Are you looking for a stylish and easy-to-handle firearm that turns heads wherever you reveal it? If yes, read on as we review eight of the best bullpup rifles and shotguns available.
As our reviews progress, the features, functionality, and benefits of owning a bullpup weapon will become clear. We give the pros and cons for each model reviewed, and also go a bit further. And our buyer’s guide reveals the overall benefits and some potential drawbacks of using a bullpup-type weapon.
There’s lots to discuss, so let’s get started…
- 1 Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns Reviews
- 1.1 1 IWI Tavor X95 Rifle 300BLK Flattop 16.5″ Bull-pup Black – Most Durable Bullpup Rifle
- 1.2 2 Steyr Arm AUG A3 M1 Nato – AUGM1GRNNATOO3 – Most Reliable Bullpup Rifle
- 1.3 3 Kel Tec KSG 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun, Tan – KSGTAN – Best Dual Magazine Bullpup Shotgun
- 1.4 4 FN PS90 Standard Blk 30rd 3848950460 – Best Ambidextrous Bullpup Rifle
- 1.5 5 IWI Tavor TS12 Short Stroke Gas Piston, Black – TS12B – Best Home Defence Bullpup Shotgun
- 1.6 6 Desert Tech MDRx Semi FE Rifle DT-MDRX-SFF-AAB-FE – Most Accurate Bullpup Rifle
- 1.7 7 EAA Corp Husan Arms MKA 1923, BLK – 700060 – Best Tactical Bullpup Shotgun
- 1.8 8 Kel Tec RDB 5.56 Nato 17″ Bullpup Rifle, OD Green – RDBGRN – Best Budget Bullpup Rifle
- 2 Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns Buyer’s Guide – The Bullpup Style’s Benefits and Potential Drawbacks
- 3 So, what are the Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns?
The Bullpup in Brief…
Bullpup firearms are shorter than traditional weapons yet do not sacrifice barrel length. They are built with the action and trigger situated behind the trigger group. This design works to substantially reduce the weapon’s overall length and weight but does not affect barrel length or velocity.
Due to being short and compact, they are easy to handle yet are highly effective. Using a bullpup weapon offers the same accuracy as that of other weapon types, such as long-barrel rifles, shotguns, and sub-machine guns. They can also be purchased, built, and used without the owner having to jump through the NFA hoops of SBR registration and taxation.
Now, that’s covered, let’s get straight to our reviews, starting with the…
Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns Reviews
1 IWI Tavor X95 Rifle 300BLK Flattop 16.5″ Bull-pup Black – Most Durable Bullpup Rifle
We begin with a bullpup weapon from IWI. This is their hugely popular Tavor X95 model.
Is this the king of bullpups?
Many would answer in the affirmative. This model is what bullpup weapons are all about. The Tavor line of weapons has always been viewed as stylish and highly functional. The X95 model continues this tradition with a bullpup rifle meant to please.
We are looking at the 300BLK flattop version. This has a 16.5-inch barrel included in its overall length of 26⅛ inches, and it weighs 7.9 lbs. The X95 is also available in black, FDE (Flat Dark Earth), and ODG (Olive Drab Green) – 5.56 mm Nato and with the same length barrel. There is also a 9mm version that comes with a 17-inch barrel.
An upgrade to the original Tavor SAR…
While the original Tavor SAR model was very cool in its design and effective in its use, IWI US Inc. has not rested. This is seen from the improvements to this next-generation Tavor X95. Upgrades include…
- A new fire control pack that comes with a 5-6 lb. trigger pull.
- Repositioned ambidextrous magazine release. This is now in an AR-15 location.
- Relocation of the charging handle. This is now placed closer to the center mass.
- A ‘forearm’ that comes with Picatinny rails. These have removable rail covers and are placed at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.
- Modular Tavor-style pistol grip. This can be replaced with a standard pistol grip, which comes with a traditional trigger guard and a bolt release button that is smaller and of a lower profile.
Robust and ultra-reliable…
As should be expected from an IWI produced weapon, the X95 is built to operate in the harshest conditions. Its robust build will certainly not let you down. In terms of accuracy, expect up to 300 yards when utilizing the blade-style folding front sight and the aperture rear sight.
Modifications and upgrades can be made to suit your style. Many shooters consider the trigger guard as an area for this. There is no doubt that there are cheaper bullpups out there. However, those looking for premium quality are in the right place with this model. The IWI Tavor X95 is up there with the most robust bullpup rifles and shotguns currently available.
