Courtesy of the gents from BurstReviews, there’s now some new first-hand info from SHOT Show on what happened with the Tavor 7 and TS12.
The TS12 couldn’t cycle 2 3/4″ shells correctly, and had to be sent back for rework. It is supposedly almost ready for prime time.
The Tavor 7 had accuracy issues (2.5 MOA being the stated number in this video). They are still working that out, with no ETA. That’s unfortunate, but probably a good decision given the X95’s problems in that regard.
Not huge news, but it appears that Meprolight has opened a US subsidiary. Their website is at meprolight.us, but it’s not up yet. They are apparently at SHOT Show. Meprolight is owned by SK Group in Israel, which is the same outfit that owns IWI, so I would expect some amount of corporate overlap between the two in the USA.
One of Mepro’s biggest problems in the US with selling their optics is that their warranties are far below the industry standards (which are usually 5 years to transferable lifetime), so I am hoping that their new presence will allow them to improve that.
Just got an email in my inbox that DSA has released the “DSA SA58 FAL 21″ Israeli Light Barrel Rifle – Officer Grade Hebrew War Hammer” for $1500. Looks like they got a shipment of IDF “light/regular” FN FAL kits, and these are the builds on the nicest of those kits. Presumably, they will have some cheaper guns on the less nice kits, or we’ll see those pop up at Apex or Sarco. They’ve got IDF markings on the receiver, which is a nice touch.
I’ve previously reviewed the heavy barrel IDF FN FALO. Nice rifle for its time, but overly heavy. This model shouldn’t be quite as bad due to the barrel profile and the lack of bipod, but it’ll still be a heavy beast compared to an AR-308 or HK91.
I suspect they’re sensitive to accuracy after the related concerns with the X95. Still, this gives us a nice picture of what’s presumably an almost-production rifle in black… not a fan of the brake, but looks great otherwise!
TAVOR® 7 – Shipping to retailers beginning mid-July, with full-production quantities coming within 60-90 days. Initial offering will be limited to T716B (Black) with T716FDE (Flat-dark Earth) and T716ODG (OD-Green) coming in 2019.
TAVOR® TS12 Shotgun – Shipping to retailers beginning mid-fourth quarter. Initial offering will be limited to TS12B (Black) with TS12FDE (Flat-dark Earth) and TS12ODG (OD-Green) coming in 2019.
MASADAPistol – Full-production quantities to begin shipping to US retailers beginning in January 2019.
So, basically, we’ll see a bit of the Tavor 7 in a month, the TS12 around Thanksgiving, and everything else in 2019. This is not surprising, but it is still disappointing. Keep saving those shekels, I suppose.
I got most of the details right in my previous post, but did get the magazine situation wrong. It appears that it’s using an SRM1216-style rotating magazine to pack in those 15 shotgun shells (5 per tube). As far as I can tell, you need to manually index the next tube when you run dry (appears there’s an unlock button at the front of the trigger guard), given the location of the magazine on the handguard. This is not exactly optimal, but still looks more user-friendly than the KSG or even the SRM1216.
Alas, this rotating tube (aka, revolving cylinder) makes it illegal in MD , so don’t expect a hands-on review in the near future.
Some other things I noticed:
No built-in backup iron sights mentioned or obvious in the pictures. This is a bit of a shame, given how good the ones on the Tavor and X95 are.
The safety is cross-bolt, which is a step backwards, IMHO.
Not mentioned, but unless the pictures were mirrored, it’s fully ambi. Ejection ports on both sides, controls on both sides, etc.
The design seems to be much more one-piece than the Tavor rifles. Not a bad thing, but it explains why it’s cheaper. I could see this hitting the $1200 mark in the near future.
It looks like they could put together a 20rd version without too much more design work… it would make it less comfy to hold, but that might be acceptable to some people.
Reloading it looks like a giant PITA, which has always been a problem with tube-fed bullpup shotguns.
On the whole, it looks nice, but I’d personally prefer a 12ga version of the Tavor 7 that takes stick and drum mags. Still, I expect this to sell reasonably well for its price point.
So, first of all, happy Chanukah! This has been an amazing year for IWI, especially for their Galil ACE rifles, which has been picking up more and more positive press.
