When you need to move fast, lightweight gear is an advantage. Bullpup weapons, either rifles or shotguns, locate the action behind the trigger group, making the weapon shorter than a standard rifle or shotgun. These designs still use a barrel the same length as a standard shotgun or rifle, however, so there is no degradation in performance in the decreased package size.

With the action built into the buttstock, reducing the overall length, the weight of the weapon is shifted to the rear. This makes the bullpup more maneuverable in confined environments like those found in urban environments—moving through doorways, pieing corners, working your way through rooms, negotiating piles of debris as well as getting in and out of vehicles. This center of balance also generally makes bullpup-style weapons more comfortable to carry and fast to shoulder.

Bullpups are small packages that provide a lot of bite. They are designed for close-quarters use and are quite capable out to 100 yards or more when paired with a low-power optic. The controls on bullpups are closer to the user, too. Here are top bullpup picks worth considering for your bug-out bag.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Summer 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.