be wearing these days. I still remember watching with horror as one of the British Squaddies tried demonstrating how he’d reload his L85 with the stubby little arms he was born with. This poor guy literally had to hold the weapon out in front of him just to be able to reach the damn magazine–He physically could not do it while holding his weapon in his primary hand, and be able to reach the magazine well over and around his pouches. I was watching this go on, and the really disturbing thing was that his Corporal didn’t see the issues, either.

          Of course, that was back in the mid-1990s, and I doubt that they’re still training like that, these days. Still, it does indicate one of the inherent issues with the design that just isn’t present with the conventional layout.

          • Thanks for that link, made for very interesting if sobering reading. really illustrates your point.
            I know it’s a bit off topic but could I ask if you have any idea why “institutional memory failure” (best term for it I’ve heard) happens?
            I guess what I am trying to ask is why the lessons learnt in past wars are forgotten about once those veterans leave the service. Using the magazine change drills as an example I was wondering why techniques like that weren’t codified into training manuals or similar once they had proved their usefulness in order to make sure they were passed on.
            I was just genuinely curious about this.
            By the way about training changes over here since the 90’s from what I’ve heard there’s been a massive overhaul, back then the training was apparently geared towards service in Northern Ireland or facing the Russians (the 3rd shock army in particular apparently) in Germany. Now it’s almost entirely geared towards service in Afghan, the fact the government seems to have realised it should actually fund the army properly has also helped.

          • KB, with regards to why institutions lose their memories? You’ve got me, because I’ll be damned if I know. There are probably as many causes as there are memories to be lost, to be honest. The biggest one is that the the people deciding what gets enshrined into doctrine and print are never the ones who actually were out doing things. And, even when stuff does get into the doctrinal manuals, lack of use and apparent utility starts relegating those things that are important in combat into fuzzier and fuzzier focus.

            To take an example out of my personal sphere, that of Combat Engineering: In 1968, the US Army Engineers had a lot of experience doing route clearance operations, which was reflected in the countermine field manual of the time. The 1968 version had three chapters on route clearance operations, and a couple of very useful appendices. When they went to re-write the manual in the 1970s, route clearance seemed far less important, so it got a mere chapter and no appendices. By the 1980s, we were down to half a chapter and some piss-poor line drawings that really didn’t help much. Come the 90s, and we had to actually go out and do these things again in the Balkans? Good God… The grief, the angst, the reinvention of wheels.

            It doesn’t help that the US Army is essentially ahistorical. You want to find old copies of the field manuals pertaining to such things as countermine warfare? Don’t bother going to the Engineer School library, because they literally pulped all the old versions of the manuals when the new ones came out. I was asked by my boss to research route clearance operations in the 1990s, and when I approached the Engineer School library, they literally looked at me like deer caught in headlights: “Why on Earth would we want to keep the old manuals around…?”. I had to go out onto the militaria market, and search desperately for that 1968 version of the manual. I eventually paid $200.00 for a ratty old copy that apparently went to Vietnam and came back in the bottom of someone’s duffle bag. Two days after I received it in the mail, I went down to the local surplus stores and found five brand-new copies of that manual someone had cleaned out of their dad’s garage, and brought in to sell. Bought two for about five bucks, if I remember right.

            All armies do this, to one extent or another. The US Army is just exponentially worse–We’re constantly reinventing the wheel. Friend of mine got tasked with standing up the mine/explosives dog companies again around 2004. When they went to do it, nobody could find jack squat about what those companies looked like, the doctrine they’d used in Vietnam, or just about anything. Despite desperate searches of archives, advertising in veterans publications for actual veterans of the Vietnam-era mine dog companies, not a damn thing could be found. So, they went ahead and completely re-invented the wheel. At some point after they’d gotten most of the bugs worked out, someone found a partial copy of the manual in a museum display somewhere, and then made photocopies of it for them to use as a comparison. Turns out, they’d essentially duplicated nine-tenths of the old unit structure and doctrine.

            When my friend told me this story, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I had a complete copy of the manual buried in my route clearance research archive. Had I but known, I probably could have saved him the majority of his hair, and six months of grief reinventing the wheel from first principles.

