The Vektor R4 is an assault rifle in service with the South African Defence Force since 1980. It was used during the Angolan Bush War and Namibian War of Independence. The R4 is manufactured by Denel Land System and replaced the 7.62mm FN FAL, as it was exported to Serbia and Rwanda. Fitted with a folding stock, it was conceived to be used by tank crews and airborne troops.
Basically, the Vektor R4 is a South African version of the Galil rifle, thus, being both accurate and very dependable. Its automatic ejection system runs on ignition gas, using a long-stroke piston that moves in a gas cylinder, which is situated above the rifle barrel. It fires from a closed bolt 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition, being fed from a 35-round, detachable, box magazine. The R4 also features a fire selector switch for two firing modes (single shot and fully automatic) and safe.
The Tac-50 is a sniper rifle made by McMillan Firearms Manufacturing, an American firm located in Arizona. Designed in the 1980s, it has been used by Canadian, French, and US Special Forces in a number of armed conflicts around the world, especially in Afghanistan from 2002 onwards.
The Tac-50 is a .50-caliber, bolt-action rifle, fitted with a match-grade, free-floating rifled barrel, which measures 29 inches (73.7-cm) in length. It shoots .50 BMG (12.7x99mm) NATO ammunition to a maximum accurate range of 1,800 m (approx 2,000 yards). It has a muzzle velocity of 805 m/s. This accurate and lethal weapon is equipped with a fixed bipod, adjustable stock, and telescopic sight. The Tac-50 A1-R2 version is fitted with the Recoil Mitigation Sytem, which reduces up to 90% of .50 BMG cartridge’s peak recoil force.
The MAS-49 was a 7.5mm rifle produced by the French State-run firm Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne. It had been designed just before the German invasion of France in 1940 but did not enter production until 1949. It was in service with the French Army between 1951 and 1979 and was used in combat in the French-Indochina War and Algerian War, being replaced by the FAMAS Bullpup rifle in the 1970s. Fitted with a direct impingement, gas-operated reloading system, the MAS-49 was a semi-automatic (single-shot) rifle, chambered for the 7.5x54mm French cartridge. The receiver was fed from a 10-round detachable magazine. The charging handle was located on the right side of the weapon and the safe lever in the trigger guard area, in front of trigger. Since the ignition gas fouling did not afect the bolt, this French rifle was regarded as a very dependable gun, working efficiently even in adverse conditions. Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne also produced an export version, officially designated as MAS-49/56.
Introduced in 2011, the SIG716 is a gas-operated rifle chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. It is manufactured by the German firm SIG Sauer in two versions: the SIG716 “Patrol” and “Precision”. The former is basically an assault rifle and the latter a sniper rifle. Both variants have a piston-driven, short-stroke gas-operated system, with a four-position gas plug, offering an “off”, a “normal operating”, “supressed”, and “overgased” settings, which allows one to shoot in adverse conditions. The Patrol variant has a 16″ barrel, with 6-groove rifling and flash hider, while the Sniper version is equipped with an 18″ barrel and aluminum rails for an accessory bipod and optic scope. The SIG716 rifle also features flip sights, a telescopic buttstock, and a match grade trigger group. This is a high-quality and accurate weapon, with a very light recoil, despite the fact it is a 7.62mm rifle. It uses detachable 20-round magazine, firing in single shot and fully automatic modes. Effective range: 600 m. Price: US $ 1,750.
In firearm technology, a Bullpup is a compact rifle or submachine design in which the bolt carrier assembly, receiver, and magazine are located behind the trigger block, in the buttstock. The purpose of this configuration is to make the weapon shorter and ergonomic, using the same barrel length of conventional rifles. Thus, this modern configuration has the same effective range of a conventional one, but it is better suited for house-to-house fighting, as in urban warfare, due to its compactness and shortness. Most of them are made of polymer, except for the barrel, bolt, and receiver, which are steel or/and aluminum alloy. Except for the French FAMAS, most of the Bullpup assault rifles are gas-operated and chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. Some have ambidextrous ejection ports, others ejects the empty cartridge casings forward. Although they look futuristic and toy-like, they are lethal weapons, some of which have been successfully tested in real combat action.
List of military Bullpup in service assault rifles
The FAMAS is a French, 5.56mm, assault rifle, with a bullpup configuration. It is in service with the French armed forces and Foreing Legion since 1978 and saw combat action in the Gulf War (1991) and Afghanistan. It was developed by the State-run firm Manufacture d’Arm de Saint Etienne, which has produced it in two variants: FAMAS F1 and G2; the latter is an upgraded version of the former, featuring a bigger trigger guard, a new barrel with tighter rifling grooves, and accepting 30-round STANAG magazines. Chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO, this french rifle has a blowback auto-loading system, with the receiver and moving parts assembly located behind the trigger. The fire selector includes four modes: safe, single-shot, 3-round burst, and fully automatic. To select the different settings, one has to move a lever in the trigger guard and another one situated behind the magazine (to select the 3-round burst). Although it is easy to field strip and maintain, the F1 version is not entirely reliable, showing stoppage problems arising out of bronze cartridge usage and its delayed blowback mechanism. Presently, the French Army is looking for another rifle to replace it.