IWI’s CARMEL Assault Rifle/Carbine Shown at LAAD 2019 Exhibition


    Rumors that Israel Weapon Industries have discretely been developing a new 5.56x45mm assault rifle/carbine have circulated for a couple of years now, culminating with a brief (since taken out) TFB post on leaked material in July 2018. For the last nine months or so, nothing else emerged anywhere on the “mystery” IWI rifle, until the opening of the 2019 LAAD Defence & Security exposition in Rio de Janeiro on April 2. Sharing IWI’s booth with better known items such as the company’s TAVOR bullpup X85 5.56x45mm assault rifle and 9x19mm submachine gun, GALIL-derived, multi-caliber (5.56x45mm, 7.62x39mm, and 7.62x51mm) ACE rifles, 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm NEGEV light machine guns, the now-sleek 9x19mm UZI PRO submachine guns, the plethora of JERICHO pistols in different calibers, and some other stuff, sharp-eyed visitors could, then, distinguish three examples of hitherto unseen in public CARMEL rifle.

    IWI’s new rifle fitted with a 10.5”/267mm (top) and a 14.5”/369mm barrel (bottom), while 12”/305mm and 16”/406mm units are also available, all variants being hammer-forged and chrome-lined, including the chamber. The quick detachable barrel can be changed by the operator without the use of special tools in a few seconds (the author witnessed that at the IWI booth in Rio).

    Following an almost inevitable trend, the CARMEL body is a high-strength impact modified polymer, the operation being with a short-stroke gas piston actuating a pretty conventional rotary multi-lug bolt, three gas regulator positions being available (regular, extreme conditions, and sound suppressor use). An important emphasis was placed on ambidextrous capacity, this applying to the side-mounted, non-reciprocating charging handle, the safety lever, the magazine release, and the bolt catch, whose positions can be quickly changed with no special tools. Not yet mentioned: the barrel (6 RH grooves, 1:7” twist) is of the free-floating type, a solution aimed at providing maximum accuracy, while a barrel life cycle of 20,000 rounds is given by the manufacturer. Magazines are standard NATO/MIL specifications.

    Given the Israeli Defense Forces current commitment with the TAVOR rifle, it seems that this new rifle is mainly intended to eventual export sales. Program status is believed to be “ready for production”, following some years of in-house development and testing.

    Right side view of the CARMEL fitted with a Mepro M5 red-dot sight and an MX3 telescopic sight of the same manufacturer. Folded-down iron sights can also be seen on the long, top side Picattiny rail.

    Left and right side views of the same gun with the stock folded, which, as expected, should still allow it to be fired in this condition.

    The rifle’s buttstock is fully adjustable in length (seen here in the max No.6 point), as is the height of the cheek rest (no.3 position. Bottom photo).

    Basic data for the CARMEL  fitted with a 10.5”/267mm barrel include an empty weight (no magazine) of 3.3kg, a folded stock length of 526mm, and an overall length (stock fully extended) of 806mm. Gun’s cyclic rate of fire is about 850 rounds per minute.

    Some IWI photos of the new rifle:

    Editor’s Note: TFB had discussions with IWI earlier this morning about releasing any information regarding the CARMEL. IWI is not ready to comment publicly about any details surrounding this rifle and has no set timeline for any release. While I am sure IWI sales and customer service are always available for assistance regarding current products, questions regarding unofficial releases or any possible future products will remain unanswered. In short, don’t swamp their phones looking for details on when you can buy a CARMEL.

    Ronaldo Olive

    Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.