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9 Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns: Break the Rules

Forget everything that you’ve learned about conventional firearms.  

Bullpup rifles and shotguns break all of the rules.  

John Wick with KSG Bullpup Shotgun
John Wick with KSG Bullpup Shotgun

A “bullpup” is a type of firearm with its action and trigger behind the trigger group.  This setup reduces overall length and weight substantially while not sacrificing barrel length and velocity.

They’re short, compact, and easy to handle, but still have the same accuracy as long-barrel rifles, shotguns, and sub-machine guns. 

I’ll cover more exactly what a bullpup gun is, the pros/cons, and the best models out there right now.

What Is a Bullpup Firearm?

Bullpups have the action located behind the firing grip.

MSBS-B (Top), Conventional MSBS-K (Bottom)
MSBS-B (Top), Conventional MSBS-K (Bottom)

In other words, the part of the gun where the magazine, barrel, and bolt meet is positioned behind the trigger instead of in front of it, like with conventional guns.

Because bullpup firearms have a different design than their traditional counterparts, they need to be handled differently.

When shooting a bullpup gun, you’ll need to hold the firearm closer to your body when aiming and shooting.  This, combined with the fact that bullpup guns generally have shorter overall lengths, makes them great for shooting in confined spaces.

Pros and Cons of Bullpup Guns

Bullpups are something many people either love or hate, and it can take a lot of practice before you master shooting one.

They have a lot of benefits in a tactical setting…which is why various bullpup guns have been used by various armed forces around the world, including Britain, France, Israel, and Australia.

Israeli Forces with Tavor
Israeli Forces with Tavor

Pros of Bullpups

  • Many bullpup versions are more compact than conventional models, increasing their maneuverability.
  • The design allows for a longer barrel without sacrificing overall length, accuracy, and muzzle velocity that comes with a shorter barrel.
Desert Tech SRS vs Conventional Rifle
Desert Tech SRS vs Conventional Rifle
  • Since the gun has to be held closer to the body, you’re less likely to experience fatigue from extensive shooting.
  • Your hand positioning helps you aim and shoot from a lowered position quicker than conventional guns.

While it’s true that bullpup weapons have some benefits that set them apart from traditional firearms…there’s still a couple cons.

Cons of Bullpups

  • Bullpup guns that aren’t specially designed to eject casings downward are prone to hitting left-handed shooters in the face.  Fortunately, most newer bullpup firearms have found a way around this with downward and upward ejection features.
IWI Tavor, Jerry Miculek
IWI Tavor, Jerry Miculek
  • Many bullpups are back heavy, which can affect the gun’s balance and can cause the muzzle to rise significantly when being fired.
  • The positioning of the magazine can make it more difficult to rapidly reload bullpup guns.
  • In the rare and unlikely event that your bullpup gun backfires, the way bullpup guns are held means the explosion happens much closer to your face.

The Bottom Line:

The advantage of using a bullpup gun over a conventional firearm is improved maneuverability, which is why bullpups are ideal for shooting in confined spaces.  Additionally, this is also why bullpup shotguns make great weapons for home defense.

Have a look at this video of a Kel-Tec bullpup shotgun in action:

As you can see, it looks much easier to handle than a bulky conventional shotgun.

Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns

Now that we’ve covered the basics of what a bullpup is and why you might want one, let’s have a look at some popular bullpup models…in no particular order.

1. Ruger 10/22 Bullpup

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

If you own a Ruger 10/22, converting it into a bullpup rifle is cheap and relatively easy. For less than $250, you can order a bullpup conversion kit from High Tower Armory that turns your Ruger 10/22 into a tactical rifle.  

The kit even comes with an attachable shell deflector, making it easier and more comfortable for left-handed shooters to handle.

The Ruger 10/22 bullpup is a favorite for a lot of hobbyists who enjoy modifying their guns.

2. IWI Tavor X95

Hands down one of the best and most widely adopted bullpups on the market is the Tavor X95 from IWI.

Tavor Side view
Tavor Side view

From the sleek styling to the ambi controls, the Tavor series of rifles have been a hit since the start. The X95 being the best of the bunch!

