Originally Posted by DeltaSierra
Since not many people here is the States have operational experience with the F88/AUG, I would like to know what your opinions are regarding F88/Steyr AUG as an infantry weapon.
In your opinion, is it a reasonable weapon for general issue, or is it more of a niche weapon? If you view it as more of a specialty weapon, what environment do you feel that the AUG would excel in?
Do you find the bullpup design to be preferable to a normal rifle, or is the overall length not as much of an issue to you?
I'm considering purchasing an AUG for my personal use, but I figured that I would like to ask someone like yourself what your thoughts might be.
I was issued an F88 for several years while serving in the ADF. I then moved to the M4 platform after joining the Regt. I used the new Steyr AUG A3 during the Tactical Impact TV show.
I think that the F88 is a good general issue weapon for the military. Australia adopted the F88 and moved away from the L1A1 SLR (FAL). This was a great choice in terms of modernizing the Australian Army. Unfortunately, there was little forethought to longevity and the evolution of modern warfare technology and tactics. When the Australian Infantry converted to the F88, there was no requirement to have a grenade launcher attachment on the weapon yet soldiers had to carry 40mm M79 to fill this role. Special Operations at that time were using M16A1 and A2 rifle augmented with XM15 Colt Commandoes fitted with M203 grenade launchers.
It wasn't until the late 90's that the Australian Defense Industry (ADI) and the Defense Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) was asked to design a grenade launcher attachment (GLA) for the F88. This posed a massive problem for engineers. Combined with the GLA, ADI and DSTO needed to design attachments for a laser and a flashlight due to the incorporation of CQB in to the infantry repertoire. After a long time in development, the GLA came into service. It is the best of a bad situation. But for the infantry soldiers is was a god-send, no longer did they have to carry the M79 (Wombat gun) that would crack the cranium every bound during fire and movement training. Rail adaptors and clamping devices were developed for the Night Fighting Equipment.
There were added problems with the F88's ability to function in a salt water environment. The term 'hydrostatic lock' was used to describe the malfunction that occurs during firing after being immersed in salt water. Due to the operational capability of special operations this was an unacceptable compromise and AS SOCOMD went exclusively with the M4 platform.
The Bullpup design has some very good pluses and some very big minuses.
Some of the benefits are that you get all of the performance of a longer infantry barrel (20") in a compact 10" format. The Steyr F88C, carbine length barrel is even shorter. The F88 is a soft shooting weapon with minimal recoil.
The negatives are that the weapon can not be fired from the support shoulder effectively due to the ejection port being so close to the firers face. The trigger mechanism although robust, is not very responsive and slow to operate, combined with a dual stage trigger that can see the firer fire full auto by mistake. This can be over come by engaging the single shot lock out button peculiar to the F88 platform.
The weapon does not support ancillary equipment well due to the lack of forward rail interface. This has since been addressed with the A3 version.
The magazines do not fall free and must be manually removed from the magazine well. Mag changes are slow and no conducive to special forces application.
The fixed Swarovski 1.4 power optic was a big change for the infantry but lacked performance for SOF application. Later mods included the F88S with a flat top picatinny rail segment and a detachable 1.4 power sight. This gave way to longer range optics like the Elcan 4x and the Leupold 4x sights.
Overall, I really like the Steyr platform. I am well aware of its capabilities and limitations and that is important when selecting a weapon for defensive use. I think that the A3 version is a great improvement to the original and performs very well.
For home defense, you are getting a legal length barrel in a compact format thanks to the Bullpup design. That is a big plus for interior combat.
Bottom line is that the Steyr is a great, robust weapon that takes a while to get used to, particularly if you are coming from an AR. After you get the hang of it, you will see that this is a great weapon and one that you can trust.