- Renowned manufacturer.
- Robust and built to last.
- Acceptably accurate bullpup.
- User-friendly controls.
- The trigger guard may not be suitable for some users (but can be replaced).
2 Steyr Arm AUG A3 M1 Nato – AUGM1GRNNATOO3 – Most Reliable Bullpup Rifle
The Steyr Arms AUG is one of the world’s most recognizable rifle designs.
The Austrian Army first began using the Steyr AUG as far back as 1977. The good news for civilian shooters is that there is now a model available for our use. This is the AUG A3 M1. The rifle platform is semi-convertible, ambidextrous, and comes with an adjustable short-stroke, gas-piston operation.
It is chambered for .223 Remington (5.56x45mm) ammo and has optics to please. This comes in the form of a traditionally designed AUG scope tube that offers bright, clear, optical functionality.
This comes with the highest spec. optic, with 3x magnification. Models are available with standard 1.5x magnification, so you can add your own scope as desired.
Classic design, with flexible features…
Dimensions-wise, you get a 16-inch solid barrel included in this rifle’s overall length of 28.15 inches and weight of 8.8 lbs. This bullpup design comes with three Picatinny rail sections that allow you to add accessories.
It uses a short-stroke, gas-piston operation, which means this bullpup rifle operates cleanly. Its quality build affords shooters smooth use time and again.
The design platform has been proven through years of use. Shooters can be confident that whatever they throw at this weapon, under any conditions, it will come back for more.
Quick disassembly, simple conversion…
As is expected from a weapon platform used extensively in military operations, fast disassembly/assembly is yours. Steyr has maintained this ability with this civilian offering. Cleaning and maintenance are efficient and easy.
The AUG A3 can be converted to left-handed operation with ease. This is achieved through the replacement of the weapon’s standard bolt with the optional left-eject bolt, and then the swapping of the ejection-port cover.
Other features that are worthy of note include…
- A quick-change barrel that has a collapsible forward grip
- 2-position cross-bolt safety. This works by locking the trigger
- 3-position adjustable gas regulator
- 30-round magazine
The AUG A3 comes with a stock, a cocking piece, and a forward grip that are all manufactured from highly durable synthetic. Buyers can be sure they are purchasing a robust, reliable, and long-proven weapon.
- Iconic, highly recognizable design.
- Designed on a proven platform of 40+ years
- Built to last.
- Ease of left-hand conversion.
- Stiff trigger.
- Special magazines are required.
- Not as customizable as other makes.
- Upper price tier.
3 Kel Tec KSG 12 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun, Tan – KSGTAN – Best Dual Magazine Bullpup Shotgun
This is the model that got KEL-TEC rolling in the shotgun market. The KSG name simply stands for Kel-Tec Shotgun.
Pump-action pleasure (for some)…
Those shooters who love Kel-Tec’s futuristic design direction will be pleased with the KSG, although it may not suit all. The big plus is the low price and stylish aesthetics. It is also ideal for lighter-duty use. However, the potential downside is that regular shooters who are intent on robust use may find the build quality inferior to more tried and trusted manufacturer models.
Dual magazine capacity…
The KSG is a 12-gauge, pump-action, shotgun that has dual-magazine capacity. This comes in the form of 6+6+1 rounds or 7+7+1 rounds, depending on the shell length used. The barrel makes up 18.5 inches of the weapon’s overall 26.1-inch length, and it weighs in at 6.9-lbs.
The two Picatinny-style rails allow you to mount accessories both on the top and on the bottom. The model we are looking at here comes in an attractive tan finish. This will certainly catch eyes wherever you display it.
There is no doubt that the KSG 12-Gauge shotgun is of stylish design. It is light and easily maneuverable. These two attributes lend themselves to making this weapon an acceptable home defense choice. The other attractive element of this shotgun is its competitive price.
- High rounds capacity.
- Attractive design.
- Ability to switch magazines.
- Acceptably priced.
- There are more robust options available.
- Not the most reliable.
4 FN PS90 Standard Blk 30rd 3848950460 – Best Ambidextrous Bullpup Rifle
Style is yours with this very recognizable PS90 bullpup rifle from FN Herstal.
The military FN PS90 civilian version…
The design of this semi-automatic civilian version of FN’s renowned PS90 military weapon is yours. It comes with a distinctive look that includes an ‘on-top’ magazine feature.
Shooters also have the choice of either 10-round or 30-round magazine capacity and with the unusual chambering of 5.7 x 28mm caliber.
