Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns (2020) – Complete Buying Guide

Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns Featured Image

If you prefer a shorter weapon that is unlike any other rifle, or you’d like one simply because it is easier to manoeuvre without having to sacrifice its barrel length or dealing with getting an SBR, then it is safe to say that a Bullpup rifle may just be the solution.

In today’s article, we will be going through several pros and cons of such firearms and a list of the top bullpup rifles and shotguns you can get your hands on.

Rifles & Shotguns Name Editor’s Comment Rating Get The Best Deal
IWI Tavor X95

Most Recommended Option

1. Nice improvement over the SAR design
2. Reliable bullpup rifle
3. Accurate for a bullpup battle rifle

10/10 Currently unavailable
Kel Tec RDB 1. Lightweight
2. Cool and unique design
3. Affordable
9.5/10 Currently unavailable
FN PS90 1. Small sized, can utilize same cartridge in pistol
2. Impressive grip hold ergonomics
3. Innovative top loading magazine
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
Steyr AUG A3 M1 1. Short design
2. Reliable firing
3. Shoots tight groups
9.0/10 Currently unavailable
IWI Tavor SAR 1. Reliable firearm
2. Charging handle can be swapped to either side
3. High magazine capacity
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
Kel Tec RFB Carbine 18” 308 Winchester Black 1. Some customizable options
2. Good ambidextrous design
3. Shoots sub-MOA groups at 100 yards
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
High Tower Armory Bullpup Conversion Kit for Ruger 10/22 1. Convert your Ruger 10/22 into a bullpup rifle
2. Compatible with either a standard ½” diameter or .920 bull bullets
3. High value option; Affordable
8.5/10 Currently unavailable
Kel Tec KSG 1. High capacity
2. Ability to switch magazines
3. Easy maneuverability
8.0/10 Currently unavailable
IWI Tavor TS12 1. High capacity
2. Ambidextrous design
3. Easy maneuverability
8.0/10 Currently unavailable
EAA MKA 1923  1. Semi automatic action
2. Affordable price tag
3. Detachable box magazine
7.5/10 Currently unavailable
Panzer Arms BP-12 1. High capacity magazine
2. Comes up with flip up sight and angled foregrip
3. Full Picatinny rail and front rails
7.0/10 Currently unavailable

A Brief Introduction: What is a Bullpup Rifle?

A bullpup rifle has its action and magazine located behind the trigger group instead of in front of it. This arrangement allows for a shorter design compared to traditional styled firearms like AR-15 or Ruger 10/22 without sacrificing accuracy and power. Furthermore, this design is also beneficial for several reasons, one is that it effectively shortens the length of the overall firearm as well as reducing its weight.  

Created years ago by a British weapons manufacturer, the bullpup originally was for the Thorneycroft carbine that uses a standard .303 cartridge. 

As revolutionary as the bullpup was, it did come with several recoil and performance issues that kept it from being picked up by the British military at that time. However, other national gunmakers and manufacturers have improved on the bullpup’s design and function to create many practical and reliable bullpup firearms. 

Many military and police forces have acknowledged the advantages of adopting this style of firearm and one most noteworthy modern example is the Tavor rifle adopted by the Israeli Defense Forces. Another breakthrough for the bullpup is when the Austrian government decided to adopt this amazing weapon as the primary combat weapon for its military and army. 

The Bullpup rifle has quickly gained popularity among militaries in many countries around the world including Britain, France,, Austria, Israel, Australia, etc. 

The Pros and Cons of Bullpup Rifles

While there are plenty to love about bullpup rifles, there are also a few aspects where traditional firearms continue to shine in. Here is list of pros and cons of bullpups:

Pros:

  • Bullpup rifles are shorter than other firearms with the same barrel length, making them more maneuverable, which is a great advantage for close quarter operations. 
  • The design allows for a longer barrel without sacrificing length, accuracy, and muzzle velocity.
  • Bullpups let you push the limits of US federal law which states that the minimum overall rifle length is 26 inches with a minimum barrel length of 16 inches. 
  • Bullpups offer better balance and equilibrium for shooters to feel less fatigue during prolonged periods of shooting as they are back heavy which allows the shooter’s center of gravity to be closer to his chest.
  • The grip on bullpups make them faster to shoulder, aim, and shoot from a lowered position.
  • The small size offers ease in handling and allows shooters to change their stance and positioning quickly. 