If you want the whole story, take a look at our hands-on Tavor X95 review!

The short version though is that this gun runs. While the Tavor in general has always been a great bullpup, the X95 gains the benefit of iterative design and has improved the platform greatly.

Soft shooting, compact, ultra-reliable, if we were going to pick a king of Bullpups — it would be this one.

at Kentucky Gun Co.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Desert Tech SRS-A1

Best Precision Bullpup Rifle
at Euro Optic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Don’t let the size fool you.  The SRS-A1 is a world-class sniper rifle

The Desert Tech Stealth Recon Scout A1 (~$5000) is a bullpup, bolt-action sniper rifle that is known for its accuracy and compact nature.

The bullpup design makes the SRS-A1 an effective sharpshooting rifle that’s as compact as a submachine gun.  

The shortest model has a barrel length of 16”, other versions have either a 22” or 24” barrel.  The exception if the SRS-A1 magnums, which have a barrel length of 26.”

The SRS-A1 has the following cartridge options:

  • .308 Winchester
  • .260 Remington
  • 6.5mm Creedmoor
  • 6.5x47mm Lapua
  • 7mm Winchester Short Mag
  • .300 Winchester Mag
  • .338 Laupa Mag

Overall, the DT SRS-A1 is a great sniper rifle with an innovative design that allows it to be short and compact without sacrificing accuracy.  (Editor Eric: My SRS in .308 gets 3/8 MOA using dialed in reloads!)

Want to learn more?  Have a quick look at this short video clip covering the SRS-A1.

4. Desert Tech MDR

at Euro Optic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Another innovative bullpup rifle coming from the people over at Desert Tech is the Micro Dynamic Rifle ($2500), or MDR.

Desert Tech is a company that’s known primarily for their long-range rifles (like above), so when they announced that they were releasing a carbine some critics were skeptical.  

However, skeptics were immediately silenced, as the MDR was an instant success and was praised for being one of the most innovative rifles of the time.

The MDR is a one-of-a-kind gun’s lightweight, compact, and has an incredibly futuristic look to it.  It weighs less than 8.5 pounds and has an overall length of 26.2”, making it an incredibly portable gun.

Length comparison between the MDR and conventional rifle (SCAR by FNH)
Length comparison between the MDR and conventional rifle (SCAR by FNH)

Another thing that makes the MDR an incredible gun is forward ejection mechanism, which makes the rifle fully ambidextrous.  This will make the MDR a favorite among left-handed shooters who’re frustrated with bullpup designs that send casings flying in their faces.

The DT MDR has the following cartridge options:

  • .223 Wylde
  • .308 Winchester
  • .300 AAC Blackout

If you want to learn more about the DT MDR and see what it looks like in action, have a look at this exciting video:

4. FN F2000

at FN America

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Do you want a battle-tested rifle that’s trusted by the Belgium Special Forces and Spanish National Police?  The F2000 by Belgian company, FN Herstal, is the gun for you.  This bullpup assault rifle fires 5.56 NATO rounds with amazing accuracy.

You might have seen the F2000 feature in popular video games, like the Call of Duty Modern Warfare series, but did you know that weapons by FNH are often used by the Secret Service because of their excellent accuracy, dependability, and functionality?  In this regard, the F2000 is no exception!

Here are some great features that make the F2000 better than your average bullpup rifle:

  • It’s fully ambidextrous, so left-handed shooters don’t have to worry experiencing discomfort that comes with other bullpup guns.
  • It comes with a 1.6x telescopic sight.
  • Forward cartridge casing ejection protects the faces of left-handed shooters.

Depending on your local gun laws, you can get the FN2000 with the standard 30 round capacity mag, or a 10 round restricted magazine.

5. PS90

Best Bullpup Rifle
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Another reliable bullpup gun manufactured by FN Herstal is the PS90 ($1300).

This firearm, classified as a personal defense weapon (PDW), is often lumped in the category of submachine guns.  Even if you didn’t know the PS90 by name, you’ve probably seen it feature in various forms of media, like the game Counter Strike and movies, including James Bond, Hunger Games, and X-Men series.