Weighing 6.28 lbs., the FN PS90 has an overall length of 26.23-inches, which includes its 16.04-inch barrel. Quality of build, along with a blowback operation, the compact cold hammer-forged MIL-Spec barrel, and a closed bolt operation give this rifle excellent accuracy.
This is a very solid choice for both right and left-handed shooters. It comes with ambidextrous controls and a mechanism that ejects spent casings downwards. Shooters will also find that recoil is reduced due to the integral muzzle-break feature.
A variety of applications…
FN has a lot of experience with providing weapons that include useful design features. The PS90 shows this through such things as the dual magazine latches and cocking handles. Shooters can also make good use of the innovative synthetic thumbhole stock that comes with a molded sling attachment point.
Thanks to its overall design and proven reliability, this is a weapon that suits a wide variety of applications. And it can be used for security purposes, as a personal defense weapon, or during competition and recreational shooting activities.
- Respected manufacturer.
- Unique design.
- MIL-Spec barrel.
- Integral muzzle break.
- Will take time to get accustomed to.
- Unusual caliber.
- Expensive ammo.
5 IWI Tavor TS12 Short Stroke Gas Piston, Black – TS12B – Best Home Defence Bullpup Shotgun
With this next review, we head back to IWI Tavor, but this time for a bullpup shotgun — the TS12 model.
Gas regulated, with left or right-hand use…
This 12-gauge bullpup shotgun is gas regulated and can be configured for left or right-side operation and ejection. Magazine flexibility is yours. It feeds ammo from any one of three individual magazines. These can hold four 3-inch shotgun shells or five 2¾-inch shotgun shells.
Using the three individual magazines together means shooters have a potential overall capacity of 15 rounds plus one chambered round.
This stylish bullpup shotgun has a unique loading feature. Shooters can rotate one of the loaded magazines into position. The weapon then automatically loads a round into the chamber.
As we touched on above, ambidextrous use is yours. This means it can be fed as well as unloaded from either side. Right-handed or left-handed shooters will find that setup conversion is easy.
A host of useful features…
This bullpup shotgun has a specially designed and patented bullhead bolt system. It is 10.23 inches high and comes with an 18.5-inch barrel included in its overall 28.34-inch length. In terms of weight, you will be carrying an 8-pound weapon.
IWI is renowned for the reliability of its weapons. The TS12 offers this and more. It has a continuous top 1913 standard Picatinny rail, and M-Lok compatible receptacles are incorporated into either side of the shotgun’s forearm.
Sling attachment and disassembly with ease…
There are also four sling attachment points, and an option of Benelli/Beretta choke tube compatibility. Note that the internal muzzle threads will be of Beretta-type, and one choke is included.
Disassembly for cleaning is achieved from the rear of the weapon and without any special tools. This versatile and compact shotgun is a good choice for home defense as well as for sporting purposes.
For even more information about this excellent Bullpup option, check out our in-depth IWI Tavor TS12 review.
- Reliability and longevity of use.
- Unique loading feature.
- 3-magazine use.
- Many attractive design features.
- Heavier than some other models.
6 Desert Tech MDRx Semi FE Rifle DT-MDRX-SFF-AAB-FE – Most Accurate Bullpup Rifle
Historically, Desert Tech has been renowned for high-quality long-range weapons. Their MDRx family shows exactly what can be produced when getting into the best bullpup rifles and shotguns arena.
A revolutionary bullpup design…
You have a choice of models in the MDRx series. The one we are concentrating on comes in FDE (Flat Dark Earth) color and is chambered in 7.62 NATO/.308 Win. If you are searching for a style to accompany durability and accuracy, then please take a long look at this model.
It is constructed of polymer resin. This gives robust and durable protection against any high impact drops or knocks. Whatever you put this weapon through, it will be ready for more.
You can rely on the MDRx…
During design, the Desert Tech engineers worked on improving the reliability of the MDRx series. This is seen in:
- A vastly improved gas block drainage feature. Even when submerged in mud and water, the weapon will function.
- The trigger has been enhanced to provide a light trigger pull and with less creep.
- A new Ratchet Compensator. This feature offers improved weapon control and reduced recoil without causing shooters any issues related to gas blowback.
The best of everything…
The MDRx combines stylish ergonomics with functionality and modularity. It also maintains the patented forward ejection system. This means ambidextrous use is possible without any reconfiguration. Spent ammo is directed towards the target rather than to the shooter’s side.