Cons:

  • Back heaviness can lead to increased muzzle rise.
  • Older bullpup rifles have ejection ports further back than traditional rifles which would eject hot casings into the faces of left handed shooters. Fortunately, modern bullpup rifle designs have been upgraded to address this concern.
  • Bullpup triggers have a slightly more complex design that make them more prone to breakages.
  • Shooters are exposed to greater risk of injury during a catastrophic malfunction as the action is closer to the head and body. 
  • Since the firearm is closer to the shooter’s face, there is a greater likelihood for them to develop hearing issues in comparison to traditional firearms like AR-10 or .300 Blackout.

Top 7 Best Bullpup Rifles Review – Our Top Recommendations

With so many different options, we understand that it can become difficult to make sure you’re getting the right one. Fortunately, we are here to help you make the right choice. Here is a list of the high quality bullpup rifles and shotguns that you should consider and their reviews. 

1. IWI Tavor X95 (Tavor XB95)

Best Overall Bullpup Rifle

If you’ve seen the civilian-legal versions of IWI Tavor X95/ IWI Tavor XB95, it’ll become very obvious why many people have seriously considered getting a bullpup like this for various applications. This bullpup  rifle was designed and crafted by Israeli Weapons Industries to rival their older SAR design in the same range. As you’d expect from IWI, the IWI Tavor X95/ IWI Tavor XB95 has improved the platform greatly by being reliable and accurate with a space age and user-friendly design. 

Unlike traditional IWI Tavor models, the X95/Tavor XB95 features a button style magazine release similar like the AR 15s with an ambidextrous safety selector. The ejection system can even be swapped to the other side, making it suitable for use by both left handed and right-handed shooters. The manufacturer has even moved the charging handle forward to be right above the trigger. 

The IWI Tavor X95/ IWITavor XB95 comes with a fire control pack that has a trigger pull weight of 5-6 lb and there are even plenty of aftermarket upgrades you can find. One such example is the Geissele Super Sabra Trigger Pack that is compatible with all IWI Tavor models excluding 308 bullpup rifle and 12 gauge options. 

This bullpup rifle also features Picatinny rail sections at the front in 3, 6, and 9 o-click positions in addition to a full Picatinny rail that runs along the top of the bullpup rifle to let you mount your favored optics. If you don’t plan on getting scopes, the X95 has you covered as it even comes with built-in backup sights that fold down into the top rail and you can even keep the rail covers on.

However, one downside that you may experience with the X95 is a longer period of adjustment to the trigger guard. The cutlass-style guard may feel weird to some users and you may want to consider upgrading it to a different style. Coupled with the smaller profile of the bullpup, shooters may find it significantly hard to adjust to this weapon, especially if you’re used to conventional style rifles. 

Overall, if you’re looking for a premium priced, reliable bullpup rifle, then the X95/Tavor XB95 may just be the one for you. This bullpup rifle gives you all the benefits of a bullpup without the major drawbacks commonly seen in its competitors. 

Feature and Specs

  • Available in 5.56 NATO, 300 BLK, and 9mm cartridges
  • Barrel lengths of 13” (SBR), 16.5”, and 18.5”
  • Overall length of 26.125” for X95 and 16.5” barrel
  • Chrome-lined, cold hammer forged barrel with 1:7 twist rate
  • Long stroke piston
  • Integrated Backup Triton Iron Sights
  • Includes Tritium front sight, BUIS rear sight, polymer stock, and a flash suppressor muzzle
  • Gas operated semi auto action

Pros

  1. Nice improvement over the SAR design
  2. Reliable bullpup rifle
  3. Accurate for a bullpup battle rifle

Cons

  1. May need to relearn rifle operation 
  2. Ejection port cover leaks gas in your face
  3. Cutlass style grip guard may need some getting used to

2. Kel Tec RDB Od Green

Best Novelty Bullpup Rifle

When it comes to cool looking rifles and unique style, the Kel Tec definitely stands out from the rest and there is no exception made with the RDB. RDB stands for Rifle Downward-ejecting Bullpup, which leads us to the first innovative characteristic that’s worth mentioning for this bullpup rifle. Kel Tec has designed the ejection port to be located just behind the magazine facing downwards. This eliminates any issues related to facial injury when operated by left handed shooter. 

