The two main reasons I bought a Steyr AUG are that it’s not an AR-15, and, well, I like weird guns.

Seriously, aren’t we all just a bit bored with the AR-15? I know, I know, the AR-15 platform is hands down the best auto-loading rifle ever designed. I get that, but I am still bored with it. Even a mid-range AR-15 is better than the AUG in almost every measurable way, but “better” doesn’t always matter.

Before I go over the rest of the reasons why I bought an AUG I want to go over why you shouldn’t buy one.

Customizing an AUG is expensive and you only have a few options. The rail space is very limited in its factory configuration. If you want to mount much more than an optic and a light you are going to have issues.

The trigger isn’t nearly as bad as people say (how’s that for damning with faint praise?). It’s bad but it’s not horrible. One word can accurately summarize the AUG trigger: vague.

The fire control group is plastic; even the hammer. In reality a plastic hammer is completely fine and will last longer than a barrel, but I would prefer a metal hammer and sear engagement. Aftermarket trigger options are very limited.

The AUG’s sling attachments are in weird spots. The front sling mount interferes with the charging handle and optic. The rear one is the same pin that holds the rear of the rifle together. It’s fine, but I still don’t like it.

The AUG, as equipped from the factory, doesn’t suppress well. The barrel is threaded 13×1 LH which means you will need an adapter to use common suppressor or muzzle devices. Not a big deal but it’s worth mentioning.

The gas regulator is adjustable, but it doesn’t have a suppressed setting. Steyr sells a suppressed gas regulator but that’s another $98 and they are rarely (basically for about an hour once every few months) in stock.

Assuming the sling is not in the way and you use the charging handle, there is a fair chance you will cut your fingers on the top rail. If you use a scope mount you better use one that is pretty thin on the charging handle side of the rifle.

If you don’t, you will hit your hand on the mount when charging the rifle. Several manufacturers make replacement changing handles and I will certainly be replacing mine.

Magazine changes are awkward and slow. The mag release button is perfectly usable, but it’s a lot slower than an AR-15 or similar rifle.

So, why buy one?

AUGs are comfortable, the stock is just about perfect, and it points very quickly. The integrated foregrip, which folds, is equally comfortable.

However, the foregrip is integrated to the barrel assembly so if you want to replace it you will need an aftermarket handguard.

The quick change barrel feature is pretty cool, but in reality I don’t think many people actually use this feature often.

Honestly, I can’t think of many practical reasons to buy an AUG other than its compact size and even then, the Tavor is about an inch shorter.

The #1 reason I bought an AUG…I found one in stock at a reasonable price. Yet even with it’s many flaws, I still love it. For some reason.

 

35 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll go with a stainless Mini-14 for a non-AR and add a Ruger like folding stock now available from Simpson Mfg.

  2. Back in the 80’s when the first AWB came about the AUG was a much better value for the money than a Colt SP-1 or a “Shorty” clone, it took 20 years for the AR to evolve into what it is today.

    • I’ve owned a Steyr and an MSAR and sold them both. Bullpups just kind of suck, the Kiwis and Aussies and many of the military bullpuppy holdouts are all dumping them. The AUG is horribly balanced barrel light thing and the full auto ones are retarded and have a spongey multistage trigger system instead of a selector switch. They are also a bit of an annoying cu*t to control in full auto, the barrel sort of just whips around like a garden hose. The 9mm subgun AUG is about the only variant that full auto is usable in. Oh well, I also think the FN FAL is unergonomic, overrated and sort of sucks too (I had a DSA for a bit) so…opinions.

  3. BIL has one and I love shooting it. At a reasonable price I would buy one…but reasonable is mythical now unless one gets lucky. I have about zero luck but at least I still have access to one.

    • My son’s nerf guns have better triggers. A Mosin-Nagant had a better trigger than a Stery AUG. Yes, it really is that bad!

  4. The pistol on the bottom in the heading pic looks an awful lot like a taser to me.
    ” I thought I’d shoot the charging rhinoceros but tazed him instead.”

  5. AUGs are awesome. Not sure what part about this could possibly qualify as a bad decision.

    Plus… how many ARs do you want to own? You don’t like variety?

  6. The mounting options on that AUG may be limited, but on my A1, the scope is permanently welded to the receiver. Fortunately I’m pretty fond of the Swarovski 1.5x donut of death, because changing it out would be quite a project.

  7. Love mine. I’ve had it since the early 90’s.
    Points well, shoots great. Just takes a bit to get used to that trigger.

    • “Points well, shoots great.”

      And you had the ‘fun’ registered trigger group!

      Buddy of mine has 2 of them. He’s about 5′ 4″ in height, and ‘stocky’ in build. The military would have loved to have him in a fighter jet, that body type tends to do well in high-g load tolerance.

      Anyways, he loves his AUGs because the length-of-pull is *perfect* for his ‘reach’…

  8. I got a little tired of AR’s, 5.56 and .308, and bought a FAL. They are a nice change of pace sometimes. AUG’s are nice too.

  9. Shout out to Steyr in Birmingham Alabama. They have a really good discount program for military, police, etc. Check out their website if you’re interested and qualified. No, I am not connected in any way to Steyr, but I do have a 308 Scout on order because I like the concept. Maybe Dan will publish my article when I get around to writing it.

  10. I love my AUG, I love shooting my AUG and I love the plethora of attention it brings to the bench when I go to the range.

    The only thing is that when I do wanna be left alone it’s kind of not the gun to bring along with me but that’s just one if those things I’ve accepted as a fact of life.

