IWI Tavor SAR rifle with PTR-91 clone of H&K G3.
I took my new Tavor rifle to the range yesterday and put 230 rounds through it. Overall, I’m quite pleased with it. The Tavor is a bullpup rifle, which means the action is behind the trigger, making it much shorter than a conventional rifle. To emphasize just how important that is, I’ve included a comparison photo with the Tavor on top and a conventional design from the 1950s (the G3) on the bottom. Notice that the length of pull is almost identical even though the Tavor is much shorter. Many words have been written about how bullpups are better in close quarters, and I’ve found that it’s quite possible to quickly turn around in a cramped apartment hallway with the Tavor shouldered. Less often mentioned is that a rifle like the Tavor is much easier to fire accurately offhand because you aren’t trying to keep a long heavy metal object steady while held way out in front of you.
Tavors are sometimes described as ambidextrous, but they’re really not. Two of the major controls (the magazine and bolt releases) are ambidextrous, but the rifle ejects to the right (at least, in the right-handed model I bought) and has a safety lever on the left side. When firing left-handed, I found that the Tavor’s case deflector does an acceptable but not perfect job–I had brass graze my chin, but not hard enough to hurt or throw off my aim. I actually found that the way the safety lever dug into my left hand was more of a nuisance. Still, the design works fine for occasional off-hand fire as might be needed when firing from cover.
The Tavor trigger is extremely heavy. It’s well beyond my trigger gauge’s ability to measure, but I’ve seen a weight of eleven pounds mentioned in various places and that seems about right. Other than the weight, it’s actually not a bad trigger–there’s a slight amount of creep, but it’s not especially noticeable. It’s quite possible to shoot accurately, although fatigue will soon set in–the tip of my trigger finger is actually still numb 24 hours later! Several different respected manufacturers are working on after-market trigger pack replacements for around $350, and I intend to buy one after they’ve been out long enough for some reviewers to test them.
I got the Tavor hot enough to smoke, but the parts that the shooter is in contact with never got more than slightly warm. I’d be comfortable using it in a training class where I’d expect to be rapid firing all day. I was feeding it with a variety of magazines–mostly aluminum STANAG magazines that I was rotating from my plate carrier, along three different polymer magazines. One was the IWI-branded magazine that came with the rifle (actually a CAA MAG17), the others being a Lancer L5AWM and a Magpul Gen3 PMAG. All magazines worked as expected, although I liked the design of the Lancer magazine the best.
I was using an Aimpoint CompM4s red dot sight, but I haven’t settled on this as the final optic for this Tavor. I have an order in for a Browe Combat Optic, but there’s no telling when it will actually show up. I generally prefer magnified optics, but red dot sights like the Aimpoint are much cheaper to use with night vision–I just need to add a quick detach mount for my AN/PVS-14.