Now being built by Sabre Defence, the Steyr AUG rifle returned to U.S. firearms retailers two decades after the importation ban, Steyr Arms announced.
Sabre Defence, which is known primarily for its tactical rifles and M2HB and mini-gun barrels currently in use by the U.S. military, will produce the rifle under the direction of Austrian engineers. The new Steyr AUG/A3 SA USA bullpup rifle is now available in 5.56x45mm (.223 Rem.).
After the importation ban in 1989, the AUG/A1 frequently commanded in excess of $5,000. The current A3 configuration that debuted at the 2009 SHOT Shot is now available for a retail price of $2,295.
With an overall length of 28.15 inches including its 16-inch barrel, the AUG/A3 SA USA measures 8 inches shorter than an AR-15 carbine with a comparable barrel length and an extended stock.
And while the AR-15's gas-impingement system expels a large quantity of operational gas—and all the accompanying carbon and unburned powder—directly into the bolt carrier within the receiver, all gas used to cycle the short-stroke gas-piston AUG design exits the system within an inch of the barrel's gas port. The new AUG/A3 SA USA also has two gas adjustment settings.
The AUG/A3 SA USA was engineered specifically with the American marksman in mind, and it incorporates features such as a muzzle brake design that tames recoil effectively, providing for accurate second shots on target. The new last-round bolt-hold-open feature provides a subtle "feel" indication that the magazine is empty, and after a magazine change, the low-profile bolt release is conveniently located on the left side of the stock. The redesigned charging handle, forward on the left side of the receiver, also serves as a forward assist.
The most obvious departure from the AUG of two decades ago is the lack of an integral optical sight. In keeping with its A3 designation, the new AUG is of a flat-top design with a marked, 25-position Picatinny rail. This provides a range of sighting options such as low-powered, long-eye relief optics; high-powered scopes; or iron sights.
For AUG purists, a Picatinny version of the original integrated Austrian "donut reticle" 1.5X optical sight is also available from Steyr Arms. A smaller side rail also has been added for the integration of one of the many illumination or laser devices on the market.
The AUG/A3 SA USA retains the features and benefits that established its reputation, such as expedited disassembly and a simple conversion to left-hand operation, which requires replacement of the standard bolt with the optional left-eject bolt. It also features a quick-change barrel with a collapsible forward grip.
The AUG/A3 SA USA includes two transparent polymer 30-round magazines, a cleaning kit that stores in the rifle's buttstock, a factory sling and a soft carry case.