I am not a fan of bullpups. In fact, you could say I hate the things. But, there is an exception to every rule and now, my exception is the AUG. Since the 80s, I have always admired the AUG as a cool exotic weapon that was hard to get my paws on here and it only got harder to find one until recently. Then, it just became hard to get a good one. Over the weekend, my friend and one of Looseorunds guest writers brought in his new Steyr AUGA3 for us to use and abuse until our heats became intend. And while the AUG is not perfect, it lived up to be everything I hoped it would be.
The new AUGA3 is not a knock off or cheap copy, but a real Steyr AUG. The barrel is made by FN with what is said to be a 1/9 twist. But recent investigation has shown the barrel twist to be closer to a 1/8.5. I will talk more on that in a bit. The gun uses the original magazine pattern, but lacks the original low powered optic. Instead it comes with the infinitely more useful railed top.
The gun also has a side mounted rail for adding accessories you may need or want to add. We mounted the excellent Aimpoint T-1 in a Laure mount, and the nice compact Surefire X300 on the side rail. This gave a very compact and handy general purpose package. One of the down sides to the AUG is the slight difficulty of being able to activate some of the on/off switches to weapons lights. This can be over come, but every solution we came up with never really seemed to be idea in my opinion, As it stands now, the light would have to be turned constant on/off when needed. I am sure some one else will eventually come up with a good solution to this.
As can be seen in the picture above, the top rail still has plenty of space for NOD mounting and even has room left over for a IR/visible laser that an be mounted in front, or a set of BUIS. All of this adds not weight to the rifle that makes the way it handles change in any way that we could detect.
After zeroing the red dot at the typical 50 yard zero, we took it up to shoot at some of the longer distances to see how it would feel and perform,
After shooting at 300 yards and on “Q” target and determining that it stabilized the MK 262 load, I then started shooting it at a steel target at 800 yards. The gun was fully capable of getting hits on the plate at 800 with no problem. It was actually easier to hit the plate with the AUG than it was when using an HK417 in 308. The short stiff barrel is very accurate. Match ammo produced 1 MOA groups while M193 gave the typical 2-2.5 MOA groups.
Above, the owner poses beside the steel at 800 to show its size and the hits on the plate from the 5.56 AUGA3. The pate is not the same size as a man, so it is a lot better performance that it seems without being able to see the actual size of the target compared. Once again I want to point out that it is no big deal to shoot beyond 200 yards with a red dot sight despite what gun board experts will claim. The right zero and quality ammo makes it no real feat. In my opinion the RDS with a good zero on a 556 rifle is very close to being the perfect general purpose combo.
Now on to the qualities that really make the AUG stand out to me. This gun is so easy to fire with speed it was a huge surprise to me. The recoil is tame. Tame and flat. When firing the gun during rapid fire drills, it seems that it is like shooting a .22LR. The recoil comes straight back and is very, very light. The gun seems to not rise at all. My first thought on shooting it was how great it would be for run and gun competition, It is like using an AR15 with a really good brake. It is something you have to see for yourself to really enjoy how smooth and soft it is. I would be interested to know what it was like with a sound suppressor on it.
Another thing about this gun that was a surprise to me was how great the trigger turned out to be. It was not light weight, but it broke very clean. Just like the cliched “glass rod.” I would say it had about the same pound trigger as the average AR. but it broke very clean with little creep or just anything that you would expect from a gun like this. Or anything without a match trigger really. This greatly added to the easy of hitting at 800 yards consistently with the rifle.
Reliability was all you could ask for. After a 100 round mag dump, it still worked perfectly. One of the mags my friend brought with the gun was around 20 years old and it worked just like the two new mags that came with it. And those mags are very well made and tough. The ribbed and roughed finished mags are easy to grab and manipulate under speed but do not have a rough low quality look or feel. The ribbing adds to the strength no doubt, and the smoked translucent polymer give you the ability to see the loaded status. One of the mags was the 42 round version and it still felt balances in the gun and gave no trouble. All of the mags also nicely fit in common M16 mag pouched just as you would expect.
The safety is the cross bar type but was not trouble to get used to after a short bit of use. And, it actually seemed really natural after using it a bit. It was located on the stock where it is easy to hit on activate on and off easily. It is no AR15 safety by any means, but it is not something I would even nit pick about.
