Steyr AUG 9 Para: One of the best bullpup assault rifles in the world

The Steyr AUG 9 Para rifle was the first “modular” design: the barrel, receiver, firing mechanism can all be changed to configure the weapon into whatever sort of rifle is wanted. By an extension of this principle, Steyr pioneered a trend which is now becoming more common, of converting what is basically a locked-breech rifle into a blowback submachine gun.

The AUG was an innovative rifle when it was introduced, and I think it is a credible rifle for a nation to choose for its Army. So it is still in use in the Austrian Army and Austrian police, including EKO Cobra.

Difference between standard AUG rifle and AUG 9 Para

The Steyr AUG 9 Para is based on the standard AUG rifle by changing the barrel for one of 9 mm caliber; changing the bolt assembly for a simple blowback unit, and changing the magazine housing by fitting an adapter to take a narrower magazine holding the 9 mm Parabellum pistol cartridge.

The result is a submachine gun with a longer barrel than normal for this type of weapon, and one which fires from a closed bolt. Both these features improve accuracy, and the longer barrel produces a rather higher muzzle velocity than is usual in this caliber.

The Steyr AUG 9 Para has a “closed bolt” feature. It means that when the magazine is inserted and the cocking handle pulled back and released, the bolt runs forward and chambers a cartridge, leaving the hammer cocked ready to fire. On pulling the trigger in the usual type of submachine gun, the bolt runs forward, loads the chamber, and then fires.

There is, therefore, a sudden shift of balance due to the movement of the bolt and, as a result, a first-round hit is unlikely. With the Steyr AUG 9 Para, pulling the trigger simply releases the hammer; nothing else moves and the weapon stays steady at the aim so that first-round hits are the rule rather than the exception.

Convert Kit

The company originally marketed a conversion kit, allowing anyone with an AUG to convert it to a submachine gun. Later, however, this was withdrawn and only brand-new weapons were sold since it appeared that even a simple conversion was beyond the skill of some users.

EKO Cobra operators armed with Steyr AUG assault rifle
Steyr AUG 9 Para is one of the service rifles used by EKO Cobra (Photo: Austrian Police)

A separate barrel fitted with an efficient silencer is also available; this can be exchanged for the normal barrel by simply pressing a catch and twisting the front handle sideways to unlock the interrupted lugs of the barrel from the receiver. As with the rifle, the basic model has a carrying handle with a low-power optical sight, but it is possible to change the receiver to one with a sight mount and thus fit night vision or other specialist sights.

Steyr AUG 9 PARA, Aimpoint on a Bobro Engineering Mount, Hexmag with a Springer Precision Mag Extension
Steyr AUG, Aimpoint on a Bobro Engineering Mount, Hexmag with a Springer Precision Mag Extension (Photo: Imgur/AUGret)

User experience

Personally, I believe it’s probably the best of the bullpup assault rifles/weapons out there. It’s pretty light even with an HBAR mod. I don’t mind the standard optics of scope either. It’s just the right size and allows me to still focus accurately without it.

I know a lot of people are excited about the Tavor, but the Steyr AUG 9 Para has been around a good while, it’s battle-proven, and the Australian military has thought enough of it to adopt a second-generation version. The Aussi infantrymen I’ve spoken with thought it a decent weapon. The IWI Tavor, by contrast, is a relatively unproven design.

Technical specifications: Steyr AUG 9 Para

Manufacturer: Steyr-Mannlicher GmbH, Steyr, Austria
Type: Blowback, selective fire
Caliber: 9 mm Parabellum
Barrel: 16.5 in (420 mm)
Weight (empty): 7.25 lbs (3.3 kg)
Magazine capacity: 25 or 32 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire: 650-750 rounds per minute
1 comment
  1. Sorry to bother you but, what is the source for the AUG 9mm going from just a conversion kit to a standalone gun? Just trying to solve a dispute with a friend :P

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