The IWI Tavor Bullpup 5.56mm Rifle Part 1.
It’s not often we get to talk about something totally new and different. Today we do, not that this is a new invention, it isn’t. The Tavor has been in use by the IDF (Isreali Defense Force) for 10 years now but it is new to us here in the States. Now when I hear “IDF” and that they love the Tavor I automatically assume it is nearly faultless and awesome. Well, that is kinda, sorta true…and then it isn’t. I bought mine a month ago and while I don’t claim to know everything about it I will share what I’ve gathered so far.
Let’s start with what is it? It is a bullpup 5.56mm semi-auto version of the IDF issued rifle called the TAR-21. It is a short and very well-balanced rifle, in spite of the way it looks to a lot of people. It was meant for short to intermediate range combat applications and it has served the IDF very well for a decade. It is fast handling and ergonomic. Within a very short time I had the bullpup thing down and stopped fumbling with mag changes. It lends itself very well to what it is designed for.
As a lot of us are AR shooters, if there is one thing I want to impress upon you it is this….THIS IS NOT A PRECISION MATCH OR BENCH RIFLE!!! That’s the most important thing I have to say. It simply will not bench well or group in the sub-moa range. Most of us will be doing great if we get it under 3MOA. If you understand that point you will be happy. This a combat rifle and not a match gun. If you buy this looking for a ragged hole at 100 yards you will be sorely disappointed. I have to admit I had a hard time accepting that at first. Two thousand dollars and 3 MOA was rubbing me the wrong way when I first got this baby. Once you accept that and realize what it was intended for, you will begin to see it’s appeal.
The Trigger: It sucks…AR match triggers have spoiled us rotten. This Tavor trigger is single stage and heavy, I would guess mine was in the 10-12 lb range out of the box. Is it un-usable? No, not for the rifles intended purpose but it is atrocious for most of us AR boys and girls. There is a trigger job that can be performed and helps a lot. You can get a few pounds off the pull weight and the best part is that it is free. One of my fellow Jarheads posted a nice video and here is the link: http://www.thebangswitch.com/5-minute-tavor-trigger-job/ Thank you Mr. Mac for posting this and Semper Fi.
The Barrel: It is not a nice, fat heavy barrel. It makes me think of my Bushy Carbon-15 lite weight barrel and it shoots just the same as that rifle does. Like I said, if you are coming in under 3MOA you are just fine. I hope and pray to the rifle God’s every night before bed that IWI puts out a heavy barrel version.
The Sights: First let me say I have seen some reviews where guys got 1.5-2 inch groups out of their Tavor’s. It looked like they were all using scopes with high magnification. That would help for sure but here is my issue with that. You have just defeated the intended purpose of the rifle…it wasn’t meant for 25x scopes, it was intended for short-range, fast and dirty street fighting. It, IMHO, should be outfitted with something where the max magnification is in the 4-6 power range. I went with 3x magnifier and an EoTech. This sight lends itself to the weapons intended purpose which is to shoot “minute of man” very fast. Again, don’t try to “scope” the thing into something it wasn’t meant to be.
So that’s that on accuracy for now. It does exactly what it was designed for. It just may not do what you want it too.
I’m thinking as I write this that this weapon is going to better covered in a 2 or 3 part article. There is just too much to say and 9000 words later you will be asleep. So let’s go over a number of tech specs and factoids and wrap up. I will surely write a part 2 soon.
Factory Specs from IWI’s web page:
Bullpup configuration; short rifle convenience with long rifle accuracy
Mil-Spec , chrome lined, cold-hammer forged CrMoV barrel, 6 groove 1:7 RH twist
Integral ambidextrous front and rear quick detachable sling swivel receptacles
Mil-Std 100% interchangeability of all TAVOR® SAR parts
Uses standard AR-15/M16 magazines
Clean, long stroke piston operation
That’s not all of them but the ones I thought were most important to know.
Summary: This is just the beginning on this weapon review. Next time I want to cover some more shooting, disassembly, my 75 yard battle sight zero, other configurations of this system, more of my likes/dislikes of it, my accessory choices and the optional forward grip rail I ordered from Israel but haven’t installed yet. Just for giggles I may even do what I think we shouldn’t just for a day and 20x scope the thing and head out with some Hornady and Federal match loads just to see what happens.
I’ll end today with this. I never thought I would find a rifle I would take to war before an M-4 Carbine. Having rarely engaged bad guys in the desert past 175 yards and more often than not in the 25-75 yard range I think for me this is the best thing going for a combat rifle. I realize it’s still early but I say without a doubt if I were going back on active duty this rifle would find its way into my unit’s armory connex box and would emerge with me in whatever clime and place I ended up. I wouldn’t have to use it if I didn’t want too but I would definitely want to give it a whirl and I have never felt that way about any rifle till this one. For it’s intended purpose it is incredible. More later.
As always thanks for reading and train often.
By: Cary Kieffer