Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns: Break the Rules

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Forget everything that you’ve learned about conventional firearms.  

Bullpup rifles and shotguns break all of the rules.  

P90 with Sandman S

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. 

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

I’ll cover more exactly what a bullpup gun is, the pros/cons, and the best models out there right now. But if you’re in a hurry, check out our recommended models below.

Summary of Our Top Picks

Table of Contents

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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.

Tavor Shouldered and shooting
Tavor Shouldered and shooting

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 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.

In addition, 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

And 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 are still a couple of cons.

Cons of Bullpups

Now for the downsides…

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.

Also, many bullpups are back-heavy, which can affect the gun’s balance and can cause the muzzle to rise significantly when being fired.

Tavor Vs AR-15
Tavor vs. AR-15

Not to mention, the positioning of the magazine can make it more difficult to rapidly reload bullpup guns.

In the rare and unlikely event that your bullpup 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 decent weapons for home defense.

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. 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 X95

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!

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.


IWI Tavor X95

$1795 at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

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

2. Desert Tech SRS-A2

Don’t let the size fool you this gun is a fantastic rifle.

The Desert Tech Stealth Recon Scout A2 is a bullpup, bolt-action model known for its accuracy and compact nature.

Its bullpup design makes it an effective sharpshooting rifle that’s as compact as a submachine gun.  

The SRS-A2 is a multi-caliber design, meaning that it can quickly convert from one chambering to another including .308 Win, 6.5CM, .300 Win Mag, and .338 LM.

Overall, this is a great sniper rifle with an innovative design that allows it to be short and compact without sacrificing accuracy.  

Convertible Bullpup Rifle

Convertible Bullpup Rifle

3. Desert Tech MDRX

Another innovative bullpup rifle coming from the people over at Desert Tech is the Micro Dynamic Rifle, or MDRX.

The MDRX is a one-of-a-kind gun that is lightweight, compact, and has an incredibly futuristic look to it.  

Length comparison between the MDR and conventional rifle (SCAR by FNH)
Length comparison between the MDR series and FN Scar.

What makes the MDRX an incredible gun is a forward ejection mechanism, meaning the rifle is fully ambidextrous.  

It’s a favorite among left-handed shooters who’re frustrated with bullpup designs that send casings flying in their faces.

Like its SRS sibling, the MDRX is multi-caliber and comes in .223 Wylde, .308 Winchester, and .300 Blackout in the 16-inch and 20-inch with the 20-inch also offered in 6.5 Creedmoor.

4. FN FS2000

Do you want a battle-tested rifle that’s trusted by the Belgium Special Forces and Spanish National Police?  

The FS2000 by Belgian company, FN Herstal, is the gun for you. This bullpup assault rifle fires 5.56 NATO rounds with amazing accuracy.

FS2000
FS2000

You might have seen the FS2000 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 FS2000 is no exception!

It’s fully ambidextrous, so left-handed shooters don’t have to worry about experiencing the discomfort that comes with other bullpup guns.

Most Battle Tested Rifle


FN FS2000

$2888 at FN America

Prices accurate at time of writing

Also, it comes with a 1.6x telescopic sight. And forward cartridge casing ejection protects the faces of left-handed shooters.

The FN FS2000 might be discontinued but you can sometimes find them on the used market.

5. FN PS90

Another reliable bullpup gun manufactured by FN Herstal is the PS90.

This firearm, classified as a personal defense weapon (PDW), is often lumped into the category of submachine guns.  

P90 with Sandman S
P90 with Sandman S

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.

Although its unorthodox design does make it seem a bit far-fetched!

However, the PS90’s reputation for 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

It brings a fully ambidextrous design so righties or lefties can use it.

And it ejects casings downwards, protecting the face of left-handed shooters.

And the magazine sits on the top of the barrel, rather than underneath.

Best Ambi Bullpup Rifle


FN PS90

$1799 at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

What’s your take on the PS90?

6. Kel-Tec KSG

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

The KSG 12-gauge shotgun by Kel-Tec is your best bet. It’s smaller than your average 12-gauge but it still packs the same punch.

It doesn’t have a long barrel, which means that it’s perfect for shooting in narrow and tight spaces.  

KSG with Shells
KSG with Shells

This pump-action shotgun is ambidextrous and can be easily fitted with red-dot sights, making it optimal for tactical scenarios.

