|Type||Bullpup assault rifle|
|Place of origin||Israel|
|Used by||See Users|
|Designer||Israel Military Industries|
Israel Weapon Industries (IWI)
|Variants||See Variants and IWI X95|
|Weight||3.27 kg (7.21 lb)(TAR-21)
3.18 kg (7.0 lb)(CTAR-21)
3.67 kg (8.1 lb)(STAR-21)
2.95 kg (6.5 lb)(MTAR-21)
3.19 kg (7.0 lb)(TC-21)
|Length||720 mm (28.3 in)(TAR-21, STAR-21)
640 mm (25.2 in)(CTAR-21)
590 mm (23.2 in)(X95/MTAR-21)
670 mm (26.4 in)(TC-21)
|Barrel length||460 mm (18.1 in)(TAR-21, STAR-21)
380 mm (15.0 in)(CTAR-21)
330 mm (13.0 in)(X95/MTAR-21)
419 mm (16.5 in) (X95-L)
410 mm (16.1 in)(TC-21)
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||750–900 rounds/min|
|Muzzle velocity||910 m/s (2,986 ft/s)(TAR-21, STAR-21)
890 m/s (2,919.9 ft/s)(CTAR-21)
870 m/s (2,854.3 ft/s)(MTAR-21)
885 m/s (2,903.5 ft/s) (TC-21)
|Effective firing range||550 m[clarification needed]|
|Feed system||Standard 30-round detachable box Magazine
Various STANAG magazines
|Sights||Meprolight MP 21, ITL MARS with integrated laser and IR pointer, Trijicon ACOG (STAR-21), EOTech holographic sight, others available|
Built around a long-stroke piston system (as found in the M1 Garand and AK-47), the Tavor is designed to maximize reliability, durability, and ease of maintenance, particularly under adverse or battlefield conditions.
In 2009, the TAR-21 was selected by the IDF to gradually replace the M16 rifle variants as the standard issued weapon of the Israeli infantry by the end of 2018. The first Tavor (MTAR-21 variant) rifles were issued to infantry units in 2013, replacing the M-16 rifles.
- 1 History and design objectives
- 2 Tavor variants
- 3 Awards
- 4 Conflicts
- 5 Users
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
History and design objectives
The objective of the project was to create an assault rifle that was more reliable, durable and easier to maintain than the M4A1 Carbine, while also being better suited to close-quarters combat and mechanized infantry roles. As a result, they hoped that the weapon would be officially adopted by the Israel Defense Forces.
Due to the military's close-quarters and mechanized infantry requirements, the project team selected a bullpup design, that would allow the weapon to be compact while keeping a long barrel able to achieve ballistically favorable high muzzle velocities. A long-stroke piston system, similar to that found in the AK-47 and M1 Garand, was selected to ensure the weapon's reliability under adverse conditions.
Design features and engineering
Long-stroke piston system
The Tavor rifle uses a non-lubricated long-stroke piston system, as found in the M1 Garand, IMI Galil and the AK 47. Like in the AK-47, the long-stroke piston mechanism contributes to the extreme forcefulness of the Tavor's extraction and chambering.
A long-stroke piston system may increase a weapon's reliability in extreme conditions (in comparison to the less reliable short-stroke piston systems), as has been found to be the case in both the M1 Garand and the AK 47.
The Tavor's attachment of the piston to a heavy bolt carrier, and the extension of the mainspring into the hollow stem of the bolt carrier, bears a family resemblance to the internal mechanism of the AK 47.
Ambidexterity and modularity
The TAR-21 has ejection ports on both sides of the rifle so it can easily be reconfigured for right or left-handed shooters. However, this process requires partial disassembly, so it cannot be quickly reconfigured while the rifle is in use. An issue related to this is the original plastic cover on the unused ejection can allow gas to escape during the course of fire. Due to the bullpup design this vents right under the shooters face causing issues, such as inhaling ejection gases and the fouling of glasses and face with ejection debris. The issue is exacerbated when the weapon is suppressed. The characteristic black smudge from this has been nicknamed "Tavor face" by some shooters. This has been addressed by various non-factory solutions which increase sealing of the unused port.
