Written by  2014-11-21

AUG - Care and Feeding

More info on the AUG and its care and feeding.

This article was originally published in SureFire's Combat Tactics magazine (Fall 2010). Photos by Ichiro Nagata.

PC, this is a Mac. It runs differently. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you master the new operating system, you’ll be glad.

The AUG is not an AR.

In fact, it’s not like any other carbine you’ve ever fired, so to run an AUG, you need a different mindset. The best analogy I can think of is a PC versus a Mac.

I’m someone who went kicking and screaming from a PC to Mac and realized, once I got the hang of it and began thinking differently, that the Mac is actually much easier. This is true with the AUG as well. I’ll try to save you some time and frustration as you learn this unconventional gun’s idiosyncrasies.

Just like buying a computer with an operating system different from what you’re used to, you have to free your mind with the AUG and just spend time working with it to understand its many benefits. You develop a feel for its trigger and its controls. You need to think differently on performing critical tasks like reloading and malfunction clearing. Once you get it figured out, the AUG will become second nature and make sense.

Reloading the AUG

AUG Reload

This is one of the two big “boogey man” issues I hear all the time about the AUG. First, we need to look at some basic realities.

Outside of a combat environment in a war zone, how often will you be expending either a full magazine of 30 or 42 rounds of 5.56mm rifle ammunition— and then require a speed reload?

Once we put this into perspective and accept that a speed reload is actually a lower-priority skill set, then we can figure out how to speed load the AUG.

The magazine release for the AUG is a large lever to the rear of the magazine well that sits in line with the magazine. It’s designed for the operator to grasp the magazine and simply depress the lever by pushing with the thumb, to manually remove the spent magazine, and bring a new magazine up into the well. In most cases this is sufficient and can be done quickly and efficiently during any lull in a fight or when ducking behind cover.

If you’re under fire and need to reload as fast as possible, bring a fresh magazine up and to the rear of the in-place magazine. Use the top of the new magazine to depress the release lever, dropping the old magazine. It now requires only a slight turn of the wrist to insert the new magazine. I’ve seen others use the spine of the new magazine to depress the lever as well.

Either way, this technique is very fast when executed in the rare case that a speed reload is required.

Gas Port Adjustment

AUG Gas Port

A small piece of advice on the adjustable gas port: I use a little line of fingernail polish to mark where the proper position is on the gas port. During the cleaning process, it’s possible to put these in upside down. After your first shot, the adjustment piece will be on the ground downrange somewhere. This is catastrophic in an actual shooting and hugely embarrassing in a training environment.

Slinging the AUG

AUG Slinging

The AUG is the only gun I still run in an old-school three-point sling. I use a Giles Stock Wilderness sling on my AUG, as they were designed by Giles for the AUG.

I don’t get into any shoulder switching with the AUG, so having the sling confining the gun to one side is okay. The three-point allows me to either simply drop the gun for a pistol transition, if needed. If I want to completely clear the AUG from my front, I drive my support hand to the bottom of the toe of the rear of the stock and then shove the gun rearward over my left shoulder with my primary hand.

The cross-bolt safety makes it easy to safe the gun prior to doing this, and this is obviously not a technique to use in a team environment with someone right behind you.

My technique leaves the AUG facing downward, flat against my back. This is good for a pistol transition, needing to make physical contact with a suspect for cuffing, climbing up a ladder, or just keeping the gun easily accessed but with a lower profile. To recover the AUG from this position, the strong hand just reaches back and brings it rapidly forward back into a deployable position. 

For those who wish to use a conventional or enhanced two-point sling, it’s better to switch the sling swivel to the outside of the AUG’s stock on the rear attachment point. Single-point slings are not really viable on the AUG, or needed.

Left-Handed Shooting

AUG Left Handed Shooting

This is AUG “boogey man” number two. Because of the location of the ejection port, you can’t put your face on the right side of the stock. (Left-handed shooters can retrofit an AUG with a left-hand bolt assembly.)

If for some reason you need to use your support hand to operate the trigger mechanism of an AUG— an injury or maybe you need to use your primary hand for another task— then you simply leave the AUG on your primary shoulder and switch hands.

The balance point of the AUG makes this very easy. It helps to run the gun a little more centered on the chest. If you’re in a situation of clearing or working a corner or obstacle, I prefer to simply roll the AUG towards my support side, with my red-dot optic in front of my support eye. If you find yourself in such a situation that really requires shooting from your support side, you simply extend the gun forward and your head as far back as possible. The support hand can also come back and hold behind the ejection port to become a port buffer of sorts.

One-Handed Ability

AUG One Handed

This is my “boogey man retort” when dealing with naysayers. I have two good friends who have lost arms due to horrific accidents. They both shoot AUGs, which should be a clue.

The AUG’s balance is to the rear, so the gun is easy to run with one hand. Many discount this as unimportant. This is the difference between square-range hotshots and those who work in the real world.

Ever have to open a door while clearing a structure? Ever have to open a car door while carrying a long gun in a high-threat situation? Ever have to use a hand to move a suspect or handle a noncombatant? The AUG is a huge advantage in these cases.

I have another friend who began running a U.S.-built AUG as his primary SWAT gun recently. I got the “Wow, you were right!” phone call pretty quick.

Running a carbine around people and in close confines, like trailer homes, small apartments, and vehicles (especially “tubular” ones, like planes, trains, and busses), the AUG is far better than a standard AR carbine. The AUG is also relatively easy to conduct malfunction clearance drills with one hand. Try doing a support-hand-only “bolt over base” malfunction clearance on your AR and get back to me on how easy it is.

CQB Shooting


The AUG is a dream to run in a CQB realm. It is not only short, but it also has very little muzzle protruding forward for an opponent to grab or to telegraph movements or position.

The short distance between the vertical foregrip and the pistol grip makes the AUG very fast to come up on the vertical plane from a ready or searching position to an initial firing position. This is the meat and potatoes for LE folks working any urban area, and for civilians in protecting their homes.

When the AUG is compressed, with the rear of the stock over the primary shoulder and bicep, you can actually get this AUG into a position where it can be easily worked in areas where normally only a handgun would be viable.

At bad-breath range, 5.56mm NATO, along with its blast, is far better than anything coming out of any service pistol for ending a fight right now. This compressed position with the AUG also puts the muzzle right at chest height of an opponent— this is good. This is also the position you want to use for opening doors or performing support-hand activity.


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