This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
Good news for bullpup fanatics: The Lithgow F90, Australia’s improved version of the AUG, is in production in the USA right now under the name “Atrax”. Representatives of Dasan USA, the stateside manufacturer/importer, said that major components of the Atrax, including the barrel, were already being produced in their facilities within the country, to allow production weapons to comply with US import laws. Dasan Representatives said that the technical data package for the US-made components was transferred to the US from Australia, so each component made in the States adheres exactly to Lithgow’s methods and standards for that component.
Both rifles at the Dasan booth were mostly made in the USA (with some imported parts), in Duluth, Georgia.
Interestingly, the Atrax does not have a conventional rifle receiver. The large cast aluminum element of the AUG which served this function was entirely eliminated on the F90 series, and replaced with an advanced high strength polymer frame. This frame is not considered suitable to be the serialized element by the US Bureau of Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, so if the guns were to be sold in the US a different solution was needed. Whichever part was chosen would, according to ATF guidelines, need to be metal, contain fire control elements, and be able to be destroyed by cutting into two pieces. For the Atrax, that piece turned out to be the bolt carrier itself, making it one of the very few weapons with a serialized moving parts group. Of course, it’s just the carrier that is serialized, meaning that any future Atrax owners wishing to perform caliber conversions or for any other reason replace their bolt will be able to without having a new bolt carrier shipped to their FFL.
The large element near the rail which is clamped by two screws is a polymer frame that replaces the aluminum receiver of the original AUG.
Compared to other bullpups currently on the market, the Atrax is a well-balanced, lightweight (3.2kg, 7.14lbs) gun that comes with the ruggedness and reliability implied by a true military pedigree. However, versus rifles like the Kel-Tec RDB, Desert Tech MDR, and K&M Arms M17S, the Atrax has a more traditional “military” bullpup trigger. I spoke with Lithgow representatives about this issue, and raised the idea of working with US trigger manufacturers to produce aftermarket components for the rifle to bring it more in line with current US expectations – an idea to which they were receptive. With a trigger upgrade package, I think the Atrax is poised to sit at the head of the pack of current bullpups on the market.