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Boberg XR9S & XR45S: The Bullpup Pistols

Boberg XR9S & XR45S: The Bullpup Pistols


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in to another
video on ForgottenWeapons.com. I’m Ian McCollum, and I’m here today at the Rock Island Auction Company taking a look at a couple of the guns that they are going to be selling in their upcoming auction, specifically Boberg pistols. These things are an absolute dream for a total gun nerd. They have so much weird mechanical stuff going on in them, compared to pretty much anything else currently on the modern market, that they’re just awesome. The problem came when … he tried to
translate awesome into lots of commercial sales. And that’s where Boberg ran into some
issues. So this project was started, invented, by a guy named Arne Boberg, lived in Minnesota, is an
engineer, and had been tinkering with guns for a while. When he got his kick to actually produce his
own gun and create a company was in 2009, when he was laid off from an engineering job.
So got the the spark to do something on his own, got some capital, set up a company, and in
2011 released the company’s first pistol, which was the Boberg XR9-S. That was followed by the XR9-L, which is the
slightly longer barreled version of the 9mm gun, which unfortunately I don’t
have an example of for you today. And then in 2014 they released their
third … product, which was the XR45-S. As you might suspect, a .45
calibre version of the same thing. Now, … the whole reason for these pistols is to
maximise barrel length while minimising overall length. The bullpup thing, except in a pistol
instead of in a rifle. So that requires totally new style of magazine, a totally different style
of feeding, and then, since you’re on a roll at this point, let’s just go with one of the weirder operating
mechanisms we can come up with, say, rotating barrel. So let’s take a closer look here and
see what all the cool mechanics are inside these things. Here they are up close, the .45 and the 9mm. And let’s start off by actually getting
a little bit of size perspective here. This is a Glock 43, and it’s one of the most
comparable alternative carry pistols to the Boberg 9S. So these two guns actually have almost exactly
the same barrel length, but, as you can see, the Boberg is about an inch shorter overall.
So that’s the benefit that you’re getting there. One might ask, what’s the point? Why is
that relevant? And the answer is, well, at least Arne Boberg’s answer I suspect would be:
the longer barrel allows you to have more velocity, which in turn also leads to better
expansion in hollow point type bullets, and is more effective. And that’s
why it is worth having more barrel length. And of course having the smallest gun you
can makes it the most easily concealable. So, that’s the justification. And we can see the same sort of comparison here between the .45 calibre Boberg and the Glock 30S. Again they have virtually the exact same barrel
length, but the Glock is definitely a bit longer. Now normally in a semi-automatic pistol you’re gonna
have a cartridge sitting about here in the magazine, and the slides going to go back, open up
the chamber, and when it comes forward it’s going to push a round up and into the barrel. Just like … that. So, the magazine is behind the chamber. On the Boberg however, the
magazine is actually set up backwards, and the cartridge is pulled out of the magazine
rearward, lifted up, and then pushed into the chamber. Which means you can have the
chamber basically parallel to the magazine. So when this feeds, it’s going to pull the cartridge out the back,
lift it up, and then drop it into the chamber. And thus you get your long barrel in your short pistol.
Let’s pull this apart and see how that actually works. Disassembly is thankfully simple. Pull the slide
all the way back, rotate the lever forward. Right back, lever forward. Now the slide just
comes nicely off the top of the frame. We have a recoil spring. The locking system, because this is a
locked breech pistol, is a rotating barrel. So … that’s how it’s actually going to cycle. We have this lug on the bottom of the
barrel, and it is locked into the frame (you can see the half-round
cutout there, that mates up with this right here when the gun’s disassembly
catch is in the assembled position), so this lug remains fixed to the frame. As the
slide starts to go backward that is going to force the barrel to rotate. So right there it’s going to start to rotate, (you can see it more easily at
the back than at the front), just a little bit of rotation, just
enough to disengage locking lugs. And then the whole thing
slides forward, then it’s going to go through the whole feed cycle.
And when it locks up again the barrel stops moving here,
the lug continues, and locks it in place. We can further disassemble this by
opening it all the way up to the front, lifting this lug out. So there is grease on here, and that is done very
deliberately to aid in proper cycling of the pistol. But you can see the cam track right
here that that rotating lug travels in. There are three lugs in total on the barrel. This one is just for rotation, these
two are your actual locking lugs, and they are going to lock into the slide
right back here, right there and there. Now the feed system is pretty cool here. You can obviously see these two prongs that rotate up and down, those are spring-loaded at the back, and when the slide goes forward these snap
around the rim of a cartridge, like so. And then … when the slide opens, that’s going to pull the cartridge backwards out of the
magazine, it then pivots up slightly, just to right there, and that is going to bring the cartridge up basically into the bottom of the breech face. Once it’s here, it then needs to get pushed
all the way up into the extractor, like so. That is done by an extra lifting mechanism
right here in the back of the frame. So (I’ll cock the hammer because the slide at this point
would be backwards, so it holds the hammer cocked), and then the rest of the slide is actually
going to push on this little lug right here, which is going to pivot that lifter up,
and that is what kicks the next cartridge up into the extractor and seats it. So that when the slide goes forward it will seat
nicely on the barrel, and then you’re ready to fire again. In order to do this, of course,
the magazine is funky and weird. There is no follower, there’s just the magazine
spring, … it’s unconventional, but it works just fine. You have nice stout feed lips because all they
have to do is hold the cartridge at this height, and it gets pulled straight out of the back. So, in theory, this is actually an easier type of magazine, a
more reliable type of magazine, to manufacture, which is cool. In this way this harkens back to only one other
historical pistol really, and that is the Mars pistol, (which by the way I have some video on if you’re
curious about how to do this, but make it Victorian, well Edwardian really, steampunk
and massively magnum in calibre). Capacity of these by the way is
seven plus one for the 9mm version, and five plus one for the .45 calibre version. The recoil spring that Boberg uses is remarkably small. What’s kind of interesting about
this design is that Boberg has a number of other elements set up to
basically bleed energy out of the system, rather than just relying on a recoil
spring to try to slow down the slide. In particular, this lifter mechanism sucks
a lot of energy out of the recoil stroke. Despite maybe what you see online, …
these aren’t recoilless pistols, they don’t shoot like .22s, they
in fact shoot like compact 9mm. But this is something that does make
them less painful than a lot of similar guns. So you’ve got that, you’ve also got the locking system,
which does in fact draw some energy when it cycles. As for the particulars of shooting,
this is double action only. So there is no manual safety
on it, it really isn’t necessary. It does not lock open when the magazine is empty,
because of course the mechanisms that do that are generally run by a thing on the magazine
follower, and there is no magazine follower here. The sights are a rather typical
standard three dot sort of arrangement. Magazine release is entirely normal, just a button
right there (I’ve got two snap caps loaded in there). Once again to show you the loading process. When the slide is forward, the little grippy arms have
grabbed a cartridge by the rim, and it will pull it out (sorry, it’s hard to do it slowly), it’ll pull it out
there and you can see in fact at this point I have kind of jammed the thing up, because the tip of the
bullet is a little too low and it’s hitting the base of the barrel. What that means is I didn’t pull it far
enough back for that lifter to fully engage. You can see right here that the
cartridge hasn’t come up into the breech face. So if I pull it back a little bit more,
right there, you can see that cartridge has been pushed up into the breech.
Now it is directly in line with the barrel and it will feed. One might wonder why hasn’t this sort of thing been
done more often. There are a few answers, in that this is more complicated, it has more parts
than a traditional style of pistol. There’s also an interesting, and probably unexpected, problem that arises with this, and that
has to do with ammunition crimping. So when you’re making the ammunition, of course, you have to decide how tightly
to crimp the bullet into the case. And this varies by manufacturer and by purpose. When you feed a cartridge forward,
like so, it doesn’t really matter all that much. You’re mainly worried about making sure that the bullet doesn’t
bounce loose under recoil while it’s sitting in the magazine. However, when you’re pulling the
cartridge out backwards like this, you’re … attempting to pull the case off of the bullet. Because the bullet has a lot more mass than the
case, and that mass tends to want to stay at rest when the slide goes to yank it backwards. And this does have the effect
on ammo that isn’t well crimped of leaving the bullet sitting in the magazine
while pulling the cartridge case off the back. It then attempts to feed the empty case like
a cartridge, which usually means that it jams, and the powder kind of goes
poof and flies out everywhere. This in fact is not actually a dangerous situation,
it’s not like that powder is going to ignite, but it is a rather inconvenient malfunction to clear. And Boberg … had to be right upfront
about this from the very beginning, maintaining a list of ammunition
that did and didn’t work in the pistols. So that is an unfortunate complication as a result
of this very unique rearward feeding system. Unfortunately for Boberg the project
didn’t go entirely according to plan. I don’t know any details of the company’s finances,
but in 2016 the whole project was sold to Bond Arms, a good established firearms company down
in Texas. Bond Arms reworked it just slightly, rebranded it, and they are now selling
it as the Bond Arms BullPup pistol. Whether Boberg was forced to get out because … it
wasn’t a financially soluble company at that point, or whether he just decided it
wasn’t all that much fun anymore working in the firearms
manufacturing industry, I don’t know. But the upshot is that the original Boberg
pistols have already become collectors pieces, because if you get one now from Bond Arms,
it’s going to have different grips, and a different finish, and a different name on it. So if you’re the true
collector type, of course you need to have the originals. Now, there’re probably more than a few people
who saw this series of events coming the first time they laid eyes on a Boberg pistol, but
that’s OK. They’re extremely well made guns, and really cool, just not necessarily
everyone’s cup of tea for daily carry. So if you’re interested in either of these two,
they are coming up for sale here at Rock Island. Check out Rock Island’s catalogue pages,
they’ll have their pictures, their description, their estimates for the prices and all that sort of thing. As well as of course everything
else that’s in the upcoming sale. Thanks for watching.


