WI’s new Tavor is an incredibly compact, proven design that’s perfect for CQB. Shown here with an Aimpoint Pro, 3x EOTech magnifier and SureFire WeaponLight.
The IWI Tavor SAR’s bullpup design has the overall length of a 10-inch-barreled carbine while main-
taining the ballistic efficiency of a 16.5-inch-barreled model. A long-stroke piston system keeps it reliable and suitable for suppressior use. While the Tavor SAR requires a bit of training to shoot effectively, its ergonomics are excellent. For nonconformists like me, the Tavor SAR may be the perfect tactical carbine.
IWI is importing three variants of the SAR: the SAR-IDF, a civilian version of the TAR 21 utilizing a built-in Mepro 21 reflex sight; the flattop SAR with a 16.5-inch barrel; and the flattop SAR with an 18-inch barrel. The 16.5-inch barrel provided for testing has a 1-in-7-inch twist and is topped off with an A2-style flash suppressor. Both flattop SARs use a continuous rail with built-in back-up iron sights. A large paddle at the front of the test gun’s mag well releases the M16-style magazines. The bolt holds open on the last round and is released using a large button behind the magazine. The front pistol grip houses a safety placed in a location similar to those of most AR rifles. The ejection ports are at the rear of the stock and expel brass forward and down. The non-reciprocating charging handle sits high on the forearm, at about 11 o’clock on right-hand models, and a rail sits on the opposite side. QD sling cups sit on either side of the stock, with a reversible cup closer to the pistol grip.
Internal components are hardened, mil-spec and completely interchangeable with other SAR rifles. The barrel and chamber are chrome-lined with the remaining internals coated for smooth operation. Tear-down for cleaning is accomplished by removal of a single captured pin. Fieldstripping and maintenance is possible with the use of a single 5.56mm round, making the Tavor SAR one of the most user-friendly real-world carbines on the market.
Along with having simple operation and solid ergonomics, the carbine is truly ambidextrous. With the addition of a left-handed bolt conversion, the SAR can be easily converted to a true left-handed rifle. The ejection port, charging handle, front sling swivel and safety can be moved to the opposite side, and the ejection pattern allows for firing on either side without shooter interference. The SAR is truly versatile.
Accuracy testing was completed from prone, with the use of a solid bag as a rest. My earlier test in what amounted to sub-zero weather was marginal. So shooting in nicer weather allowed me to shoot better and get some solid accuracy out of the SAR. The Hornady 60-grain TAP won the day with a group at around 0.65 inches. Everything else tightened up as well, with groups hovering closer to an inch. While no target trigger, the SAR’s is plenty crisp and predictable. After a few rounds, the trigger reset was easy to find and allowed for some solid accuracy work. Recoil is minimal, if not pleasant, which contributed to the carbine’s excellent control.
This rifle’s forte is CQB, and it did not disappoint. Bullpup designs put all the weight at the rear of the gun, making the front end quick and light. While moving from a ready position, the SAR was fast, precise and accurate. In standard configuration, it is shorter than a 10-inch-barreled AR, and adding a suppressor does not make it that much longer. Depending on the suppressor you use, the SAR ought to remain very handy.
The supplied IWI magazines were flawless, as were the PMag Gen 3s and everything else in the shop—whether the SAR was suppressed or not. The Tavor is the only other carbine tested so far that rivals the reliability of my AK-74s. If the Tavor SAR is properly maintained and operated and used with good magazines, my guess is that the only malfunctions you’ll deal with are those that are set up in training.
This Tavor SAR has grown on me enough to become my primary 5.56mm carbine. It fits in a 5.11 covert bag like a charm, as well as in my Eberlestock S34. The SAR is accurate and completely reliable, with the handiness of a 10-inch barrel and the ballistics of a 16.5-inch barrel. The ergonomics are perfect for my short arms, and the carbine suppresses well. It really does not get any better for me. While not “mainstream,” it is a carbine design proven in the deserts of Israel, in real combat. Especially for the rest of the nonconformists out there, I recommend you give it a look and, more importantly, a try—you just may never put it down. For more information, visit iwi.us.
The latest AR rifles and carbines from Colt in your favorite, hard-hitting calibers.
by Robert A. Sadowski / Jul 23, 2013