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Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review

This turns out to be a significant year for bullpup fans. The latest news, which should support the spirit of those who love the compact platform, cames from a company that is very well known for its bullpups – Steyr Arms. It originally launched its AUG Bullpup in 1978 and is now releasing the latest version to the consumer market. 

steyr aug a3 m1 review
Photo by Steyr Arms

So, let’s find out all about it in this in-depth Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review…

A Quick Overview

The Austrian manufacturer recently released the AUG A3 M1, which Steyr presents as a multifunctional version of the rifle. The most notable aspect of the M1 is the selection of rails for the three new models. The High-Rail, Short-Rail, and Integrated-Optic models are now all available for the .223/5.56 rifle.

And all of the models have Picatinny rails configured in accordance with the preferences of the shooter optics.

That is not all…

The guide rail on the Short-Rail model ends at the rear of the receiver and is suitable for reflex sights or optics with a long eye. Despite its miniature size, the rail offers plenty of room to maneuver with 11 slot positions. And it is located firmly in a user-friendly position.

The new AUG/A3 M1 modification combines the firepower of a compact 5.56 mm cartridge with the ability to select optical sights based on the task!

Top Features 

For more than 40 years, the AUG rifle still continues to impress. The new modification of the rifle of the bullpup system AUG/A3 M1 is equipped with a bar for mounting optical sights or an integrated 1.5X or 3X crosshair integrated into the handle.

A Reliable Unit?

In 1977, Steyr introduced the Armee Universal Gewehr Army Rifle or AUG. This was an advanced bullpup rifle, so innovative and revolutionary, that it remains at the forefront of personal small arms technology even now, after so many years.

Originally known under the army designation StG 77, Steyr AUG incorporates materials from the space age that had never been seen before, the result being an infantry rifle unlike any previously developed or used. 

It combines compact dimensions with a long barrel in a bullpup system. The AUG rifle is convenient when used indoors or inside vehicles like the HK MP5. But at the same time works well at distances of a conventional infantry rifle.

Other interesting facts?

Initially adopted by the Austrian army, AUG is also used in the armed forces of Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malaysia, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. As well as by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Police. 

The rifle is licensed in Australia and Malaysia, and modern civilian variants are available in Bessemer, Alabama, at Steyr’s most modern factory.

Bullpup System – What Is It?

steyr aug a3 m1
Photo by Steyr Arms

The StG 77 rifle got its name from the world’s first assault rifle, from World War II, the StG 44. This rifle changed everything in small arms and battle tactics. The StG 44 rifle used an intermediate cartridge of 7.92 x 33mm, and firing was conducted from a 30-charge magazine, both in semi-automatic and automatic modes.

While the term “bullpup” has an unclear origin, its appearance dates from the beginning of the 20th century. 

Amazing Design?

The concept is that the main mechanisms of weapon are placed in the butt, behind the trigger. With this configuration, the bullpup rifle has a small overall length with a fairly long barrel. 

Since the effectiveness of modern light army munitions entirely depends on the high speed of the bullet. Which, in turn, depends on the length of the barrel. Even a slight reduction in the length of the barrel becomes critical for the characteristics of the bullet.

Product Cons

Steyr AUG A3 M1 cons

The price you pay for using the bullpup system consists of difficulties with the extraction of cartridges and the fuzziness of the descent. Physics forces the side-extraction rifle to eject the cartridges in the immediate vicinity of the operator’s face. 

Is it that terrible?

Well, this is not a problem if shooting from the right shoulder. But when the situation requires shooting from the left shoulder… hot shells will fly right into your face. 

For such a case, the AUG rifle provides a change in the extraction side. This includes simply changing the shutter and removing/moving the plastic casing to an unused extraction window.

The Trigger?

As for the trigger, the AUG is well designed. The effort on the descent is a little large, a little more than 4 kilograms. However, the descent remains clear and convenient enough to obtain good accuracy, even at fair distances.

Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review – Pros of this Next Generation AUG

Steyr AUG A3 M1 optic
Photo by Steyr Arms

One of the revolutionary features of the original Steyr AUG was the presence of an integrated optical sight in the handle for carrying. The 1.5X basic combat sight had a simple round reticle. And this was designed for shooting with both eyes open. This fundamentally new sight provided a quick capture of the target.

