by Mike Searson,
In this review, Mike takes a look at the JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine, which he believes might be the holy grail of Personal Caliber Carbines.
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- I have always had a soft spot for bullpup style rifles. They may not always be my “go to” gun, but there is something about the design and economy of space that makes me like them.
You can easily store most of them in a backpack, rear seat of a vehicle or other confined space and have them at the ready in case you need to put them into use.
I am speaking specifically of the 5.56 types such as the Tavor, Steyr AUG and the FN P90 in 5.7mm. Interestingly enough, both the Steyr and the Tavor have 9mm conversions available. The downside is that those conversion kits cost almost the same price as another rifle.
So why not a dedicated 9mm bullpup?
We think we found the holy grail in the JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine in 9mm.
The History of the Pistol Caliber Carbine
At one time, specifically, the late 19th Century starting in 1873, pistol caliber carbines were particularly desired. Cartridge firearms were still relatively new and if you were heading west it made sense to have a common caliber in both your handgun and repeating rifle (44-40 Winchester, 44 Rimfire, 32-20 Winchester and 38-40 Winchester were the most logical choices) for both weight and resupply issues.
They ebbed and flowed through the years after the introduction of smokeless powder, improved resupply avenues and a better understanding of how cartridges worked.
Various militaries have issued pistol caliber carbines to rear echelon troops who might need to reach out beyond the typical distance of a handgun. The US saw this with the M1 Carbine and most European nations saw it in the form of sub-machineguns.
For law enforcement use, specialized units such as the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Clandestine Laboratory Enforcement Team used 9mm Colt submachineguns based on the old CAR-15 platform. The rifles used full-length flash suppressors or even sound suppressors to cut down on excessive muzzle flash.
The reason being is that meth labs are full of hazardous flammable chemicals and the like. So there was a very specific reason why this caliber was chosen for use in a long gun. We are not 100% certain but believe that most of these teams have upgraded to H&K UMP carbines for this role in either 9mm or 40 S&W; still a pistol caliber carbine, though.
Beyond that, most law enforcement agencies use full powered rifle calibers for their SWAT teams and patrol units. This is why most tactical trainers and people who train at carbine classes will turn you away from a pistol caliber carbine for serious rifle use.
However, we can see a use for them in a civilian role.
The ammunition is certainly cheaper, they are welcome at most indoor ranges, they are low on recoil and finally are just fun to shoot.
With that out of the way, let's get back to the JARD bullpup.
JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine – The Good
Bullpups in 9mm such as the Steyr AUG take their proprietary magazines and the Tavor runs with Uzi magazines, which are cheap and plentiful enough but the Jard takes Glock 17/19 magazines which are as cheap if not cheaper and there is a good chance that the shooter already has them on hand.
The front end of the rifle has numerous M-Lock cutouts to allow the users to add any accessories necessary to help make them better shooters. Lights, lasers, foregrips and the like can be added as well as appropriate iron sights or optics to the top rail which is Picatinny. We added a Lucid Optics HD-7 and found it to be a great match for the J68.
Looking under the hood, so to speak, the JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine breaks down easily by pressing a take-down button in the rear of the stock. If the rifle were not compact enough already you can make it even more so.
Operation wise there is a guide rod operated bolt, which reminded us of a few action types we have played with in the past and this may be the key to its successful operation on the range. The safety, bolt catch, bolt release and magazine release are all ambidextrous and ejection is out of the bottom.
Out at the range, the JARD 68 performed well with a variety of ammunition types. The most important thing that we did notice is that the rifle has a nice trigger. While definitely a rarity on a bullpup rifle, it really is no surprise as JARD has been making quality triggers for quite some time. It broke between 3.5 and 4 pounds. It really made us consider the possibilities of performance if JARD should ever offer a rifle caliber bullpup, or maybe one of their triggers for the AUG or Tavor.
Their muzzle brake is a wicked looking device. No, we aren't from New England, this looks wicked as in something Sandor Clegane would install on his rifle if he had one.
JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine – The Bad
Our only negative point on the JARD 68 Carbine is its appearance. It lacks the streamlined look of the AUG or even the Tavor, but when looking at its performance we want to say, “Who cares? Just as long as it works!“, and that it does.
Other than that it is a bit on the heavy side for a pistol caliber carbine, but to quote “Boris the Blade”: “Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable, and if it does not work, you can hit him with it!”
Not that the last part will ever be an issue, but some folks do prefer more weight on their firearm of choice for that solid feel.
JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine – The Reality
Whether you are looking for a pistol caliber carbine or just another bullpup to add to your stable, the JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine has it in spades. Reliability, compact size, common use magazines, accuracy and ambidextrous controls.
Available in black or tan and chambered in 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP, we would be curious to try one of these in either 10mm or 357 SIG, because we think those two rounds might work well in this platform and there are Glock magazines available.
JARD J68 Bullpup Carbine Specs:
- Caliber: 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 ACP
- Overall length: 26.25″.
- Weight: 7.5 lbs.
- Bbl length: 17″
- MSRP: $895 (base model)
GB Guns: The Best Bullpup AND Pistol Caliber Carbine? Jard J68 Shooting Impressions
About Mike Searson
Mike Searson's career as a shooter began as a Marine Rifleman at age 17. He has worked in the firearms industry his entire adult life as a Gunsmith, Ballistician, Consultant, Salesman, Author and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1989.
Mike has written over 2000 articles for a number of magazines, websites and newsletters including Blade, RECOIL, OFF-GRID, Tactical Officer, SWAT, Tactical World, Gun Digest, Examiner.com and the US Concealed Carry Association as well as AmmoLand Shooting Sports News.