SBR/pistol vs bull pup

Hey guys,

Wanted to get some opinions. I have a brand new DD MK18 10.3" upper that's been sitting in the safe for 5 months. My thought was to build a pistol setup and file for the SBR; however, I'm thinking a bull pup setup like a tavor would be less of a ATF wait hassle which still gives the feel of a SBR while maintaing 16" ballistics. I don't have any experience with the tavor or any bull pups, but find them interesting. Are there any thoughts, experience or input that would sway me to sell the upper and go the tavor route or stay on course with the pistol setup while i wait for the sbr???

The Heretic

I have owned a number of bullpup rifles and shotguns - not a Tavor though (although I was tempted by it until DT started promising the MDR, which they still have not delivered yet).

I really like bullpups, I think they let you have your cake and you can eat it too - specifically the short length and keeping the longer barrel. I would not go SBR or pistol with 5.56x45 or 5.45x39 - you just lose too much velocity, .300 BLK or 7.62x39 or larger would be okay. I am considering an AR pistol at some point in something like that, but not an SBR because I don't want the NFA hassle.

Still waiting on the MDR.:rolleyes:
SBR vs bullpup is a darn good question. I just got myself into an AR pistol and am contemplating turning it into an SBR. But the bull pup has a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately cost isn't one of those things. They also don't seem to have much of an aftermarket, although that may not matter.
Would like to play with a bullpup in 308.
I like bullpups as much as I like conventional rifles. No paperwork involved other than the standard background check when getting a bullpup, vs doing that $200 tax and long wait for a SBR. All the benefits of a SBR with the bam of a rifle. Also easier to shoot a bullpup than a pistol IMO.

On the other hand, it takes some getting used to for some people in regards to changing magazines, and if you're a lefty you'll need to convert it for left hand shooting. Bullpups are also not cheap. Triggers tend to be on the bad side, but they're not as bad as some people make them out to be (I like the trigger on my Aug more than the one on my Galil Ace).

Personally, I say try to find a way to give both a shot and see which you prefer. Bullpups really aren't for everyone. I like my Aug more than I liked any AR I've shot, and I may buy another one in the future (in white so it looks even more like a space gun).

As far as bullpups go, I honestly like shooting an Aug more than the Tavor. Course, my friend likes his Tavor more than an Aug, so try the two to see which you prefer.
The most significant downsides to a pistol or SBR are the reduced ballistics, because the bullet leaves the barrel while a significant amount of the powder hasn't burned, and the increased concussion from uncorking the barrel while there's unburned powder and the gasses are still at much higher pressure. It seems paradoxical, but as the bullet travels down the barrel, powder continues to burn, accelerating the bullet, while simultaneously the volume behind the bullet increases, reducing the pressure. If you have a silencer, then the concussion and fireball are less of an issue, but you still have to deal with reduced ballistics. Without a silencer, the concussion and fireball from a pistol or SBR can be brutal.

Here's a test showing the what you lose, ballistically, with shorter barrels:
223 Remington/5.56 NATO, velocity versus barrel length: A man, his chop box and his friend’s rifle

And here's another focusing on pressure and concussion:
Barrel Length Studies in 5.56mm NATO Weapons

The upsides to an AR or AK-pattern pistol or SBR are parts availability, both for customization and repair.

The downsides to a bull pup are that parts are less-common and often more expensive, and switching the rifle to your other hand usually requires adjusting your grip to keep your face clear of ejecting brass (the KelTec RDB and FN P90 are exceptions to the latter). Some bull pups, like the Steyr AUG, take proprietary mags; they're dead-nuts reliable, but are less common and more expensive than AR mags.

The upsides to bull pups are that you get the ballistics and lessened concussion that a rifle- or carbine-length barrel would give you, and the rifle's center of gravity is much closer to your own, which makes movement faster, and lessens arm fatigue (of course you can train-up to overcome these with a standard rifle).
Some bull pups, like the Steyr AUG, take proprietary mags; they're dead-nuts reliable, but are less common and more expensive than AR mags.
I'd also like to point out that with the Steyr Aug, there's not enough rail space for iron sights and an optic other than a red dot. And if you're my height you have to really stretch your neck out to use iron sights anyways. So you either use one of the scope options (1.5 or 3x), or one of the rail options (short or tall, tall is longer but some scopes will require a chin weld).
I'm a little biased...



Although I see the purpose for the pistol... For me its the ability to cross state lines without paperwork, and the ability to conceal it on your person (no concealed rifles in Oregon).


Funny enough, I have all the parts to complete my 10.5" coming in today, for my dedicated "truck gun".
*Not my photo, but an exact clone to my soon to be completed build.


As far as bull pups, the main thing that has turned me off is price... I'd like to get an X95 eventually, but other things just keep jumping ahead of it in line.


Last edited:


Albany Rifle & Pistol Club (ARPC) Gun Show 2021 show is cancelled
Linn County Expo Center
3700 Knox Butte Rd E, Albany, OR 97322, USA
22 Rimfire Challenge
Redmond Rod and Gun Club
Redmond, OR 97756, USA
Rimfire Challenge May 8th @ DRRC
Douglas Ridge Rifle Club
27787 OR-224, Eagle Creek, OR 97022, USA


  • A Cut Above Pawn
    5.00 star(s)
    Fantastic Customer Service!
    Recently, they helped my lady transfer a pistol to a family member in CA. Most FFLs would have told us to pound sand when we mentioned where we...
  • HighLine Firearms
    5.00 star(s)
    One of the best!
    I have bought from online and in person. Great store, he had things I did not know were needed. I try and recommend Highline Firearms to people I...
  • Copeland Custom Gunworks
    5.00 star(s)
    The only gunsmith I'll use
    Tim has done a few projects for me and the result is always the same. Amazing. End of story. From complete refinish to custom machining, Tim is...
  • Copeland Custom Gunworks
    5.00 star(s)
    great work refinishing my 27 year old 1991 a1 compact colt .45
    Tim did a great job making my gun look brand new again and replacing the old parts inside. Super Happy!!
  • Lucky Sporting Goods
    5.00 star(s)
    Just a transfer but a great one. A+
    Came here today to meet another forum member to buy a Glock. Was the best transfer I've had the pleasure of doing. Even though I was just there...
Top Bottom