A Steyr AUG A3 M1 Reviewed Detail?

As for aiming, the new AUG/A3 M1 has three different options. The 11-slot Short Rail version has a small optical bar located low above the receiver for easy handling. In the 16-slot version of the high bar, the 16-slot High Rail scope is raised for the convenience of the tab.

While the Optic version is closer to the original AUG, and has either a 1.5X or 3X optical sight integrated into the handle tilted back. 

For this review, we tested a model with a 1.5X scope. The new sighting brand combines the familiar ring mark and the usual crosshairs for more accurate aiming. 

How To Work With This?

To adjust the reticle, you only need a screwdriver, or a coin, or even a rifle magazine. The integrated sight has also been modified and is now equipped with three external strips. These can be used for installing flashlights, lasers, or any other equipment. Two points are also plotted on the upper bar, and it can be used as a backup mechanical sight. 

The Best Part?

Steyr AUG A3 M1 best part
Photo by Steyr Arms

Choosing a suitable sight and barrel, the operator can customize his AUG for any tactical task. A short barrel and an advanced tactical sight, such as an EOTech holographic sight, will make up a close-combat kit that preserves the power of the rifle in the dimensions of a submachine gun. 

A long barrel with bipods and a suitable powerful sight allows you to use the AUG as a sniper rifle at distances up to the limit of the ammunition. The design of the bullpup of the AUG/A3 M1 rifle allows for the compactness and modularity of any configuration.

Shooting Characteristics

The methods of handling the AUG are completely different from other rifles of the AR (Assault Rifle) family. You read the cons section, and if you plan on grumbling about the slow replacement of bullpup rifle ammos (or you have). Well, you needn’t anymore.

The thumb will instinctively find the store reset button, and empty stores drop out without problems. Full stores go into the mine, at least as easily as in your AR. And a new bolt delay makes reloading weapons when changing the store, a quick and smooth process. 

In any case, depending on what kind of sight you have on your rifle, the reload handle may scratch your knuckles when you move it quickly. But the instructions mention this feature, and grabbing the handle from the bottom reduces this problem.

Its Operation?

The fuse is made in the form of a transverse button. To the right is “on,” to the left is “fire.” In army-style rifles, the fire mode switch is integrated into the trigger in such a way that when not pressed completely, the rifle fires in semi-automatic mode. And when the trigger is fully depressed, it switches to automatic fire. 

The First Of Its Kind?

Such a system was first used in a Bergmann MP35 submachine gun. This was used exclusively in parts of the German Waffen SS during World War II. And a similar system was also used in the short-lived Ingram M6. 

Although there is a risk of inadvertently depressing the trigger completely during battle, for our semi-automatic civilian AUG/A3 M1 variants, such a problem naturally does not exist.

Other Positive Details?

The recoil of the AUG/A3 M1 is softer than that of the AR due to the larger mass and the adjustable system with a short-stroke gas piston. Also, the excellent design of the trigger mechanism in the bullpup system allows you to get good results. 

Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review – Specifications

Steyr AUG A3 M1 specifiation
Phto by Steyr Arms
  • Caliber: 5.56 mm NATO
  • Barrel: 16 inches (40.64 cm)
  • Total length: 28.25 inches (71.75 cm)
  • Weight: 7.7-8.8 feet (2.34-2.68 kg) (uncharged)
  • Butt: Synthetic
  • Sights: Short Rail, High Rail, 1.5X or 3X optical sights
  • Movement: semi-automatic with gas piston
  • Color: black, khaki or desert color
  • Magazine capacity: 30 + 1

Steyr AUG A3 M1 Review Conclusion

The same dandy-shaped AUG rifles that fascinated us in 1988, when we first saw these weapons in Die Hard, still have undeniable aesthetics. They can rightly be described as “aesthetically deadly.” 

The symbiosis of aluminum and polymer has become commonplace in our information age. And the fact is that everyone who uses these materials today does not argue that Steyr is at the forefront. 

We hope this Steyr AUG A3 M1 review has been informative and useful. In our humble opinion, with nearly 40 years of combat experience, the Steyr AUG is still an incredibly effective choice for close-range and long-range combat, when compared to almost any weapon.

And the Steyr AUG A3 M1 is solid proof of just what the Steyr name has stood for over the decades!

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