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A Short Review: IMI Tavor

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.

IMI Tavor

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.

9 Responses to “A Short Review: IMI Tavor”

  1. Jim says:

    Pretty sure it’s IWI these days. Great looking rifle.

  2. Bryan S. says:

    They also have a good 9mm conversion ready to sell with them that is a new bolt, barrel, and magazine well adapter, uses modified Uzi mags.

  3. Patrick says:

    Bought one last week and right now it’s one of my favorite rifles

    The only thing I don’t like is the trigger – which suffers from the “Bullpup Effect”. That said, I was able to mae the PS-90 a better trigger with some minimal work that I have not even contemplated with the Tavor. I was able to work around it, and frankly it was better than all other bullpups I tried right out of the gate. It was crisp and clean and that is not easy to do when the trigger is 400 miles from the sear.

    This is the bullpup that fixes all the other bullpup designs. Really. Every 5.56/.223 mag I got worked (magpul, etc.). The center-of-gravity is close to your shoulder and you can hold that thing all day and not get tired. Little things like the BUIs being part of the rail help, and I have not even bothered using anything other than the built-in sights. Slightly heavier than a minimal AR-15 but most ARs are heavier when we are done with them, anyway.

    The bolt is nice. I hate the AR-15 bolt design. Also swapping mags is sweet — simply drop the mag (big “trigger” to do this) and then swap. Bolt release is a simple matter of flipping your non-dominant hand up and releasing. Smooth.

    Accuracy is solid. Follow-up shots are good once you get feel for the trigger. When loaded with a 20-round Magpul it basically feels like a single unit. I have never liked 30-round mags, though. Overall length (16.1″ barrel) is 27 inches, but when I swap to an AAC Blackout it will go up.

    I shot standing, prone, one knee and against a tree. Hit 6-inch steel at 50 and 75 yards with ease on built-in sights. Could have gone longer if I had the space that day.

    In short, I am shopping for another Tavor. If I could figure a way to fix the trigger, it would be the perfect rifle for me.

    • Patrick says:

      OK, more on the trigger. I just read my post and it sounds worse than it really is.

      If you are used to a match-grade Geissele trigger than this thing will feel like a tank. Compared to a stock AR trigger it is not that bad. Compared to the standard bullpup trigger it is pretty darn good.

      Balancing all the features, I prefer the Tavor over my AR. But I have always been a fan of the bullpup concept. YMMV.

  4. Rob says:

    I’m thinking that the bullpup would be one of the few platforms that would benefit from an electronic trigger. Not necessarily one that uses an electricity-fired primer; maybe just one that causes an actuator to trip the sear. Hide a decently sized, long lasting battery in the pistol grip and it might not work too bad. Maybe have it so the battery could also run a red dot sight.

    • Patrick says:

      I think so. Problem is that most of us won’t go with anything for defense unless it is simple. As much as I wish for a better trigger on bullpups, I’d take ‘long and hard’ over ‘is the battery charged’ any day.

      The Tavor has a good trigger for a bullpup, and it is better than many stock AR triggers in the low to mid-end commercial AR guns. I just got spoiled on “great” triggers.

      But when push comes to shove, I’ll take a rifle that I can walk sideways through a door over a great trigger, any day.

  5. McThag says:

    It should be surprising that the RFB magazine rocks in “like” an FAL since it is using an FAL magazine…

  6. Michael Bane says:

    I’ve never been a bullpup fan either (I passed on both the AUG and the FS2000). That said, after shooting the Tavor at SHOT and getting a good run-through on the manual of arms from one of the IDF guys there, I bought one on the spot. I pick it up from my dealer on Monday.

    I’m going to take it through a carbine class this summer, and I’ll have a better feel for it then, but I’m pretty optimistic.

    BTW, glad everyone enjoyed the beer and birthday cake! I thought it was a heck of a party at one heck of an NRA convention.

    Michael B

  7. Thomas says:

    Waiting to try one out my self. Interesting comment about reloading. I have not thought about that before, but it is very true.

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