- 90 days
- 4,000+ rounds
- Hundreds of dead squirrels
The safety is a simple crossbolt and is completely ambidextrous. It is easily activated by using your thumb and forefinger. Pushing it from right to left places it on fire, with the opposite to put it on safe. It is quick to use, and takes a bit of getting used to if like me you came over to the AUG from the AR world.
One thing I really liked, coming from an AR, is the charging handle/locking the bolt to the rear. Being a right handed shooter, I can easily reach up and lock the bolt to the rear with my left hand, while keeping my firing grip intact. Locking the bolt is as easy as pulling the charging handle to the rear and rotating it clockwise.
The magazine release is located in the center of the rifle, directly behind the magazine well. With where it is located, it is truly ambidextrous. Pressing it upward releases the magazine, and the magazines do drop free. Placing the magazine into the AUG is just a straight up motion like that of an AR15. No rocking in like with the AK platform.
The actual magazine changes on the AUG are a bit slower than that of the AR platform. I have not had a chance to time it yet, but I would say reloading from a chest rig they are about half a second slower to perform a reload from empty. If you perform a reload with retention, the reloads are on par with that of the AR. There are two methods that you can use to perform a reload with the AUG. You can grasp the magazine while pressing the magazine release, then removing it from the gun, or you can use your spare magazine to "Bump" the magazine release and drop the empty magazine. I demonstrated both methods in the video below.
Some people online say that it is due to "Trigger Linkage", and that is why the triggers feel such as they do. In actuality there is no linkage in the AUG. The trigger setup is more like that on a 1911, with two transfer bars that are on either side of the magazine (similar to the trigger bow on the 1911). When you press the trigger back, these bars both press back and provide equilateral force to release the hammer.
The main reason for the trigger being heavy on the AUG, is that the hammer is made out of a high impact polymer. Being made of polymer, the hammer must move at a high speed to impact the firing pin hard enough to provide reliable ignition of the primer. Out of the box the trigger on the AUG was 10 pounds 3.5 ounces. In actuality it did not feel quite that bad. Stock, the trigger did have some creep in it, as noted by The Giant Ginger proclaiming "That thing is fucking annoying to listen to", as I would "Stack" the trigger while shooting ground squirrels with him. In April I purchased a Neu-Trigger, and I have been very happy with its performance. The Neu-Trigger took the pull weight down to 7 pounds 6.5 ounces. The best way to describe the trigger now is "Glock-ish" in it's feel.
Reliability and Cleaning
Cleaning the AUG is easy, due to its gas piston design. The dirtiest part of the gun is the piston, which is pretty easy to clean using some solvent and a toothbrush. The bolt group just gets a quick wipedown with a rag, and is re-lubed before reassembly. The barrel is a breeze to clean since it comes off the gun so easily.
Handling and Carrying Characteristics
When it comes to handling, the AUG really shines. For me, I find it to be much faster on target, and with less recoil than a 16" AR. The balance of the AUG makes it very easy to shoot from the standing position. During our squirrel shoot I found it much easier to shoot from the standing position than that of a conventional rifle. After getting used to the AUG it comes up much faster on target than I could with my AR.
Weak Side Shooting
In my opinion, people overplay the disadvantages of the bullpup when it comes to weak side shooting. Out of the 4,000 rounds I have put through the AUG, only 100 or so of these rounds have been fired from my left side. And the only reason I did so was to see if it could be done. For the vast majority of shooters, shooting from your weak side is not something that is done very often.
The carbine length ballistics in an SBR length rifle are definitely an advantage for me. Along with the SBR length, the superb balance makes the rifle easy to handle, carry, and shoot. The only downside is the trigger is not of the same quality of than on an AR. There is a company who offers a trigger pack that allows you to put AR guts in it, but the trigger does not quite bother me enough to purchase this. It still remains a viable option for those who want an AR quality trigger in the AUG.
As of right now, the AUG is definitely my "Go-To" platform. In the 90 days that I have had the AUG, I feel more confident with it, and I feel like I can more accurately place shots than I could with my AR (and this is with having a Noveske AR). The AUG is easier to shoot from standing than the AR, due to the balance, and is easier to shoot from prone as well.
I still have another 6 months of running the AUG before I make any final decisions, but as for right now, it definitely has made me a fan.