Recognize the PS90 yet?

Yes, the PS90 is indeed a real gun and not some futuristic weapon seen in the movies.  Although it’s unorthodox design does make it seem a bit far-fetched!

However, the PS90’s reputation of excellence has made it a popular choice among LEOs in the United States on a local and national level, as well as the Taiwanese Armed Forces and various militaries in the EU.

P90 with an STT Operator
P90 with an STT Operator

Unique features of the PS90 include:

  • Fully ambidextrous and easy to operate by right-handed shooters and southpaws.
  • It ejects cartridge casings downwards, protecting the face of left-handed shooters.
  • The magazine sits on the top of the barrel, rather than underneath.

If you want to see what the PS90 looks like up-close-and-personal, have a look at this video:

What’s your take on the PS90?

Readers' Ratings

4.98/5 (630)

Your Rating?

6. Kel-Tec KSG

Editor's Pick Bullpup Shotgun
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Do you want a bullpup weapon that’s perfect for home defense?  

The KSG 12-gauge shotgun by Kel-Tec (~$800) is your best bet.  It’s light, compact, and easy to use.

The KSG is smaller than your average 12-gauge but it still packs the same punch.  Check out our list of the Best Tactical Shotguns to see which made the list.

As you can see, the KSG doesn’t look like your conventional shotgun.  It doesn’t have a long barrel, which means that it’s perfect for shooting in narrow and tight spaces.  This pump-action shotgun is ambidextrous and can be easily fitted with red-dot sights, making it optimal for tactical scenarios.

If you’re still uncertain about the KSG, consider this: its reputation for reliability in the field has made the shotgun a popular choice among certain French and South Korean battalions.  Additionally, since it KSG utilizes downward cartridge ejection technology, left-handed shooters don’t have to worry about shells hitting them in the face.

With a retail price under $1,000, the Kel-Tec KSG is a great weapon home defense weapon to have.  If you’re still not sold, consider this: the KSG has two feeding tubes, which allow for a total of 7+7+1 rounds at any given time.

7. Mossberg 500 Bullpup

at Tac+On Ready

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The Mossberg 500 is a 12-gauge shotgun that is known for its reliability and supreme functionality.  They have seen action in the Gulf War and the Iraq War, and are used by the United State military, as well as 10 other armed forces.

Did you know that these conventional weapons can easily be converted into powerful bullpup shotguns optimized for home defense?

Converting your Mossberg to a bullpup will reduce its size significantly

Companies like Bullpup Unlimited and Tac+On Ready sell conversion kits for less than $400.  If you find the thought of stripping and modifying your gun intimidating, don’t worry!  It’s actually not as difficult as you think, and Tac+On has a number of instructional videos on their website to guide you along the way.

While these conversion kits can turn your Mossberg into a tactical beast, it does have a drawback.

Since the gun wasn’t designed specifically as a bullpup shotgun, it lacks the ambidextrous features of other bullpups.  For left-handed users, this means that expended shells could fly in their line of sight, or even their faces.

8. Steyr AUG

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

You didn’t think I’d write a review of bullpups and leave off the Steyr AUG, did you?

AUG taking a nap on a tree
AUG taking a nap on a tree

This Austrian bullpup rifle is one of the most recognizable and popular weapons in its field.  It shoots the 5.56 NATO cartridges and is used by a number of countries across the world, including the United States, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

The Steyr AUG might be the most recognizable bullpup rifle.

Steyr Aug in Counterstrike, Game Modding
Steyr AUG in Counterstrike, Game Modding

Here are some of the features that helped the Steyr AUG become arguably the face for bullpup rifles:

  • Easy-to-use safety mechanism located above the grip.
  • The gun can be configured for right or left-handed shooters by changing the bolt to a right or left-side model and sealing the ejection port on the side closest to the shooter’s face.
  • Standard models come with a 1.5x optical sight and carrying handle.