The Tavor features a self-contained, drop-in trigger group, so that the trigger group can be changed or replaced without the use of additional tools.
The Tavor barrels are made from CrMoV steel and cold hammer-forged (CHF) on the premises of the IWI factory in Ramat HaSharon. The barrel is chrome-lined for durability and corrosion resistance. The barrel features 6 grooves in a 178 mm (1 in 7 inch) twist, or 32 calibers right hand twist rate.
Chambering, ammunition and magazines
The IDF uses both 55-grain M193 and 62-grain M855 5.56×45mm rounds. M193 rounds are used by regular infantrymen for better terminal effects at shorter distances, while the heavier M855 is used by sharpshooters.
The Tavor uses a bullpup configuration, in which the receiver, bolt carrier group and magazine are placed behind the pistol grip. This shortens the firearm's overall length without sacrificing barrel length. As a result, the TAR-21 provides carbine overall length, yet can achieve rifle muzzle velocities if equipped with a rifle-length barrel. The Tavor can also be configured as a compact close quarters combat (CQC) weapon with a shorter 38 cm (15.0 in) length barrel, and in that form is called the CTAR-21.
Last round bolt-open catch
The Tavor features a last round bolt catch, whereby the bolt holds open after the last round discharges. This is a request of modern armies, as it helps to allow soldiers to know when their magazine empties and to reduce reloading times during combat.
Reliability, ease-of-maintenance and waterproofing
The design objectives of the Tavor aimed for reliability and ease-of-maintenance, particularly under adverse or battlefield conditions. According to Russell C. Tilstra, the Tavor is "easily considered more reliable" than the M16 and M4 series rifles.
The Tavor is designed to be easily field-stripped, without the need for any additional tools.
The rifle is waterproofed and its internal mechanism is sealed from outside elements, so that it can pass over-the-beach requirements.
Trials in Israel
The Tavor prevailed over the M4A1 Carbine in a series of trials of conducted during 2001 and 2002. Qualities tested included Mean Rounds Between Failures (MRBF), reliability, ergonomics during long marches, and ease-of-maintenance.
Following these trials, the IDF adopted the Tavor as its future standard arm for all branches of the infantry, with a gradual changeover beginning in 2006 and expected completion among front line troops by end of year 2018.
The Tavor assault rifle comes in different variations:
- TAR-21 – standard version intended for multirole infantry.
- CTAR-21 – compact short barrel version intended for commandos and special forces.
- STAR-21 – designated marksman version with folding under-barrel bipod and Trijicon ACOG 4× magnification sight.
- MTAR-21 (X95) – the IWI X95 Micro Tavor, see below.
- Fort-221, Fort-222, Fort-223, Fort-224 - Ukrainian made Tavors, manufactured by RPC Fort (of Ukraine)
- TC-21 - the semi-automatic Tavor Carbine, see below.
||It has been suggested that this section be split out into another article titled IWI X95. ([[IWI X95|Discuss]]) (April 2016)|
The Micro-Tavor (MTAR-21) is the version of the Tavor that was selected as the future standard infantry weapon of the IDF. In 2013, the Micro-Tavor was issued for the first time as the standard infantry weapon to recruits of the Givati Brigade.
With the use of a relatively simple conversion kit, the MTAR-21 can be converted from a 5.56 mm assault rifle to a 9 mm submachine gun loaded with 20, 25, and 32-round magazines. A suppressor can also be added to the weapon, as part of the 9 mm conversion kit. An integrated grenade launcher is currently being developed for the Micro Tavor.
When configured to fire 9 mm rounds, the gun uses a blowback operation to eject and reload rounds, but in the same body as the gas-operated rifle reloading system. It is fed from Uzi magazines. A suppressor can be mounted that allows for the use of standard velocity 9 mm ammunition, not specialized subsonic ammo. The barrel is the same length as the rifle version, but has a 1:10 in rifling twist to stabilize heavy 9 mm bullets.