I’ve been remiss in posting due to real life circumstances, but wanted to chime in on a couple of bits of news.
The IWI Masada was announced in early November. This is an interesting gun in that it’s the first “real” weapon that IWI has announced using their US subsidiary, versus the Israeli company. This may be indicative of a greater shift by IWI to focusing on the US market, which wouldn’t be a bad move for them. It also supports the theory that IWI probably terminated the OEM relationship with Magnum Research, and not the other way around.
The gun itself is pretty nice, and is a “greatest hits” sort of deal:
P320-esque serialized fire control module
Sig-style take-down lever
P30-esque front accessory rail
It is unclear whether it’s using proprietary magazines or if they’re CZ-75 mags and the floorplate is just weird-looking. IWI also didn’t include an optic mount for the slide, ala the Glock MOS, but that may be coming later.
Galil accessories are more widely-available than the platform’s popularity might suggest, but one of the accessories that’s always been a bit of a unicorn to me is the Galil Ultra kit. It was made for Galil SARs (the ones with a 13″ barrel), and used what appears to be IWI-branded CAA products to produce a product-improved Galil with more modern features (collapsible stock, accessory rails, ergonomic pistol grip). You could build one yourself by tracking down the appropriate components, but it would be missing the IWI branding (which, IMHO, is what takes it from “home-build” to “authentic”).
From a historical perspective, the Galil Ultra is more important than it might seem, as it’s one of the forebears of the current Galil ACE. The ACE is essentially a mash-up of the Galil MAR (left-hand charging handle system), the Galil Ultra (furniture), and the Magal (polymer lower piece). It is certainly interesting to see how IWI combined the best parts of these guns to create the ACE, much like they did with the Tavor and X95 to create the Tavor 7.
However, I did manage to track down the “manual” for installing the kit. It’s a simple sheet with fairly obvious instructions, but does show how relatively mature the product was. I’ve uploaded it here as a PDF for your viewing pleasure.
I was poking around on Gunbroker and noticed that McKay Enterprises has imported the Silver Shadow Gilboa M43 rifle to the US, and it is now available for sale at an MSRP of $1749. The Gilboa M43 is an AR-15-style rifle that takes AK mags, much like the CMMG Mk47 or RRA LAR-47. To my knowledge, this is the first AR-15 rifle ever imported from Israel to the United States. I am not sure how they deal with the 922r parts count – presumably the stock. pistol grip, and muzzle device are US made, and maybe the FCG (given that the magazine in the picture looks foreign).
The price, unfortunately, is going to be a real hindrance to sales. When I did a quick check online, the CMMG Mk47 was going for $1200, and the Mk47 has a very good reputation for the smart engineering behind it (like using the AR-308 platform as a base to enable a much beefier bolt). There’s also some stiff competition at the $1600 price range from the IWI Galil ACE 32. Without a serious price drop to $1200 to match the Mk47, I just don’t think the M43 is going to sell in any significant numbers. Good if you want a collector’s item, but probably not what Silver Shadow and McKay Enterprises are hoping for.
When I discovered that my Elbit Falcon MkII optical sight was incompatible with the M4 handguard I had on my IDF Colt Commando clone build, I decided that it would be easiest to simply buy a new CAR-15-style handguard. As this is a blog devoted to Israeli small arms and accessories, my first thought was “let’s see how the FAB Defense handguard works”. It was cheap-ish (about $25), and I liked the idea of using a handguard that an IDF soldier might think of replacing a broken handguard with. So, I bought one.
The FAB Defense HG-S carbine-length handguard is well-constructed, and has top and bottom heat shields. It looks remarkably similar to a USGI CAR-15 handguard, Unfortunately, and this will be the shortest review I’ve ever done on this blog, they didn’t actually fit on my gun. The total length of the handguard was too long, and the delta ring simply would not slide down far enough to accommodate it. Keep in mind, the upper on this gun is a genuine Colt LE6933 upper which has never had handguard fitment issues before (M4, CAR-15, Magpul MOE, etc.). I could theoretically have sanded the handguard ends down to make it fit, but bluntly, this is not acceptable as a solution. So, here’s my review: don’t buy the FAB Defense HG-S. It looks nice, but will probably have trouble fitting in-spec AR-15s.