I had a jam-packed afternoon after lunch at SHOT, and caught up with some companies that I was interested in… hopefully you’re interested, too!
IWI has announced on their Facebook page that they are now shipping the Tavor TS12!
You may recall that this was delayed due to alleged issues with properly cycling weaker shotgun shells. Whether this is fixed will be an interesting question to answer. On the face of it, the TS12 is a compelling option for home defense: semi-auto, large magazine(s) that are easy to cycle, fully ambi (including ejection), and already set up for easy optics mounting. I am not a huge fan of the full-length trigger guard or cross-bar safety, but those are minor complaints on the whole.
This one came right out of nowhere:
I’ll be doing some digging to see how the final product turned out, but the optics plate is a good sign that someone did some market research.
TheFirearmBlog has an excellent article on the IWI Carmel rifle that was displayed at the LAAD expo in Rio recently.
It looks a lot like what you’d get if you crossed a Tavor with a Galil ACE, and it does look a whole lot like the ARX-100. Height over bore is a little bigger than I’d prefer, and it doesn’t seem to have ambi-ejection, but it appears to be a solid traditional-format carbine. I think it’ll sell well in the US if they can bring it in under $1000.
I’d hazard a guess it’s for export purposes, albeit I do think the IDF would do well to have a non-bullpup rifle available for cheap domestic manufacture in the event that they want to transition off the M16 for political purposes.
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.
No update on the Masada pistol, alas.
IWI-US posted an update to their website today about the release dates for the Tavor 7 rifle, TS-12 shotgun, and Masada handgun:
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 had the opportunity to take a carbine class with Green Ops recently, and because I am an iconoclast and easily influenced by my friends, I ran it with my stock Tavor. (Not to worry, I had my IDF-style Colt Commando in my trunk as a backup.) This was the first time I had ever really run the Tavor hard, and I’ve got some new feelings about the platform. Optic, for reference, was the Mepro RDS, which worked great and I have no complaints about.
The only big issue I had with the Tavor in class is reloading speed. I’d argue that the problem is not really getting the old magazine out (I’m a mag ripper by temperament), but rather getting the bolt back into battery. The bolt release is just in a really awkward place, so you either wind up hitting it (which is slow and awkward) or racking the CH (which is a touch-slower but less awkward). The X95 seems to have a better design on this front, but it’s still not that hot due to the bolt release being roughly the same concept (albeit moderately improved). I am going to shake down a buddy of mine with an X95 to see how I feel about it.
The factory trigger is also not great for first-round precision due to how heavy it is, but has a really great reset. If I wanted to spend the money on a Geissele pack, this would be a non-issue IMHO. As it is, you’ve got to be a touch slower and more deliberate to make the trigger do what you need it to do. But important thing here: it can do the job.
Switching shoulders during a barricade drill was not a problem due to the case deflector. Yeah, brass flying in front of your face is a theoretically bit unsettling, but if it doesn’t hit you, who cares? I was so totally focused on the drill I barely even noticed.
I did not love the full-length trigger guard. My rifle was slung a little too low, and I could not see the pistol grip. Ordinarily, this would not be a big problem, but I had to be exceedingly careful to not accidentally grab the trigger. In a gun with a traditional trigger guard, I would not have had this concern quite as much.
Finally, I did not love the sling situation on the Tavor. I prefer running the Magpul single point slings when I need to shoot dynamically, and the Tavor is not set up for that out of the box. The GHW Flex Swivel apparently does a reasonable job of providing a way to do this, but they were out of stock everywhere when I was looking for it last month.
Now, all of this said, the gun ran with utter reliability, on a diet of cheap steel-cased ammo to boot. No failures, no stoppages, no failures to lock back, etc. This was true of the other Tavor in the class as well. Really, the only problem was that I ran slower, and I think further practice doing reloads would have alleviated that to some degree. The problem, of course, is that practicing reloads on traditional-format guns that take AR mags makes me faster on all those guns… practicing on a Tavor just makes me faster on a Tavor. Not a problem if you’re a grunt in the IDF, but if you’re an enthusiast in the US, it’s something of a conundrum.