The Israeli-made Tavor bullpup has been one of the Holy Grails for some US shooters, being one of a few of modern bullpup military rifles, but unavailable in the United States. The Tavor accepts standard M16 magazines, and has piston operation and a bolt hold-open feature , all options that many shooters want. IWI (Israel Weapon Industries, formerly Israel Military Industries) says they should have Tavor rifles in stock in the US within the next 6-8 weeks.
The Tavor has an interesting method of seating the magazine. It will not be intuitive to AR15 shooters, but with practice, should still be as fast as reloading an AK pattern rifle- or the Israeli “holding my hand” through the process may have made the process slower than it had to be. In any case, the bolt release is at the heel of the weapon. The Tavor will be available in 16.5 and 18″ barrel lengths, with conversion kits available in 5.45x39mm and 9mm. It also easily converts for the lefties amongst us.
The Tavor, with its forward-mounted pistol grip, feels a little odd to someone who’s spent a lot of time on US military rifles. When firing at close targets, I habitually grab the magazine well of AR15s and M4s. The Tavor’s magazine is on the rear of the rifle, so a position with no separation between my hands felt strange.
When I fired the Tavor, I was surprised to find that the weapon was full-auto, though I wasn’t sure if it was a 3-round burst limiter or if I was firing short bursts due to habit. When I asked the demonstrator about it, he said the rifle wasn’t full auto, that I was just “shooting fast”. So, be aware that the Tavor is easily bump-fired but stays on target well!
The Tavor will be available in black and flat dark earth, with suggested retail at $2000 for both 16.5 and 18″ models. The IDF model will be a black 16.5″ version with a MEPRO-21 reflex sight, which I found to be very useful at 50 yards. MSRP for the IDF model is $2600. All models feature oddly high (to clear the MEPRO-21 optic, I would guess) flip-up sights.