12 February 2012
Israel Military Industries Tavor 21 bullpup available in the US this fall
I wanted to go shooting when I was in Israel last October. At my hotel, they had a brochure for a range called Caliber 3. This is a facility in Efrat, just south of Jerusalem. It is run and staffed by current and former IDF special forces who specialized in counter terrorism. Instructors include Anglo-Israelis from places like North Carolina (!) and South Africa. Instructors are available to teach basics or shooting to counter terrorism techniques. My son and I went when I heard that we could shoot the Tavor, which was (and is, as yet) unavailable in the US.
The standard Israeli infantry units use the 18" barrel version, the Tavor-21, which has semi and full auto settings. The special forces uses the 14.5" Tavor X95 version, variously known at the MicroTavor, the MTAR-21, the X95, and the Tavor-2. For the Israeli military, Israel Weapons Industries makes the weapon with an integrated Mepro 21 red dot sight integrated directly (i.e. not rail-mounted).
The X95 has the ability to switch between 5.56 and 9 mm, depending on mission parameters. We had the fun and privilege to shoot the X95 in 5.56 mm.
As far as my experience with it's accuracy:
I am a civilian, and have had no military or other training. The instructor had me run 100 meters out, 100 meters back, pick up the weapon, and fire 10 rounds in a standing position at a distance of 30 meters. The result: I could cover the group with one hand, fingers together. The instructor was impressed. I told him it was my southern heritage ;-).
The Tavor uses the standard M16/M4 magazine. IMHO, it is much more ergonomic than the AR/M16/M4; more comfortable to hold, change magazines, pulling back the bolt, etc. It's bullpup design makes it feel more balanced and comfortable when held. The bolt release is behind the magazine well and you have to get used to reaching backward to use it, but that wasn't a big deal for me.
I am excited to see the Tavor coming to the American market. The news at the SHOT Show this year is that Charles Daly made a deal with Israel Weapons Industries to make it in a factory in the USA. I will be happy when I can get my hands on one as an owner. I highly recommend Caliber 3 range if anyone travels to Israel.