Pennsylvania State Capitol Police Adopt IWI US TAVOR SAR Rifle

According to a press release I was sent, the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police have adopted the IWI US Tavor SAR rifle. I don’t usually blog about police acquisitions but it is noteworthy that they adopted a bullpup rather than the usual M4-style carbine. Here at TFB most of us love the Tavor. One writer has just purchased one, another is seriously contemplating it and I would love to acquire one myself when finances allow. It is also a favorite of Tim from the Military Arms Channel.

The full press release …

Harrisburg, PA (August, 2013) – IWI US, Inc., a subsidiary of Israel Weapon Industries (IWI), is proud to announce that the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police have chosen to carry the IWI US TAVOR® SAR. The Pennsylvania Capitol Police are a section of the Pennsylvania Department of General Services. They provide law enforcement, security and parking enforcement services to the State Capitol Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and at state government buildings in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Scranton.

“We are honored that the Pennsylvania State Capitol Police have chosen to be outfitted with the TAVOR® SAR,” Michael Kassnar, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at IWI US commented. “The State Capitol Police were looking for an extremely reliable rifle that was built specifically for close quarter battle and the design of the TAVOR® SAR bullpup was a perfect fit for their requirements.”

The TAVOR® SAR, specifically designed for the U.S. market, was developed in close cooperation with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Available in black and Flat Dark Earth, the TAVOR features fully ambidextrous controls with removable 16.5″ or 18″ chrome-lined barrels, a full-length top-mounted integral Picatinny rail and a short 45° rail for mounting accessories. Also available are a left-hand model with a 16.5″ barrel and an IDF model with an integral MEPRO-21 reflex sight. The TAVOR® SAR uses standard AR-15/M16 magazines and is easily field-stripped into sub-assemblies for routine maintenance.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • M.

    I didn’t know that police were using semi auto rifles. I’m so used to old ass shotguns. Good for them

    • Oh yea for a good number of years M4’s and know we have an excellent alternative. Most of us carried a shotgun and an M4.

    • HSR47

      Police in this country have historically used long guns; Prior to the 20th century, lawmen were often responsible for providing their own firearms. They were also often able to use long guns they came to posses through the execution of their duies.

      More recently, the move has been for agencies to provide arms and equipment to individual officers, including long guns. Given the funding status of most agencies, this meant that the key word was “cheap.”

      In the period immediately following WWII, this meant M1 Carbines. More recently, it meant 12 gauge pump-action shotguns. In the last 5-10 years, the move has been away from shotguns and towards the AR15 platform.

  • Clint Notestine

    Its cool they went so far out of the box for a nice battle proven rifle

  • Lance

    Well the reason they went to a small bullpup rifle is that the Capitol Police job is to protect the capitol building. So all indoors combat needs a very small rifle. The Tavor is that small of a weapon to be a good inside rifle. Now for Patrolmen who can be in or outdoors the M-4 may be better for the standard patrolman out of the Capitol building. But for capitol SWAT this is a understandable adoption.

    • Big Daddy

      Having been a Scout in the Army I will say this; anyone who has to carry a weapon in and out of any vehicle will appreciate a shorter weapon. The shorter the better, the safer and the easier to get into action. So it does make sense to include a standard patrolmen who needs to ingress and egress from vehicles.

    • MNOR

      Spot on, on the need for a compact rifle in CQB. As for outdoors, in open country, I would still carry a tavor over a M4. Why? it has a longer barrel(16,5in over 14.5in of the M4) which gives it more range, than a M4.

      M4 outdoors-argument is moot.


      • Callum King-Underwood

        British L85, same barrel length as the M16, overall length of an M4. With the german tinkering on the A2 model still a reliable weapon, the A1 was god awful and deserves the poor rep the L85 got but no one seems to account for the A2 improvements which didnt deserve the rep.

        Tavor is an excellent weapon though, longer barrel than an M4 in a smaller package, perfect for CQB and will probably outperform an M4 outdoors too, my guess is that lance just hates the ergonomics of a bullpup weapon which is fair enough, some people like the glock grip angle, some will bitch and moan all day about the glock grip angle and refuse to touch it, same for a 1911.

        As for britain going the bullpup route, the vast majority of the population in the UK have never seen a firearm let alone held or fired one, something like 90% of army applicants have never held a firearm before basic training, your training them from a blank slate. Left handed troop will never have fired a weapon left handed so can be drilled from the start to fire right handed, all troops can be drilled from the start to perform reloads on a rear magazine etc, they don’t know any different. Ergonomics is almost a null factor. Our police do not use bullpups though, they use G36 assault rifles (I think the K model although it may be the C, possibly even a mix).

        • MNOR

          Good post!
          I agree. However, the specified person above doesen’t hate on bullpups, He hates on pretty much everything not AR-15 related.

          As you said, after the A2-upgrade, there have been verty few performance related complaints on the brits weapon of choice.
          I would love to shoot one someday.

