Today I got to handle one of the much hyped and anticipated TAVOR Israeli rifles. I have not been excited about them because I am not much of a bullpup kind of guy. I don’t hate all of them, but the AUG was about the only one I like. Ever since the thing was first shown, people have been wanting a legal version for the civilian market, and hype has just increased over the last months. A lot of gun rags have called it the next evolution in the 5.56 rifle or something to replace the M4. And of course there are those that believe with their entire heart that anything from IMI is the best.
If you have been waiting like a 9 year old kid at christmas for the TAVOR to come here so you can toss out all your M4s and AKs, I got some bad news for you.
After being handed the piece I was immediately shocked at how terrible it felt. The balance is so bad. It is not like an AUG or even the absurd FS2000. I hate the FN 2000 but I would be happy to take it if my only choice was between it and the Tavor.
The manual of arms for the thing is a major problem in my opinion and the other party there with me. It is very awkward. I am sure it can be developed and some one with an airsoft version will probably be ready to show me a video of how fast then can reload it, but airsoft is not real life and this gun suffers from bad control placement and it hurts your ability to run the gun.
Here is a picture demonstrating the contortionist position used to lock the bolt back.
Yes, he had to brace then gun against his hip, push up and hold in the bolt release and take his firing hand and reach over and pull the bolt back. Neither one of us has spent days or hours training on the weapon, but its pretty evident how strange these controls are.
A reload is not as bad as it would seem. It may be easier to get to the mag during a combat reload then the AUG and some others.
As you can see, you could dump a empty and insert a fresh mag without removing the gun from the shoulder after some practice.
Above is a view from both sides of the weapon when shouldered for firing. It is not a natural feeling due to the odd balance of the gun. After looking at the barrel without taking the gun apart, it appeared to have a barrel profile that if not a HBAR, it is very close to being a HBAR profile.
Now, on to some of the other features that really stood out to me.
The top rail. Have you ever had any experience with the Weaver scope and ring bases? The ones for mounting mediocre optics to mediocre ( or less) rifles using mediocre rings. They feel like cheap aluminum painted a shiny black and can be easily damaged or cracked. Well, that is what the rail made me think of as soon as I saw it and handled it. It is a shiny black and looks like it is painted on. I have no idea what type of aluminum the rail is made form, but it sure as hell is not the same quality as a KAC rail, or DD or upper on a flat top AR15 or most other weapons meant for fighting that any of us would take seriously. I was honestly surprised by this. It has TAPCO reek coming off it so much I would have thought it was a TAPCO product if I did not know better.
Next up are these high quality iron sights. Hey, no BS, these things are a joke. I don’t care how bad you want one of these or love it, ( or at least think you do) this is a terrible set of iron sights. On the bright side, they do fold down inside the “rail” and hide away nicely and are easy enough to pop up. But that is about all the good I can say about them..
The barrel is marked that it is made in Israel on one side and it is CHF with a1/7 twist on the other. That will soothe a lot of nerves I guess. I have never understood why CHF is somehow now “the best.” When I first started shooting years ago, CHF was known to be a way to make cheap barrels fast and save a lot of money. Marketing is like coke, It’s a helluva drug… But I digress..
You do get a CHF barrel in the proper twist rate for a 556 if you really think you may need it for fighting. At least they did not pull a bushmaster ACR move and send the thing out with a 1/9 twist.
One of the worst things on the gun was the infernal trigger. I am not the kind of guy who will complain about milspec triggers not feeling like a National Match bolt gun trigger, nor do I think that there is anything wrong with military triggers. They are often the safest and best bet for a gun meant to fight with. But, wow. This things trigger was the strangest thing I have ever seen. I pulled and pulled as it ..moved..? And then it seemed to want to hang up, then it snapped. I really do not know how to exactly explain it to you. It would take a long time and serious training to be able to do fast accurate work with this guns trigger.
The magazine the Tavor comes with is not a Pmag….
But it sure is trying to be. It has CAA or Mako quality written all over it. You can draw your own conclusions on that. It did drop free from the weapon though, so thats a good thing. The follower to feel smooth as well. Not having tested it, it did not appear to be a terrible mag. After all it is a pretty close copy of everyone’s favorite mag, so it may work fine. But it is still not a Pmag or Lancer.
One thing to impress me and that was the well thought out , complete cleaning kit that can be stored in the gun.
I comes with chamber brushes, bore brush, tiny soft hair barber type brush, a small bottle for oil or solvent . the rod and that giant white nylon brush I have no idea what it is for other then to maybe choke yourself to death with after you feel how bad the trigger is on the gun you just bought. I keed I keed.. It comes in a nice little pouch that holds everything nice and snug with velcro. It really is very nice. I would buy this kit on its own if they offered it. It is a lot like the kit I would put together for my rifles for the field. I really liked it.
One last thing is the manual that came with the gun. The cover lists the manual working for the 5.56 Tavor and the 5.45 and 9mm models. So maybe they plan on releasing some extras in the near future. I have no idea. I checker around and no one has any answers on it.
I was not able to shoot then gun for you since it was going up for sell. I wish I could have , but, thats life. It may be super accurate or not. I can not give any details on accuracy or reliability either sorry to say. I know it is not a very satisfying review but I did everything I could with a gun I could not fire. This was all my opini0n and impressions based on not shooting. It may shoot so well a lot of people can over look all the points I feel make the gun a dog.
I was indifferent over the TAVOR and had no opinion on it before looking this one over. After handling it and studying its quirks, I just can not understand the hype and desire for the gun. It is like the people talking it up do not live in the same world as the one this Tavor exists in. I know there are a lot of people out there that consider anything that is not made here or not a M4 better. Guys who want a SA80 for instance , would probably want one of these. And of course the IDF fetishists out there will tell you it should replace everything else. But I do not see it. Accuracy is not the only consideration for a fighting gun and I have no idea how accurate these may be. But ergonomics and handling and manipulation added in, this thing is not anything I would want to have to work with. But that is just me.
If you want this gun, the gun store owner and my friend will have it up on gunbroker very shortly. I will add a link to the bottom of this post as soon as he has it up for bidding. So you can check it out as soon as its ready. I am not sure how common the FDE version is to find because I thought they only would come in black. But, it will be up for anyone who has to have one or just wants to collect the tavor.
Not happy with my review? Read the review of an end user IDF soldier guest submitted here
be warned the IDF user does not think much more highly of it then I do.