The casings are ejected downwards at a 15-degree angle without affecting the shooting experience. Even with that, it’s advisable that you don’t fire this rifle without a shirt on. 

The trigger on the Kel Tec RDB is far from average with a crisp pull and approximately 5 lbs pull weight. Although it features an ambidextrous safety selector, the magazine release resembles older Tavor models that require you to break your grip with your shooting hand. 

Furthermore, the RDB has an incredibly simplistic and well thought out internal design. The bullpup  rifle has minimal parts added in that makes the firearm reliable over time. The last notable feature of the Kel Tec RDB is its adjustable gas system and its ability to run well suppressed thanks to the nature of Bullpups and forward location of its gas piston. 

However, one little thing about this bullpup rifle is that, while their ideas are top notch, the actual execution fails behind a little. The overall look and handling of the bullpup gun feels a little wonky and cheap. But that is definitely not to say that it doesn’t work properly.

Bottom line is that the Kel Tec RDB is an affordable way to get your hands on a well-performing bullpup that is fun to shoot. 

Feature and Specs

  • Available in 17.4” or 20.5” barrel lengths
  • Overall length of 27.4” with 17.4” barrel
  • Chambered in 5.56/,223
  • Rail mounted sights and scope
  • Semi auto action

Pros

  1. Lightweight
  2. Cool and unique design
  3. Affordable

Cons

  1. Not pro grade
  2. Poor trigger and magazine release

3. FN PS90

Best Video Game Gun

The FN PS90 is widely popularized in both video games such as Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, N64 Goldeneye and even Stargate SG-1 and in film. But like the Tavor, this bullpup rifle has also seen a great deal of use by police and military forces around the world. 

Other than its oddball rifle calibers of 5.7x28mm that the PS90 shares with the FN Five-Seven, another interesting feature is that this bullpup rifle’s magazine actually sits on top of the firearm. It even comes with fully ambidextrous controls and downward ejecting casings to make a great choice for both right and left-handed shooters.

The FN PS90 also comes equipped with a mil spec barrel and integrated muzzle brake. The muzzle brake FN is equipped with also ensures reduced felt recoil. This combo is particularly handy if you plan on using the 30-round mags that often accompany such firearms. 

However, just because it’s in a video game, it doesn’t mean that the FN PS90 is the most practical option on our list to use. However, if you plan to get the FN PS90, you’re going to have to be prepared to make several changes to the firearm. 

The innovative top loading magazine design and two separate ergonomic grip hold is pretty inventive but it also makes things a little more awkward. You may need to spend some time with the bullpup rifle to get a little used to things. 

Overall, this bullpup rifle may not exactly outshine the rest of its competition, but it is definitely no slouch either. This is a gun you may consider if you’re into video games and other pop culture. However, if you want ot get something with a little more bang for your buck, you should look elsewhere. 

Features and Specs

  • Chambered in 5.7x28mm
  • 16” length barrel
  • Overall length of 26.23 inches
  • 10 or 30 rifle round capacity
  • Rail, back-up iron sights
  • Semi automatic action
  • Integrated muzzle break

Pros

  1. Novel design
  2. Small sized, can utilize same cartridge in pistol
  3. Impressive grip hold ergonomics
  4. Innovative top loading magazine

Cons

  1. No real practical use
  2. Expensive ammo

4. Steyr AUG A3 M1

Best Bad Guy Gun

The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is one of the earliest bullpup rifles to find widespread use, especially since it was first adopted by the Austrian military before it was available for civilian use. This is also one of the most well-known rifles on our list today as it has been featured in iconic movies such as Die Hard and popular video games like CS:GO. 

As you’d expect from a weapon with a military background, the Steyr AUG is as reliable as it gets with an updated design and components to keep the AUG relevant. This is definitely a bullpup rifle that you can count on any time. Aside from its power, accuracy and reliability, the Steyr AUG A3 M1 is also a great-looking gun. Easy on the eyes and looks great in your collection or when you take it out with you to the range. 

