Steyr's newest offering, the AUG (Armee Universal Gewehr), is a space-age assault rifle with many appealing features. Based on the bullpup design, the AUG is chambered for the 5.56 NATO cartridge.

The AUG is an ambidextrous rifle as the bolt is replaceable and the ejection port may be moved to either side of the receiver. Even the carrying strap swivels may be repositioned for convenient port-side carry.

The AUG functions in a gas-operated, semi-automatic firing mode (in selective-fire configuration, it is the standard arm of the Austrian army). A gas-pressure adaptor has a shut-off valve located on the barrel with two settings-for firing under normal or adverse conditions.

This high-tech assault rifle employs a unique 30-round, lightweight magazine made of transparent plastic which leaves no doubt as to the number of rounds one has left. The one-piece, greenish-colored stock is made of a durable plastic and houses the receiver group, hammer mechanism and magazine well. The pistol grip is integral with the stock, and a cross-bolt safety that locks the trigger is conveniently located just above the "rest" position of the shooter's right thumb.

Three interchangeable barrel lengths are available-a 20-inch tube is standard while 16 and 24-inchers are optional. The cold hammer-forged barrel is chrome-lined and locks into the receiver by rotating it 1/8th turn. The forward positioned folding pistol grip is utilized to provide a handle to remove hot barrels which may be plunged into water for immediate cooling without suffering any consequences. A flash hider is attached to the muzzle.

What appears to be a top-mounted carrying handle doubles as a 1.5X scope that has full windage and elevation adjustments. The AUG quickly and easily breaks down into six basic component parts groups.

With the switch toward a heavier 5.56mm bullet, the AUG is ready with a barrel which has six lands and grooves and a right-hand twist with one turn in nine inches, which better stabilizes the heavier projectile. The lighter bullet - 55 grains - is better suited to a one in 14.

The AUG is futuristic in both design and concept. It seems to have solved many of the inherent problems with assault rifles, mainly overall size and weight. With the 20-inch barrel snugged into place, the AUG measures a compact 31 inches long and weighs just a shade under eight pounds...

The above text is an excerpt from an article authored by Art Blatt and initially published in the 1983 edition of Combat Arms, Volume 1 Number 4