Now, the downsides. The gun is not ambi. The charging handle is not, and the ejection port would have you eating brass as you fired it when set up for your strong hand. You can have it one way or the other, but no both. Another thing, is you HAVE to wear gloves if you are going to shoot it a lot and fast. We forgot our gloves and we both burned ourselves. It is very easy to put your alternate killing hand too high up on the vertical grip and touch the barrel. Especially if you forget and try to hold the gun like you do the rail on a AR15. The receiver also gets hot as the devil’s butthole as well. Even just letting the gun hang buy sling means you have to be very careful. It being as short as it is, it is very easy to let it touch some part of your upper torso or thighs or have it touch against you when moving or handling something else. I can easily imagine transitioning from the AUG to a handgun and when letting it hang, burn yourself in some places you never want burned. So you have to be careful think about it. But this is mainly training issues that can be worked around and reduced. Like I said above the light placement is also a but if a down side, The light is fine, but being able to turn it on and off without shifting the hand. If a cord is ran for a pressure bad to the VFG, I would be concerned the heat from the barrel and receiver would burn or melt the wiring.
Reloading is not where near as fast as an AR15 thought with practice many have gotten very fast. It is not as natural or ergonomic, but it is something you can train to. While not really a problem it is something to be aware of and needs a very different gun handling skill set on the AUG. The butt stock is also not adjustable like a M4 carbine. This is not so much a problem since everything you would sight through already sets well to the rear by design of the bullpup. But maybe for some one very small, it could possibly affect the ability to manipulate the trigger and safety if wearing body armor. We had no problems with this though.
the AUGA3 is a very fine gun and in my opinion, is a lot better than the tavor, which I loathe. It has a great balance and is very easy to shoot and move with. If you have the hots for a bullpup, this is the only one you will ever hear me recommend. It is a classic for sure and like the AR15 pattern, it has had enough years and combat use behind it to know you are getting a real combat hardened carbine, not some hyped up attempt to be different.
A few weeks ago, Comp-Tac was nice enough to send me some of their product to test and use for our readers. I received the excellent leather belt and the new Flatline kydex holster. http://www.comp-tac.com/product_info.php?products_id=302&osCsid=kehesa4s68c68koa9kd65t8ll1
Having already been a fan and constant user of the Minotaur inside IWB holster, I was excited to get the Flatline. Unlike the Minotaur, the flatline is all Kydex. But the Flatline has the very handy feature of being an inside and an outside the belt holster. Comptac sends with the holster, all the clips and adapters you need to swap it around for whatever need you may have. To use their words on the website “
Flatline Clips: are the most innovative clips on the market. made of durable flexible plastic, these clips hold firmly and securely. The plastic material is flexible enough to withstand bending and twisting without breaking and will be gentle on your belt, clothing and car seats.
The Flatline is shipped with 6 clips: Two Flatline clips, Two offset-Flatline clips and Two standard clips.”
The Flatline and its belt adapting clips, allow you to position the the holster as deep in inside your pants as you would like, or high or low on the belt. Also, you can adjust it for the cant you may like so you can get the exact draw you are looking for. You can also adjust how close the pistol and holster hugs your body. That is a feature I greatly appreciate because it seems most of the time, I can not get a holster tight enough against me to suit my needs. And, kydex being what it is, offers a very fast slick draw and the ability to re-holster the gun without having to worry about the top closing up on you. Like other holster Comptac makes, you can also adjust the holster for retention. A lot of other small companies make great outside the belt kydex holster, but few of them let you adjust the level of retention on it with a simple tool.
The above picture shows the holster with the belt loops for use outside the belt. You order the belt loops for whatever size you want to ensure it is not loose on the belt or too tight. And as can be seen, they can be replaced easily to re-purpose into the inside the belt. You can also see the molding that fits the 1911 like a glove. Nothing on the holster is rough or sharp. I have been wearing it for a little over two weeks and it is very comfortable. The extended portion that protects your skin or shirt from the gun is very welcome. Even if the gun does not hurt me, I like the fact this protects the gun from my sweaty body. Either way it is something I consider very valuable for a do it all hard use CCW holster.