  11. The A-3 is good. Fully agree the after-market trigger makes a huge difference. Tip 1: the factory trigger was originally intended to be 2-stage with a small pull triggering 1 shot and a full pull going full auto. Since full-auto is removed for civilian models, the default is mushy and far from crisp. RatWorx had a good drop-in which solves all of that with metal parts no less.

    Tip 2: This is one I didn’t learn for a while. The mag release isn’t intended to be used with a finger or hand. Trying those is awkward. It was designed to be hit with the replacement mag, thereby seating the rounds and clearing the well, then the new mag is inserted. Again, this takes a few sessions to convert to muscle memory but for some reason it seems to insert more smoothly than AR. Could be imagination and it is definitely a second or two slower because it is two step plus the mag drop is uncontrolled. But still very workable once you understand how it is supposed to happen.

    Tip 3: replacement charging handle is crucial. That’s it. Crucial. Barked my knuckles too many times on my A-3 between the sight and the rail. Good replacement changes the angle and folds clear.

    Side note: removable barrel makes for easy cleaning. Buttstock stores cleaning kit which is nice.

    Tip 4: it is very easy to forget to remove the barrel cover at the range.

    Undecided: Steyr offers a NATO compatible replacement stock. It is expensive but will then accept MagPul or any other NATO compatible mag instead of Steyr standard. Anyone have any experience with that? I’ve found it relatively easy to pick up Steyr mags at shows and stores because nobody is quite sure what to do with them so this hasn’t been a priority.

  12. The French FAMAS (late versions) seems like a better bullpup rifle but I don’t think you could get one even if you were willing to pay a lot of money for it. Then of course there is the Tavor. What I would really like to own is a FN SCAR

  13. Lucky to find one, good that you could jump on it. Did the same when an L9-A2-MF and a C9-A2-MF “appeared out of the ether” at my LGS.
    Best damn 9mm’s I ever shot, ergonomically perfect and laser accurate. And Steyr-US had mags, lots of mags, in stock. Even threaded barrels..

  14. I’ve never been a fan of bullpups but I know someone who is. Our local gun shop employs veterans, most of them young and were deployed to the sand box.

    A young man there told that he was out there when they were going building by building clearing insurgents and his platoon was in charge of providing cover for the squads going into the buildings. Narrow streets and multiple story buildings. Meant that he spent hour after hour basically pointing his shouldered fully dressed M4 up, looking for threats on roofs and upper windows. Said it was exhausting.

    One day they met up with a British platoon and talked about how tiring it was to point a shouldered rifle up all day. One of the brits let him shoulder his bullpup. Now he wishes he had one during his tour. He told me it was a breeze to work with because all the weight was in the back. Much easier to point up all day….

  15. A 20″ barrel in a SBR sized platform and with the 42 round mag installed it is still quite handy.
    I can se why people wouldn’t like it.

  16. Yeah, I just cannot get excited over most ARs anymore. Seen one, seen them all. I would go for something different.

  17. I see the author bought the “NATO” version, which uses AR mags. To me, one of the AUG plusses is the magazine design. It’s a very well designed and made mag, and reliable in all sizes (10, 30, and 42-rd).

    The NATO stock also deletes a couple of things from the original. First is the empty mag bolt hold open. With the NATO stock, you can only lock the bolt open using the charging handle. The original has a standard type bolt stop that gets engaged when the magazine is empty.

    The NATO stock only has one trigger rod running from the trigger back to the fire control unit. The original design has two- one on each side passing around the magwell. I would think the trigger pull wouldn’t be helped with a NATO stock.

    The NATO stock’s mag catch has a little bit of linkage to it instead of being a simple catch as on the original. It works OK, but I think bears mention.

    I’m making it sound like the NATO stock may have some rinky-dink adaptations, but it’s not that bad at all. It’s pretty well done, considering. Convert an AR to use AUG mags or a SCAR 17 to use G3 mags and I doubt it will go near as well.
    Just understand that when going with the NATO version, it’s not the original plan.

    I would describe the trigger on mine as much better than I had expected. It is heavy, but crisp. Mine started off at 9lbs, 6 ounces. That may sound scary, but it’s better than it sounds. With use it has dropped to just over 8 lbs. I know that still sounds heavy, but I’ve seen plenty of ARs with 6 lb-plus triggers, so the difference isn’t dramatic. And as I said, it’s crisp. When it breaks, it breaks. Like an icicle. A big, fat, thick icicle, but still… I’d trade two or three trigger pounds to get crisp rather than mushy any day.
    Trick triggers are out there if you feel the need.

    Charging handle technique fixes knuckle banging. So does locating optic mounts with any big bolts/nuts/throw levers on the right side. I don’t think I’ve banged a knuckle since the first day. There is a learning curve.

    Mag changes are a matter of technique as mentioned in another comment. Remember, you have a very reliable 42-rd magazine available with the original design.

    A $25 Magpul MSA sling attachment on the rail solved any sling issues I had.

    Accessories? Aside from lacking rail length to line up night vision gear, I don’t see much limitation as it comes. Then you can get longer or shorter top rails, rails to replace the foregrip, charging handles, large mag catches, left or right hand bolts, convert it to use two types of magazines, etc. We may not get beat to death with these things like AR accessories, but they are out there.

    Going to an AUG is similar to switching pistol designs. Go to or from a Beretta 92, or Glock, or 1911 to another, and there is going to be a period of learning (and maybe some unlearning).

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