Overall, the Steyr AUG is a good rifle to have.  It accommodates right-handed and southpaw shooters and is easy to operate.  This has helped make the gun a successful tactical piece for nearly 40 years.

Need a hands-on review of the AUG? We got you covered! Steyr AUG Hands-On Review!


As you can see, bullpup weapons are completely different than their conventional counterpart.

With that said, they’re still great for shooting in tight spaces and are capable of firing accurately at short and long ranges.  If you’re a firearms enthusiast who loves tactical weapons, you should consider buying a bullpup if you haven’t already.

After you get one, you might want to put a red dot on it. Be it your new Shotgun or Rifle, we got the scoop on what optics are right for you!

So, when are you planning on getting one…and did we miss any of your favorite bullpup rifles and shotguns? Tell us in the comments!

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35 Leave a Reply

  • Ernie Robinson

    I have recently purchased a Keltec KS7 and basically it's a KSG with one tub instead two. It is very reliable and handles fairly well for a bullpup 12 gage. It holds 7 -2 3/4" shells and one in the chamber or six 3" shells. There are after market items that can be purchased on line. It is around the same price as the KSG or a little cheaper depending on where you purchase it from. I thought you might be interested

    June 29, 2021 5:35 pm
  • Aaron

    I wonder why people don't talk about the Standard Manufacturing DP-12? It's one of the best out there. Never had one malfunction in 4 years and it can hold 16 rounds.

    June 21, 2021 5:29 am
  • David Nia

    Please consider updating this article with the inclusion of the K&M M17S bullpups.

    June 13, 2021 9:09 am
  • Jack Payne

    I'm surprised you did not menton K&M Arms's M17S (available in 223, 308 and 300 Blackout); American made; simple design; very robust and proven plateform. Its basically a bullpup AR10 when in the 308 configuration, I owned one for two years and really liked it.

    October 24, 2020 5:36 am
  • Green

    I know it isn't exactly marketed as such, but could the MDR be used for hunting?
    I'm considering getting it in 6.5 Creedmoor.

    October 16, 2020 10:03 am
    • David, PPT Editor

      Sure, no reason why not. Depending on local laws -- some states require straight wall cartridges, some states require no more than X rounds in the magazine -- etc.

      October 16, 2020 12:23 pm
  • TexasBEAST

    The text says the bullpup Mossberg reduces weight significantly compared to a standard Mossberg. But the accompanying pictures show the bullpup as being the heavier of the two, TWICE. Y'all must have the weights transposed in the pics.

    September 26, 2020 10:58 pm
  • Michael Price

    The AUG is the best in the rifle bull pups. I will continue researching the shottys

    November 26, 2019 8:25 pm

      OK? why is it best?

      January 24, 2020 9:56 am
  • Eugene S

    What's an 'assault' rifle? I've assaulted lots of paper targets with various tools. I've also assaulted many bags of chips with nothing but my bare hands :)

    November 25, 2019 4:44 pm
    • Adam

      There's really no reason to be intentionally obtuse.

      May 2, 2020 11:35 pm
  • Richard Miller

    I am a little surprised you selected the IWI Tavor SAR over the Tavor X95. I, personally only have the X95 in 5.56 (and LOVE this weapon) but I chose it over the SAR only after reading dozens of reviews and watching many videos of highly respected reviewers. People lived their SAR until they tried the X95 and they fell hard for the updated Tavor and all it had to offer. Any reason you chose the SAR?

    April 9, 2019 12:24 am
    • Job Woolsey

      Richard Miller, I thought the exact same thing. I'm looking into getting an iwi Tavor, and with all the research I have done it shows the x95 is the better rifle. Also there really isn't much price difference between the two so I'm really not sure why they picked the sar.

      October 20, 2019 5:34 am
  • Jacob

    If you all update this list, please review the Panzer Arms BP-12. It's a bullpup-style, 12-ga. shotty that is magazine-fed. Has been out for less than a year, but I'd like to see some testing or running it through the paces before purchasing.

    March 18, 2019 6:29 am
    • Abhishek Kulkarni

      There are some reviews on YouTube. Didn't perform flawlessly.