If you are worried the Flatline is some how bigger than other CCW holster Comptac makes, no need to worry. The picture above shows the Flatline beside the Minotaur that I have used for a very long time. The dedicated IWB holster is made from Kydex and leather with the adjustable dept clips and is about as comfy as it can get, But it does not have the versatility of the Flatline. I have even managed to secure the Flatline to a MOLLE “war belt” Using the holes made into its body. It is very easy to adapt to what you need. If you are looking for a holster to fill a lot of roles, and only have enough money to spend on one very high quality do it all holster, the Flatline is what I would recommend for inside and outside, That way you can swap around and find out exactly what you want. At 75.00 dollars, the Flatline is around the same price of most more custom made kydex holster, and cheaper than a lot of the pure custom holster made by companies that aim to make you believe that cater to the more tactical special users and all that hype. It is a great deal and you get great quality from a company that is all about useful, quality products.
the belt I got from CompTac is as good as it gets. I really do not know how else to put it. It is the Kydex reinforced leather gun belt and it is superb. This thing looks great, feels great, works great and is great. It is stiff enough to hold up the heaviest of side arms and anything else you want to attach and it does not roll up or bend and it does not wear out from metal or kydex rubbing against it for hours and hours. I have an older one of these I have had a long while and I think it may be invincible.
You can check out the options on this baby at the link above. You can get it in black or brown and with or without a taper. I like the no taper model myself, in brown. It looks good enough to use anytime and I use it as my belt for just about everything. But make sure you look over the chart about the sizing before you order. You can also get the belt with velcro lining to adapt to some of the other attaching methods.
My camera is not the greatest in the world, but hopefully you can see the heavy duty stitching and high quality workmanship that goes into this belt. It is so good, if the situation becomes desperate enough, I am sure you can take it off and beat a crazy or terrorist to death with it. I could go on and on about this belt, I really feel this is the best belt for the money I have ever seen to not be some kind of highly hand tooled show off belt ( which is not really my cup of tea anyway) or some other type not really practical. The kydex in it makes it just right as far as the stiffness goes. I hold up a full steel 1911 with surefire light and two extra 10 round mag reloads all day all the time, and the belt has shown no wear at all. the icing on the cake is, it stays comfortable with no problems at all. If you can only get one belt for the rest of your life, and can not get one made of pure gold, this is the belt you should get. I know I would.
Once again, I feel Comptac has made a great and versatile holster and I am very thankful they sent me the stuff to try it out. It is always worth the money when you get gear they make and I can assure you, buying Comptac CCW gear is never a mistake.
By now, almost everyone has heard of the HK417 and any serious gun owner and enthusiasts know about the MR762 civilian version of the same rifle. Over the weekend I got to test out the MR762A1, which I will refer to as the HK417 or just “417” for the rest of this review. The gun was tested for accuracy at long range with match ammo and shorter ranges for uses that are ore fitting a ‘battle carbine”, to see how it handles and how easy it is to control when using more speedy and violent manipulations.
The rifle used the extended rail to give the gun more space to mount equipment. It has a harris bipod and Leupold tactical 3x-9x optic in ADM mounts, For the shorter range, the gun was equipped with a Trijicon SRS and the bipods removed.
The rifle was shot at 800 and 300yards using Federal Gold medal match ammo. The 800 yard target was a steel man shaped target with the 300 yard target being a Q target made of cardboard for testing accuracy.
Above picture shows the 417 while firing at the 800 yard target. I found the recoil of the 417 a lot stiffer than I expected. The gun torques when fired and is very noticeable. I had not encountered this amount of recoil and torque from a semi auto AR pattern type rifle from any other models before and was surprised. It was something that took me a couple of mags to get used to. The muzzle blast was also surprising. Being a 16 inch barrel, I expected a certain amount of blast, but it was more than I was ready for. I was told it was partly due to the muzzle device design on the rifle.
The target is man shaped, but obviously considerably smaller than a real person. But once I zeroed the optic for 800 yards was able to keep 8 out of 10 rounds out of the ten round magazine, on target. Both of us shooting it, had the same result. The trigger of the 417 is a two stage trigger and though I would not call it a real “match trigger” like the SSA, it is a lot closer to it than a typical milspec trigger. It gave no problems. It had a little creep in its second stage but it was very useable. Owner intend to replace it with a SSA trigger and I think that is a good idea. If the gun is to be used in the DMR or long range role in a dedicated way, it would be an improvement.
