Steyr with Gear Head charging handle Courtesy Wes Minton

In my recent review on the Steyr Aug A3 I discuss at length what I perceive as the few downfalls of the design. Namely the charging handle’s profile and the horrid awful rotten terrible trigger. Well with the investment of about $100 both of these problems have been completely eradicated . . .

To recap the issues the charging handle sits at an extremely awkward angle that puts the operators knuckles in great danger by smashing them against whichever optic suits their fancy. Second, the trigger is quite literally the worst bullpup trigger I’ve ever experienced. I wish I could say otherwise, but there is no upside to it other than the reset, which is crisp and consistent. Seriously, the thing is an abomination.

So to address the first issue I got a new charging handle that sits at a different angle and allows me to mount whichever optic I so choose without the fear of losing all the skin on my knuckles. By mounting the charging handle at a downward angle you can more easily rack the action overhanded so that the stress is on your index and middle fingers instead of your pinky and ring finger. While there is no change in the weight of the action springs the gun feels considerably easier to operate now. The handle is a product made by and sold by Gear Head Works.

Installation of the charging handle was actually pretty easy. It comes with instructions and requires only an Allen wrench and a roll pin punch, or a normal appropriately sized punch. If you have any type of mechanical inclination it’s an extremely simple parts swap.

Aug Profile(2) Courtesy Wes Minton

To fix the trigger I acquired a modification that changes the weight and feel of the stock trigger.

The product is aptly called the Trigger Tamer, it cuts the trigger weight down by a third and smooths it out quite a bit. I was able to greatly reduce the size of my groups. I was dinging a 4-inch steel plate at 250 yards with my Aimpoint H1, no magnification needed. No more fighting the trigger every step of the way, now it just goes to a nice wall and breaks like glass.

The installation process is extremely easy, you pop a pin out half way and then switch the parts. It was even easier than the the charging handle. It is difficult to show the differences from the stock hammer pack and the updated one, so I am going to leave it to the imagination.

With these two additions the rifle has gone from being a great go to rifle to being, in my opinion, Bullpup Perfection. I have decided to give it a new rating with these updated parts. The iconic future guns ratings are now as follows:

Accuracy: * * * * *
With a tamed trigger the gun’s accuracy is a thing of beauty.

Style: * * * * *
This gun screams ‘space age’ and I’m really hoping Disney somehow sneaks it into one of the new Star Wars films.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
With the Gear Head Works charging handle all the optics in the world are now open to me. As Aladdin once said “A whole new world”

Reliability: * * * * *
Not a single problem, nothing more to say.

Customize This: * *
The AUG is fairly exotic and therefore has about as much aftermarket support as a Tesla.

Overall: * * * * *
Now that the charging handle and trigger are overcome the AUG has attained bullpup nirvana.

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29 Responses to Steyr AUG A3 Update

  1. Don’t forget about the CQC mod from PJS. Gives the Aug A3 a quad rail and makes it extra sexy to boot

  2. I would love to see how this compared to DesertTech’s new MDR. If they can make the triggers in their bull-pup precision rifles (I dare say) as good as most any standard trigger, I think they’ll be able to make the best bull-pup carbine trigger, full-stop.

  3. My experience mirrors yours. Though the after-market for the AUG is limited, it does exist, and with a couple parts this rifle can be near perfect.

    If you can find one of these (https://www.ratworxusa.com/?q=node/113) it will blow you away. The Trigger Tamer works well, but the 2020 Precision Trigger Sear makes the trigger basically match-grade. It’s proof that bullpups don’t have to have bad triggers like people say – the existing bullpups just come from the factory with bad triggers for some reason.

  4. ” I was dinging a 4-inch steel plate at 250 yards with my Aimpoint H1, no magnification needed. ”

    For me, further eye surgery would be needed.

    • Right there with ya’. I love my aimpoints, but even going with 2MOA, my eyes make a bloom effect that nearly covers about half a 8″ steel plate at 100 yards and completely obscure it at 200 yards. I’ve learned to compensate, but hitting tiny things with my aimpoints beyond that ends up be dead reckoning since I can’t see the target any longer. 😉

      • Forget the 2MOA aspect for a second.

        How about just properly seeing a 4 inch target at 250 yards, even with perfect vision. Now lay that 2 MOA dot over it, which is greater than 4 inches MOA at 250 yards.

  5. Do you have plans to review the FS2000? Curious as to your thoughts. I have had one for years and my only complaint is the trigger. [Also, the receiver doesn’t stay open after the last shot, but that’s a minor irritant IMO.]