In terms of adding any necessary accessories, the rifle has a full-length Picatinny rail extending to the handguard. There are also M-Lok, industry-standard, attachment points. Although we have covered the .308 Win caliber, the MDRx is also available in .223 Wylde, .300 Blackout, and 6.5 Creedmoor.
- Quality manufacturer.
- Very robust and operates under adverse conditions.
- Ambidextrous, without configuration change.
- Accurate and reliable.
- Patented forward ejection system.
- Significant investment.
7 EAA Corp Husan Arms MKA 1923, BLK – 700060 – Best Tactical Bullpup Shotgun
EAA has long-produced a long line of weapons at acceptable prices. Their 12-gauge MKA 1923 bullpup semi-automatic shotgun is a prime example.
Modeled on the IWI Tavor design…
EAA makes no bones about the fact that the MKA 1923 is modeled along the lines of IWI’s Tavor design. This can be classed as a tactical weapon that comes in at a low price for a bullpup shotgun.
It features a 20-inch barrel in its overall length of 29½ inches. The weapon is 8¼ inches high and weighs in at 9.7 lbs. Made with a reinforced nylon stock; this is a lightweight and easily maneuverable bullpup. Rubber buttpads are also included in the build, and this helps to mitigate recoil.
Shooters looking for a weapon to use in narrow corridor situations, such as a home-defense scenario, will find that this a workable choice. It will also turn heads when you take it to the range.
Add an optic…
The MKA 1923 has a topside Picatinny rail that allows optics to be added. In terms of sights, you have fully removable/adjustable rear sights, as well as forend rail slots for a foregrip. Another feature many will appreciate is the pistol-grip style trigger guard. This allows users easy thumb access for enhanced safety.
The weapon takes Winchester thread pitch chokes, and it has a capacity of 5+1 rounds. Included in your purchase are two 5-round magazines. Your choice of chambering is either 3-inch or 2¾-inch shells.
More on the magazine feature…
Shooters will surely appreciate that the MKA 1923 comes with detachable box magazines. This means different shotgun shells can be carried. This offers flexibility, because once you have preloaded magazines to suit your shooting application, you are ready to go.
- At the Low end of the price scale.
- Based on IWI Tavor design.
- Easy thumb access safety feature.
- Detachable box magazines.
- Not the most robust build.
- There are more accurate bullpups out there.
- Magazines are proprietary.
8 Kel Tec RDB 5.56 Nato 17″ Bullpup Rifle, OD Green – RDBGRN – Best Budget Bullpup Rifle
We finish our best bullpup rifles and shotguns selections with a well-priced rifle from Kel-Tec.
Kel-Tec has a very individual take on firearms design. Their shot at building bullpups continues this tradition. The RDB family is the result, and a variety of options are available.
We are looking at the 5.56 Nato offering. This comes with a 17.4-inch barrel in its overall length of 27.4 inches. Weighing in at 7-lbs., it has an included 10-round removable magazine.
Regarding the magazine and spent brass…
This weapon offers STANAG magazine compatibility and a fast magazine release function. This release is situated behind the grip for ease of access and is operated via a ‘paddle.’ As for the safety feature, this mimics that of AR-15s in terms of placement.
It features an adjustable short-stroke piston-driven gas system and comes with both top and bottom Picatinny rails. These rails allow accessories to be added with ease. Being fully ambidextrous, it is suitable for all shooters.
Another major plus is how this keenly-priced bullpup rifle ejects spent brass. Rather than using conventional shell ejection, the RDB family of bullpup rifles has been designed, so that spent ammo cases are ejected below the buttstock. While not useful for all shooters, this system should particularly please left-handed folks.
An agile, easy to handle, bullpup rifle…
The well-designed foregrip works to ensure ease of handling, and its compact nature means agile use is yours. You can then consider the mild recoil from 5.56 cartridges, which in turn allows for rapid, repeatable target transitions.
As mentioned, it is designed to accept all standard AR-15 magazines. This flexibility, along with easy access and easy to use features and functions, makes this a solid choice for shooters.
- Very keen price.
- Downward shell ejection design.
- Ambidextrous use.
- Good choice for lefties.
- Takes any standard AR-15 mag.
- Top and bottom-placed Picatinny rails.
- AR-15 shooters will need time to familiarize themselves.
- No iron sights.
- Larger capacity magazines are needed.
Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns Buyer’s Guide – The Bullpup Style’s Benefits and Potential Drawbacks
This concludes our list of the eight bullpup models reviewed. However, that does not conclude the whole story. We now take a look at why bullpup weapons continue to increase in popularity. We do this by considering their overall benefits against some potential drawbacks.
