Once Hated, New Steyr Aug A3 M1 is Best Bullpup Rifle of 2018
So Take Heart, INSAS Rifle Can Also Turn A New Leaf in Coming Times
Steyr Aug is probably one of the most easily recognized rifles around the world. Designed by Steyr Daimler in 1960s, its compact make caught the fancy of soldiers world over. So before we discuss the notoriety Steyr Aug attained in later years, one must accept the fact Steyer AUG was first Successful bullpup assault rifle. It was the gun which popularised bullpup configuration, even though there were several bullpup firearms made before it such as Enfield EM-2. Without AUG we might never have got other bullpups such as Tavor.
STEYR AUG and INDIAN ARMED FORCES
Indian’s dalliance with Steyr Aug goes back to the 1980s. Indian army wanted to replace its SLRs. Indian Army was planning to switch over to 5.56×45 mm caliber from 7.62x51mm NATO round. Steyr Aug being quite popular then was one of the weapons that underwent trials. It had interchangeable barrels for rifle, carbine and LMG. It was compact. But then an Army service rifle was required to support a bayonet which Steyr Aug couldn’t. 5.56 round was also realized to be more suitable for Close Quarter Combat.
Eventually, the plan for acquiring this rifle for Indian Army was shelved. Indian Army went for indigenous INSAS rifle and only a handful of Steyr Aug was ordered. Steyr Aug was inducted for 1 Para Special Force. It is also used in limited numbers by Special Group (SG) commandos, CRPF units, and others.
NOTORIETY for STEYER AUG :
When we look at the notoriety that Steyr Aug was to gain in later years, it vindicates the Indian Army’s decision not to acquire Steyr Aug in large numbers in 1987. Some Armed Forces recently reported their disaffection with Steyr Aug openly. In 2014, Kiwi soldiers expressed their hatred for Steyr Aug quite vociferously. New Zealand had some 9000 rifles. The rifle was said to be underpowered, inaccurate, ineffective beyond 200m, and unreliable that experienced frequent stoppages during the war in Afghanistan. Australia also announced to replace its Steyr Aug.
PROBLEMS IN GENERAL WITH WESTERN WEAPONS :
Complex firearms having a large number of moving parts, not just Steyr AUG have been often criticised for their lack of reliability.
Moreover, I think Western Firearms Manufacturers make their weapons with local environmental conditions (take AUG and its maker, Steyr which is located in Austria) in mind so the very same weapon might not perform well in places with different environmental conditions (Like Afghanistan, harsh environment compared to Austria). SA-80 of UK was a major disappointment in the Iraq War of 1992. Even the famed German G-36 rifles reported of mangled barrels after a sustained fire in Afghanistan. American M-16’s problems are well known. M4 1A had to be equipped with reinforced barrels.
My point is that INSAS may have some problems (though Ordnance Factory Board claims these have largely been resolved) but so do these imported ones. OFB needs to get its act together and continue improvements with a basically sound design.
STEYR TURNS THE TABLES IN 2018 WITH STEYER AUG A3 M1:
Following the problems, Steyr Arms worked on the rifle extensively. And this year in 2018 many blogs have declared STEYR ARMS’ AUG A3 M1 High Rail as the bullpup rifle of the year.
STEYR ARMS – AUG A3 M1 223 16″ BLK High Rail is the most modern version of the rifle allowing users to gain the benefit of recent advances in this classic design.
The Steyr AUG A3M1 High Rail features a gas-operated semi-auto system and is similar to the one used by the Austrian army in 1977, only in semi-auto models only. The rifle is designed to be completely ambidextrous.
MAKE: STEYR MANNLICHER
MODEL: AUG A3M1
Chambered in 5.56 NATO
Total weight: 8.9 pounds
Barrel length: 16 inches
Overall length: 28.25 inches
Magazine Type: Removable
Capacity : 30+1-rounds
Priced at $1894.99
The Steyr AUG A3M1 High Rail features a black polymer stock and uses 10-round, 30-round or 42-round magazines.
If Steyer Aug can turn a new leaf, there is no reason why INSAS rifle can’t do it. After all, we are all set to build our own fifth-generation fighter jet. It is mortifying to know that we are yet to produce a world class rifle. Even lesser economies like Indonesia have designed a decent weapon of their own. Rifle designing is no rocket science. In Russia individuals having a passion for rifles have set up their own private units that produce Snipers like Sumrak 14S. The secret is just to reorganize the whole defence set up, give the PSUs time-bound targets, arrange for world-class machinery, pitch in with logistics and economic support, and lastly fire their spirits to come up with something that can be competitive at international level. OFB, after all, is a 4000(employees) -strong unit.