Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns [2022]: Our Favorites!

by Ryan Cleckner

April 6, 2022

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Are you looking for the best bullpup rifles or best bullpup shotgun? With so many options, it can often times become difficult to make sure that you’re making the right choice. Well, in this article, we look at our top 10 picks for Best Bullpups.

Best Bullpup Rifles & Shotguns

Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns – Our Favorites!

IWI X95

Editor’s Choice

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Springfield Hellion

Best new addition

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Tavor TS12

Best Semi-Auto Shotgun

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Steyr Aug

Best Bad Guy Gun

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KEL TEC KSG

Best Pump-Action

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FN PS90

Best Video Game Gun

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EAA MKA 1923

Best Value Semi-Auto Bullpup

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KEL TEC RDB

Best Novelty Bullpup

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KEL TEC RFB

Honorable Mention

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That’s why, here at Gun University, we’re dedicated to helping you make the right choice. We’ve gotten our hands on quite a few and have whittled the list down to 8 top-notch bullpup rifles and shotguns–plus one honorable mention.

Reviews of the Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns

1. IWI Tavor X95 : Best Overall Bullpup

IWI Tavor X95

The Tavor X95 has by far earned the Best Overall Bullpup Award. You can see below why we made that decision.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A+

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 12 Reviews

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Tavor X95 Specs

  • Host Platform IWI BullPup
  • Caliber 5.56mm NATO
  • Sights Integrated Backup Trition Iron Sights
  • Action Gas operated semi-auto
  • Length (barrel) 16’’
  • Piston Long Stroke Piston

IWI Tavor X95 Review

Israel Weapons Industries released the Tavor X95 as a newer bullpup rifle to rival their older SAR design in the same range. As you’d expect from an IWI bullpup, it is reliable and accurate.

So what did I love about the X95? Perhaps the standout positive feature is its reliability. When you consider its background as an Israeli weapon, this is no surprise. The X95 was designed to perform in the harshest climate and the toughest on the ground conditions.

The accuracy of the X95 is more than acceptable. During our shooting session for review purposes, I managed to stay accurate at about the 300-yard mark. Longer range than that became more of a challenge, though.

One issue you might have when trying out the X95 is a period of adjustment to the trigger guard. The cutlass-style guard felt weird to use, and I suggest an upgrade to a different style.

So, as you can see, this rifle got our overall best bullpup rifle mark because it’s cheaper than some other options like the Hellion, or Desert Tech MDRX, and yet more reliable and accurate. Furthermore, I loved it so much as the best bullpup rifle, that I bought two and think of them as my go-to SHTF gun. You can read my full review of the X95 here.

IWI X95 Pros and Cons

  • Nice improvement over the SAR design
  • Very reliable (near bombproof)
  • Accurate (for a “battle” rifle)
  • Must relearn rifle operation if coming from an AR-style rifle
  • Ejection port cover leaks gas in your face when shooting suppressed
  • Cutlass tyle grip guard is…just…weird

2. Springfield Hellion

Springfield Hellion

Springfield Hellion

The Hellion from Springfield Armory represents a radically unique and innovative approach to firearms design, helping to redefine perceptions of semi-automatic 5.56mm performance.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 9 Reviews

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Hellion Specs

  • Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO
  • Barrel Length 16”
  • Weight 8 lbs
  • Length 29.75”
  • Rifling Hammer Forged
  • Twist rate 1:7
  • Controls Ambidextrous
  • MSRP $1,999

Springfield Hellion Review

I was confused by the Springfield Hellion’s appearance when I first saw it – To me, it looked a little weird. After taking it to the range, though, my opinion began to change and now, I have no difficulty recommending it as a good bullpup rifle and a strong competitor against other bull-pups after shooting it.

The IWI X95, as listed above, has become my new go-to rifle. So, it is fair to say that I fully accept the bullpup rifle concept, but my thoughts on the Hellion are going to be compared to my thoughts on the X95.

The Hellion has a pleasant “recoil impulse.” I believe this is due, at least in part, to the gas and operating system being well-designed. The barrel is really close to the trigger, vs just a few inches higher in an AR. This permits the recoil to travel straight back into your shoulder.

The trigger on the Hellion is a good “battle rifle” trigger, and it’s fantastic for a bullpup. Bullpups will never have as nice of triggers as AR’s because of the connection required between the forward trigger and rearward action. In some respects, this is similar to a Glock trigger. It isn’t “snappy,” but it’s simple to shoot and has a positive return and reset.

The Hellion ran flawlessly after a few hundred rounds of ammunition and no lubrication, displaying a clearly clean chamber. It’s something I’ve never sought out on a rifle, but it was interesting to look into the ejection port and see such a clean and gleaming chamber staring back at me. I assume that this means it’s not only a clean system, but also that the action isn’t opening until most of the gas/pressure has exited the front. Excellent job here by HS Produkt / Springfield in bringing to market a well-designed and functioning rifle.

