Introduced in 2014, the Tavor SAR made its way to my humble abode in 2016. My first bullpup, later to be followed by the CZ Scorpion/Manticore Arms duo, the Tavor appeared to be a decent option for those like me tip-toeing into carbines.
Though IWI's X95, released in 2016, usurps the SAR, my Tavor is still part of the family. For those just now coming across the SAR, how has it stood up over the years? Let's find out.
Measuring 26.12-inches in overall length, with a 16.5-inch barrel, the SAR came to me chambered in 5.56 NATO. Of course, the benefit of this design is that it can easily convert from a 5.56 into a 9mm with IWI's conversion kit. While I never felt the need to bippity-boppity-boo this into a pistol caliber carbine, the option is there, and options are good.
Weighing 7.9-pounds, the Tavor ships in user's choice of black, tan, or flat dark earth. I opted for FDE because that was all the rage at that point in time. The Tavor boasts a full-length Picatinny rail for upgraded sights, scopes, or red dots. Additionally, it sports a side charging handle.
The rifle is accompanied by a 30-round mag and readily accepts standard Magpul AR mags -- a nice bonus for those of us with a ton of Magpul just lying around.
Four Years and Over 1,000 Rounds Later
I reviewed the Tavor a few years ago and was pleasantly pleased with its design. As I had never owned a bullpup, it seemed a nice entry point into this niche market. I snapped up the Tavor and have run it on and off throughout the years.
Bullpups are notoriously easy to navigate through the tight confines of a home or apartment. The small, slim build peeks around corners, and the 5.56 chambering brings some "stopping power" to the party. Lightweight enough for even the petite among us to wield without tiring too quickly and compact enough to go room-to-room, it's a worthy nighttime companion for bumps in the night.
Outside of the home, the Tavor is a nice range companion. Always causing inquisitive range-goers to approach with questions and a few pulls of the trigger (pre-2020 ammo apocalypse), the Tavor is a fun little carbine to shoot. Recoil is manageable and, let's face it; there's a certain cool aesthetic that accompanies a bullpup.
On the range, the Tavor has not failed me. Perfect for close engagement shooting, I'll admit I haven't pushed it too far in terms of distance shooting, but that's not really what bullpups are designed for anyway. For those short distances, it works and works well. I have fed it a variety of ammunition over the years, and it seems to eat brass just fine. The only real failures I have encountered have either been ammo related or because I accidentally knocked the mag release and sent the mag plummeting to the ground.
It's Not All Sunshine and Rainbows...Or Is It?
While there's a lot to like about the Tavor, there are some quirks as well. Notably, the trigger leaves a lot to be desired. Is this new in the land of bullpups? No. Most bullpups feature lackluster triggers, so the Tavor is no exception. It's worth mentioning, though, for trigger snobs who prefer a certain "je ne sais quoi."
Trigger aside, the Tavor -- again, like a lot of bullpups -- isn't lefty friendly. There are conversions kits to make the carbine left-handed compatible, but it essentially rules out swapping from right to left in the field. This is a no-go for shooters heading into competition or those that work transition drills on the range.
Basically, if you are okay with a stock carbine sans fancy upgrades and only intend to fire from one side, you'll be just fine with the Tavor.
In a Nutshell
Quirks aside, the IWI Tavor introduces a compact platform to bullpup enthusiasts or those dipping their toes into the waters. It's a fun platform to take to the range and works well in a home defense set-up. Overall, four years in and thousands of rounds later, I still dig the Tavor SAR.
IWI's Tavor SAR chambered in 5.56 NATO features an MSRP of $1,999. If you want the latest in Tavor tech, check out the X95, also priced at $1,999.