Here are some major benefits as to why a bullpup is right for your armory.
Length, weight, and accuracy…
Well-designed bullpup weapons give shooters similar accuracy and performance to that of a traditionally designed rifle or shotgun. However, the advantage comes in their smaller and lighter build.
Size-wise, they can be up to 2/3rds the size of a standard weapon. This reduction in size and the materials they are made from means a far lighter weapon to carry and use. The other consideration is that, due to their size, transportation and storage are also easier.
A good choice for shooters of all levels…
Whether you are new to the world of shooting or have long experience with firearms, a bullpup weapon is a good choice. Its compact design makes for ease of handling. And the leading bullpup rifles and shotguns come with intuitive controls.
Flexibility is yours. Any shooter operating in confined spaces will find that bullpups are extremely agile. When it comes to handling, the bullpup is generally held closer to the body. This, along with reduced weapon weight, can also work against fatigue when used (or held up, ready to shoot) for extended periods.
The best quality bullpup rifles and shotguns will offer Picatinny rails for adding accessories. Once again, these accessories will enhance operation and accuracy.
Faster target acquisition…
Their compact size and reduced weight mean most shooters will find it faster to raise a bullpup to the shoulder. This gives the advantage of quick target acquisition. With practice, this will make all the difference during competitions or if you are in a life-threatening situation.
The stylish design of bullpup weapons makes them a stand-out ‘head-turning’ choice of weapon wherever they are used. Let’s face it; the style and looks of a weapon should be secondary to efficiency. However, the top bullpup rifles and shotguns not only look very cool, but they also function well.
The Bullpup’s Potential Drawbacks
Before adding a quality bullpup to your collection, it is important to understand that they do have potential drawbacks.
Ejection port placement — particularly concerning left-handed shooters…
The majority of these weapons generally have the ejection port on the right-hand side. Due to the bullpup’s small size, the ejection ports are positioned closer to the shooter’s face. This combination means that left-handed shooters will find them difficult to use.
We say this because spent cartridges will be ejected towards the right and, therefore, into or nearer to the face of left-handed shooters.
Lefties looking for a bullpup should not be deterred. There are three solutions to this issue:
- Look for bullpup models that have been designed to eject rounds toward the rifle’s front-end.
- Buy a bullpup that comes with a swappable bolt and ejection port cover. This will make the weapon left-handed.
- Go for a bullpup that comes with a bottom ejection port. This design automatically provides for ambidextrous use.
Balance and overall operation
When it comes to muzzle rise and accuracy during automatic firing, shooters will find the bullpup design needs getting used to. This is because the additional weight towards the rear of the firearm can make these two functions more difficult.
Time and practice should resolve many of these operational issues.
The bullpup’s trigger is also something to look closely at. There is no denying that some models offer poorly designed triggers. Therefore, to overcome this, you should take note of the trigger design, style, and pull of any bullpup that interests you. By doing so, you will find models that include more than acceptable triggers.
A shotgun, whether a bullpup design or not, will always need some accessories. So check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Red Dot Sights/Shotguns, the Best Tactical Shotgun Sling, and the Best Shotgun Scopes on the market in 2020.
While you’re at it, our Best High Capacity Shotguns may also be an enjoyable read.
So, what are the Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns?
While the bullpup design is certainly not new, it is receiving increasing attention from firearms enthusiasts.
We feel our eight bullpup selections above are all more than worthy of consideration. However, if pushed to choose a rifle, we would go with the…
This stylish bullpup rifle is ideal for beginners or for the more experienced shooter. Thanks to a downward shell ejection design, it also offers ambidextrous use and without needing modifications. You get top and bottom Picatinny rails that can be used for adding accessories, and it will accept any standard AR-15 magazine.
This is all put together with a price-point that is very much at the lower end of the scale. You are buying a bullpup rifle worthy of its name.
And of the many bullpup shotgun choices, we would select the…
We have to go with a bullpup shotgun from an esteemed manufacturer. The IWI Tavor TS12 is field and time-proven and gives unique loading functionality that allows for 3-magazine use.
This quality weapon is feature-filled, built to last, and will operate under any conditions. When it comes to bullpup shotgun design and functionality, the TS12 is a force to be reckoned with.
We hope these reviews of the Best Bullpup Shotguns and Rifles helped you decide which of these sweet guns are best for you.
Happy and safe shooting!