I believe the Hellion is a fantastic little rifle and would happily recommend it to anybody. Sure, if you’ve ever handled an AR, getting use to this bullpup might be a bit tough, but it’s a trustworthy and enjoyable to shoot weapon. This would be the bullpup rifle to beat if they improved the safe catch lever design and gave us an external bolt catch. For this reason, it is listed as our second best bullpup rifle on the list.

Check out the full review on the Springfield Hellion here!

Springfield Hellion Pros and Cons

  • Very reliable
  • Easy to shoot/carry
  • Bullpup design
  • Great charging handle
  • Awkward safety lever
  • No external bolt catch

3. IWI Tavor TS12 : Best Semi Auto Shotgun

IWI Tavor TS12

Shotguns have always had capacity limitations. The TS12 by IWI aims to help solve this. Love this firearm.

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  • Shootability B+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 18 Reviews

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Tavor TS12 SPECS

  • Barrel Length 18.5″
  • Caliber 12 Gauge
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Semi-Automatic
  • Overall Length 28.34″

Tavor TS12 Review

The Tavor TS12 is our pick for the best bullpup shotgun out there. It is made by IWI and is packed with innovative features.

The first thing you need to know about the TS12 is it scored nothing less than an A grade across the board. The TS12 has no real weaknesses whatsoever. It does have a 200 round break in period, but after that it shoots like a dream.

The key benefit of owning the TS12 is its large capacity coupled with its small size. This makes it an ideal weapon for home defense. You aren’t going to run out of shots, and you aren’t going to have any trouble maneuvering this bullpup shotgun in even the tightest of spaces.

The ammo storage found in the TS12 really is innovative. You can have 15 rounds plus one in the chamber. Even better, you can split the ammo into three different types, and easily switch back and forth between them.

There are no real downsides to the TS12. You have to pay a premium price to own this premium bullpup shotgun, but why cut corners when it comes to protecting the people you love?

Dave Chesson, one of our editors, loved the TS12 so much that after finishing his review of the TS12, he contacted IWI and asked to purchase the one they sent him, so he didn’t have to send it back. And out of all the bullpup shotguns, it’s the only one he chose to keep.

IWI Tavor TS12 Pros and Cons

  • High Capacity Bullpup design
  • Full length Picatinny rail
  • Very customizable
  • Easy to change ambidextrous
  • Heavy and Pricey

4. Steyr Aug A3 M1 : Best Bad Guy Gun

Steyr Aug A3 M1

The Aug is a modular firearm and comes in many configurations to include those that fire in the open bolt position as light machine guns.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics C
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 7 Reviews

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Steyr Aug Specs

  • Barell Length 16″
  • Caliber 5.56×45 NATO
  • Sights Rail, 1.5/3x Optic
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 28.15

Steyr Aug A3 M1 Review

The Steyr Aug is an iconic firearm for many reasons. It’s one of the earliest bullpup type weapons to find widespread use, having first been adopted by the Austrian military before making its way into civilian use.

As well as its legacy of prestige, the Steyr Aug is well-known among gun fans for its appearance in many iconic movies as the bad guy’s gun of choice.

So how does it stack up as a bullpup rifle? Is it worthy of your time and attention, or are there better options out there?

First, let’s consider the positive aspects of the Steyr Aug. As you’d expect from a weapon with a military background, it’s as reliable as it gets. This is a rifle you can really count on.

The Aug is also a great-looking firearm. Aesthetically speaking, the gun is easy on the eye, and will look equally great in your collection or out on the range.

So what isn’t to like about the Steyr Aug?

First up, if you’re a fan of customization, you probably want to look elsewhere. There isn’t a lot you can do in terms of modification with the Steyr Aug. Also, the trigger isn’t the best out there. We also feel that the ergonomics aren’t as good as found in more modern bullpup rifles.

Overall, the Steyr Aug is a solid and iconic bullpup rifle, but more of a collector’s item than an everyday firearm. Check Review Here

Steyr Aug Pros and Cons

  • Short, sleek, and reliable
  • Trigger needs improving
  • Special mags required
  • Safety takes getting used to
  • Gas port vents near support hand

5. Kel Tec KSG : Best Pump Action

Kel Tec KSG

The KSG is Kel Tec’s first foray into the shotgun market. In fact, the gun is so significant to the company that KSG simply stands for Kel Tec Shotgun

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability B
  • Ergonomics D
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 19 Reviews

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Kel Tec KSG Specs

  • Barrel Length 18.5″
  • Caliber 12 Gauge
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Pump Action
  • Overall Length 26.1″
  • Piston Long Stroke Piston

KelTec KSG Review

The KelTec KSG is the Gun University pick for the best pump action bullpup shotgun out there.

