The bullpup rifle is a configuration that has attracted a great deal of attention over the past few years. While not as common as other styles of rifles, they have been enthusiastically received by many shooters for their light weight and compact profile. At Omaha Outdoors, we proudly offer bullpup rifles for sale from leading manufacturers in the industry, including FN Herstal, IWI (Israel Weapon Industries), Kel-Tec and Steyr. Most are chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO and .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO, although some of the FN Herstal models are chambered for their proprietary 5.7 x 28mm caliber.
The term “bullpup” is defined as a rifle in which the action and magazine are positioned in the buttstock, behind the trigger mechanism. This provides an overall shorter length than found in traditional rifles (averaging 25% shorter, for most models), while still retaining the full barrel length. This shorter length provides for faster reaction time from a lowered to a firing position and allows for better maneuverability in confined spaces. It should be noted that the rear-weighted design can induce muzzle rise when firing and offers a shorter sight radius, although advocates of the bullpup state that sufficient practice and familiarity with these rifles will overcome any challenges. The bullpup has gained popularity as a home defense firearm, where the advantages of the design best fit the conditions. The short length and light weight of most models also makes it easier for smaller shooters to handle and fire the bullpup. Of course, the reduced length, compared to full-length rifles, also makes it easier to store unobtrusively, but still ready to hand in case of an emergency. Don’t let the diminutive size fool you, however: The bullpup is not a puppy – it’s a full-grown rifle, just in a smaller package.
Although firearm designers have been experimenting with bullpup-type designs since the beginning of the 20th century, the pattern did not result in production rifles until the 1970s, with new models being produced by various manufacturers through the beginning of the current century. As with most new rifle concepts, the initial market was for military use (currently, at least 14 different nations issue bullpup rifles to at least some of its armed forces), but models for the civilian market soon became available. The military background is apparent, though, since most semi-automatic models are chambered for 5.56 and 7.62 NATO ammunition (or their civilian equivalents). Exceptions can be found in some FN Herstal models, which are chambered for their 5.7 x 28mm cartridge, a necked centerfire similar to the .22 Hornet.
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