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Steyr AUG Review [Field Tested]

There are a lot of bullpup rifles on the market, almost none as iconic as the Steyr AUG though! From Die Hard to the Outback of Australia, this rifle is battle proven and interesting to handle. Learn all about it!

Let’s say I wanted a rifle, chambered in 5.56, with a 16-inch barrel, and I wanted it to be about the same size as an SMG.

AUG taking a nap on a tree
AUG taking a nap on a tree after a long day at the range

Some may say I’m crazy, others may have seen the title of this article, and are also be Die Hard aficionados.

Die Hard AUG
Die Hard badguys with their AUG

If you were in the latter group, you’d know that this is possible with guns like the Steyr AUG.

The Steyr AUG is a bullpup rifle that manages to pack a lot in a little space. It does this by placing the action behind the trigger group. This includes the magazine, bolt, and ejection port.

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What the engineers at Steyr did was create a simple rifle, that incorporated a 16-inch barrel in a gun the same size as an SMG. Seriously, let’s use Die Hard as a reference because…I love Die Hard.

The Steyr AUG is only 28.15 inches with a 16-inch barrel and its chambered in a rifle caliber. That’s a pretty substantial rifle in a tiny package. That’s the magic of a bullpup.

AUG Vs. 7.5 inch AR
AUG Vs. 7.5 inch AR

Smaller guns are easier to handle in close quarters, but in rifle calibers that usually means a shorter barrel.

A shorter barrel in a rifle caliber usually means less range and a drop in ballistic performance. The Steyr AUG is the best of both worlds in many ways.

AUG Vs. 16 inch AR-15
AUG Vs. 16 inch AR-15

Table of Contents


Steyr Aug Specs & Features

The Steyr AUG’s current incarnation is the Steyr AUG A3 M1. This particular rifle sports a 1.5x optic, but is available with a 3x optic, or no optic and a scope rail. This is the NATO model, so it does accept AR 15 magazines.

The downside is that you lose the ability to swap the gun to a left-handed configuration. With the standard model you can do that, but has to use the less common AUG mags. Although, the 42 round semi-transparent AUG magazine has a place in my heart.

The gun weighs 8.8 pounds with an optic, and in the world of lightweight ARs, it’s a little hefty. However, once you pick it up the balance is perfect. The slightly heavier than average weight isn’t that significant.

AUG Plus Pew Pew SWAG
AUG Plus Pew Pew SWAG

The optic on the gun sports Pic rails for attaching a small red dot, or whatever else you may want. There is also a small section on the left-hand side for an accessory. It is perfect for a light attachment.

A Streamlight TLR-1 with a simple switch lever works well here. It’s made for a pistol, but due to the rails placement near the support hand, it’s easy to turn on and off.

Not much room for accessories...
Not much room for accessories…

Other than that there isn’t much room for accessories. You can’t load this thing down like a traditional AR, but do you need to?

One of the cool features is how easy and quick you can remove the barrel. Right above the folding pistol grip is a small button, you move the button forward with one hand and pull the barrel with the other. Bam, it’s off.

In the past Steyr produced the AUG para kit which allowed you to convert the gun to 9mm with just a few changes, the barrel is one of them. Those kits seem few and far between these days.

You can swap the barrels out though. You can add a 20 inch, or even a 24-inch barrel to your AUG. This allows to convert the AUG to a DMR style weapon or pretend it is the squad support model of the AUG.


This is my first real experience with a bullpup. I’ve played and toyed with some in the past, but this was my first time running and gunning with one. I’m keeping that in mind as I judge ergos.

Base Ergonomics

Everything feels right about this gun. The stock is nice and full and fits comfortably into the shoulder. The 15-inch LOP is excellent with or without armor. (Disclaimer I’m also 6’4” and have gorilla arms.)

The grip angle is perfect, and it better be because it can’t be changed. I’ve always like vertical foregrips, and this one works as intended. Without it, you wouldn’t have much space to grip the rifle.

Aiming down the AUG optical sight

Since this gun doesn’t have a proper forend trying to rest it on barriers is almost impossible. Also if you don’t like the location of the VFG… Well too bad, because it can’t be moved.

Lastly, the gun is equipped with two QD sling swivels for right-handed users only. Perfect for my favorite Blue Force Gear Vickers sling.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


As a Marine and AR owner, I’m used to a more standard layout, and my muscle memory was clinging to that style. It took a lot of practice both dry and live fire for me to master the ergos. Admittedly reloading is nowhere near as intuitive as an AR or standard layout rifle.

I did a lot of practice reloads and eventually found my way of reloading efficiently, but I don’t feel I’d ever be as fast as I am with a standard rifle. The gun has two mag releases and both work depending on your style of reloading.

Reloading the AUG isn’t the most natural of movements…but you can train into it

The first is a small button forward of the magazine well. The second is a rear lever placed right behind the magazine. I prefer the rear lever. If I keep my thumb pointing up on my fresh magazine my thumb presses the lever up and releases the magazine.

I grip it with the same hand, remove it, reload, and carry on.


The controls used outside of reloading are very simple and intuitive. The charging handle is placed on the left side and easy to reach and use. That being said it takes a little force to get that bolt back.