However, it does come with a few disadvantages. The Steyr AUG A3 M1 is not the best choice for those who like to customize their bullpup rifles. In fact, there isn’t a lot you can do in terms of modification with the Steyr AUG A3 M1. 

Another thing to note is that the trigger can be better. Generally, the ergonomics on this bullpup isn’t as good as other modern bullpup rifles. However, the rifle does come with a flash hider on the muzzle and 30 round magazines with green polymer furniture. It has two pistol grips and weighs just under 9 lbs. 

All in all, the Steyr AUG A3 M1 is a solid and iconic bullpup rifle that acts as a modern variant of the AUG platform, but it is more suited as a collector’s item instead of being used as an everyday firearm. 

Features and Specs

  • Chambered in 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington
  • 16.375-inch Cold hammer forged barrel
  • Overall length of 28.15 inches
  • Only NATO stock models are compatible with AR 15 magazines
  • Mushy trigger with 9lbs factory pull weight
  • 1.5/3x Rail Optic
  • Semi auto action

Pros

  1. Short design
  2. Sleek style
  3. Reliable firing
  4. Shoots tight groups

Cons

  1. Trigger can be improved
  2. Special magazines required
  3. Safety takes getting used to

5. IWI Tavor SAR

Best Bullpup Heavy/Battle Rifle

As the top choice for the Israeli Armed Forces, you can rest assured of the Tavor SAR’s accuracy, durability and reliability. This is a nice firearm and as a matter of fact, it even acts as the standard issue for Israel’s military forces. In fact, it even received a Golden Bullseye Award back in 2014. 

One of the many reasons that make the Tavor SAR so special is that it offers the shooter plenty of opportunities to customize their bullpup rifle to just the way they like it, thanks to its full length Picatinny top rail with ample rail space that is compatible with most accessories and gear. 

Aside from the high customizability, this bullpup even comes with high capacity magazines that are capable of holding up to 30 rounds of ammo, making sure you won’t run out of shots during CQB, target practice or extended periods of shooting. 

Although it is a well-made firearm with high accuracy and reliability, there are certain downsides to the Tavor SAR rifle. The major complaint that this bullpup rifle has received is its magazine release catch that makes the emptying and reloading process much slower. Instead of having to reach for a new magazine with your support hand while you release the magazine with your firing hand, the Tavor SAR needs you to utilize both firing and supporting hand to remove the empty magazine. 

While this may not seem like a big deal to some, it can get pretty frustrating especially if you’re in high intensity scenarios and need a quick reload. 

However, that is more of a slight inconvenience than a major drawback for some. All in all, this is still one of the best heavy battle bullpup rifles you can get your hands on that will ensure many sessions of happy shooting. 

Features and Specs

  • 16.5” long barrel
  • 5.56mm NATO caliber
  • Folding, rear sights 
  • Semi auto action
  • 26.1-inch overall length
  • 30 round magazines

Pros

  1. Awesome design
  2. Reliable firearm
  3. High magazine capacity
  4. Charging handle can be swapped to either side

Cons

  1. Heavy
  2. Weird magazine release

6. Kel Tec RFB Carbine 18” 308 Winchester Black 10+1 Round

Best Ambidextrous Bullpup Rifle

The Kel Tec RFB offers a truly ambidextrous operation that is easy to use. Although the RDB provides better performance compared to this model due to some of its other features, the RFB Carbine 308 Winchester does provide several unique aspects that are worth mentioning.

One thing is that the Kel Tec RFB features a unique ejection port much like that of the RDB. However, instead of ejecting spent casings downwards, it projects them forward. This design makes it ideal for use by both right handed and left handed shooters. Plus, it is very interesting to see it in action. 

Other than that, this bullpup firearm comes with a top mounted Picatinny rail which provides shooters with a few customization options thanks to its ample rail space. Unfortunately, there aren’t really many aftermarket availabilities with buttstock, grips, or friends for the Kel Tec RFB Carbine 308 Winchester bullpup rifle.

Whether you need it for self defense, CQB or close quarter hunting uses, the Kel Tec RFB will do well to ensure a job well done. 

