The New Tavor Bullpup Assault Rifle from . . . Israel?

I’ve been trolling guns websites for any interesting information coming out of the annual SHOT Show being held in Las Vegas last week. I’ve seen a few interesting things that I will no doubt be writing about here. But the first one that really caught my eye and made me want to find out more about it is the new civilian version of Israeli Military’s bullpup assault rifle: the Tavor. You read that right, this gun comes from Israel – specifically IWI (Israel Weapon Industries).


The Tavor (pronounced tuh-VAWR) Tactical Assault Rifle is based on the bullpup design assault rifles used by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) known by their military designation: TAR-21. The design for the Tavor began all the way back in 1991. At that time, the IDF and the Israel Military Industries (IMI) began working on designs to replace the M-16, CAR-15 and the IMI Galil. The requirements for this next-gen, 21st century assault rifle were as follows:

  • Compatibility with the 5.56mm NATO round.
  • Short rifle convenience with long barrel accuracy.
  • Superior reliability under extreme conditions.
  • Ergonomic design for increased comfort and ease of use.
  • Right and left handed operability.

The TAR-21 was first publicly introduced in 1998 and was field tested by the IDF from 1999-2002. The Tavor TAR-21 is a gas operated, selective fire, magazine fed assault rifle. These are now the standard issue assault rifle for the IDF.

TavorThe civilian versions will be offered in some of the same configurations as their military counterparts but in semi-automatic firing mode only. There is the standard TAR or Tactical Assault Rifle configuration with an 18″ barrel and an integrated reflex sight directly attached to the barrel. The CTAR (Compact Tactical Assault Rifle) version has a slightly shorter, 15″ barrel, also with the integrated reflex site. This version has a total overall length of just over 25 inches compared to the 35-inch M4. There is also a Tavor Flattop with a picattiny rail above the barrel. The effective range for all of the Tavor variations is 300 meters.

The Tavor uses standard 30 round AR15 style magazines. So, if you already have magazines for your AR15, you don’t need to buy all new ones. However, unlike most rifles like this, IWI also mentions that they will offer either a 9mm version or a conversion kit for 9mm. I didn’t quite catch which it was from the videos below, but it was mentioned. Apparently, the folks at Future Weapons took the Tavor for a test ride:

The folks at Nutnfancy got a first hand look at Tavor at the SHOT Show as well. The rep from IWI is pretty intense. Check it out:

By the way, “tavor” in Aramaic means “misfortune”. I imagine that’s intended for the folks staring this bad boy down in the field.

11 thoughts on “The New Tavor Bullpup Assault Rifle from . . . Israel?

  1. Mike Smith on said:

    How would you rate the accuracy of these say to a steyr Aug? They advertise short rifle,but long range. Hand lapped barrels or something.
    Also I was wondering about the trigger, the feel (military,ick!!) and if so can you change out for a Giessle? Sorry for my spelling to lazy to look it up.
    Also saw one picture with a vertical front hand grip. seems like a necessity on one of these guns. Did not look like any rail was supplied for one, although I did see a rail for a light/lazer.
    Thank You , again sorry for my misspells, this article is so old I don’t know if you even look at it anymore.

  2. roderick robledo on said:

    I love and want a civilian model of this firearm, how much are they?

    • A Gun Guy on said:

      Retail on these is anywhere from $1500 to $2000 depending on features and the retailer.

  3. George Soriano on said:

    This new format looks very comfortable to shoot. I like the design. I have not handled one because I believe it is not yet available in the Philippines. I do have a question, does it have tolerance with dust & dirt like some rifles I know (I do not want to name them)? My friend has the Galil and it is great to shoot. I hope the Tavor is even better. Thanks.

  4. Erik on said:

    Tavor means “ejection port close to face” in Hebrew.

  5. Sam Watley on said:

    The name Tavor is of Hebrew origin and it means ‘from Mt. Tavor’. In Mount Tavor the prophetess Deborah vanquished the armies of General Sisera according to the Christian Bible in the Old Testament. The name is common in English and Hebrew speaking countries.

    The similar-sounding word in Aramaic or Arabic has several meanings, including “encampment” or “misfortune.”

    We may reasonably assume that the Tavor took its name from Israeli landmark(s) with interesting biblical references. The designers certainly are not going to name a rifle “misfortune!” Although it will in the hands of the IDF, of course, eventually deliver “misfortune” to terrorists and other bad guys…

  6. Sam Watley on said:

    I had a chance to shoot the civilian (semiauto only) version. I was not experienced with bullpups, but it took only moments to get comfortable. Very good ergonomics. I would not be surprised if the Tavor becomes popular for patrol car use. It has the same round and capacity as the M16 or M4 in a convenient compact form, about a foot shorter than the “M” rifles. Far easier to store and deploy than the longer standard configuration long guns. Although the reviews of the Tavor don’t go into detail, it’s also significant that the M4 was the standard Israeli infantry rifle for many years and the Israelis had plenty of time to learn the good and bad points of the M4 … and of various bullpup rifles … before creating the Tavor. The Tavor, like the famed Uzi, is also very reliable under the most difficult environmental conditions. There was extensive bad condition/dirty testing done during the design, and the Tavor was first used by several elite units (Golani and Golati brigades among others) before being approved for general use.

    • A Gun Guy on said:

      First of all – relax, cool down, let’s not get testy. No offense was intended. Second, the rifle is called a Tavor with a “v”, not a “b”. Third, the reference is to the Aramaic meaning of Tavor: and

      I do not claim to be a linguist, I just Googled it and put down what I read. Granted, not the most scientific approach, but I don’t claim to be a scientist either.

      Now, if the kind folks at IWI want to correct me and tell me that the name is, in fact, a derivative of the Israeli mountain or has some other completely different meaning other than what I wrote, I will gladly append my article accordingly.

      • somerandomeisraely on said:

        well im an israely. and i saw this gun and know allot on him and u both right was lonk as i know.the gun was named in the anme for allot of reasons 1 i knwo for sure is becuse of a mountain in here. in the name i know on allot of letters meaning things on the gun.
        and then the 21 meaning the 21 century ofcourse

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