Reader Comments

  1. I think the term bullpup pistol is really grasping… Since its just a unique feeding mechanism.. A legit BP Is mag behind trigger.. By definition maybe even? I'm not a total gun geek. Just like what i like. Know what i need to know. Still so. Stand by my point as I'm a stickler in general for wording. In my eyes a bp pistol would have a false grip & a mag well behind that to be truly bp. Whatev tho. 👌✨👌💤✈🏢

  2. I know why the barrel rotates. it throws the bullet out of the gun in an arc, so you can shoot around a person to hit a target.
    It's true because I saw it in a movie.

    Bazinga!

  3. I know this is gonna sound really dumb.. but if the claw arm and firing pin were themselves functioning as a Pederson lock, this whole arrangement would have enough travel to accommodate a 10mm length round. then scale it up to full size and you can have a 6 inch bbl 10mm pistol the size of regular duty size handgun and only an inch thick.

  4. This is a case of the right problem with the wrong solution. Handgun concealability is a function of short grip frame, not short barrel. You can easily hide a long barreled gun, but a long grip frame tends to be the thing that makes hiding a gun difficult.

  5. Can this gun eventually be fitted into careless ammo like G11(solves crimping issue) since it's so small for a 45 I can't believe they make a gun this small with ammo that big(if it were .22 wouldn't be to surprised)

  6. Isn't bullpups is basically a gun with the magazine behind the trigger, so technically all pistols are bullpups?

  7. Seems like you’re trying to sale something. You really expect us to buy it without you test firing it first?

  8. barrels don't really print hand grips do. if you want to be innovative make a 15shot 9mm the size of the g43 this is just complicated for no reason I'm sure it has its place just not for most of us and that's what sells

  9. I love the engineering finesse that went into this, and it's really stylish too. Definitely one of the more interesting modern designs.

    I'm glad you don't only show "forgotten" weapons!

  10. I'd love to have one as a range toy but with all those moving parts I worry about reliability. I don't think I would depend on it for self defense…

  11. Honestly a dream. I wish it were more common, because a rotating barrel in terms of recoil and the size of the thing is perfect. I'd carry it if it were not an auction piece.

  12. Hmm. Could this work as a full-size pistol in .22 with a nice long barrel? Just thinking how 22 long can always do with some more barrel, and an extra inch or so in the gun itself would likely help

  13. I'd be more interested in the gun if they'd decided to maintain the same overall length as similar handguns while giving an extra inch of barrel. The vast majority of these pocket pistols are illigal in Canada due to our minimum barrel length laws. adding an extra inch or so of barrel without sacrificing the compact size of the guns all ready on the market would be a game changer in Canada

  14. so bullpup means that the firing mechanism is located behind the trigger group, right? For a couple seconds I was confused: I thought all pistols were technically bullpups since their magazines are located behind the trigger group. But thats definitely wrong. Guess normal pistols are only half bullpup lol.

  15. LOTS of failure points there, but an interesting design for a civilian pistol.
    Now, having actually watched this AND the video where it was fired: yeah, just lots of added failure points for an extra inch of barrel.

  16. Feeding would work better if the bullet were pushed backwards out of the mag. Would that create additional problems? Presumably it's possible, else tube magazines wouldn't work.

  17. Ever since I first saw an FN P90 and shortly afterward the F2000 I've generally enjoyed not only the idea of, but the actual aesthetics of bullpup firearms. It never occurred to me that there would be pistols in the same configuration, and now that I'm seeing them they're quite nice. Personally speaking I'm comfortable to admit I have girl hands (I'm 6'2 and have the same hand size as guys 6 inches shorter than me) so this little 9mm would be fantastic!

  18. It's a concealed carry pistol. The ammo is not an issue. You WILL carry the best in a cc pistol.

  19. Interesting but reminds me of John Delorean. Let's introduce a new wildly different and very expensive product at the peak of a huge recession. I would look at consider one now but I don't think a lot of people were looking at to many New products around 2011-2016.

  20. Love the use of red bullets highlight the feed mechanisms. You're amazing Ian thank you for all of your hard work!

  21. nice. to produce another nice thing, they could turn the whole logic around and make a bullpup pistol with average total length and longer barrel

  22. Sweet @ss gun an concept…..another good idea ripped off an packaged by copycats….We'll see more of this type cuz conceal n carry is high on the wish list for most in this area.

  23. love your channel, fascinating and informative to see how people have engineered all these crazy designs over the years.

  24. That’s a lot of effort for an extra inch. Then again, don’t we all want an extra inch of barrel length?

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