Best Bullpup Rifles of 2023 – Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated:
August 2, 2023

Bullpup shotguns, designed for maneuverability in close quarters combat, are excellent options for home defense and sport shooting.

Thanks to the action being located behind the trigger, bullpup shotguns have a shorter overall length than traditional shotguns which they achieve without sacrificing barrel length.

Use this article to find the best bullpup shotgun for your needs.

Comparison of the Bullpup Shotguns

  • Self-adjusting gas operated reliable semi-auto shotgun mimicing M16 designq
  • Top picatinny rail and angled forend for tactical applications
  • Adjustable cheek pad, ambidextrous design and detachable magazine
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  • NFA ready design with 18.5" barrel and compact size
  • Manual selector lever for fast reload and fluent operation
  • Reliable pump action design with foregrip light and bottom ejection port
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What to Watch For When Buying a Bullpup Shotgun

With so much setting them apart from traditional shotguns, it can be a challenge to choose the best bullpup shotguns for your needs. In the section below, we’ll cover features that will help you make a confident bullpup shotgun buying decision.

Brian Belko: Gunmann Author

This Section Written By:

Brian Belko

Expert Author

Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.

Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.

Balance and Weight Distribution

Bullpup shotguns are back heavy. There is no getting around it. With the action and magazine being located behind the trigger, shouldering and firing a bullpup shotgun is a different experience. That is why it is important to factor in the balance of a bullpup shotgun as well as its weight distribution.

If possible, it is a good idea to hold and shoulder a bullpup shotgun during the shopping process. While it won’t be as informative as actually firing the weapon would be, it will help you to get a feel for the gun. Ideally, you’d be able to test-fire the model of bullpup shotgun you are considering before buying it, but this isn’t always an option.

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Be Adaptable

Shooting a bullpup shotgun is a much different experience than shooting a traditional shotgun. Even if you have experience with AR-15s, the bullpup shotgun is still going to throw some surprises your way. One of the main reasons for this is how back heavy bullpup shotguns are. This changes their balance and can increase muzzle rise while shooting. These things will take some getting used to.

Another thing to keep in mind is the location of the magazine well. You’ll need to practice to become efficient at changing magazines. Additionally, bullpup shotguns don’t always play nice with left-handed shooters. If the ejection port is on the right side of the shotgun, spent shell casings tend to hit lefties in the face. If you shoot left-handed, make sure to find a model that either has an ejection port that can switch sides or one that ejects downwards.

Semi or Pump?

This decision isn’t unique to bullpup shotguns but is still an important consideration. Personal preference is a big part of this decision. If you want to rattle off a lot of shells in quick succession on the range, opt for a semi-automatic model. If you are a more methodical shooter, or just like that satisfying sound of pump action, then you know which one is best for you.

Review of the Best Bullpup Shotguns

Now let’s review some of the best bullpup shotguns on the market. These guns have been handpicked based upon the above-mentioned factors and are manufactured by reliable companies with prompt customer support.

Best Overall:
 Panzer Arms BP-12


  • Perfect price and value for money
  • Completely ambidextrous design with BUIS
  • Includes recoil pad and adjustable cheek weld
  • Sturdy construction with self-adjusting gas system
  • Full top rail, side rails, and ergonomic removable foregrip
  • Includes cleaning kit, 2 mags and is covered by a comprehensive warranty


  • Doesn’t accept chokes (barrel not threaded)

What Recent Buyers Report

The Panzer Arms BP-12 stands among weapons with almost negligent customer feedback. The gun is very well built and users love shooting it. It cycles through all loads flawlessly. Low-recoil loads require a break-in period of about 50-60 shots, but after that it’s butter.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The BP-12 is everything you can ask or wish for from a bullpup weapon. The shotgun is packed with almost every feature that you can think about and has a ‘no-brainer’ price tag. The shotgun has a lot of rail-estate to let you mount optics and lights. Plus the BUIS is a good option if you don’t need optics. The ergonomic foregrip is a great feature and removable if needed. Plus, the adjustable cheek weld helps with fit and comfort.

The shotgun has a self-adjusting gas system which is why it cycles flawlessly through everything fed. It also has an ambidextrous design which adds to its value and versatility. The gun comes packed with a cleaning kit and is covered by a good warranty to cover your back.

Bottom Line

The BP-12 is a widely appreciated, used and loved bullpup shotgun that incorporates all the features of a fully tactical rifle into a shotgun. This shotgun features everything you can ask for, and at a very friendly price tag.

