IWI Tavor “The Hammer”

    I wouldn’t hesitate at all in saying the Tavor is one of the most anticipated guns to come down the pike in a good while. We have had a pretty good wait before they finally arrived on the market but as I write this distributors are beginning to get them in quantity.

    Ever since I saw my first Tavor I’ve been anxious to get my hands on one. During SHOT back in January I finally was able to get some trigger time with the Tavor SAR. By the way in Israel the Tavor is known as the “Hammer”. The IWI booth was the first stop I made on Media Day at the range. There was a line of us waiting to get some range time in. When it was finally my turn I got the usual manual of arms brief and loaded up with a standard AR type magazine. Steel targets were placed at 25 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards and 250 yards. The Tavor I was shooting had a Meprolight M-21 reflex sight mounted on the Picatinny rail.

    Phil-with-Tavor copy

    I started shooting from the 25 out to the 250 yard line then worked my way back in to the 25. In short the Tavor shot like a dream. It felt well balanced, quick on target with a solid shoulder weld. I had no problem hitting the torso sized steel target at 250 yards. It’s hard to describe but the Tavor just felt natural to shoot. After firing 90 rounds all I wanted to do was keep shooting it but then the line was getting longer behind me and I had to move on. As soon as I stepped off the line I asked Michael Kassnar of IWI for a T&E Tavor when they started leaving the factory in Harrisburg,Pa.

    Six weeks ago I got one of the first Tavors to leave the new factory in Harrisburg. When I got home the first thing I did was give it the once over and disassemble it. Takedown is simple and straightforward. At the rear of the stock body is a rubber butt plate. At the top is a large pin you push out. As soon as that’s done you just pull the top of the butt plate and lower it. The bottom is hinged so once you lower the butt pad you simply reach in and pull out the firing mechanism and piston gas system all in one unit.. That’s it your ready to clean it. It doesn’t get any faster or easier than that. The charging handle is on the left front. Pull it to the rear and release. The safety is just above the shooters thumb. The magwell is just in front of my elbow with the bolt release right behind that. It sounds awkward but it’s a simple matter to roll the gun to the right a small amount to drop or insert a new mag or if needed release the bolt. I prefer to release the bolt by using the charging handle. Two CAA mags are supplied as part of the package. The mag release is just in front of the mag and looks like a small trigger you depress to drop the magazine.


    TAR Variant


               Bullpup configuration; short rifle convenience with long rifle accuracy

    • Mil-Spec , chrome lined, cold-hammer forged CrMoV barrel, 6 groove 1:7 RH twist
    • Optional 9mm Parabellum conversion kit with CHF barrel, 1:10 twist, CrMoV steel
    • Optional 5.45x39mm conversion kit with CHF CrMoV barrel, 1:7½ twist, chrome lined
    • 100% ambidextrous configuration and operation with optional left hand bolts for 5.56 NATO and 5.45x39mm
    • Integral folding adjustable backup iron sights with Tritium front post (flat top models only)
    • Integral ambidextrous front and rear quick detachable sling swivel receptacles
    • Simple field stripping into easily serviceable subassemblies
    • Mil-Std 100% interchangeability of all TAVOR® SAR parts
    • Mil-Std bayonet lug on 18″ barreled models
    • Uses standard AR-15/M16 magazines
    • Last round hold open on empty magazine
    • All metal parts are treated for corrosion resistance
    • Integral rubber recoil pad
    • Assembled in the US from Israeli and US manufactured parts
    • Optimized ergonomic design for increased comfort and ease of use
    • Clean, long stroke piston operation
    • Body constructed of high-strength impact modified polymer

    While there are several models the SAR uses a straight rail any optic can be mounted on. The first time user needs to look close or you’ll miss the BUIS front and rear. The front and rear sights are hinged and fit flush within the rail. The user just pulls each spring-loaded sight up. These are fast and more importantly fitting into the rail once set the sights won’t lose zero.  They also co-witness with my EoTech 516. This is the sight I used throughout the test. There is also a Picatinny rail mounted on the right at the 2 o’clock position. The front grip has an included rail that can be attached allowing the user to use a vertical grip.


    During my range sessions I remained impressed with the accuracy, speed of movement and the overall length even with a 16.5 inch barrel. The Tavor is also ambidextrous. Yep lefties you have another carbine you can use normally. While I didn’t convert this SAR for left hand use my coach at SHOT told me it can be changed from right hand to left hand use in under five minutes with some practice.

    Double taps at 25 yards were easy with the balance and handling the Tavor has. Firing from 100 yards I could mount my Leupold AR Mod 1 scope on both guns and outshoot my AR almost every time. I was always doubtful when I heard the Tavor, with a longer barrel, could be used as a shorter-range sniper platform. Our term would be designated marksman I believe. I know if you do your part 1 MOA is pretty much what you get at 100 yards.


    After firing all 500 rounds through the Tavor I can only say that as a shooter who has never been enamored with bullpup designs I’m very much sold on this one. Seriously, if I were given the choice of trading say my only AR for a Tavor I’d do it.  I’m that impressed with it. Now some may say I’m advertising because of how positive I am in presenting the Tavor. I can tell you far from it I’m honestly that impressed by the SAR model Tavor! That being said I do have one gripe. The trigger is a bit on the heavy side. The one at SHOT had a good trigger but it had been fired a good deal. Perhaps my sample just needed some additional use.


    From the IWI Tavor website:


    “At the end of the 1982 Israel-Lebanon War arose an understanding that the modern battlefield had changed. One of the conclusions from the war, particularly relevant to the small arms industry, was that the battle had moved from open field conflicts to close-quarters engagements – and there was a need for a seamless transition from daylight to nighttime capability on a single mission. Out of this understanding, and after more than a decade of collaboration and

     testing with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) – the TAVOR® rifle was born. Just as race car technology trickles down to consumer automobiles, so do these time and battle-tested firearms now become a modern sporting rifle platform for civilian gun enthusiasts.”



    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.