Compared to the 35 in (890 mm) long M4 with its stock extended with a 14.5 in (370 mm) barrel, the X95 is 23 in (580 mm) long with a 13 in (330 mm) barrel.
It comes in a number of variants (including):
- X95 (5.56mm, compact assault rifle/carbine with 330mm/13" barrel)
- X95L (5.56mm, compact assault rifle/carbine with 419mm/16.5" barrel)
- X95 SMG (9mm, SMG with 330mm/13" barrel)
- X95R (5.45×39mm,compact assault rifle/carbine with 330mm/13" barrel)
- X95S (9mm, integrated suppressor with 275mm/10.8" barrel, and a rate of fire of ~1200 rds/min)
- 7.62 NATO X95
- 5.45 Russian X95
In April 2013, IWI introduced a conversion kit for the X95, chambered for the 5.45×39mm Russian. The kit was designed for export customers to allow for the rifle to fire 5.45 mm ammunition already used in their inventories
The semi-automatic Tavor Carbine (TC-21) was first made available for civilian customers to purchase in Canada from 2008. The Canadian civilian version initially shipped with the Mepro reflex sight and a slightly longer barrel to meet the Canadian requirement for non-restricted semi-automatic centerfire rifles to have a barrel length of at least 470 mm. Current version are shipped with a full length Picatinny rail, without optics.
IWI started a new US subsidiary, which is manufacturing the semi-automatic Tavor for US sales, with a market date of April 2013. Versions are for sale, with two barrel lengths (16.5" and 18"). The longer barrel is likely to meet NFA requirements for overall length with the muzzle device removed.
As of 2013, the Tavor is available to civilian customers in the United States through IWI's US subsidiary, The weapon is manufactured with a combination of Israeli and US parts. It is available in black, OD green, or flat dark earth colors and with either a 16.5" or 18" barrel. Also available on the 16.5" variant is an integrated Mepro reflex sight. The standard versions come with a full length picatinny rail along the top in addition to the 45-degree offset rail on the ejection side of the foregrip. These variants have an integrated backup sight system that collapses into the rail, with a tritium equipped front post. All variants are compliant with the National Firearms Act. Also available from IWI-US are 9mm conversion kits which accept Colt SMG style magazines, as well as left-to-right-hand, or vice versa, conversion bolts.
The designations for the US rifles are the Tavor SAR-B16, -B18, -B16L, and -B18L.
IWI US had shipped 50,000 Tavors to US civilian customers by early 2016.
In Europe, the Czech company Zeleny Sport recently (December 2015) imported semi-automatic Israeli-made TAR-21 Flattop rifles, equipped with Mepro M5 or M21 reflex sight, which are now available for both civilian and law enforcement customers.
In 2016, it was announced that IWI would begin selling a civilian legal version of the X95, equipped with the lighter trigger-pack (that has also been issued to the IDF in recent years), on the American market later that year.
A significant aftermarket of spare and replacement parts has developed around the Tavor, including the development of match grade accurizing triggers for the rifle that are produced by manufacturers such as Geissele Automatics and double stage trigger pack TAV-D from Shooting Sight.
Shlomi Sabag, Deputy CEO of IWI, says that one of the indicators of the success of the rifle in the shooting sports or civilian market, is the fact that "an aftermarket of products associated with the Tavor rifle, like triggers, has evolved very quickly." 
The National Rifle Association's American Rifleman awarded the Tavor the 2014 Golden Bullseye Award as its rifle of the year. The NRA's prestigious award, now in its twelfth year, aims to award the best products available to civilian shooters.