            Why this crap happens? I wish I could tell you. It is, sadly, endemic. I can point to example after example, dating back to the days of black powder. Every military does this, it seems, to some degree or another. The US has somehow managed to do it to a much deeper degree, and I’ll be damned if I know why.

            I got to know one of the British exchange NCOs at Fort Leonard Wood, back in the 1990s. The US Army has something called the Center for Army Lessons Learned, abbreviated as “CALL”. It’s a center for things we’ve supposedly learned, so that knowledge of all this esoterica can be collected, evaluated, and then disseminated. Quite often, the poor bastards working there are a voice in the wilderness. This exchange NCO I’m referring to once quipped something to the effect of “…well, you can’t bloody well call it the Center for Army Lessons Learnt, if nobody actually learns anything… They ought to be calling it something like the Army Center for Lessons Identified and then Completely Fucking Ignored…”.

            Sadder, truer words have never been spoken in my hearing about the US Army. Unless it was that quote supposedly attributed to some Soviet staff officer, who said “…one of the key difficulties in planning against the Americans is that they have never read their own doctrine, nor do they feel any need to follow it…”.

            I can’t quite make up my mind whether this constant re-invention of the wheel is a good thing, or a bad one. At the least, it gives the guys implementing things ownership of their own ideas. What I object to is the sheer, mindless waste it causes.

          • “It doesn’t help that the US Army is essentially ahistorical.”

            Not just “ahistorical”, but depending upon the branch, profoundly uncurious.

            I was an infantry officer in the early to mid ’80s.

            The lack of knowledge, and indeed the lack of INTEREST in what other armies had done or were DOING in various technological areas was simply astonishing.

            I imagine that a lot of people think that the Stryker was the U.S. Army’s first modern wheeled fighting vehicle. It wasn’t. It was the L.A.V., currently used by the Marines. The L.A.V. program was so UTTERLY mismanaged by the Army, that the vehicles were taken away and given to the U.S.M.C. by Congress. Much of this comes down to the chronic provincialism of Infantry Branch. What eventually became the Mobile Protected Gun System was being referred to in my day as an “assault gun”. I used to say, “Yeah, you could use it as an ‘assault gun’… ONCE.”

            While the study of historical and contemporary foreign military technology (and historical American work) wasn’t exactly discouraged, it was in NO way ENCOURAGED. Infantry Branch was continually reinventing the square wheel.

            As somebody who’d been studying military weapons systems since the fifth grade, I just couldn’t take it and moved on to different, if not greener, pastures.

            But then that’s hardly a new situation… as those who faced Model 1893 Mausers with Trapdoors learned very well.

          • Chris,

            You really do not want to get me started about those points. I was one of the guys who was “strongly suggesting” that the Army look into the South African mine-resistant vehicle technology back then, for route clearance and general rear-area operations. You might note that the other guys who were doing the same thing were just as successful as I was, in that the first purpose-build MRAP vehicles didn’t get to Iraq until circa 2004-05.

            The US Army does some things very, very well. We write excellent, carefully worked-out and thought-through doctrine down to about the battalion level, and then totally screw the pooch with everything under that. We manage some of the finest logistics efforts in the history of the world, and totally flub long-term strategies that might win the wars we get into. We have extensively trained and expert officers with doctoral degrees, and then use them to justify ignoring the implications of ninety-nine percent of what’s going on in the world, and even lessons from our own past experiences in combat.

            Absolutely nobody has any right to express surprise that the IED campaign against us happened in Iraq. While I was sitting in Kuwait with 4ID, waiting to go north into Iraq for Phase 2 of the conflict, one of our Lieutenant Colonels laid out a timeline of what he thought was going to happen in Iraq. He basically predicted everything that happened there, quite accurately, down to within a month or two. The only thing he didn’t foresee was the Obama administration deliberately sabotaging the Status of Forces negotiations and then wasting all that money we spent, and the lives we lost.