Best Kel tec Bullpup Shotgun:
Kel-tec KSG Compact 18.5"


  • Two mag tubes with 4+4 round capacity
  • Ambidextrous downward ejecting design
  • Top Picatinny rail and foregrip with flashlight
  • NFA ready version of the above-reviewed KSG shotgun


  • Needs careful handling for the forearm
  • Requires NFA approval to cut down the barrel length

What Recent Buyers Report

The reason people buy this shotgun is to eventually get the barrel to cut down to the frame’s length. Nonetheless, handling the firearm is very easy and the capacity is optimal for home defense and tactical applications. The gun does have a kick but it can be managed with regular practice.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is an NFA ready version of the Kel-Tec KSG shotgun. The gun has a long barrel which will aid with accuracy. However, this gun allows you to have a bullpup shotgun at hand while you wait for the NFA approval and make your shotgun more compact. The shotgun has two mag tubes with 4+4 shell capacity (3”). The pump action is reliable and works very well if properly stroked.

The top rail allows you to add optics and the foregrip has an in-built flashlight with strobe feature which comes in handy during home defense.

Bottom Line

This shotgun features a high capacity and a reliable pump action that won’t fail to cycle. You may consider adding a butt pad to counter recoil since this gun has a considerable kick. But overall, this is a great home defense weapon with a long barrel that can be cut down after obtaining an NFA approval.

3. IWI Tavor TS12


  • 3 rotating mag tube for high capacity
  • Easy feeding and unloading from either side
  • Push-button unloading of cartridges on a tray
  • Threaded barrel accepts Benelli/Beretta chokes
  • Completely ambidextrous for ejection and operation
  • 4 QD points, M-Lok forend, and full top Picatinny rail
  • 2 position adjustable gas system(using removable charging handle lever)


  • Pricey for low budget buyers
  • Takes time getting used to the magtube revolver
  • Not recommended for ammo under 1200 fps (although it does work with them)

What Recent Buyers Report

The IWI TS12 is an unbelievable and coolest ever shotgun for buyers. Users seem baffled by the unique construction and features of this shotgun. The ambidextrous design with a high capacity and amazing ergonomics fascinates almost every user. Even to the extent that its high price tag seems irrelevant.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The TS12 has been designed with inspiration from the famous X95. It has been specifically designed for combat and sports. Featuring a space-age design, the TS12 features a revolutionary rotating mag to step up the capacity to a maximum of 15 rounds. Its design is completely ambidextrous and utterly secure. It allows you to mount optics, forend accessories, and slings with ease. The loading/ejection port features a tray to prevent cases from falling out while unloading. Plus, the shells can be unloaded using a simple push-button.

The two-position gas system can be adjusted using the removable charging handle lever and ensures flawless cycling of loads as and when needed.

Bottom Line

The TS12 is a bullpup shotgun years ahead of its time. It features an ambidextrous and ergonomic design with a high capacity and ample space for adding accessories. Disassembling and cleaning the gun is fairly easy and the price tag is overshadowed by its unique features and design.

4. Kel-tec KSG Tactical


  • Top Picatinny rail for mounting optics
  • Threaded muzzle to accept choke/comp
  • Ergonomic foregrip with a pre-installed flashlight
  • Ambidextrous bottom ejecting and loading design
  • Reliable pump action ensures proper cycling (if not short stroked)
  • Double mag tubes with manual selector and a total 5+5 shell capacity


  • Requires waiting for NFA approval
  • Not suitable for prone position shooting
  • Needs a buttpad since the recoil is stout

What Recent Buyers Report

Shooting the KSG is a feeling like no other shotgun can give. This weapon is really powerful and controllable at the same time. However, recoil sensitive shooters can switch to mini-shells for reducing recoil and increasing capacity. The gun is very customizable, compact, and intuitive to operate.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The KSG is very well built while being lightweight enough for easy handling. The ergonomics are great especially when you get used to shooting it, and the gun is ambidextrous. The double mag tube with a selector switch is a great feature. Since it increases the capacity and allows you to switch between different kinds of shells.

The top rail allows you to add optics, and the foregrip with a light is a very good extra feature. The KSG is a smoothbore shotgun and is very accurate at shotgun distances. The fact that it allows you to mount a choke or compensator is also a good feature.

Bottom Line

The Kel-Tec KSG is a high-capacity, reliable pump-action shotgun with a very compact design(26.1 inches OL), good ergonomics, easy operation, and an amazing price tag. The shotgun offers customization options and is covered by a lifetime warranty to ensure your purchase doesn’t go wrong.