The IWI Tavor has been used in the following conflicts:
- Operation Summer Rains
- 2006 Lebanon War
- Cambodian–Thai border dispute
- Russo-Georgian War
- Gaza War
- Operation Protective Edge
- Israel: As part of initial testing by Israel Defense Forces' infantry units, the TAR-21 was distributed to members of the training company of the Tzabar Battalion from the Givati Brigade who were drafted in August 2001. They received their rifles in November 2001 during basic training. Initial testing results were favorable – the TAR-21 was found to be significantly more accurate and reliable (as well as more comfortable) than the M4 carbine during extensive field testing. As a trial, the first Tavors were introduced in limited numbers into the army in 2003.
- Issues with fine sand entering the Tavor's chamber, which were identified over the two years of testing, were rectified by numerous small adjustments. A number of other improvements and changes to the design were also made between 2001–2009. Tavor CTAR-21 rifles saw combat service in Operation Cast Lead, used by Givati Brigade and Golani Brigade, and the soldiers reported the Tavor rifles functioned flawlessly.
- In November 2009, the IDF announced that the MTAR-21 (X95) would become the standard infantry weapon of the IDF, with the addition of an integrated grenade-launcher.
- In December 2012, the IDF announced that they would begin equipping and training their new reserve forces with the TAR-21, starting in 2013, with the switch-over by the end of 2018.
- The first Tavor (MTAR-21 variants) rifles were issued to new recruits of a main IDF infantry brigade in 2013, replacing the M-16 rifles.
- In 2014 the IDF announced that in the future (from as early as the end of 2014) some infantry units could start to be issued some numbers of an improved X95 (MTAR-21), which will have a longer 38 cm (15 in) barrel (instead of the original 33 cm barrel of the X95) and a lighter trigger pull.
- Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan purchased a number of TAR-21 for the special operations forces of the Azerbaijani Army in August 2008.
- Brazil: Taurus, the local firearms manufacturer, produces the Tavor under license for the military. Small numbers are issued to soldiers in the Frontier Brigade.
- Cameroon: Issued to the Special Forces of Cameroon Army.
- Senegal: Issued to the Special Forces of Senegal Army.
- Chad: Issued to Chadian Ground Forces since 2006.
- Chile: Investigations Police of Chile
- Colombia: The Colombian Army operates the TAR-21 for their special forces, in the army, marines and in the Colombian national police.
- Ethiopia: Bodyguards of the Ethiopian Prime Minister were seen with the TAR-21.
- Georgia: Different variants of the weapon have been acquired and issued to special commando units of the Georgian MIA, state security and protection agencies since 2001. In 2004 the Tavor was to replace the Soviet Kalashnikov rifle, however due to lack of funding and low purchase quantity that idea was abandoned. The construction of a manufacturing plant was also considered.
- Guatemala: Guatemala's police force or PNC (Policia Nacional Civil) operates the TAR-21.
- Honduras: Honduran army special forces use the MTAR-21.
- India: In late 2002, India signed an INR 880 million (about USD 17.7 million) deal with Israel Military Industries for 3,070 manufactured Tavor assault rifles to be issued to India's special forces personnel, where its ergonomics, reliability in heat and sand might give them an edge at close-quarters and employment from inside vehicles. By 2005, IMI had supplied 350–400 Tavors to India's northern Special Frontier Force (SFF). These were subsequently declared to be "operationally unsatisfactory". The required changes have since been made, and tests in Israel during 2006 went well, clearing the contracted consignment for delivery. The Tavor has now entered operational service – even as India gears up for a larger competition that could feature a 9 mm MTAR-21 version. Known as the Zittara, the rifle is manufactured in India by the Ordnance Factories Board for Indian service, the new Tavors have a modified single-piece stock and new sights, as well as Turkish-made MKEK T-40 40 mm under-barrel grenade launchers. 5,500 have been recently inducted and more rifles are being ordered. A consignment of over 500 TAR-21 Tavor assault rifles and another 30 Galil sniper rifles worth over INR 150 million (USD 3.3 million) and INR 20 million respectively was delivered to the MARCOS (Marine Commandos) in December 2010.