            What’s irritating as hell is that so much of this idiocy has been easily predicted. Whether or not you want to believe it, this inability to learn from or pay attention permeates every damn thing we do. Disbelieve me? Please note the following: The Army has screwed up designing the crotch on combat uniforms consistently, every time they issue a new uniform. Go back to Vietnam: Early-issue OG-107 jungle fatigues were the subject of complaint because they had issues with the construction of the crotches in them. Soldiers were complaining because they wore out, tore out, and left their balls hanging in the breeze. This got fixed in later versions, of course. Flash forward to the 1980s, when they were issuing the new hot-weather BDU: The f**king idiots at Natick had again defaulted to the pre-fix OG-107 design (I know, because I had examples to look at), and of course, the crotches became notorious for failing. Cue re-design. Move forward another 20-odd years, and I’m getting issued my first ACUs. Care to guess what I find, looking at the pants? Yep, same failures in design dating back to the original jungle fatigues that failed. None of the fixes applied to the uniforms in the 1960s or 1980s had been brought forward into the latest uniforms, and they’re still having issues with those POS pants falling apart in Iraq and Afghanistan. I could probably find examples of this same sort of historical blindness and ignorance across the entire range of Army operations, to tell you the truth. It’s particularly prevalent in weapons design: We clearly identified a desirability for the chrome-plating of bores and chambers in WWII jungle operations, and yet… What did the jackasses do, when it came time to procure an “interim” weapon for fighting in a jungle during the 1960s?

            The thing that amazes me is that this kind of ignorance is so predictably prevalent. Every time I was working around a staff organization, whether it was I Corps Headquarters, or some other element, the very idea that we might want to take a look at the past was looked at with incredulity. Even simple things, like administrative decisions to open or close gates on the base were conducted from a tabula rasa, in complete denial that anything like the decision they were making might have been done in the past.

            Utterly mind-boggling. And, the really, really scary thing? The worst offenders when it came to making a lot of these decisions were actually officers with university degrees in history. I kid you not–I had a “conversation in an elevator” with a fairly senior general about an issue he was making a decision on, and he thought he might get a “worm’s eye” view from one of the mid-level enlisted when he asked me what I thought. After I gave him my opinion, which was that the staff officers whose position he was leaning towards following were operating in total ignorance to past experience and history of the issue, he looked as though he’d been poleaxed, and mumbled something about “I thought this was a new issue…”. No, Sir, it wasn’t–You weren’t the first post commander at that installation to have run into that issue with the local community, and you and your staff were getting played by the civilian leadership of those communities about the whole issue you were trying to deal with. If any of them had bothered to research the problem with anyone who’d been on the installation ten-fifteen years earlier, they’d have gotten an earful. For the love of God, it was in the post newspapers, back then…

            They pay a lot of lip-service to the idea of institutional memory, but they never actually, y’know, make use of it. Like that Brit Sergeant Major said, lessons identified, not learned. To say that someone learned something would imply that they were able to take the knowledge gained, and then apply it in real life when they encountered similar situations. We very clearly can’t, as an institution.

          • Kirk, I went to the imperial war museum in Manchester England about a year ago, and saw a Rhodesian bush war anti mine vehicle from decades ago and nearly fell over in appalled shock.

            It was called the leopard.

            Slanty underside…

            On the same subject, WW1 Brit tank design, think that with a v shaped bottom and gaps in the track mount “head on view of a Star wars H shaped fighter” tracks over each | section of the H the a v between them under the – section, gaps below said section, deflect and out.

          • Kirk,sorry for late reply but thanks for answering that question. I guess its one of those answers that raises even more questions isn’t it(like why just enough divs get into positions of power to muck it up for everyone else). I had no idea that they shredded the old manuals.
            I can sort of understand putting certain skills on the back burner when training in other areas takes precedence, but destroying perfectly good manuals because an updated version has come out, the mind boggles, what’s the point in having a unit library if it’s no use to people trying to use it for research.
            Pillsbury Doughboy, always wanted to visit the Manchester branch ever since I went to the Imperial War Museum in London, never had the chance yet though
            Just had a quick read up on the leopard and I can see what you mean. all that time and effort to get mine resistant vehicles, when the Rhodesians had been making working models out of VW parts in the middle of a bleddy arms embargo. shows the concept wasn’t too hard to figure out if people just looked around

          • PD, KB–

            And, the really maddening thing? Rhodesia did all that development under sanctions, while at nearly the same time, the US was fighting the same sort of threat in S.E. Asia. Literally–The Soviet advisers were training the NVA and VC with the same techniques that they were teaching the insurgents in Africa.