After shooting close to 100 rounds at the 800 yard target I move to the 300 yard target for some accuracy testing to see what kind of groups it would give with the Federal Gold medal match 168 grain ammo.
This target above is representative of the other groups fired at 300 yards. I fired multiple 10 round groups and all looked pretty much the same being 2-2.5 MOA. Other than the two sighting shots, the “record” group is the cluster I circled in the black marker. It is the best group I shot at the 300 yard target. Sorry to say the other pictures blurred, but this is the best group. The three shot clover leaf is obviously pure chance.
Lastly was the close range more rapid firing of the H&K417. This is where I started to have some problems with the gun. I found the gun very hard to control during rapid fire drills. The torque was back in a major way and it just plain kicked. It was hard for me to control and did not just lay flat and let me run it like an M4 carbine like the Colt 901 will let you do. My friend who had more time on the gun got a handle on it much better than me, but still there was no tight little impact zone. He also mentioned the torquing of the gun and the effort it takes.The red dot of course helped, but even with the large view of the SRS, I just plain had trouble keeping it in tight on target. I am by no means new to shooting full power battle rifles and carbines, but this one was a handful. I have never liked the feel of the piston operated AR patterns and this rifle did not make me rethink that in any way.
Above is my friends shoulder after 60 rounds with the 417 doing rapid fire drills. I also suffered bruising from the HK. I had not had this kind of experience with any other 762 AR pattern rifle. I honestly found the gun unpleasant for off hand rapid drills when used in the battle carbine role. I would keep it strictly as a long range rifle.
Now here is the part that will cause many to gasp and call for my head while calling me a liar.
The gun experienced at least 6 instances of failure to feed or other malfunctions. The ammo used was NATO 7.62 spec.
We speculated on the causes of the malfunctions as they only appeared during rapid fire. Mag problems or ammo problems, I do not know for sure. as the gun started to run fine after this happening within 40 rounds fired. After it decided to work fine, the gun was fine. A few time we got it hot enough to smoke the barrel and become to hot to hold even the VFG.
It was a great chance to test the much vaunted HK417 AKA MR762A1 today, and it is an interesting piece. I think for the full on H&K fans they would be happy with the 417, but for its price, I would never buy one or even really recommend it. If it was 2,000 or maybe 2,500 I could maybe see it. It is not as accurate as a Larue by any means, and it just simply can not be run as fast and softly as a Colt LE901. Accuracy of the gun is fine. From what I understand, this is not intended to be a sniper precision rifle, so the performance of the rifle’s accuracy is all you could expect from something without a match barrel. It does very well with the federal gold medal like most quality rifles. If I had to personally rank the 7.62 battle carbine/rifles, I would go in this order. 1. Colt 901. 2, SCAR H and 3. the 417 The OBR and KAC guns I consider more precision guns so they are not on the list of “battle carbines”. That is all my personal opinion and it may be different than yours, so you do not have to get bent out of shape. Like I said above. the 417 is a fine gun, and I am sure the feeding issues may not be the guns fault, but the price asked for it is just not justified. I am sure any real HK fan will be willing to pay for it, but if that does not describe you, but you want a serious 7.62 battle carbine of the new gen, I would take a hard look at some of the other offerings right now until the prices come down on these, Regardless I would never opt for a piston rifle if I had a choice.
If you are like me, you don’t get to the range as often as you want or don’t have the cash to train. You can get some dry fire, magazine reloading, and draw training at home, but safety is always a major concern. There are several products out there to help you with this at home training that reinforces some important fundamental defensive handgun skills. These products can also help you master your trigger control and trigger reset, if you are having those issues. Although these are not the only products, these are some of the products I use in my inert training environment.
High Visibility Training Barrel:
I have purchased several Blade Tech training barrels, to assist in instructing with some training courses at a local range. These barrels are great to replace your live fire barrel for dry fire training and firearm manipulation. They come in numerous manufacture models. You can quickly identify that the firearm has a training barrel in place and since there is no chamber and the barrel is plastic, there is no way to load a live round. This is a great safety product to practice, drawing from your holster, dry fire and fully manipulate the slide.