      May 19, 2019 1:38 pm
  • Ivan Renko

    Did you try the Kel-Tec RDB? 5.56 NATO, downward ejecting, really astonishingly good trigger for a Bullpup rifle; overall a very clever yet practical design.

    January 29, 2019 4:16 am
    • David, PPT Editor

      We're publishing a complete review of the Kel-Tec RDB sometime next month!

      January 29, 2019 9:36 am
  • Howard Wilmot

    Where is the DP-12?
    Completely anbidextrious and destroys the KSG and ever other 12ga. Bull pup made!

    July 20, 2018 6:00 am
    • Robert

      After watching many reviews on the KSG, I could see where you'd think that. I own two since i liked the first one so much. Most times is the user or the crappy ammo that is the cause of the problems. The dp12 has it's own set of problems.

      October 1, 2018 4:27 am
      • Howard

        I have shot the KSG and now own the DP-12
        The DP's slight weight increase is it's only drawback, a direct result of its bullet proof design and build quality. There is also it's flawless operation at more than double the speed of the KSG.
        Look to the reputation of the company behind each to know which unit will take the most abuse without fail long term.

        April 7, 2019 7:24 am
  • David

    Tanfoglio Appeal comes in 22lr and is cheaper than buying a 10/22 and the conversion kit. Of course, its also not a 10/22, so there's that. Plus, I think they only make 10 round magazines for the appeal, which is a crying shame.

    June 16, 2018 7:29 pm
  • Teejay

    Where's the L85?

    April 9, 2018 7:27 am
    • David

      On the list for "Worst Bullpup Rifles [Ever]"

      The A2 version fixed almost all of the issues with the L85A1 but it won't ever live down its reputation for being one of the worst designed and fielded military rifles in history.

      The British also don't make any of them or any version of them for civilian export and by US law even if they did make one for export, it couldn't be exported to the USA.

      April 9, 2018 9:19 am
  • Kevin

    Pros of Bullpups

    Many bullpup versions are more compact than conventional models, increasing their maneuverability.
    The design allows for a ---shorter barrel length ---without sacrificing accuracy and muzzle velocity.

    I believe that should read "allows for a longer barrel without sacrificing overal length of the weapon"

    December 2, 2017 8:41 am
    • Eric Hung

      Thanks for catching that, Kevin!

      December 14, 2017 12:46 pm
  • Apollo

    Also, its nonsensical to say the following:

    1. "you have to hold the bullpup closer"

    The distance from the trigger to the butt stock is exactly the same whether bullpup or not. Many have adjustable butt plates to suit any shooter.

    The entire rifle is closer to the body only because the rifle is shorter for any given barrel length so the muzzle (hence entire rifle) is always nearer to the body as a result.

    This is related to the next point.

    2. Bullpup allows "shorter barrels" without sacrificing range/power/muzzle velocity.

    That is plain wrong!
    Range/power/muzzle velocity is determined by barrel length! It's just that bullpups at any given barrel length will always be shorter since you ELIMINATE the useless/redundant butt stock - the bolt action group & firing chamber & any other mechanisms behind the trigger CONSTITUTES the butt stock!

    *NB - .Since the whole rifle is nearer to the body, the centre of gravity of the bullpup is closer to the body.

    This is because the heaviest part of any rifle is the bolt action group and the barrel. If the former is right against the butt stock behind the trigger instead of in front of the trigger, plus the whole rifle (including barrel is nearer the body, any bullpup will require less effort to hold horizontally. Again it's elementary physics.

    July 1, 2017 11:35 am
  • Apollo

    Correction: *This eliminates (2)(b).

    March 2, 2017 4:55 am
  • Apollo

    Shame that this factual inaccuracy keeps getting repeated ad nauseum.

    There is no such thing as muzzle rise due to the weight of the gun being in front or in the rear of a gun

    (1) Newton's laws of physics already shows that an item that stays at rest tends to stay at rest. When you aim a rifle and steady your breathing, the rifle is already in equilibrium. All the forces acting on the rifle are cancelling each other out, i.e. Gravity has been cancelled out by the upward forces produced by your arms/hands.