- India's paramilitary and counter-insurgency Central Reserve Police Force CRPF ordered 12000 Micro Tavor (X95) rifles (designation X95), with the rifles entering service in early 2011. Following the use of the weapon by Indian forces fighting the insurgency in Kashmir, CRPF commanders have stated that the X95 is a more effective assault rifle than the AKM, due to its small size, power, longer range and lighter weight.
- In 2016, IWI announced that it was establishing a 49:51 joint venture with Punj Lloyd in India, in order manufacture rifle components in India.
- Macedonia: Police special forces [Unit for Fast Deployment].
- Mexico: In service with the Ministry of Public Security since 2011.
- Nepal: Used in small quantities by Nepali Gurkhas and Army Rangers.
- Nigeria The State Security Service employ it as the primary assault rifle for their close protection and tactical units replacing the Uzi.
- Philippines Small quantities in use by special units of the Philippine Marines and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and one PNP SWAT team in Pasig City.
- Portugal: Small quantities of the TAR-21 are in use by field and intervention units of the Polícia Judiciária, like hostage negotiation teams and investigators who usually work alongside other dedicated law enforcement intervention units—the Special Operations Group (GOE) and the National Republican Guard's Special Operations Company (COE); these weapons were initially intended to equip a new unit under the command of the Polícia Judiciária resembling the GOE. The TAR-21 also participated in the competition for the new service rifle for the three branches of the Portuguese Armed Forces and the Police Special Operations Group (GOE)—a bid that also included the local production of the TAR-21 in Portugal. However, the TAR-21 was excluded from the shortlist. The competition has meanwhile been annulled, after the other contenders and both political and defense critics accused the competition of favoring the Heckler & Koch G36.
- Thailand: To replace some of its current inventory of M16A1 rifles, The Royal Thai Army purchased three batches of TAR-21 rifles for USD27.77 million (THB 946.99 million) and approved delivery of a fourth batch on 15 September 2009, bringing the total to more than 76,000 TAR-21 rifles. Total 106,203 tavor rifle
- Turkey: Used by the Special Forces Command Bordo Bereliler.
- Ukraine: Yuriy Lutsenko, then head of Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, announced on October 1, 2008 that Israel Weapon Industries and the Ukrainian research and production company RPC Fort would jointly manufacture the Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle to enter service with special Ukrainian military and police units. RPC Fort had displayed working samples of Tavors chambered to take 5.45×39mm ammo with Milkor 40mm UBGL grenade launchers to showcase to Ukrainian security forces officers as a means of convincing them to buy Ukrainian-made Tavors for special forces units.
- United States: In August 2013, IWI US announced that the Pennsylvania Capitol Police had adopted the Tavor SAR, a variant specifically designed for the U.S. market. In July 2014, it was announced that the Lakewood, New Jersey Police Department would begin to adopt the Tavor SAR, after the weapon "met the demands and requirements of the Lakewood PD for reliability, ease-of-maintenance, durability and accuracy."
- Vietnam: From 2012, the Tavor entered service in special units of the Vietnamese army, equipping special forces, marines and naval units.
- IWI has been awarded a $100 million contract to establish a factory in Vietnam to produce an unspecified number of Galil ACE assault rifles, as well as others such as the Tavor, for the People's Army of Vietnam.
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- Súng trường uy lực của hải quân đánh bộ Việt Nam Thế giớiQuân sự | Cập nhật thứ ba, ngày 07/05/13
- Israel's defense industry targets Vietnam 18/07/2012, 12:27, Yuval Azulai
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to IWI Tavor.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to IWI X95.|
- Israel Weapon Industries (I.W.I.): TAVOR TAR-21 5.56 mm
- Israel Weapon Industries (I.W.I.): Micro TAVOR MTAR-21 5.56 mm / 9×19 mm
- on YouTube YouTube Video: Overview of the civilian semi-automatic version of the Tavor
- on YouTube YouTube Video: Water Tests of the Micro Tavor (X95)
- Tavor Israeli Weapons: The TAR-21 Tavor assault rifle
- Modern Firearms
- Decidedly Different: The IWI TAVOR, American Rifleman, National Rifle Association, USA