Tuesday, May 14, 2013

IWI Tavor SAR Review

After a long wait, the IWI Tavor has finally ended up on American gun store shelves.   I was lucky enough to get one of the first ones a couple months ago and have been putting it through its' paces since.   Here's what I've found...

-Reliable.   1 malfunction out of roughly 1000 rounds and it may very well have been a bad round (more info in the video below).
-26'' OAL yet still has a 16.5'' barrel.
-1/2 x 28 thread pattern so AR muzzle devices and suppressors will work just fine on the rifle.
-Comes with 2 QD attachment points built into the rifle.
-Full 1913 top rail for adding whatever optic you choose.
-Built in flip up iron sights.  The front sight has a tritium insert for low light visibility.
-Easy to field strip for maintenance.
-Very easy to swap controls for left hand use.   Ejection pattern can also be swapped with a left hand bolt (LH rifles will be coming from the factory soon).
-Caliber conversions for both 5.45x39 and 9mm will be released in the coming months.
-Balances very well as most of the weight is in the rear of the rifle.
-Bolt locks open on the last round.
-CHF chrome lined 1 in 7 5.56 chambered barrel.
-Accepts standard capacity AR mags (some Gen2 PMags may not drop free)
-Very easy mag change procedure.

-The recoil spring is pinned in to the bolt carrier assembly so I'm not sure how that would be swapped when the round count gets high enough to justify it (US version only as I understand it).
-Trigger.   It has some 'linkage' feel to it like most bullpups do.  That said, the break is crisp at just over 9 pounds.
-Cost.   These things are tough to find and they're going for over $3k on gunbroker and many small gun shops (and people are paying it!).
-Mounting a light on the rail system is awkward unless you're using a pressure switch.  
-Not a lot of Tavor specific accessories available currently.   We're pretty much limited to adapting/using accessories designed for use on an AR for this rifle so the side/top rail space can get full really quickly.
-Fixed LOP stock.   That said, it is comfortable for me in most positions (6'0'' for reference)
-Many folks like to run their rifles with their hand far out toward the muzzle for better control---for them the compactness of the rifle may hinder their weapons handling/control capabilities.

All in all the Tavor has a some of the downsides inherent to the platform but less than probably any bullpup I've seen/owned/handled to date.    They're a little on the pricy side but if you're looking for a gun that will be used in a CQB role, this is one that I'd take a hard look at.    I really like it thus far and the more time I have behind it the more I like it (I think much of that is due to gaining familiarity with the controls and confidence in manipulating the weapon).

If I could go back in time I'd absolutely buy this rifle again so I guess that's really the ultimate complement.

Here's a video with some shooting, a quick accuracy 'test' (wind and Wolf ammo...), a demonstration of how to manipulate the controls of the rifle, a quick disassembly/assembly, and a discussion of the pros/cons of the rifle.

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