            Yet, what was the US response? The most technologically advanced (arguably, I’ll admit, but allow me the hyperbole…) and wealthiest army in the world was using the same basic technique they’d used in WWII, which was to have men with mine detectors walk down the roads, looking for IEDs and mines. You read the reports from that aspect of the Vietnam War, and then juxtapose that information with the stuff that the Rhodesian and South African armies were doing, and you just want to scream. I used interviewed a couple of guys who did route clearance, and it was all I could do to keep myself from weeping openly, listening to them describe taking casualties that would have been completely unnecessary had they been properly equipped with gear like the Rhodesians cobbled together out of scrapyards.

            And, it’s not like the stuff that went on in Vietnam was some brand-new threat: The warning signs were there in WWII, and again in Korea. All you had to do was look at the AARs from Italy, or from when we went into the Hurtgen. Had we properly interviewed and digested the Germans who’d dealt with the Soviet partisans on the Eastern Front, we’d have had considerable forewarning of what likely Soviet-advised tactics would look like in Vietnam. Yet, we did not observe, listen, or properly evaluate what information we had.

            You can see the same damn thing in small arms: Why on earth did we not listen to the men who did all the development leading into the .276 Pedersen? Why weren’t the lessons of WWII applied properly, leading us to pick a workable assault rifle cartridge and assault rifle combination in the 1950s?

            After enough reading and research, you really want to invent a time machine, create a short list of the idiots responsible, and go back to commit some selective strangulation in cradles…

  11. Well after looking at the Fn2000 the Tavor, and a few others I’ve come to the conclusion the magazine release in a bullpup would be better behind the mag with a enlarged Ak style lever for your thumb to squeeze towards the mag while your hand is around it pushing upwards on a Fn2000 style release acting as a sort of grip safety on a 1911 for the magazine catch, you then pull the mag out.

    I used to rest my SA80 on my webbing pouch, between the front of the mag well and the pistol grip sort of like carrying and open shotgun… I could see the magazine coming off with a lever in front of the well.

  12. Hi Ian, thanks for showing this off and thanks again to our mutual friend for the polishing up said turd. It has been many years, I am positive though that it did not come with the site extensions shown in the picture you found. I do not recall if it was a KVAR or Century kit.

    The rest of the story may be of some interest to anyone else sorry enough to pick up an AKU-94 kit. Shortly after I bought the kit, I concluded I could not complete the conversion myself (as advertised), and I ultimately brought it to Flag Guns in La Habra. The gunsmith there was a guy with long blonde hair that I was told moved to Las Vegas. Anyway, he told me the AKU-94 kit was a collaborative design that he was a part of early on, and that whoever finished it did not go with all of his design points and that he was pretty disgusted with the result. What was marketed to the public was basically an incomplete project. I am assuming that he drilled the extra hole in the trigger group, which was not a part of the original instructions. This makes me curious as to how many of these kits were actually installed and then kept. I’m guessing many ended up in the trash.

    In any case, he was able to build a “functioning” piece. As you know, I found the trigger to be barely usable, but also found that decent and affordable optics that would mount where the Docter ended up or on the bolt cover and not lose zero on the first shot to be impossible. At this time, holographic sites had just come on to the market. As I was shooting other items at the time, the semi-finished rifle went into a safe next to a bag of silica gel, only to be reinvigorated by our friend many years later.

  13. I actually love mine, it’s a lot of fun to shoot.

    Though I’m not left handed, and I don’t plan on carrying it into actual combat any time soon…

  14. When blunders happen on the bureaucratic level, the soldiers in the field suffer the most from these blunders when they are denied badly-needed equipment upgrades or when their accounts on equipment performance both in the controlled drills and on actual combat are ignored.

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