          • MNOR


        • Michael

          This is one time where guys say shorter is better. Barrel length that is.
          The British rifle is great, but the design is over 30 years old . The Tavor is much more modern. I would take one for urban or rural conflict. Street prices of $1800 are not to bad.
          Are they considering a 7.62×51 version? Or a shotgun version?

          • Joe Schmoe

            Israel has said that they are looking into a larger cartridge size of 7.62mm; guesses are either .300 (most likely), 7.62×39 or (highly unlikely) 7.62×54.

          • HSR47

            As far as I’m concerned, the only cartridge that is acceptable to replace 5.56 in currently fielded firearms is .300 blk. Anything that uses a different parent case, especially with a larger case head diameter (6.5, 6.8 SPC, etc.) really require completely new guns.

          • Michael

            I respectfully disagree, While the 300blk is probably more efficient at short range, and can be silenced more efficiently, it does not improve over the “weakness” of the 5.56, which is long range lethality.

    • HSR47

      I live in PA, and have been all over the PA Capitol building, both on my own, and in my lobbying efforts associated with FOAC and other associated gun-owner freedom groups. There really aren’t any especially tight corners that justify a need for a rifle as short as the Tavor SAR.

      Keep in mind that we’re talking about a public building designed to handle a LOT of people, not a small house.

  • bmartin79

    Are these rifles fully automatic ? Only reply if you have first hand knowledge please .

    • KM

      yeah, good luck waiting for that

    • Callum King-Underwood

      law enforcement can indeed obtain fully automatic weapons so these may well be full auto. Thats not definite though

    • Dumhuman

      The SAR in the name stands for “Semi Automatic Rifle”. I have one sitting 2 feet away from me, its a great rifle.

    • erwos

      They would have imported real-deal military guns from Israel if they were full-auto. The press release is very clear that these are “SAR” model guns, which are semi-auto (“Semi Auto Rifle”).

  • Joe Schmoe

    I think what’s interesting about this acquisition is that it breaks several “taboos”.

    1)- It is a non-U.S. designed weapon (though built in the U.S.).

    2)- It is a bullpup design.

    I think now that the taboo has been broken, we might see more LEO’s start adopting it.

    • Bill

      Pennsylvania has a fairly long history of adopting “foreign” firearms. The State Police has issued Glock 37’s almost from the time the .45 GAP was introduced. Prior to that we issued Beretta 96’s.

    • FourString

      Saw this and was like WHOA WUT

  • JT

    They’re obviously giant anime nerds. Or their people in charge of procurement 😛

  • native pangean

    Man…they had to cut the budget to decrease snow plow operations and held off paying state workers for months….spare no expense in a city thats about to riot.

    • dubbs

      Now thats a concern. IF the PA. Capitol Police had a functioning inventory of long arms already, why spend on the expensive Tavor? Aren’t those rifles like $2k per? A Colt LE6920/40 can be had for $1k out the nox! Some times LE mgmt types get budget access and buy “what looks cool” instead of practical. I know of a police commander who pushed harley motorcycles on his dept because,he was a harley enthusiast! Didn’t look at the high maintenance costs. As soon as he retired, that dept DUMPED their harleys for better running new honda bikes.

    • Andrew

      All the gun owners are in the surrounding counties though.

  • Ripley

    “They provide…parking enforcement services…” “…looking for an extremely reliable rifle that was built specifically for close quarter battles…”

    Sounds like a rough neighborhood. Also an interesting idea for a movie.

    • BryanS

      You got to enforce meters like a boss.

      Anyways, it is a crappy neighborhood. I have spoken to 2 legislators that have been robbed on campus.

      • Laserbait

        Heh – strange turn of events. Usually legislators are the ones robbing citizens.

    • Andrew

      We PA residents don’t take our parking tickets lying down.

      • gunslinger

        Have you seen the show Parking Wars? i know it’s Philly, but still…

  • Overthetop

    The Tavor is manufactured in Harrisburg, PA for the US market. So the selection of this weapon probably has more to do with that fact than any of the gun’s virtues.

    • erwos

      Exactly correct. Same reason the Maryland State Police packed Berettas for a long time (until the PX4 sucked so bad they dumped them).

      That said, it’s not like the US-made Tavor is a bad pick for this kind of job, so good for them.

      • Joshua

        Same reason Baltimore PD adopted the ADCOR BEAR, because its made there.

        This happens all the time, a company moves in to a state and offers a super amazing deal on their rifles if the PD adopts them.

  • jrt 82

    “Are these rifles fully automatic?”

    That is a good question.

    It is my understanding that the Tavor Rifle being produced at Tavor USA in PA has a dimensionally different Trigger pack area in the Stock (that was asked by ATF) so that a FA Trigger pack could not be dropped in.

    Now, that is not to say
    that some “parts” could not be imported to make FA Tavor’s, but would they be
    able to keep a low enough Price point?
    Would they “suck up loss” for some good PR?