Best Semi-Auto Bullpup Shotgun:
 Rock Island Armory VRBP-100


  • Adjustable LOP, cheek riser for a better fit
  • Removable side rail for mounting accessories
  • Strong and durable design with ample rail space
  • Includes BUIS and has an ejection port dust cover
  • Non-reciprocating charging handle with rubber cap


  • Only for right-handed shooters
  • A tad bit heavy in weight and recoil
  • Requires breaking-in with heavy loads

What Recent Buyers Report

The first impression about this shotgun is it's tough and durable design. The ergonomics are great and the gun feels very comfortable to hold. The gun feeds very well and the gun also runs flawlessly with high capacity magazines. The adjustable stock and customizability along with the price are the most like features.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The VRBP-100 is a true bullpup design that can withstand the harshest treatment and still function flawlessly. The design of the gun is very AR’ish with adjustable stock components, a non-reciprocating charging handle, and an ejection port dust cover. The BUIS included with the gun is a valued addition. Plus the full-length rail and removable side rail allows you to mount different accessories.

It feels more like a tactical rifle and provides good control of the weapon. It is chambered for 3” magnum shells and also accepts 2.75” shells. The gun comes with and accepts mobile chokes.

Bottom Line

The VRBP-100 is a simple, ergonomic, and effective bullpup shotgun for home defense and close-range hunting. The mag fed shotgun cycles very well and has a very tough design. This shotgun is perfect for shooters who require an inexpensive and sturdy shotgun that withstands the harshest conditions.

Best 12-Gauge Bullpup Shotgun: 
Tristar Sporting Arms Compact Bullpup


  • Backed by a 5-year warranty
  • Removable 5 round box magazines
  • Includes a bolt lock to hold the bolt open
  • Threaded barrel with a ported Benelli choke tube
  • Designed after the AK platform. Low maintenance
  • Full-size carry handle with A2 style adjustable sights


  • Weighs close to 8 pounds (unloaded)
  • Issues with cycling light loads initially (break-in needed)

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a strong little shotgun with a reliable action and outstanding accuracy. The gun is really fun to shoot and cycles perfectly. The gun chews up almost every kind of shell without a problem. However, light birdshot loads require a break-in. On a side note, Tristar’s customer service is also top-notch.

Why it Stands Out to Us

HALO fans are gonna find this one interesting. This gun looks exactly like the main assault rifle depicted in the famous sci-fi FPS video game HALO. But that’s not only the cool looks that this shotgun stands out for. The frame of this shotgun is tough as a turtle’s shell. The ported choke tube on the front helps with mitigating spread and also acts as a compensator.

The gun includes two sights - a flip-up front and rear, and a carry handle A2 style adjustable sight. Which compensates the need for any optics. The 20-inch barrel improves accuracy and makes this gun perfect for clay shooting sports.

Bottom Line

The Tristar compact bullpup is a tough and accurate shotgun with double sights. The gun cycles perfectly and has limited space to mount accessories. This shotgun is good for home defense and clay pigeon sports.

What is a Bullpup Shotgun?

A bullpup shotgun is a shortened version of a normal shotgun. Where the action and magazine port are located behind the trigger. The main advantage of this setup is that despite the overall compact size of the weapon, the length of the barrel need not be shortened. Due to their unique design, bullpup guns have a different internal mechanism. 

Inspired by the puppies of bulldogs, somebody called such guns bullpups and the name stuck. Bullpup shotguns are often fed with box magazines and look more like a tactical bullpup rifle. As an added advantage, such designs allow mounting of different accessories.

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When Would a Bullpup Shotgun Come in Handy?

CQB/Home Defense

Bullpup guns are exclusively designed for close quarter battles. Their compact size ensures that they are easy to maneuver around corners and provide a more compact package to the user. Thus helping with easy handling and movement. A bullpup shotgun can be a great home defense weapon, given its compact size, customizability, and quick reloading capabilities. 

Storage and Concealment

Bullpups are shorter and compact than your average shotgun. Which makes concealment easier. These shotguns can be stored into smaller boxes and storage safes so they don’t eat up much space. These guns are very easy to conceal under the bed, inside a closet, or even inside your truck.


Bullpup shotguns don’t compromise on accuracy and have better maneuverability due to the rear-weight design. These guns can also come in handy for clay shooting sports to some extent. Otherwise, these guns are really fun to shoot and can be a perfect pick for casual shooting.

How Does a Bullpup Shotgun Work?

The bullpup shotgun design works on the exact principle as a bullpup shotgun. However, in some designs (like the Tavor TS12) the magazine is a rotating feed tube. Plus, some designs also have a pump-action to cycle the shells (Kel-Tec KSG). The trigger is located in front of the action and the barrel length remains uncompromised. 

Bullpup shotguns can be semi-auto or pump action. The rifle-like design also allows the design to have customizable elements like M-Lok attachment points and a Picatinny rail. 

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Why Did These Bullpup Shotguns Make Our List?


The biggest concern for people when buying a bullpup is the price. Bullpup rifles can cost about $1,500 on average. Hence people are quite skeptical before spending that kind of money. However, most of the shotguns reviewed on our list are very affordable and some of them even cost less than a semi-auto. 

Social Proof

The bullpup shotguns reviewed here are used by thousands of people and are renowned for their exceptional performance and value for money. Which is a very important and basic classification for a product to be on our list. 

Highly Customizable

Almost all of these shotguns feature components like Picatinny rails, BUIS, detachable mag, pistol grip and others. Which helps with adding extra accessories and customizing the weapon as needed. All these shotguns have highly tactical designs and are already perfect in themselves.

Pros and Cons of Bullpup Shotguns

Let's look at the pros and cons of bullpup shotguns.


Let's discuss the main benefits of bullpup shotguns:

Compact and Customizable

A bullpup shotgun offers a reduction in size without compromising on barrel length or any other basic and important factor. These guns eat up less storage space and generally feature a design that is very appropriate for adding extra accessories. 

Better Maneuverability and Control

Due to their size, bullpup shotguns can be very easy to control and handle. Especially in close quarters and crammed corners, where a normal shotgun with a full-length barrel won’t be effective. Additionally, since the gun is held close to the body, aiming is quicker and the shooter is less likely to experience fatigue during long sessions due to its back-heavy design. 

No Loss in Accuracy

The unique design of bullpup shotguns doesn’t shed barrel length. Hence not contributing any loss in accuracy.

John Wick with his bullpup shotgun (Source)


However, it comes with some drawbacks, including:

Heavy Trigger Pull

Bullpups shotguns are infamous for their heavy trigger pull. Their unique trigger mechanism is generally heavier than their normal counterparts. 


Handling the ergonomics of a bullpup can be tricky without practice. The unique location of the magwell requires a lot of practice to adhere to. However, once you get a knack of it, a bullpup can be a very effective weapon. As it is already for many special forces around the world. 


Bullpup shotguns are the condensed version of regular shotguns with the action placed behind the barrel. This doesn’t compromise on barrel length and hence accuracy. These shotguns are great for home defense, CQB, and sports. However, handling them properly and effectively requires practice. 

People Also Ask

Quench your thirst for some commonly asked questions about bullpup weapons in general. People are still quite wary about adopting bullpups, and this section will help you find satisfactory answers to such queries. 

Who Invented the Bullpup Shotgun Design?

While the invention of the bullpup design is credited to the Frenchman Henri Delacare. The first Bullpup semi-auto shotgun design was the Model 10 developed by Alfred Crouch in the late 1950s. The design was later sold to High Standard Manufacturing Company and developed into model 10A and 10B produced from 1967-1977.

Are Bullpup Shotguns Legal?

A shotgun with a barrel length less than 18 inches and an overall length of fewer than 26 inches is considered illegal. However, most bullpups shotgun manufacturers ensure to avoid such consequences, even by a minuscule margin. For example, the Kel-Tec KSG Tactical has an overall length of 26.1 inches.

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Is the P90 a Bullpup?

Yes. The P90 is a Bullpup rifle and its use is mostly restricted to military and armed forces. However, its semi-auto version the PS90 is available for sale in the civilian market and meets the legal requirements of being a bullpup. 

Why Are Bullpups Expensive?

Bullpups are expensive because of their unique design which takes a different approach and dimensions of parts to manufacture. However, with changing times, there are many bullpup models (especially shotguns) which can be bought for as low as $500.

Do Bullpups Have More Recoil?

Recoil is a result of the combination of multiple factors such as caliber, stock size, weight, etc. The compact design does help to some extent by absorbing the recoil and reducing the muzzle rise. But bullpups have not been reported to have more recoil than their normal size counterparts. 

Are Bullpups Less Accurate?

The reduced length of a bullpup does reduce the sight radius of a weapon (distance between the front and rear sight) which is a directly proportional factor for accuracy. However, since barrel length (which is an important factor for accuracy) remains the same. Bullpups cannot be deemed to be less accurate. Eventually, accuracy is also a personal skill and can be mastered with practice.


Ankit Kumar is an engineer turned writer who specializes in topics related to firearms, gun safety and weapon tech. His passion towards enrolling in the Army drifted his interest towards light and heavy firearms. He’s a qualified competitive air rifle shooter and an avid nature lover. His other areas of expertise include survival, prepping and firearms/ammo storage. When he’s not writing, he’s either learning a new skill, trekking or enjoying a long drive.

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