    (2) Newton's other two laws says that an object that stays at rest tends to stay at rest. It only moves only when there is a force acting on it, and that there is an equal and opposite reaction when forces act on it.

    Based on the above, muzzle rise has nothing to do with the centre of gravity of the gun (front heavy or rear heavy). It occurs only if the recoil of the gun causes:

    (a) your upper body/spine to bend or move backwards therefore causing the gun that you are holding in your arm to point upwards.

    Think of this as a stationary rocking chair with a horizontal broom stick attached to it. When you rock it backwards, the stick starts to rotate and point upwards.

    Solution: Better standing stance, which will reduce but probably cannot eliminate it.

    (b) a rotational force caused by the rifle butt contact point with the shoulder being LOWER than the horizontal line of the barrel.

    It is amazing that so many people still fail to understand this. The legendary Eugene Stoner addressed this in the 1960s Vietnam war era when he designed the M16 to be a straight-line recoil design constructed so that it is a straight line from muzzle to the rifle butt.

    All rifles prior to the M16 had the rifle butt designed to be lower than the muzzle tip for eye relief, including the AK-47. Of course they rotated at the pivot (which is where the rifle butt touches the shoulder). This is elementary grade school physics called "moment (or torque) of a force about a turning point is the force multiplied by the perpendicular distance to the force from the turning point" - wikipedia.

    All modern rifles (including bullpups) now use this straight line recoil design. This eliminates (2).

    Modern extremely high speed video has long since confirmed a lot of things about recoil. Please understand this before you write nonsense like bullpup-muzzle-rise-due-to-heavy-rear. No such thing.

    March 2, 2017 3:23 am
    • Eric Hung

      Wow, thanks for the knowledge drop!

      March 7, 2017 6:18 pm
    • TexanInThailand

      Apollo: that all sounds reasonable and authoritative, but that does NOT make it completely factually correct. Straight line designs HELP, but do NOT eliminate muzzle rise. Not with long arms and certainly not with subguns or pistols.
      Full auto weapons (most of them) tend to have muzzle climb and goto the left (ejection is to the right).
      You are correct that stance and hand position can be usd to counter this, but they still do it.
      WHY they do it is not as important as the fact that they do and you need to counter for it to control them.
      Signed: Former Recon Marine/SAW/M-60 gunner.

      August 24, 2017 5:16 pm
    • Tim

      I have to disagree as you didn't consider the effect of gravity on the position of the mass of the weapon. The farther it is from the fulcrum of the arc, the more effect it has on the level of the muzzle rise. You actually sound like a Google physicist that has never fired a shotgun.

      April 8, 2018 5:53 pm
  • Ty Reynolds

    Are there 12ga semi automatic bull pup shotguns?

    February 26, 2017 7:11 pm
    • Eric Hung

      Hey Ty, only pump ones are readily available but I remember Uzkon (Turkish manufacturer) is coming out with one soon.

      February 27, 2017 11:28 am
      • MIKE K

        No one mentioned that on most bullpups the trigger is awful and cannot be adjusted or smoothed out. This is due to the linkage between the trigger and the action Which is far behind the position of the trigger.

        September 26, 2017 7:29 am
        • turbo1889

          Normally that is true but there have been exceptions which solved this problem through creative solutions.

          The early British E-2 designed immediately after WWII being an excellent example where the striker style firing pin was released by a shear built into the very front bottom of it's bolt activated by a very short linkage that was a mere inch or two behind the trigger and pushed up against the bottom of the very front of the bolt where the shear is built into the bolt.

          For designs that are hammer fired or striker fired but require a longer linkage a rotary torque rod can solve the problem and transfers crisply over a much longer distance but to my knowledge have only been used in a very few prototype designs and or custom builds/conversions.

          Long story short there are solutions that can provide bullpup guns with excellent trigger feel just as good as conventional firearms BUT doing so requires actually outside of the box creativity and/or old school quality engineering and actually "giving a $#*&" which unfortunately is not so common in firearms design anymore.

          February 26, 2018 11:26 pm