Its reputation for reliability in the field has made the shotgun a popular choice among certain French and South Korean battalions.

Additionally, since the 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.  


Kel-Tec KSG

$899 at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Steyr AUG

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 one of the most recognizable bullpup rifle.

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

This gun offers an easy-to-use safety mechanism located above the grip.

And 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 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.

Most Popular


Steyr AUG

$2050 at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

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

8. KelTec KS7

The KelTec KS7 provides a simplified variant of the KSG and is also one of the lightest, shortest NFA-free shotguns on the market.

At only 26.1 inches long, it’s just above the overall length requirements for a shotgun. With a weight of less than 6 pounds, the little 5.9-pound shotgun is short and sweet.

KS7 inna woods
KS7 in the woods

KelTec trimmed the KS7 to one tube, and it holds seven rounds of 2.75-inch shells. The barrel is predictably a trim 18.5 inches, and the length of pull is a pleasant 13 inches. This gun looks like a weird one but handles well.

You get a short pump that’s easy to grip, an ambidextrous pump release, a big block safety, and a setup that keeps the lefties happy.

The shells eject from the bottom of the gun, not from the left or right-hand sides. This ensures no one gets a shell to the face.

That big carry handle acts as your sight and accessory mounting platform. While awkward-looking, it makes attaching lights and accessories more fairly easy to accomplish.

The sight is a big green triangle that’s eye-catching and perfect for close-range shooting.

I was pleasantly surprised by the KelTec KS7 and how reliable, fun, and easy to use it is. I like the simple, lightweight design, and it’s become one of my favorite bullpups.

KS7 cool guy pic
KS7

Read our full review of the KS7 here.

9. Smith & Wesson M&P 12

I was pleasantly surprised when Smith & Wesson announced their first new shotgun in decades. It’s been some time since this classic American gunmaker delved into the world of scatterguns.

What was even more surprising, at least to me, was the fact it’s clearly inspired by the KSG.

Smith and Wesson MP12.
Smith and Wesson MP&12

This unusual bullpup layout incorporates dual magazine tubes to double the capacity without doubling the weapon’s size. The S&W M&P 12-gauge provides shooters with 14 rounds of 2.75-inch shells. It’s a ton of firepower in a pump-action shotgun and provides an often low-capacity platform with a few more options.

While S&W might have been influenced by KelTec, they certainly made the M&P 12 a very different gun.

S&W built the M&P 12 with outstanding ergonomics, including a tube switch button on the pump of the weapon and ambidextrous controls that make it easy to operate.

Plus, the rear of the gun can expand and open to allow the user to clear malfunctions, but malfunctions aren’t a real issue with this gun. It’s very reliable and easy to operate with an included vertical foregrip that makes it easy to run the gun.

Smith and Wesson MP12.
Smith and Wesson MP12.

Along the top, we get a full-length optic rail and a barrel shroud that is also an M-LOK attachment point for lights, lasers, and more.

The overall length is 27.8 inches with a 19-inch barrel.

One downside is the long length of pull which is over 14 inches overall — crazy long for a bullpup shotgun.

Smith and Wesson MP12.
Smith and Wesson MP12

Read our full review here!

10. Armscor VRBP-100

The Armscor/Rock Island Armory VR series of shotguns have become favorites in the marketplace of affordable, magazine-fed, semi-auto shotguns.

BP in VRBP stands for bullpup, and it takes the same internals of the VR series and refits them into a bullpup shotgun.

Rock Island Armory VRBP-100 On a Rock Whole
Rock Island Armory VRBP-100

The VRBP-100 utilizes VR series magazines that immediately offer the gun 5, 9, and 19-round capacity magazines. Its 19-round magazines are absurdly long and downright silly, but hey, it’s a lot of ammo, right? Nine-round magazines offer substantial firepower for the short little gun.

This gun measures out to 32 inches total with a barrel length of 20 inches. It’s one of the rare bullpup guns that come with a set of spacers that can be removed with ease to adjust the length of pull.

Best Ergonomics – Shotgun

Best Ergonomics – Shotgun

The VRBP-100 still clings to AR-like controls with an ambidextrous safety and magazine release.

Heck, even the bolt release is all AR-like, which makes it easy for shooters to adapt from one gun to the other.

It’s a solid little gun that’s outfitted with excellent ergonomics and tons of room for optics, lights, and accessories as well.