It is a fan favorite of those who favor the KelTec brand, but it has some awkward issues for a bullpup shotgun.

First, we feel that the build quality of the KelTec KSG is likely to divide opinion. We feel the materials used come across as lower quality than is found in some other options, such as the Tavor range.

However, if you’re a fan of the sleek and futuristic style of KelTec, this may not be an issue for you. If you’re old school, on the other hand, this probably isn’t the right shotgun for you.

Second, there are some comfort and performance issues with the KelTec KSG. The shell ejection method has caused pain and discomfort to some shooters. We advise you check out our full review of the KSG shotgun to get the full picture. You should also try to test one out before buying it.

On the plus side, the KelTec KSG is an affordable bullpup shotgun that is maneuverable and light. You might want to consider it as an option for home defense purposes, or even as a sporting shotgun.

Overall, if you’re set on getting a pump action bullpup shotgun, this will definitely do the job. However, there are better options in the world of shotguns, even if you have to pay a little more to own them. Check Review Here

KelTec KSG Pros and Cons

  • High Capacity
  • Short Length
  • Ability to Switch Magazines
  • Some reliabilty issues
  • Awkward ergonomics

Kel Tec KSG Gun Deals

6. FN PS90 : Best Video Game Gun

FN PS90

The first thing you need to know about the FN PS90 is it is a bullpup rifle. This is the popular, compact form of rifle which has found favor among certain parts of the firearms (and gaming) community.

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  • Shootability B
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy B
  • Value F

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 8 Reviews

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FN PS90 Specs

  • Barell Length 16″
  • Caliber 5.7x28mm
  • Sights Rail, Back-Up Iron
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 26.23″

FN PS90 Review

Are you into First-Person Shooter video games such as Call of Duty, Rainbow Six, or even old-school N64 Goldeneye? Or what about Stargate SG-1?

If so, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of this weapon.

But just because it’s in a video game doesn’t make it the most used–let alone practical–on our list.

When using the FN PS90, you’re going to have to make some changes to how you actually manipulate the firearm.

First off, this thing is a little awkward, even has bullpups go. It has an innovative top loading magazine design, and two separate ergonomic grip holes. Pretty inventive if you ask me, but again it can be a bit to get used to.

However, it does come equipped with a MIL-SPEC barrel with integrated muzzle break, so there’s no issue with the barrel. This comes in particularly handy if you are using the 30 round magazines that are available for this firearm.

Honestly, though, it doesn’t really outshine the rest of its competition. But it’s no slouch either. So, if you’re into video games (and other pop culture), then this really is a gun for you. If you’re looking for something with a little more bang for your buck…. Maybe look elsewhere. Check Review Here

FN PS90 Pros and Cons

  • Novel design
  • Small, can utilize same cartridge in pistol
  • No real prcatical use, expensive ammo

7. EAA MKA 1923 : Best Value Semi Auto Bullpup

EAA MKA 1923

The purpose behind the MKA 1923 was to bring the quality associated with MKA weaponry to a new bullpup shotgun packed with innovation and quality.

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  • Shootability B-
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 3 Reviews

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EAA MKA 1923 Specs

  • Barrel Length 20″
  • Caliber 12 Gauge
  • Sights Adjustable Rear
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 29.5’’

EAA MKA 1923 Review

Unless you’re brand new to guns, you probably know about European American Armory and their affinity for shotguns– thanks to their 1919. And now, they’re back with another addition to their family, the EAA MKA 1923.

EAA’s goal with this particular model was to bring MKA quality to a bullpup shotgun. And they’ve pretty much hit the mark.

Not only that, but EAA has branded this as a great home defense weapon, which is normally the reason for purchasing a bullpup shotgun such as this.

One of our favorite features of this weapon is its detachable box magazines. That’s right. Detachable box magazines full of shotgun shells. Changing from buckshot to birdshot, or even slugs, is made super convenient. Just be sure to preload your magazines, and you’re set.

Another defining feature we enjoyed is that they’ve made improvements to the cutlass style grip. It comes with its own trigger guard now! And if cutlass grips on an IWI bullpup make you nervous, this will definitely help to calm your nerves.

The one major thing we didn’t like about this weapon is that it’s a little rough around the edges. Not to say that the EAA is cheaply made, but it could use a little smoothing.