  • RickH

    This is nothing but good. Hopefully several more big departments will adopt it. More product & more usage usually leads to lower prices & more availability for the consumer. I like it!

  • MacDeth

    Wow… With the continued militarization of our Police, and the need for assault rifles to “protect’ the citizenry and kill the “terrorist”, at least they could have the decency to shoot us with an American made rifle, and not some Zionist dog-sh*t one…

  • Tony Lin

    No sale to NY state until SAFE ACT gets repealed

  • BryanS

    I know the real reason here. For years the Capitol Police have told our rally organisers that they do not have the facilities (a shelf) to store long guns.

    For those that dont know, PA law states that any facility housing a courthouse (PA Supreme Court) must have a way for people to check firearms.

    Also, for those that dont know, up until the 90’s, you could carry anywhere in that facility, except on the floors of the house, senate, and supreme court.

    • HSR47

      For the FOAC rally this past spring they had us storing guns in a room behind the guard shack at Commonwealth Ave and North Drive.

      From talking with the officers involved, it sounded like this is what they came up with to handle the massive numbers of firearms they have to deal with during rallies, and that it will allow them to handle long guns too. From what I could tell, it seems that the plan is to use this new room *only* for rallies, which would mean that their old line on long guns would stand any time the new room is not in use.

  • Zius Patagus

    If the Penn capital police are anything like our state’s capital police they are little more than glorified security guards i.e mall cops. Kudos for them for getting cool stuff though. I expect a lot of PDs will be jumping on the bandwagon to get these so they can be cool too.

  • TXgnnr

    Another fine example of the continued militarization of America’s police departments. This weapon is “… built specifically for close quarters battle”. Gee, call me paranoid, but I wonder whom the agency anticipates combating in “close quarters”?

    • HSR47

      We’re not talking about a SWAT team that goes around doing no-knock raids; We’re talking about a group of officers tasked specifically with the security of a Commonwealth Capitol. As such, they spend the vast majority of their time inside the Capitol building.

      As such, their tools should reflect this, and I therefore do not object to their desire to have the option to deploy semi-automatic rifles should the need arise.

      I really don’t have a problem with the police having the same kind of off-the-shelf hardware that I can go into a gun store and buy.

    • Andrew

      If I can buy and own one why can’t the police services have them as well? Nothing wrong with them being equally as armed as me.

  • 306_AD

    And the militarization of police departments continues…

    • RickH

      I agree. I believe all law enforcement agencies should return to the .38 special revolver. And also no protective gear. And SWAT teams should disband and form softball teams…………

      • 306_AD

        Why not. They never show up when needed anyway.

      • Ghost930

        Hey Rick, were you born stupid, or did you have to go to some sort of training course to be a certified motard?

        • titus pullo

          Rick is more clever then you because you could not understand his humor.

          • Ghost930

            “more clever then you” Titus, you need to work on that clever thing, it’s called the English language, it has rules, you learn them in school.

          • Andrew

            Woosh. I suppose the sarcasm flew right over your head.

    • PatrickHenry1789

      I was thinking the exact same thing. You beat me to it!

    • Ghost930

      Well gosh 306, I guess if we ask the bad guys real nice to not keep militarizing themselves, I am sure they will politely comply. Until then, we will continue to equip ourselves as necessary to ensure we return to our wives and children at the end of shift. Something you non-police don’t have to worry so much about because of us. Your welcome. Have a nice life.

      • sauerquint

        What’s the matter? The citizens aren’t bowing low enough? Enjoy your salary, retirement, medical and dental courtesy of the tax payers. Many of whom don’t have any of that. Your welcome.

        • Ghost930

          Yeah, I’am enjoying my big whopping 42K a year, 750.00 a month medical, 1000.00 deductable dental, and projected 1475.00 a month retirement after 23 years. Not to mention the four times I’ve been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq, because I needed to join the National Guard to make ends meet and help my kids with college. Plus the two times I’ve been stabbed, and shot once, numerous law suits, unpaid court time, hundreds of hours away from my family, and thousands of incidents were I’ve had to look at, and deal with every bad thing humans can do to one another. Not to mention dealing with jerks like you on a daily basis who think all we do is eat donuts and have fun. Yeah, gosh what was I thinking sauerkraut, thanks.

    • dubbs

      So should your “police” simply carry six shot .38s and pump shotguns when the public they are supposed to protect are often equally or better armed? There are far too many instances of police being out gunned amd officers/citizens getting KILLED, than any concern of a “police state”.

      I’d be concerned more about the costs pf the tavor purchases when the particular state or dept. Made them, but I bet the costs plus warranties and support matched what Colt or any other rifle company was offering, so maybe it won’t hurt the strained tax pockets of John Q Public

  • Vhyrus

    Tavor for president 2016! Already backed by the PA capitol!

  • gggplaya

    Well what’s not mentioned here in the article is Harrisburg PA is where the Tavor is assembled here in the states. That might have something to do with it.