Rock Island Armory VRBP-100 Ejection
Rock Island Armory VRBP-100 Ejection

The VRBP-100 hits hard in the recoil department. Gas-operated semi-autos are often overgassed, and the VRBP-100 likely isn’t any different. When you reduce it to a bullpup-sized platform, the recoil gets a little extra oomph.

Even so, it’s easy to control, cycles rapidly and makes it easy to dump buckshot quickly.

Do we have a review of this? You betcha! Check it out here!

11. IWI TS12

I had a few issues I talked about with the IWI TS12. My gun didn’t run well and often failed to cycle with the most powerful shotgun ammunition. I couldn’t break it in, and it just never worked reliably for me.

It seems like IWI figured out the TS12 and got it up and running.

I have several friends who’ve purchased the weapons and had zero issues with the gun. I got a hold of a friend’s TS12 and found myself surprised and pleased that it ran like an absolute clock.

IWI Shotgun
The Tavor TS12 is going to be a strong competitor to the Kel-Tec KSG.

It would feed cheap Walmart special birdshot, reduced recoil buckshot, standard buckshot, and whatever else we put through it. I’ve even followed up with friends in the gun industry who got TS12s that are completely reliable.

The TS12 uses an ingenious design that implements the famed tube magazine platform with a bullpup configuration.

Instead of using a single tube, the TS12 uses three rotating tubes that each hold five rounds. The tubes can be topped off on the fly, unlike other bullpup shotguns.

Most Reliable Bullpup Shotgun

Most Reliable Bullpup Shotgun

You can reload both spare tubes while keeping a loaded tube in position to fire. It’s a smart design. To unlock the rotating tubes, you press a device forward of the trigger, and it unlocks the tubes for easy rotating.

If you run the gun dry, the bolt locks to the rear, and when you rotate a fresh tube into place, the gun will automatically load a round into the chamber and close the bolt. It’s a simple but smart design that makes it fast and easy to keep your shotgun running and gunning.

Tavor Side view
Tavor Side view

I’m glad IWI fixed the TS12, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a newer model.

The downside will be the fact it’s not lefty friendly, and you can’t exactly swap it for right or left-handed use.

You can more about the TS12 in our review.

12. SRM 1216

My all-time favorite bullpup shotgun is the SRM 1216. This is a weird gun, but I love it.

The SRM 1216 originated the concept of rotating tubular magazines joined together. They use four 4-round tubes for a total of 16 rounds.

SRM Arms M1216 Shotgun
SRM Arms M1216 Shotgun (Photo: GunsAmerica)

Not only that, but the entire magazine setup is removable for a quick reload of another 16-round set of tubular magazines. Not a bad way to reload and keep shooting.

It uses a roller delayed blowback system much like an MP5. This keeps the gun thin and light without the need for a gas or inertia system.

The SRM 1216 can be set up ergonomically for righties or lefties at home and certainly stands out as one of the more unique shotgun designs.

Best Roller Delayed Model

Best Roller Delayed Model

It delivers an unbeatable experience and a rock-solid design that’s quite reliable and a ton of fun to shoot. Recoil can be sharp for a semi-auto shotgun, but it’s still softer than any pump-action design.

Across the top, a nice long rail provides some space to fit plenty of optics, lights, or whatever on.

The gun is short at 33 inches overall and packs 16 rounds of punch. It’s a really neat design that looks like it took a time machine to 2022.

13. Conversion Kits

If you have something like a Mossberg 500 or even a CZ Scorpion and you want to bullpup…there are ways.

Specifically, conversion kits that can take these and bullpup them.

Holosun 510 CZ Scorpion
CZ Scorpion with Manticore Arms Bullpup Kit.

For the Mossberg, Bullpup Unlimited has a kit that you can DIY.

As for the CZ Scorpion, Manticore Arms is your best bet to bullpup perfection. Luckily, we have the deets on the Manticore build as fellow PPT writer Travis took it for a test. Read his full review here!

Best Pick Pistol Caliber Carbine

Best Pick Pistol Caliber Carbine

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.

Conclusion

Bullpups are cool little firearms that offer the advantage of navigating in smaller, confined spaces.

IWI Tavor 7
IWI’s TAVOR

Whether you chose to buy a complete firearm or revamp a model you currently own, these guns won’t disappoint.

What are your favorite bullpup models? Tell us in the comments! Also, be sure to read up on our recommendations for Best PCCs if subverting the regular AR is your thing.



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