I don’t spend much time on the show floor these days, but I was pleased to get to fondle an IMI Tavor for a bit.
I’ve never been a big fan of bullpups, because I find the ergonomics on most of them border on sadistic. The Tavor was one of the best laid out bullpups I’ve handled. Let me compare it to another, somewhat new bullpup, like the Kel-Tec RFB, and to the AR-15 platform most of us are familiar with.
The Tavor’s magazine is released easily, and removed from the magazine well. It is simple to accomplish this with one hand without losing your sight picture. The RFB’s magazine rotates into place, somewhat similar to an FAL or AK. Except in the RFB, my shooting hand gets in the way of the magazine coming out. The Tavor is vastly better for magazine changes than the RFB. But the Tavor is not better than the AR-15. With an AR, I can drop an old magazine out with my shooting hand while my support hand has already fetched a fresh magazine. The Tavor requires the support hand to engage the magazine release and remove the old magazine.
The safety selector on all three is pretty ergonomically positioned, but there’s a great deal of difference in the bolt release. Both the RFB and Tavor put the bolt release toward the rear of the weapon, at the butt of the stuck. Both also feature ambidextrous bolt releases. But the Tavor’s bolt release in a lever located at the bottom of the stock, and only requires a quick slap to send the bolt forward. The RFB has small nubs on either side of the stock which requires a finer motor skill. I find the RFB’s bolt release is harder to actuate instinctively. The AR-15 bolt can be slapped home too, but the AR-15 lacks ambidexterity here.
Triggers on bullpups are generally awful, and a big reason I don’t like them. I don’t have great things to say about either the Tavor or RFB in that area. The AR-15 stock trigger beats both, and there are excellent custom trigger options on the AR platform. I’m also not to keen on systems that have limited options for open sights.
So I won’t be trading in my AR for a Tavor any time in the near future, but the Tavor is one of the only bullpups I’ve tried I would even think of buying.
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