Posted on December 17, 2014 by Dave Bahde at www.tactical-life.com
Firing thousands of rounds over two years David Badhe’s IWI Tavor SAR has proven itself to be reliable, accurate and extremely versatile.
I have been running a 5.56mm NATO Tavor SAR from IWI US for more than two years now. One of the first available, this particular model has been around since IWI began offering semi-auto Tavors to the U.S. I’ve tested the SAR in temperatures ranging from -14 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, from sea level to altitudes of 10,000 feet. It’s endured dust, rain, mud, muck, snow and even some hail. I’ve carried the SAR on long hikes, bouncing it around rocky hills and through the woods. Seldom out of reach, I’ve taken it all over the country.
I’ve used the IWI Tavor SAR in training courses, from CQB distances out to 1,000 yards. The carbine has fired over 12,000 rounds—ammunition ranging from military surplus to match grade, including steel-cased rounds. I’ve used it with several sound suppressors and many other accessories available on the market. This is easily the most thorough testing I have ever completed. What follows are my conclusions based on this testing, including what accessories have proven the most valuable to me.
No rifle I’ve ever tested so far has proven as reliable as the IWI Tavor SAR. Bullpup designs are different, but once you get past those differences, they offer several advantages. At close range, the 16.5-inch-barreled Tavor SAR handles like an AR with a 10-inch barrel, minus the reliability issues. It truly excels when it comes to working in tight spaces or around barricades. Moving to a kneeling or prone position is a breeze, and the SAR is easy to carry for long periods of time because its weight is mostly centered and toward the rear. Sure, it’s not a lightweight rifle, but it carries like one. The SAR also fits nicely in the latest covert bags.
IWI’s Tavor SAR’s accuracy is solid, well within realistic deployment needs, and that has not changed since day one. Using the factory trigger, 1-inch groups with Silver State 64-grain PPT and Hornady 60-grain TAP ammunition are the norm. Install a Geissele, Timney or ShootingSight trigger and sub-1-inch groups are possible. Equipped with a scope, hits on anIPSC steel silhouette target are regular. During a recent training course, I made first-round hits at 600 yards using an EOTech sight and magnifier from an unsupported prone position. Zeroed at 50 yards, repeated hits out to 300 yards were a cinch from kneeling. The Tavor is no DMR, but it is as accurate as any rifle built for combat.
Gear Head Works makes the Tavor Modular Forearm (TMF) and the Fulcrum Located Extra (FLEx) swivel, a metal plate that replaces the plastic factory ejection port cover and offers a QD sling swivel. It gives you the ability to switch between single- and two-point slings quickly and firmly. During department training, this addition proved invaluable in rollover prone and off-hand shooting.
The TMF is a machined-aluminum forend that allows you to mount rails and a 1-inch light in the center. My SureFire Scout light with a KM2 conversion proved useful in both low-light and IR environments. The TMF’s sides provide a solid handhold, perfect for my needs.
Manticore Arms offers the LUMA safety lever for the Tavor SAR. Several options are available, but the LUMA is made of aluminum and is ambidextrous. You can mix and match medium or slim levers as necessary. I installed medium LUMA levers on both sides, which made it easy to use the carbine with either hand.
Another must-have is Galloway Precision’s extended shell deflector. Deflecting brass farther forward and away from the operator, this add-on allows you to shoot the SAR from either shoulder without brass bouncing off your chin. Unless you roll your cheek over the ejection port, you’ll forget it is there.
I used several sights and optics with the SAR. Cycling through red dots, holographic sights and scopes, the Bushnell Elite Tactical 1-6.5x24mm SMRS was the most versatile. Its generous eye relief makes it usable in most any position. Any shorter optic with good eye relief should work fine. It needs to mount forward, so a one-piece AR mount is probably required. I also added a Trijicon RMR on a one o’clock rail for work up close. If you mount the scope at a typical AR height, you can co-witness it with the SAR’s flip-up front and rear sights.