Feature and Specs

  • .762×51 NATO caliber
  • Rail mounted sights
  • Semi auto action
  • 26” overall length

Pros

  1. Short length
  2. Some customizable options
  3. Good ambidextrous design
  4. Shoots sub-MOA groups at 100 yards

Cons

  1. No upgrade options
  2. Difficult to diagnose and clear malfunctions

7. High Tower Armory Bullpup Conversion Kit for Ruger 10/22

Best Bullpup Rifle Conversion Kit

Next on our list for bullpup rifles is a conversion kit that lets you shoot a .22 long rifle – the cheapest ammo you can find on the market, which isn’t the case with most bullpups. This high value option works to help you save plenty of money. 

Although technically this isn’t a rifle, the conversion kit does work well to let you turn your Ruger 10/22 into a bullpup rifle. Given the fact that 10/22s are pretty popular rifle choices, this conversion kit is obviously pretty cool. 

The High Tower Armory Bullpup Conversion Kit is compatible with any Ruger 10/22 with either a standard ½” diameter or .920 bull bullets. An important thing to note is that your rifle barrel should be at least 18 inches sling. Shorter barrels used with this kit will be below the United States’s federal law of 26” minimum overall rifle length. 

Finally, the converted product will heavily resemble a suppressed P90 if you do decide to attach the dummy suppressor onto it. If you want to enjoy the benefit of a bullpup rifle without needing to spend too much money, then a conversion kit will be great for you, especially if you already have a Ruger 10/22. 

The Best Bullpup Shotguns You’d Want

1. Kel Tec KSG

Best Pump Action Bullpup Shotgun

The Kel Tec KSG stands for Kel-Tec Shotgun and this 12 gauge pump action bullpup gun was first released in 2011 and has since then been one of the most popular bullpup guns available. 

Like the RDB bullpup rifle discussed above, the Kel Tec KSG bullpup features a downward ejection port and is completely ambidextrous for comfortable use by both left handed and right handed shooters. The bullpup is even fed by two interchangeable magazine tubes, each holding either 6 or 7 rounds of ammo depending on shell length. This puts the total bullpup gun capacity at 12+1 or 14+1 rounds. 

This bullpup has a relatively short overall length and comes with bottom and top Picatinny rails to be suited for many tactical applications and home or self defense uses. However, we personally feel like the Kel Tec KSG build quality may divide opinion. The materials used come across as lower quality compared to other options, such as the Tavor range. 

Plus, the Kel Tec KSG has had some comfort and performance issues too. Although the shell ejection method is facing downwards, several shooters have complained of pain and discomfort. Hence, it is advisable for you to test it out at the ranges first before buying it. 

However, if you’re looking for a high value, affordable bullpup shotgun that is not only maneuverable and light but also gives a sleek and futuristic look, then the Kel Tec KSG may be worth considering for CQB home defense and self defense purposes/ situations or even as a sporting bullpup shotgun for competitions. The Kel Tec KSG is a popular choice among French and South Korean battalions. 

Bottom line, if you want to get pump action bullpup guns, then the Kel Tec KSG will definitely get the job done. Another thing to remember is that there are better options in the world of bullpup shotguns, even if you may need to pay a little more to own them. 

Feature and Specs

  • 18.5” chamber barrel length
  • 26.1” overall length
  • Trigger pull rated at 5 lbs from factory
  • 7+7 magazine tube capacity
  • Pump action shotgun
  • Rail mounted sights and scope
  • Long stroke piston

Pros

  1. HIgh capacity
  2. Short length
  3. Ability to switch magazines
  4. Easy maneuverability

Cons

  1. May have accuracy and reliability issues
  2. Awkward ergonomics

2. IWI Tavor TS12

Best Semi Auto Bullpup Shotgun

The Tavor TS12 is the best semi auto bullpup shotgun out there and is yet another model made by IWI that comes packed with plenty of innovative features. The TS12 is so good that it basically scored nothing less than an A grade across the board, revealing little to no real weaknesses. 

The one best part about owning a TS12 is having a bullpup shotgun that offers large capacity with such a small size, making it an ideal choice of weapon for CQB home defense and self defense purposes. You won’t ever have to worry about running out of shots when you need them the most and also won’t have any trouble maneuvering this bullpup shotgun in tight spaces. 

