Lithgow Arms USA brought their new Atrax Bullpup to the Fall 2016 Big 3 Media Event. Lithgow Arms is part of the Australian defense and aerospace manufacturer Thales Group. The Atrax bullpup is based on the licensed Steyr AUG design but it’s improved upon with many features that are specially developed by for the Australian Defence Forces with combat experiences from operation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The upcoming Lithgow Arms USA’s Atrax bullpup is basically the commercial semi-auto version of the Thales F90 bullpup that’s in service with the Australian Defence Forces. This carbine version of the Atrax bullpup features a 16-inch barrel and it’s length is almost two inches shorter than the M4 carbine with its stock collapsed.
One of the main area of modernization over the original Steyr AUG design is the receiver area. Whereas on my Steyr A3 has a cased aluminum receiver, the Lithgow Arms Atrax was completely redesigned to eliminated the need of a receiver all together to reduce weight. Another improvement is the 90-degree side 1913 rail instead of the angled 1913 side rail on the AUG. This will make mounting a laser designator on the side rail much better and easier to zero.
The front end of the Lithgow Arms Atrax shows another major redesign from the original Steyr AUG design. The quick removable barrel feature is now replaced by a fixed barrel design for simplification and more weight reduction. The signature AUG folding fore-grip is also replaced by a short 1913 rail section that allow the use of any fore-grip, handstop and other accessories on it. This also provides a solid mount for an under-barrel grenade launcher. Furthermore, the barrel on all variants of Lithgow Arms Atrax is fluted for weight reduction.
Trijicon will be a launch partner of Lithgow Arms USA Atrax when it’s available in 2017. The bullpup will also come with Magpul’s new PMAG AUG M3 magazine, which incidentally, was developed for the Australian Defence Forces for their F88 and F90. On the ejecting port, the Atrax also added a case deflector toward the rear.
The 2nd model that will be offer by Lithgow Arms USA is the Designed Marksman Rifle (DMR) model with 20-inch fluted barrel. By removing the original AUG’s folding fore-grip, the Atrax bullpup’s short 1913 rail under the gas-block makes a solid mounting surface for the bipod.
Big 3 Media’s co-founder and president, CJ Johnson, is doing some range time with the Lithgow Arms Atrax. This sample and the carbine version that brought by Lithgow Arms USA are full-auto capable. There’s actually no selector on the Atrax as with the AUG design. Just press hard and hold on the trigger for full-automatic firing. Both guns ran flawless with the WPA Gold .223 Rem 55gr ammo.
Close-up of the front-end of the Lithgow Arms Atrax DMR. The charging handle seems to be unchanged from the Steyr AUG. I would expect the Manticore Arms AUG extended Switchback and Raptor charging handles should work on it or compatible versions of those should be available by the time the Atrax bullpup launches in 2017. According to Lithgow Arms USA, the Atrax is better optimized for running with a suppressor. The redesigned bolt group has less gas blow-back when use with a suppressor. However, being a gas piston operated gun there will be still some “piston-pop”.
The front profile of the Lithgow Arms Atrax still has the diamond shape cross-section of the AUG design, but it seems to be much narrower than that of the Steyr AUG A3. With all the weight saving on the Atrax, it’s over a pound lighter than the AUG A3. The target MSRP for the Lithgow Arms USA Atrax is $1999.
The weaponlight mounted on the Atrax carbine is the new high-output PK Warriorlight with a direct 1913 mount. PK is short for Paul Kim, he was the former VP of engineering for Surefire and that now he’s producing his own LED flash light designs.