AUG Safety
Square cross bolt safety located back and above of the trigger

The safety is just a square push button, and it works as intended, is easy to use, and provides a tactile method of knowing what state your rifle is in.

Live Fire

The gun points exceptionally well. It feels so natural to take it from low ready to high ready and fire. It’s short size, and excellent balance comes into effect here. It points so well it’s honestly easy to fire with one hand.

I’m no physics buff, but the fact that most of the gun is to the rear and barely any barrel is forward of the shooter means the muzzle is much easier to control. Remember the exaggerated C-Clamp so many guys use with ARs?

AUG cheek weld is easy to aquire

The same theory is in effect here. Recoil is typical of a 5.56 caliber weapon, so there isn’t much to say other than its minimal and pleasant.

The most prominent downside to the AUG is its trigger. If you run Timneys in your AR, then you will be aghast at the AUG’s trigger. It’s functional, but far from the match grade performance many of us are accustom to.

It’s squishy, the pull is long, and it’s quite gritty. It’s 9 pounds, and you feel every ounce of it. I wouldn’t take it to an NRA High Power match, or a precision rifle contest. With that said it’s not bad enough to make you miss, just bad enough to open up your groups a bit.


This rifle could be used for a wide variety of purposes. It’s certainly an exciting gun to bring to 3-Gun, albeit reloading may be a little tricky for speedy purposes. It’s certainly a great home defense weapon.

The compact size is perfect for inside the house and close quarters use. It’s balanced well, in a competent caliber, and even equipped with a suppressor it’s still roughly the same size as a standard AR 15.

Careful of that ejection port, lefties beware of righthanded rifles!

As a duty gun, it’s served several countries exceptionally well. At one point it was even adopted by the Department of Homeland Security. The AUG is one of the longest-serving bullpup rifles out there and its proven in terms of reliability and usefulness.

It’s an excellent gun for smaller shooters who want to exercise the most control over their weapon possible. It’s got a great length of pull, gives the shooter an excellent degree of control over the gun, and with a little time and effort put into training, the controls are flawless.

The last use is, of course, the best one, it’s fun. It’s fun to shoot, it looks like a space gun, and its a dream to shoot. Plus, it’s excellent for shooting glass. (last Die Hard reference I promise.)

Steyr Aug Upgrades

We all like accessorizing our guns, but unfortunately, the AUG doesn’t have a massive aftermarket. There are a few companies producing some excellent, high-quality upgrades. Corvus Defensio comes to mind immediately.

The big problem is that the AUG itself doesn’t leave a lot of room for customization. It’s a simple weapon, and it was designed over thirty years ago.

Steyr AUG A3 M1 Gun Deals

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By the Numbers

Reliability 5/5

The thing never went click when it should have gone bang. I went through everything from nice TAP ammo to cheap Tula and it worked. No issues ejecting, loading, or firing. The AUG has been around long enough that any such problems would be corrected by now.

Ergonomics 3/5

The gun gets really high marks in some areas and low marks in others. The trigger kinda sucks and I’m taking a point away solely for that. Reloading is an iffy proposition, and will never be AR fast, but with practice, it’s intuitive enough. The other big flaw is that should the gun have a failure the placement of the ejection port makes squick access difficult.

Accuracy 4/5

The gun is quite accurate and capable of producing respective groups. It well beyond Minute of Bad Guy accuracy and out to several hundred yards I can hit the chest area of my targets. The trigger is kinda crap takes a point off.

Accessories and Upgrades 2/5

I’m going to give it one point for the barrel and bipod options and 1 point for potential. The Steyr AUG is so simple it seems like it would be easy to do caliber conversions, offer different forward grips, and really change things up. Unfortunately, the rifle isn’t popular enough in the US to receive the AR treatment.

Looks 5/5

So this is obviously subjective and my 5 rating is clearly based on a lot of inherent bias about this gun. It looks cool to me. Sorry, but it always will. Objectively I can say the finish is nice and evenly applied, and looks smooth and classy. The stock’s FDE mixed with the black metal gives a nice balanced look of colors.

Bang for Your Buck Value 2/5

This is not a cheap gun by any stretch. It’s not even really a cheap bullpup these days. On average it’s at least 500 bucks more than the base model of the Tavor. Compared to the AR market it’s even higher than some nice Daniel Defense AR rifles. I’m giving it a 2 because if you want an AUG it’s really your only option… and it’s not FN SCAR money.

Overall 3.5/5

The Steyr AUG is a great gun. It does have some flaws, and if it was available for around 1,500 bucks it’d be a real winner. This particular model typically retails for over 2k and that’s a hard sell. It’s a straight-shooting, compact, and well-designed platform that shows us what a bullpup can really do.

at Bereli

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Do you have an AUG? How do you like it? What other bullpups do you love (Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns)? Most importantly, what is your favorite Die Hard movie? Let us know in the comments!

Steyr AUG A3 M1

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14 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    A better trigger costs $100 for aftermarket part by ratworx. the AUG kind of enforces an austerity on you - you find you can’t mount much too it, but so dang sexy you just don’t care. love my AUG, and my ARs and AKs too.