    • I am currently trying to hunt one down to play with, I admit I have only been able to handle them. Seems like an interesting design, I very much like the idea of front ejection. I would need some time behind the gun before I make any judgements on it.

  6. I disagree about the A3 trigger being the worst ever. I have both the trigger tamer and neu-trigger installed immediately I got my A3. I ended up keeping the neu-trigger but did not like the trigger tamer enough to keep it installed for these reasons:

    1) Subjective – 5lb trigger felt too light
    2) There actual slack the trigger was moving back and forth about 5 mm. (e.g. you can hear a rattle because the tension was not as much)
    3) (This is just speculation) to get a lighter trigger pull the tamer relieves some of the spring tension in the hammer, I do not like the possibility of light primer strikes.

    I kept the neu-trigger because it took out the grittiness and lightened the pull a tiny bit (maybe 1-1.5lbs)

    IMO a light trigger does not equal a good trigger, I disagree that anything not 5lbs or less is not a good trigger. I would rather have a tight/clean 9lb trigger than a loose/slacky 5lb trigger. The A3 trigger moves straight back, with two symetrical trigger bars, there is no fulcrum (think 1911 trigger box). Breaks clean around 9-10lbs. I shoot plenty well with it.

    FWIW I also prefer SSA triggers over SSA-Es in my AR

    • FWIW, I emphatically agree with you. Most people’s perceptions of what constitutes a “bad” trigger has to do with the tactile feedback they’re getting as they pull, the length of the pull, the amount of overtravel, etc.

      People keep asking “I want a light trigger!” and when I measure their trigger weights, they’re quite often in the 4 to 7 pound area. They feel like you’re dragging a hoe through railroad ballast, but they’re not “heavy” triggers. Many military rifles (inc. the Garand, M14/M1A, etc) tend to have triggers in the 9# region.

      What makes a “good” trigger (where “good” means it is safe, repeatable, breaks consistently, with good ergonomics of no creep, little over-travel, crisp reset, etc) is an issue apart from the actual pull weight. Too many people think that a trigger has to be down around 1 to 3 pounds to be a “crisp” trigger. Not so.

      The problem today is that there are so few good trigger designs on new guns, especially tacti-kewl guns. Two whole generations of American shooters got spoiled by how nice a Garand/M1A trigger could be made, and I find younger shooters have little idea of what a really fine trigger actually feels like.

    • The SSA-E trigger in a AR is the best non-precision rifle trigger I have every used. It defines a “Great Trigger”. Its lightness is great for pulling through it fast and not even noticing its a two-stage for rapid fire shooting. Or for precise shooting its two stage is pure heaven.

  7. “I was dinging a 4-inch steel plate at 250 yards with my Aimpoint H1, no magnification needed.”

    Not calling BS but that is some really good shooting…..if true.

    At 200 yards with my Eotech (no magnification) with the center 1 MOA dot I can hit (supported) a 8×10 IPSC steel target on a regular basis. The hard part of hitting it…..is actually seeing it after the white spray paint is blasted off of it and its just grey metal against whatever background 200 yards out. My vision is perfect 20/20 so that is not an issue.

    You are pushing the target out another 50 yards, shrinking it by 50% and hitting it with a 2 (or 4) MOA un-magnified red dot with that commie rifle???

    Good job.

    • Designed in Austria. Made in the U.S. of A. – just like a Glock. The Austrians were never commies.

      • If it ain’t from America it is commie-made.

        Here, I made a map:

        In case it doesn’t show up here is the link: http://imgur.com/vCmYfzB

        In all seriousness, “commie” rifles aren’t as bad as you would think. The era of every best thing being from America has long passed if it ever even existed.

  8. This article explains, elegantly, the Neu-Trigger, Trigger Tamer and Rat Worx HTM trigger mods for the Steyr AUG (link at the bottom of the page for the Rat Worx product).

    http://emptormaven.com/2011/03/aug-and-msar-trigger-improvements/

    Acquiring a Rat Worx HTM seems to be a bit of a problem, but when I sort that out I’ll post a review.

    Charlie

    Disclaimer: I own an AUG A3 NATO, I like it, and I won’t bandy words about it.

    • I’m working my way up the waiting list for a 2020 Hybrid Trigger Module (apparently it’s quite a wait!) so I ordered a 2020 Trigger Sear Module and installed it today. With the TSM the trigger is noticeably lighter (though still fairly stiff), Take-up is very small, let-off is crisp, and over-travel is about zilch! I understand that it gives improved reset as well, but I did not evaluate that parameter.

      I’m pleased. 🙂

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