IDF’s Rubber Bullet Muzzle Extension for M4s, Tavors

    Although not a new development, the recent Palestinian protests against Israel have once again showcased one of the IDF’s unique developments when it comes to crowd control and less-lethal armaments. In use by both the IDF and Israeli law enforcement elements on issued 5.56x45mm NATO M4 and M16 service rifles is a muzzle attachment that locks onto the muzzle brake of the rifle. The device extends the overall length of the firearm by at least another 6 inches. Specifically it is designed so that a shooter can place a rubber projectile inside the muzzle of the metal tube and then fire it from a blank cartridge. Because there is no encapsulating rod or plunger to force propellant gases back into the gas tube, the rifle has essentially become a bolt gun at this point. The shooter has to manually rack the charging handle, eject the spent round, chamber a new one, in addition to placing a new less-lethal projectile into the tip of the muzzle extension.

    Interestingly, one of the last major Israeli-Palestinian flashpoints outside of the Al-Aqsa Mosque didn’t see much employment of the rubber bullets by the law enforcement involved (at least as viewed in the media).

    The use of this particular system appears to go back at least a decade with photographs of IDF M16A1s outfitted with the device.

    Usually the devices are loaded by the shooter themselves, as evidenced in this screen grab-

    This short clip is particularly revealing as it shows IDF soldiers working together to support the soldier equipped with the device on his Tavor X95. Notice he has to manually charge the rifle after every shot, while his partners load the device, at the same time maintaining security with live weapons.

    There have been a number of human rights issued raised about the controversial rubber bullets as shown in these media clips, one published this year in addition to another one published in 2008. But their controversy goes back much further. Apparently, the IDF used them and then stopped it again in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Some articles have mentioned some misuse of the less-lethal device by the IDF as well.

    For further reading about some of the odder IDF TTPs when it comes to crowd control, check out this post on the Ruger 10/22 platform in use to wound protesters.

    Miles

    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]


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