I’ve been enthusiastic about reviewing the Bond Arms Bullpup 9mm for a few weeks now. After thorough testing — I put 1,200 to 1,300 rounds through it — my enthusiasm remains. In fact, my confidence in the 9mm has only grown. The Bullpup 9 is a well-made handgun with good features. Most importantly, the piece is reliable. The pistol is among very few small handguns that shoot like big guns. It is light and compact but easy to fire accurately. It is useful in fast combat firing and surprisingly accurate in benchrest testing (firing for absolute accuracy).
From Boberg to Bond Arms
Bond Arms purchased the design and rights to the handgun, originally manufactured as the Boberg 9mm, and left the appearance and outline identical. Bond Arms saw potential in the pistol but also room for improvement. The Boberg 9mm isn’t a locked-breech handgun in the conventional sense but uses a rotating barrel, allowing the use of a powerful cartridge in a small handgun. The rotating barrel absorbs much of the recoil energy, resulting in modest felt recoil considering the gun’s size and weight.
Bond Arms traded the small recoil spring for a slide return spring. While the original Boberg’s rotating barrel design demands heavy lubrication to remain reliable, Bond Arms uses a special coating on the barrel and locking block. This eliminates the need for constant lubrication and grease. I lubricated the handgun at the beginning of the test period and only refreshed the Ballistol lubricant every 300 cartridges. Bond Arms also improved quality control and the quality of manufacture. The Bullpup demands certain care to ensure proper function. And there is a list, not limited by any means, of recommended loads.
A Note on Ammunition Selection
Bond Arms provides an extensive list of recommended loads because not all ammunition has sufficient bullet pull or crimp. The rearward feeding ram demands the loads have a good taper crimp, or the bullet may be pulled forward out of the cartridge case. This would be bad news. The approved list includes several good choices for personal defense.
The pistol features a double-action-only trigger. The trigger action is very smooth, without creep or backlash. Be certain to bring the slide completely to the rear and snap the slide forward (otherwise a cartridge may take a dive under the chamber instead of into the chamber). The slide is quite easy to rack, making the Bullpup 9 suitable for those with limited hand strength. You press the trigger, the pistol fires, the barrel rotates 14 degrees and unlocks, and the slide travels to the rear. The slide then returns to battery as the feeding ram loads a cartridge into the chamber. The trigger is allowed to reset during recoil. Bringing the pistol on target as quickly as I am able to realign the sights makes for fast and accurate shooting.
What Is a Bullpup?
A bullpup rifle is shorter than a standard carbine and typically features a magazine behind the firing grip. The Bond Arms pistol earns the moniker because the pistol’s magazine is below the chamber rather than behind it. The magazine uses a sheet-metal body and magazine follower but otherwise is very different from other pistol magazines. Loading the magazine is an easy task, although the lack of a magazine follower gives one pause. The magazine is open at the rear, and the body is closed at the front. It feeds from the rear, not the front.
After the pistol fires and the slide recoils, ejecting the spent cartridge case, a loading ram removes the top cartridge from the magazine and rams it into the chamber. This mechanism is very reliable, but due to the nature of the design, the slide does not hold open on the last shot. It’s one of the few trade-offs inherent in the Bond Arms design.
Bullpup 9 Specs
Barrel Length: 3.35 inches
Grip Material: Rosewood
Grip Size: Standard
Sights: Dovetail drift-adjustable non-illuminated 3-dot
Overall Length: 5.1 inches
Weight: 17.5 ounces
Trigger Pull Weight: 6.5 pounds
Bullpup 9 Build
The slide is nicely finished stainless steel. The sights are an excellent combination of speed and precision, making for rapid sight acquisition and good accuracy potential. The frame is black anodized aluminum. The grips are nicely checkered cocobolo — unlike the original Boberg, which sold for $1,300 with plastic grips. Bond Arms’ goal with the Bullpup 9 was to offer higher quality at a lower price. They accomplished this, as the Bullpup 9mm MSRP is $900.
Trigger compression is 6.5 pounds. The action is smooth, and reset is positive. The trigger transfers energy to a drawbar that cocks and drops the hammer. The hammer is a unique hinged-flap-type hammer. The system works in a positive manner, smacking the firing pin with plenty of force. The magazine release works well. While speed loads are always tactical loads since the pistol doesn’t lock open on the last shot, the pistol did well enough in speed drills.
Firing the Bullpup 9
The point of the design is to allow a very compact 9mm handgun to be carried with a sufficient barrel length for good accuracy and velocity. Control and practical accuracy are excellent. I drew and fired the pistol at man-sized targets at 5, 7 and 10 yards in most of my speed drills. Once the shooter finds a rhythm of fire with the double-action-only trigger, practical accuracy is excellent.
From a supported barricade, I was able to fire a five-shot, 2-inch group on several occasions at 15 yards. My primary loading used in practice has been what Bond Arms recommends: Winchester 115-grain FMJ. I have also fired a number of modern hollow-point loads, including the Federal 124-grain HST, with good results. The Bond Arms Bullpup is a credible choice for personal defense. The pistol fits into a .380 envelope, hits like a 9mm and offers excellent reliability.
Bond Arms: BondArms.com