We found the ammo storage in the TS12 to be really innovative. Not only does it allow up to 15 rounds plus one in its chamber, but you can even split the ammo into three different types and easily switch between them. 

As mentioned earlier, there is no real downside to the Tavor TS12 but don’t be surprised to see a higher than average price tag. These nice features and qualities certainly come with a premium price point to match. But why cut corners in protecting yourself and family? 

Feature and Specs

  • 18.5” barrel length
  • 12 gauge caliber
  • Rail mounted sights
  • Semi auto Action
  • 28.34” overall length

Pros

  1. High capacity bullpup design
  2. Full length Picatinny rail
  3. Customizable
  4. Ambidextrous design
  5. Easy maneuverability

Cons

  1. May be expensive for some

3. EAA MKA 1923 

Best Value Semi Auto Bullpup Shotgun

The main purpose EAA designed the MKA 1923 is to offer MKA weaponry in a new bullpup shotgun design that offers both innovation and quality. Many gun enthusiasts will know about European American Armory and their affinity for shotguns, and the MKA 1923 is a new addition to their list of products. 

EAA’s main goal with this model is to deliver MKA quality in a compact bullpup design and we have got to give it to them, they’ve certainly hit the mark. Not only that but the MKA 1923 has also garnered a reputation for being a great weapon of choice for home defense and self defense purposes / situations, 

One of the best features we love about this bullpup shotgun is its detachable box magazines full of shotgun shells. Whether you’re looking to make a buckshot, birdshot, or even slugs, you’ll be met with a convenient and smooth operation. All you need is to make sure your magazines are preloaded and ready. 

Another attribute worth mentioning is the improvements they’ve made to the awkward cutlass style pistol grip. The MKA 1923 bullpup shotgun now comes with its own trigger guard that is more comfortable to use. 

However, one downside to this weapon is that it is a little rough around the edges. We are not saying that the EAA MKA 1923 is made of cheap materials, but it could do with a little smoothing. Overall, this is a great budget firearm that will meet just about any needs. 

Feature and Specs

  • 20” barrel length
  • 12 Gauge Caliber
  • Adjustable rear sights
  • Semi auto action
  • 29.5” overall length

Pros

  1. Semi automatic action
  2. Affordable price tag
  3. Detachable box magazine

Cons

  1. Lacks finesse
  2. Requires proprietary magazines

4. Panzer Arms BP-12

The Panzer Arms BP 12 is a semi auto, magazine fed bullpup that comes at a very affordable price. It even features a full Picatinny rail on top plus accessory rails at the front at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions to offer you plenty of customization options.However, one thing that you need to take note of is that the BP-12 can be picky with ammunition types. So, you may want to try out different options to identify which works best with it. 

Feature and Specs

  • 18.5” Barrel Length
  • 29.5” Overall length
  • 12 Gauge shotgun
  • Comes with 25 round magazine

Pros

  1. High capacity magazine
  2. Comes up with flip up sight and angled foregrip
  3. Full Picatinny rail and front rails

Cons

  1. Does not work well with all kinds of ammunition

Conclusion

The benefit of using a bullpup gun over conventional firearms is its improved maneuverability, making them an ideal choice for shooting in confined environments. Hopefully the guide today provides you with enough knowledge and information to make the right decision while on the hunt for the best bullpup rifles or shotguns on the bullpup market all the more easier. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Are bullpup rifles better?

Yes, a bullpup rifle may be better depending on your purpose. The main benefit of a bullpup weapon is that the weapon’s overall length is reduced without changing the barrel length. This means that a bullpup rifle is much easier to maneuver and conceal, especially in tight spaces. 

Q: Are bullpups less accurate?

Yes, bullpups may be less accurate. But just like any other rifle, you can address the inaccuracy issue by pairing your bullpup rifle with a good barrel. Generally, many bullpups shoot around 1.5 MOA, which is well under minute-of-man. 

Q: Can you hunt with a bullpup shotgun?

Yes, you can hunt with a bullpup shotgun. There are a few bullpup shotguns and bullpup bolt-action rifles available on the market, but not every weapon is designed for you to hunt.

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