If you are having a flinch issue, jerking the trigger issue or trigger reset issue, the high visibility training barrel is a good product to safely work those issues out. The barrel will also let you practice slide manipulation and magazine exchanges without worrying about a live round being chambered.
Training barrels are also great inexpensive product for moving around your home safely, while training with your weapon mounted light. You can safely manipulate the controls on your light while negotiating corners, hallways and rooms throughout your home. This will help you practice and gain the skills to move through your home in case of a defensive situation.
Dummy Rounds/Snap Caps:
Dummy rounds are a good safety training product if you want to practice reloads and clearing malfunctions. Dummy rounds will require you to be extremely vigilant that you don’t have live ammunition in the area, with your fully functional firearm. With dummy rounds you can manipulate all aspects of your fully functional firearm without the actual firing of live rounds. You can practice malfunction drills, reloading drills, dry fire drills, exc.
At the range, dummy rounds will also let you set up malfunctions in combination with live ammunition. Once again, since the dummy rounds have a dual purpose, it is very important to make sure live ammunition is not in the area of your inert training environment.
For maximum safety with the most function, the high visibility training barrel is the safest combination. You will only be limited in chambering a dummy round. Depending on the firearm and magazines you are using, you can mark your magazines with aftermarket colored pads or high visibility endplates. I like to change out the endplates on my dedicated Glock inert training magazines, to Glock training orange endplates. I do not use these magazines at the range. These are only on my inert dummy round magazines. If I use dummy rounds at the range, I use my standard carry magazines.
A few months ago Colt was running a promotion where they would send a free soft rifle case upon receipt of proof of purchase of a new Colt rifle that was bought within a specified time period. As I had recently purchased a Colt 6720 I happily emailed Colt my invoice. They advised it could be up to a twelve week wait however I received my case in nine weeks.
The case is made for Colt by Bulldog Cases and features the Colt logo prominently embroidered on the front of the case as well as Colt stamped zipper pulls. The particular case I received is the 35” model sized for 16” Carbines with collapsing stocks. It’s a snug fit on a 16” gun with the stock fully closed so a 16” AR with a fixed stock or an AR with any longer of a barrel would be a no go. It does however have room to allow for optics.
The case also features a zipper pocket and four individual mag pouches on one side and a over the shoulder carry strap on the other.
Build quality is decent and about what I would expect from a case that normally retails for around $45. The foam padding compresses rather easily and I question how much protection it would really provide. The stitching is also a little suspect in some areas.
I would consider it a good case to transport a rifle from the safe to the range and back again. For a working gun that may be exposed to a variety of conditions or bounced around in a vehicle for long periods of time I would invest in something more substantial.
Article submitted by a friend of ours:
ANOTHER REASON FOR…
Defective Defensive Ammo, Malfunction Drills, and Two Is Better Than One.
A few hours ago I was standing near my bed preparing to go out and doing a check of an every day carry gun. A bullet fell on the bed immediately followed by a primed case. I believe there was powder also but it was difficult to find as it blended in with the bed cover.
At first I thought that the round in the chamber had come apart but that round was still there, it was the top round from the magazine. It is possible that repeated movement of the slide to verify the presence of a chambered round could have loosened the bullet but I always remove the magazine before doing that. Had I been in a fight, fired a round then this one came apart while chambering that would have been quite a problem. Had the loose bullet seated deeper into the case before firing that can cause the pressure of the already high pressure round to increase so dramatically that the gun becomes a hand grenade.
I’ve had a goodly number of instructors for the art of the gun, all of them always carry at least two weapons, some of them two or even three guns in addition to other weapons. The number of guns and other weapons carried seems to increase with the severity of their experiences during their careers. In my circumstances it is difficult enough to carry concealed one gun but after much trial and experimentation I have found a way to carry two, neither is small and both are convenient. This makes me more glad that I did.
Guns break, even brand new parts from major manufacturers break at unexpected times. That has happened to me more than once and I have seen it happen to other people. Ammo can be defective also. This ammo has a reputation for its good performance when used, it was premium stuff from a major U.S. manufacturer. They will be hearing from me.
Never think that it can’t happen to you.