There is something to be said about consistency in firearms (and airsoft gun) design. When one military forces transitions to a new platform as their main fighting implement, it can be important that your controls, ammunition, or manual of arms stays the same. The AUG as a platform violates every core tenet of firearms use we implement as Americans with AR15's. Does the performance of this Army Armament AUG A3 replica make it worth your time to learn a whole new style of rifle? Does the bull-pup design make this rifle a standout success of a stale floater?
For a rifle with a primarily polymer body construction, the Army Armament AUG is tremendously heavy to hold. This is primarily allocated to the front hand guard, which actually serves to make the problem worse. Bull-pup rifles like the Tavor or the L85 are traditionally very rear heavy, which is less than perfect, but easy to work around, while this specific AUG leans so uncharacteristically forward that it gets unpleasant to hold up in a shooting position for more than a few minutes.
Now that we have the obvious negative out of the way, let's talk about what it gets right. The Army Armament AUG otherwise is constructed very well. For such an inexpensive rifle, the level of quality in it's external construction is commendable. Controls click and function as you'd expect. The metal rail system, while the cause of my biggest gripe with the gun, is very sturdy, and I would have no qualms about bolting my pricier accessories onto it. There is no undue flex or wobble to the body, despite being made of plastic.
I only had two additional minor concerns that would not have been deal breakers were it not for the weight issue. The pad that covers the stock (and how you access the battery compartment) is very stiff. Without the requisite amount of flex you need to peel this rubber cap off, this part is very easy to damage, forcing a replacement to be purchased. The other main external issue with this rifle was in the magazine release. While it works as advertised, the catch on the inside of the gun will allow you to insert your magazines incorrectly, and have to rock them back into position, when they should be inserted like an AR style rifle. Thankfully, it's only a minute amount of extra effort to fix the issue with every magazine change, but it is slower than the other higher end AUG platforms I have used previously.
The Gearbox on the AUG is thankfully very easy to remove. It bears a striking resemblance to an AK style version 3 gearbox shell, with some key changes to the trigger mechanism to replicate the dual stage trigger of the AUG. On the real AUG, the trigger is also the fire selector, with a half pull for semi, and a full pull for fully automatic fire. This is replicated by using a dual pair of trigger contacts, where one engages the semi-auto cut off lever, and the second bypasses that first trigger system on a full depression of the trigger. It's a very elegant and clever way to solve the problem.
The internal components were otherwise nothing to write home about. They seemed pretty bog standard for a normal gearbox, and while nothing felt off about them, nothing felt particularly worthy of praise either. We would like to note the discoloration of the gearset in our model. While it is not actually rusted, the color does make it appear that way, which can cause concern for newer players or technicians rushing to open their first rifle. It certainly gave us pause at first before a closer inspection. Everything here seemed fine, but that's all it really was, the minimum of acceptable.
Our specific model of Army Armament AUG clocked in at a blazing 410 FPS. This was unexpected from such an inexpensive gun, and honestly a misstep on Army Armament's part. While it does contain a quick change spring that can be accessed without removing the gearbox, guns should honestly come ready for American 400 FPS standard, and companies should not rely on you either changing the spring out immediately, or plinking at home until it is safe to play with at your local field.
Range and accuracy were also mediocre. We were only able to squeeze out about 160 feet of range out of our model. This could have been a lemon, but we have to review based on what we've got. Switching to heavier bb's helped out, but we were never able to fully eclipse the 200 foot sign, and there are guns on the market at half the price of this one that can blow it's performance out of the water. To the AUG's credit, it flies very straight the whole way, with minimum deviation, but if you can't actually reach your target that level of accuracy is wasted.
The gearbox purrs like a kitten however, so credit to Army Armament for building and shimming the box inside fairly well. It ran smooth, FPS was consistent without much deviation, it just lacked in the barrel and hop up department. We also ran into enjoyment issues because of the weight and ergonomics. No grip or sight combination we tried ever made this gun feel "fun" to shoot. As a reviewer who owns another model of AUG that does not have the problems this one does, as well as a few other bullpup replicas, it's not for a distaste for the platform, but of this specific unit.
The Army Armament AUG A3 is listed on Airsoft GI for $180, with a sale price of $162 at the time of publishing. That's pretty low for a gun with metal components, a well built gearbox, and average performance. Even with all of the hang-ups we had on this rifle, is it worth your money?
In fact, in it's stead, we'd like to recommend that you take a look at any of Army Armaments other AUG models. When we chose this one for review, we tested a few of the other options, and their ergonomics and weight do not suffer like this model does. Performance is similar across the board, and at such a low price, it's easy to justify building a cool blaster out of the base model AUG's Army Armament carries. We just can't get around doing that to a gun that is so front heavy it sucks the fun out of your shooting experience.
If You'd like to check out the AUG rifles we do recommend: Click HERE.