When we look at a new firearm, we like to know where it came from and what operating principles it is based on. The Bond Arms Bullpup is a result of Bond Arms purchasing the rights and machinery to the Boberg pistol. Before that, there isn’t a lot owed to anyone for this design.
The pistol uses the proven locked breech, short-recoil principle but with a twist—literally. The pistol features a rotating barrel. A rotating barrel lessens the need for a heavy recoil spring and guide while controlling recoil. This is important in a very small 9mm handgun. Recoil energy is expended over a longer time span.
The barrel rotates 14 degrees during the recoil cycle as the slide unlocks and shoots to the rear. The recoil spring is fairly light, with its main function moving the slide back into battery after the spent cartridge case is ejected. As a result of this design the slide is very easy to rack. Easier than any other 9mm I am aware of.
At first glance the pistol appears to have a very short barrel. A more in-depth look shows the barrel takes up a lot of the slide. The 5.1-inch slide contains a 3.35-inch barrel. This means that the average velocity loss, compared to a Glock 19 as an example, is less than 40 fps average. That’s impressive and necessary as well as the 9mm demands good velocity to ensure bullet expansion.
The Bullpup moniker comes from the pistol’s unique design. The magazine is loaded conventionally, but the front of the magazine is closed and the rear open as the cartridge feeds from the rear. A dual tongued drawbar catches the cartridge case rim and pulls it from the magazine to feed it into the chamber. This is controlled feed at its nth degree.
The cartridges must be carefully selected. The problem isn’t a blunt nose but cartridge integrity. A firm crimp is demanded. With this in mind, the company supplied a list of cartridges they have tested and offered feed reliability. Included are inexpensive training loads and top-notch defensive loads.
I am particularly impressed with the grip design. The supplied wooden stocks are attractive and offer good abrasion and adhesion. The stocks are wide enough to soak up recoil and remain slim and trim for concealed carry. The sights are good examples of combat sights. As for improvements over the original pistol, the primary improvement is in fit and finish.
The Bond Arms Bullpup is as well made as any handgun. It isn’t inexpensive, but it is innovative, and it works as designed. A big reason the new pistol isn’t as finicky as the original—the Roberg ran fine with good ammunition and proper lubrication—is that the reciprocating barrel and barrel block now feature a frictionless space-age coating. This eliminates the need to keep the barrel and locking block coated.
The take down is the same as the original using a lever to remove the slide. This lever may be turned to the six o’clock position in order to lock the slide to the rear. The slide does not lock open on the last shot, it simply isn’t practical with the Bullpup design. Be aware during combat practice of how the pistol behaves. Get a rhythm going and perhaps try to count the shots and practice tactical loads.
When firing the Bullpup 9, I had a pleasant surprise. This is a very nice pistol to fire. It isn’t the lightest 9mm at about 22 ounces, but recoil is decidedly light. The trigger action is very smooth. The Lyman digital scale measures 7 to 7.5 pounds on average.
Press the trigger straight to the rear until it breaks cleanly and you have a good hit. During recoil, allow the trigger to reset. The result is good control and surprisingly good combat accuracy. Most of the ammunition fired has been the recommended Winchester 115-grain FMJ, as well as SIG Sauer Elite 115- and 124-grain FMJ.
The pistol is also reliable with modern expanding bullet loads including the Hornady Critical Defense, Critical Duty and SIG Sauer Elite V Crown loadings. Accuracy is exceptional for this size handgun. The pistol will exhibit a five-shot 1.5-inch group with most loads at 15 yards (fired from a solid benchrest firing position). Of course, this doesn’t have much to do with combat shooting.
Firing offhand, it isn’t difficult to keep a full magazine in the X ring well past 10 yards. I executed the 10 10 10 drill, modifying it to 10 10 7. Ten yards, 10 seconds, and seven shots. The pistol stayed in the 8- and 9 ring. This is good performance. The pistol demands attention to detail, both in maintenance and in handling.
The Bond Arms Bullpup comes with a heft list of advantages foremost of which is its small size. Yet the pistol retains a full length, for a compact, pistol barrel and offers light recoil and excellent accuracy. This isn’t a handgun for the slightly interested. For the demanding shooter it is a top-notch piece.
Among a very few concealed carry holster makers offering a suitable concealed carry rig for the Bond Arms Bullpup 9 is Alien Gear. The soft backing coupled with a rigid Kydex holster makes for good comfort and a sharp draw. There isn’t another holster that I know of, offering a better balance of speed, retention, and comfort along with real concealment.
After reading this article, what is your impression of the Bond Arms Bullpup? Have your fired it? Share your answers in the comment section.
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