Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) has been busy developing and even updating their modern bullpup, the IWI Tavor/Micro Tavor. Their latest update to the Tavor is a 5.45x39mm conversion kit that’s sure to be popular world-wide. IWI will showcase this conversion kit at the Interpolitex arms expo in Moscow later this month.
Developed in 2001 for close-quarters combat in Israel, the Tavor has already undergone some revisions to make it more optics-friendly, involving a revised chassis and the recent addition of a flattop Picatinny rail. It has two military variants, the TAR-21 and the MTAR-21, aka the X95 or Micro Tavor. The standard rifle is chambered in 5.56 NATO and the X95 is a 9mm pistol carbine variant.
All it takes to go from 5.56 to 9mm is a conversion kit, which replaces the barrel and adds a magwell adapter for the 9mm magazines, so it stands to reason it’s not all that hard to make it work with other calibers as long as the cartridges are 5.56 NATO-length or shorter.
And 5.45x39mm is a great caliber. It’s flat-shooting and accurate, lightweight and above all, cheap. It may not be the most popular cartridge in the U.S. but it is available here and basically the rest of the world at cut rates. Customers and would-be customers have asked for a 5.45 conversion kit and IWI is responding in force.
Uri Amit, IWI’s CEO, said in the press release, “We developed the kit in response to requests we received from our customers for a 5.45 ammunition weapon so that they could use the ammunition in their inventories. This enables considerable savings by allowing our customers to change the rifle barrel according to the ammunition on hand, as well as matching the weapon to the evolving operational scenarios.
“IWI works closely with its worldwide customer base, providing solutions that are designed to meet their specific needs. The X95 is one of the most popular weapons of its category in the world—a success based on its exceptional effectiveness and reliability. We continue to develop a range of new configurations and applications in order to ensure its effectiveness in the widest possible range of situations and field requirements.”
IWI says that the 5.45 conversion kit makes the Tavor effective out to 500 meters. That’s a little optimistic but not unbelievable, and we hope they start exporting them to the U.S. and soon so that we may find out for ourselves. Also, the 9mm conversion kits would be incredibly popular.
Production of Tavors is expected to start in the U.S. right about now in a partnership between IWI and Charles Daly. They will be using both Israeli- and American-made parts in compliance with American gun laws to produce these fully-ambidextrous bullpups. Although we expect the pricetag to be around $2,000, a 5.45 conversion kit will make it that much easier to justify. The 5.56 NATO-chambered Tavors use standard AR-15/M16/M4/STANAG magazines, and we would be surprised if the 5.45 conversion kit doesn’t also use AR-15 5.45 magazines.