The Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) Tavor is to Israel as the AR-15 is to the United States and the AK-47 to Russia. The rifle got its start in 2001 with the Israel Defense Force (IDF), and this particular configuration is an IWI Tavor IDF commemorative model similar to the original IDF contract rifle. 
 

Table of Contents

Video
Introduction of the Tavor-21
Imported Tavor SAR
The X95 replaces the Tavor-21
The Tavor IDF Commemorative Model
My Experience 
Conclusion

Video

 

 

Introduction of the Tavor-21


In 2001, the IDF requested a new rifle to replace the U.S.-made M16 and M4 rifles. Israel wanted a made-in-Israel 5.56x45mm NATO-chambered rifle that was more reliable, easier to maintain, more accurate, and more compact than the U.S rifles that were in service. 

IWI met the request with a bullpup design, keeping the rifle short and compact. Considering the reputation of Israeli-made firearms, it is no surprise that the Tavor-21 helped popularize the concept across the globe. 
 

Imported Tavor SAR

 

IWI Tavor SAR
The IWI Tavor SAR hit the U.S. market in 2014. (Photo: Samantha Mursan/Guns.com)


The U.S. domestic version, designated the IWI Tavor SAR, did not enter the market until 2014 due to complications with U.S. import laws. However, even with the delay, the firearm was an instant hit, even making its way to law enforcement contracts

The rifle’s long-stroke gas piston mimics the operation of the AK, while the IWI design uses AR-pattern STANAG magazines. Even with the extended rubber butt plate and the mandatory 16-inch barrel for 922r and NFA compliance, the short overall length gives SBR vibes.
 

The X95 replaces the Tavor-21

 

IWI Tavor X95
The Israel Defense Force started using the X95 in 2009. (Photo: Paul Peterson/Guns.com)


The Tavor SAR was new and exciting in the United States when it was imported in 2014, but it was already considered out of date in Israel. The IDF had adopted the more modern and improved X95 in 2009. 

It was rumored that the X95 was being retired in 2021; however, this claim was incorrect, as the rifle continues to serve with IDF soldiers. Both the Tavor and X95 designs have been used extensively in combat operations and are well regarded by the soldiers who have trusted the rifle with their lives. 


Related: IWI Tavor X95 Review: Amazing Bullpup or Overrated Range Toy?
 

The Tavor IDF Commemorative Model

 

IWI IDF Tavor SAR
The IWI IDF Tavor SAR is set up a lot like the original IDF contract rifle, most noticaebly lacking the top rail seen on other Tavors. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


Tavors and X95s are readily available on the market, but it is a more exciting opportunity to own a rifle that has a close configuration to the original 2001 contract rifles. A few years ago, IWI released a special edition of the Tavor, commemorating its service in the IDF.  
 

This Tavor is chambered in .223 Rem. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


This IWI Tavor IDF commemorative model lacks the top-mounted Picatinny rail and rail-integrated iron sights of the Tavor SAR. The Picatinny rail has been replaced with a proprietary mounting system that holds the Mepro 21M red dot optic. 
 

Mepro optic on IWI IDF Tavor SAR
No top Pic rail on this model but it comes with a durable Mepro 21M tritium and fiber-optic based red dot up top. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


The original contract for the rifles included the use of the Mepro 21M tritium and fiber-optic based red dot. The triangular reticle needs no batteries and is powered by light through the fiber-optic lens during the day and a glow from the tritium gas at night. The optic is extremely durable and is produced in Israel.  
 

IWI IDF Tavor SAR
Note the front flip-up iron sight, shown up at left and down at right. (Photo: Zach Buth/Guns.com)


The top of the receiver also features a mount for a Mepro magnifier, a rear iron sight that rotates down and out of the way, and a front flip-up iron sight. Outside of that, the rifle has the same traditional features as the Tavor SAR. 
 

My Experience 

I have a special place in my heart for classic military firearms. I was blessed enough to see many IWI firearms in service with the IDF when I was working in Israel. While the M16 continues a heavy presence with the IDF, there is a certain patriotic pride that IDF soldiers have for the Tavor and X95. 

I never got to fire a Tavor while I was in Israel, but I was able to finally get some range time with this limited-edition model. Normally, I am not much of a bullpup fan, as I dislike the difficulty of taking off-hand shots with the right-handed ejection setup. But I found myself thoroughly enjoying the IWI shooting experience. 

Typically, piston-driven 5.56 rifles have a harsher recoil impulse than direct gas impingement firearms. But with the compact design of the Tavor, I felt the recoil was extremely mild and easy to control with follow-up shots. While it may not replace my duty rifle, the Tavor did change my mind some with the enjoyment and advantage of a shorter rifle.
 

Conclusion

 
It is always exciting to see something new come through our We Buy Guns program. You can always keep up to date with all the firearms that are constantly added to inventory here

Remember, training is the most important aspect of firearm ownership. So whether you are buying a new firearm or looking to get more proficient on what you already own, check out our ammo selection and hit the range to master the craft. 

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