The history of the IWI Tavor is a subject that has interested me for close to a decade. The rifle’s history doesn’t seem to have been well-documented so far, at least in sources I have read; yet available on the Internet are many of the original concept images and mockups of the weapon. So, instead of writing a history on the Tavor, which I cannot yet do (although I am working on it!), let’s take a look at these concepts, and see how they evolved from the first drawings to the final product. (Note: About half the photos in this article came to me via a thread on bullpupforum.com, so thanks to them.)
In these early design sketches, you can see how the rifle’s aesthetics seemed to evolve first, although at what stage of this process the operating mechanism was designed, I cannot tell:
Note that apparently the rifle was intended to be a bullpup from the beginning. One can also see that in the last sketch, titled “AAR 90” as the Tavor was then named, the barrel appears to be drawn too low to actually fit all the way back in the receiver.
The next stage of development seems to have been ergonomic trials with non-firing mockups:
It was at this time, evidently, that the six points of contact concept began to take shape:
On the design team for the Tavor was Zalman Shebs, seen here posing with an early mockup or prototype:
Eventually, what appear to be firing prototypes were created:
What’s most interesting to me about the Tavor’s development was the intimate involvement of industrial design company Versia Military in the design process. Tamir Porat, head of Versia Military, explains the company’s ethos regarding making a weapon more aesthetically pleasing, and therefore more competitive on the military market:
Interestingly, the involvement of Versia with the Tavor continues today. Not only has the Tavor been aesthetically updated with the smaller X95 carbine, but Versia also debuted in 2013 a new even more futuristic-looking Tavor shell, called the “Meron”:
That’s about all there is to see for now. Hopefully this tour of the Tavor’s design history was interesting; stay tuned to TFB for more neat bullpup concepts!
Images sourced from: