FN introduced the 5.56mm FS2000, a semi-automatic version of the F2000, in 2006. Utilizing AR-type magazines, it is ambidextrous and can be configured with a rail or optics. The CQB model is set up nicely for the police market with a top rail, ambidextrous controls and a tri-rail forend. Its forward ejection is a favorite for many, making shooting from the off side easier. It is decidedly popular among those using bullpup rifles today, and it has developed quite the following.
Another 5.56mm bullpup worth considering is the Tavor SAR, which IWI US recently introduced for American operators. It features a top Picatinny rail, integrated iron sights, left-hand capability and drop-free magazines. It retains, however, the off-hand drawback of some bullpups, sending brass into your cheek if you are not careful. But the SAR also accepts AR-type magazines, letting operators use what’s in their existing inventory.
Also, there is the classic Steyr AUG. This iconic bullpup offers extreme performance in a compact package. Although the standard model feeds from proprietary mags that drop free, it does feature convertible operation for southpaw use.
In the end, weapon systems like these have provided LE officers tremendous advantages for urban and CQB use.
Many Pros, Few Cons
One of the greatest advantages of a bullpup rifle is its shorter overall length while maintaining a standard-sized barrel. Short-barreled 5.56mm ARs are popular, but they can sometimes be problematic. They can be unreliable, loud and difficult to suppress. A bullpup with a 16-inch barrel is roughly the same overall length (or less) as a 10-inch-barreled AR minus the potential functioning issues. With the bullpup’s full-length barrel, terminal ballistics are better and operation is more reliable, even when users attach sound suppressors to the muzzle.
Working in and out of cars, around barricades, and in any CQB environment is much easier with a bullpup. It’s much easier to clear around corners, stay behind cover and work in close proximity to team members. Bullpups allow you to “slice the pie” without a protruding barrel, keeping the rifle solidly in the pocket. They balance differently, which usually helps you aim faster and remain in that position with less fatigue. Going “hands on,” you can move the rifle to the rear without having anything hanging down around your knees. Slung tightly against your back or chest, a bullpup will remain out of the way for climbing. Moving to kneeling or prone is simpler, too, with less chance of burying your barrel in the dirt.
The bullpup design also means you’re closer to the controls. These guns work better for me, whether I’m wearing a plate carrier or not, given my short arms. Storing bullpups in a bag or vehicle requires less space, allowing you to use non-tactical bags for greater concealment.