But again, this is a budget friendly firearm. And a darn good one at that. Check Review Here

EAA MKA 1923 Pros and Cons

  • Semi Auto
  • Affordable
  • Detachable Box Magazine
  • Lacks finesse
  • Proprietary magazines

EAA MKA 1923 Gun Deals

8. Kel Tec RDB : Best Novelty Bullpup

Kel Tec RDB

Some of the innovative aspects you’d expect from Kel Tec are found here in the RDB. One of these include an ejection system that is amazingly designed.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability B+
  • Ergonomics B+
  • Accuracy B
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 9 Reviews

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Kel Tec RDB Specs

  • Barell Length 17.2″
  • Caliber 5.56mm NATO
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 27.3″

KelTec RDB Review

When it comes to cool looking guns, KelTec really stands out. And there is no exception made with the RDB.

Not only does KelTec produce neat looking weapons, but they strive to provide innovation into their products as well.

In this particular rifle, KelTec aims to provide a unique shooting experience. One that can unify all marksmen. But did they really hit the mark?

However, there’s a little thing I’ve noticed about KelTec. Where their ideas are top-notch, the actual execution tends to fall a little short. The gun does feel a little wonky and a little cheap.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t work properly. And if you’re looking for an ambi-bullpup that’s fun to shoot… This might be the option for you. Check Review Here

KelTec RDB Pros and Cons

  • Light
  • Cool looking
  • Inexpensive
  • Not pro grade
  • Poor trigger and mag release
  • Impossible to diagnose malfunctions
  • Cutlass tyle grip guard is…just…weird

Keltec RDB Gun Deals

9. Kel Tec RFB : Honorable Mention

Kel Tec RFB

Kel Tec’s stated aim in releasing the RFB is to offer a truly ambidextrous bullpup rifle that is easy to operate.

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  • Shootability B
  • Ergonomics B
  • Reliability C
  • Value C
  • Accuracy B

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Ryan Cleckner

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 9 Reviews

Your Grade

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Kel Tec RFB Specs

  • Host Platform Kel Tec
  • Caliber .762×51 NATO
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Length 26’’

KelTec RFB Review

Now, we do prefer the RDB to this model, due to some of its other features.

But the RFB provides some cool things worth mentioning. First off, it has a unique ejection port like that of the RDB.

But instead of ejecting downwards, it projects spent casings forward. This makes it ideal for either lefties or righties, and very interesting to see in action, to say the least.

There are a few customization options with this firearm thanks to the top mounted picatinny rail. However, there aren’t really any aftermarket availabilities with buttstocks, grips, or forends. Check Review Here

KelTec RFB Pros and Cons

  • Short length, looks cool
  • Difficult to diagnose and clear malfunctions, no upgrade options, falls behind similar rifles

Kel Tec RFB Gun Deals

What is a bullpup rifle?

A bullpup is a firearm where the action and magazine are fixed behind the trigger. By doing this, the barrel length can still be long, but the overall firearm size can be more compact. This makes it so that you can shill shoot at the same distances as a convention weapon, with an overall longer size.

Pros to Having a Bullpup Rifle

Because of the design of the bullpup, there are many benefits to it:

  • More compact and thus more maneuverable
  • Can have equivalent barrel length as a convention AR15, but because of the design be more compact and shorter
    • No need to sacrifice muzzle velocity, range, or accuracy
  • Because of the design, you’re less likely to experience fatigue

Cons to Having a Bullpup Rifle

While the design allows for such capabilities, there are also some things that hurt it:

  • Backend heavy
  • If used to AR15 style firearms, then you’ll need to get used to the new location of the magazine

Brief History of the Bullpup Rifle

The Bullpup rifle has been around since the early 1900s, with the Thorneycroft .303 carbine being tabbed as the first of its kind. British made, this bolt action rifle placed the bolt directly behind the action and the in the stock of the rifle. Even though the bullpup was revolutionary, it had some recoil and performance issues that kept it from being picked up by the British military at the time. 

However, the bullpup design didn’t take real form until Steyr unveiled the Aug (discussed above) in the 1970s. After it’s release, many countries, such as Austria, adopted the platform.

Lately though, the Bullpup rifle has picked up in popularity thanks to things like being featured in video games, movies like John Wick, and the success of the IWI X95 as a legitimate and favorite of many firearms specialists.

Conclusion

Years ago, when I first tested a bullpup rifle, I thought they were gimmicky. However, recently I’ve started to really enjoy them. The IWI X95 was the first to really open my eyes to their capability, and since then, we’ve seen more companies like Spring Field Armory jump on the bullpup firearms bandwagon. It hasn’t just been in the bullpup assault rifle arena, but also in the bullpup shotguns. I have a feeling we’ll see more of these at the range and on display in the near future. For the time being, though, these are our list of the best bullpup rifles and best bullpup shotguns on the market.

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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3 COMMENTS

    1. We saw it at Shot Show 2020, but haven’t been able to fire it yet. Will do if/when we get our hands on it. We’re always updating as we go.

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