Bullpups vs. Conventional Rifles: The Ultimate Debate

Bullpups vs. Conventional Rifles: The Ultimate Debate
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It’s an age-old question: are bullpups better than conventional rifles? Or is it visa versa?

I have previously talked to a lot of friends about this, and many asked if I was more for bullpups or conventional rifles.

To help readers determine the answer, I have included information on both and what my opinion is about the ultimate debate: Which one is better?





An important thing to keep in mind is that both have different pros and cons and have contrasting factors that make it hard to pinpoint which one is the best.

What one person could be looking for may line up completely with how a bullpup functions whereas their good friend may prefer the conventional rifle.

This debate has gone on for a long time with opinions greatly divided. Some consider the bullpup to be an innovative design that should be accepted by the military while others—especially those who are used to using it-consider the standard rifle to function much better.

Who is right? Who is wrong?

In my opinion and experience, both work well according to their design, but to offer a glimpse of what they each have and how they could be beneficial for different people, I have compiled the following.

Bullpup rifles aren’t the preferred gun of choice for the U.S. military, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a viable option for those who are looking for a rifle that may be easier to handle than a conventional rifle.

They look more modern-and even somewhat futuristic-and because of the shorter handle, they are easier to carry and for some, to shoot from. I like the size and length and how compact they are, as well as the idea behind the bullpup–a shorter and more portable weapon.

I like what the original bullpup designers (such as James Baird Thorneycroft) intended to do and the ingenuity they used to come up with an alternative that they thought would work better than the heavier and longer conventional rifle, but I’m not sure that the bullpup has yet reached its potential.

Why I Like Conventional Rifles

Conventional rifles, such as the popular AR-15 and its many off-the-shelf variations, have been around for a long time, which means that any problems that they may have had at the beginning of time have been perfected and they are now some of the most reliable guns around, even if they are somewhat large and difficult to maneuver for beginners.

I like conventional rifles because although they may be somewhat challenging to hold due to the awkward trigger placement, they offer a dual ejection port which means that lefthanded or righthanded shooters won’t need to fear for their faces after shooting.

This is one of the major factors to why many prefer using a conventional rifle and makes a big difference for me. Not only do I prefer it for personal use, but I also think it shows that the conventional rifle was designed more effectively than the bullpup.

I also appreciate the proximity of the trigger to the action as this helps the conventional rifle to function properly (with proper cleaning and maintenance) with very few problems. Because of the placement of the trigger, the conventional rifle actually provides a better trigger pull.

Why I Like Bullpups

Although they may be somewhat challenging to hold due to the awkward trigger placement, they offer a dual ejection port which means that lefthanded or righthanded shooters won’t need to fear for their faces after shooting.

This is one of the major factors to why many prefer using a conventional rifle and makes a big difference for me. Not only do I prefer it for personal use, but I also think it shows that the conventional rifle was designed more effectively than the bullpup.

I also appreciate the proximity of the trigger to the action as this helps the conventional rifle to function properly (with proper cleaning and maintenance) with very few problems. Because of the placement of the trigger, the conventional rifle actually provides a better trigger pull.

The Final Verdict

While the answer to which one is better is mostly subjective for most people, for me, I would have to say that I prefer the conventional rifle.

As someone who has primarily used a conventional rifle, it is difficult to get used to using the bullpup, as it is completely different than the conventional rifle in both trigger placement, as well as its build.

Another thing is that as a left hander, I have a difficult time with the ejection port, and prefer shooting from a conventional rifle as I personally don’t like the trigger placement to be so close to my shoulder.

Another thing that I don’t like about some of the bullpup models is that the ejection ports eject the cartridge directly onto the shooter’s body which is not only annoying, but could potentially be dangerous.

While some of the bullpup models have remedied this with ejection ports facing forwards, this is just one way that bullpups still fall behind.

Bullpups are still a bit behind in their design and I think that they do need some updates and innovative ideas on the manufacturer’s part, as they have the potential to be great rifles for the military and definitely a space-saving option, but the current bullpups aren’t quite up to par with it is expected for those who are used to firing on more reliable and intelligently designed rifles.

With that being said, some people like how small the bullpup is and the trigger placement.

A lot of people appreciate the more modern and compact design that makes it easier to carry and also for those who haven’t handled many conventional rifles, they may appreciate that it is relatively easier to shoot from.

Newer models like the Desert Tech MDR are switching many lifelong conventional fans over to the Bullpup camp.

In Conclusion

The bullpup rifle and conventional rifle both have pros to their build and functionality.

While many people have different preferences and some do prefer the compact build of the bullpup and the trigger placement, the majority of users prefer the conventional rifle.

While this could simply be a matter of habit and what they are used to, I tend to trust a conventional rifle over a bullpup. Both for the ejection ports on both sides and how reliable it is.

That said, newer Bullup models like the MDR are truly changing the game for left-handed shooters. I look forward to testing the rifle myself, and seeing how it compares to conventional rifles.

For the most part, the military in the U.S. has yet to make a big emphasis on the use of the bullpup. Whether this is because it isn’t as good as the standard conventional rifle or because the conventional one is actually better, has yet to be proven. The fact that the bullpup is still in use goes to show that there are some benefits to using it.

What do you think? Do you prefer a standard rifle and find it easier to maneuver and aim with or does the shorter bullpup feel more comfortable for your use?





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