    January 9, 2022 3:13 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Joe blow

    I've always thought it was a good looking rifle, but it's relatively heavy. I enjoyed shooting it, but have no desire to own one, and am naturally more comfortable with my AR configuration.

    Last I knew, the SAS and Special Forces refuse to use the Steyr and use the M4 instead. They say the gun is too difficult to use when wearing body armor, takes too long to reload under stress, and is too fragile for intense combat.

    October 9, 2020 8:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Lott

    The AUG seems to work well in left hand configuration. I'm not a lefty, but the guy who took the AUG class with me is. Left handed bolt and case deflector (Corvus Defensio) and you are set.

    July 30, 2019 5:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Was considering one of these just "to have" but I think I'll give it a solid pass. I'm a left hand shooter and the only thing that seems to be left hand friendly about it is the ability to switch the action to left hand. Even then it solely looks as if it is catered solely to right hand shooters.
    I think I've made up my mind, Tavor it is!!

    July 19, 2019 4:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Good review. The biggest thing I think most people would hope for is a better trigger. Everything else is the price of admission for a bullpup design with no real better option out there. There is a reason this is the most revered bullpup 556 rifle.

    June 17, 2019 8:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      There's an excellent aftermarket upgrade called the "Neu-trigger" that I've used for five years to excellent effect (ran me ~$35). It's still no match trigger, but the pull weight is now ~6lbs, and more importantly, all the grittiness is gone.

      October 3, 2019 11:29 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Anderson

    Sure you can get an AR that's lighter, more accurate and cheaper. But add in the cost of extra parts, needed to carry. Also the unreliability of the AR.
    I bought it mostly for SHTF. Living out of a van for six months at a time. Since then I have seen a SIG. About as reliable ?

    May 22, 2019 3:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I deployed 2 times with theAustralian Army with the Steyr as our personal weapons and love it. The Rifle never let us down nor failed in its tasks.

    April 3, 2019 5:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ron Burling

    I have an AUG, 16" barrel, 3X optic. Yes, trigger is crap but 'we' can still hit an 8 inch steel plate at 300 yds.
    I earned my permanent Expert Rifleman medal with an M16, I'd much rather have my AUG.
    When I die, I want it buried with me!

    April 3, 2019 9:57 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Edwards

    You can upgrade the trigger. 2 option, & both easy. mine breaks ultra smoothly @ 3 lbs. its the org model with factory 20" barrel. She'll not only hold her own against match HBARS. But usually out shoot them . I wouldn't trade her for every AR ever made.

    January 16, 2019 7:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    What's with the flipped images? I know you aren't touting it as a LH version so I'm just curious. It's pretty simple to flip images back to the correct view if it's a phone camera issue. Just something ya'll should catch in your editing.

    May 25, 2018 7:44 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Under the "My Aug" section, the writer mentions that there is a small pic rail on the left-hand side. In the flipped images, yes it does appear to be on the left hand side...but for those who want to truly know where you can attach accessories such as lights and lasers and the like, the small rails are both on the RIGHT-HAND side, in addition to the longer one on top of the optic. For those that want more rail real estate, you can get the AUG without a scope, with a choice of 3 factory rails + aftermarket rails. The longest factory rail (and others) will allow you to put a decent sized red dot optic, magnifier, and back up irons on, no problem. Also, the writer's AUG is a NATO stocked model that takes STANAG mags. That NATO model has no ability to swap ejection to the left-hand side, no rear mounted bolt release, and no using what many have described as the best magazines ever made (the standard waffle-pattern AUG mags). You give up some things to be able to use your AR15 magazines in an AUG.
      Steyr has a new .300 Blackout model that has a long rail, rear bolt release, and retains the ability to remove the barrel, but it too is right had ejection only.

      March 5, 2019 12:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike K

    I have had an A2 for over 10 years. The 1.5 Swarovski optic with the “Donut of Death” reticle is a tack driver. After much research, Steyr was able to determine that 1.5 magnification is the ideal for shooting with both eyes open while still providing magnification (see Bindon shooting concept). The reticle also has the added benefit of providing you with relative range estimation out to 300 yds easily. Ratworkx makes a metal sear (Preciosion 2020) which drastically improves the trigger pull making it crisp without the ‘stacking’ of the original polymer sear on polymer trigger pull. Mind you, it does not reduce trigger weight but that can be achieved with a Trigger Tamer. The combination is a much crisper trigger with a lighter pull weight. I enjoyed it so much that when the MSAR Microtech came out, I purchased one. What a dud! Then Steyr came out with the A3 with a flat top rail. I dropped the the clone and got the A3. It runs as flawlessly as the A2. I run a Eotech on it. I’m able to put 5 rounds on a IDPA paster from 35 yards. I have plenty of AR’s but my Steyr AUG is my favorite!

    May 24, 2018 6:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I always thought this was about the ugliest rifle I've ever seen. It looks like a lawn dart and I bet it would work just like one.. I would by a tavor before this if I was in the market for a bullpup.
    I always wondered how injured you would get if you had a round fire out of battery with your face so close to the chamber..

    May 24, 2018 4:19 pm
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