Are you a fan of the bullpup design, but want to launch a bigger chunk of lead down range? The IWI Tavor is modern bullpup chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO and has seen quite a bit of success since its USA debut in 2013. The civilian version of the main infantry rifle of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shortens the overall length of the .223/5.56 rifle platform which makes it easier for urban engagements, but doesn’t sacrifice barrel length. Now, IWI is teasing a new version chambered in .308 Winchester/7.62 NATO.
It all started with a Facebook post:
With that, questions and rumors started pouring in. Multiple publications wrote about the rumors, and IWI couldn’t keep up with the hundreds of comments on their Facebook posts. So, the next day, they sent out more information in order to quell the rumor mill and answers some of the many questions people had regarding the new bullpup.
The new .308 Win Tavor looks like it is based on the Tavor SAR version, with some design aspects being borrowed from the X95 model. The front handguard comes from the SAR design, but the pistol grip seems more like the more-modern X95 series with finger grooves and charging handle above the grip, rather than in the handguard. The stock seems more in line with the SAR version, but also lacks the think buttpad of the 5.56 NATO versions of the rifle. Since the Tavor is subject to the 26″ minimum rifle length, this is probably a clue that the overall chassis length of the .308 version is longer, and thus doesn’t need the extra-thick buttpad to remain legal.
According to the new .308 Win/7.62 NATO Tavor will feature your choice of either 16″ barrel with a 1:12 twist or 18″ with 1:10 twist. Both barrels will be cold-hammer forged and chrome-lined for durability and feature 5/8×24 threads. The 16″ version will have an overall length of 26.25″ without the muzzle device and weigh in at 8.6 pounds. The light polymer body will come in black, FDE, and OD Green colors. The upper part of the forend will feature two MLOK rail slots at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. The lower part is SAR-style rail cover that can be removed to reveal a Picatinny accessory rail perfect for a light, laser, or vertical forward grip. The flattop design features a full-length, monolithic Picatinny rail with integral aperture rear sight and tritium front sight post. The X95-inspired “cutlass”-style grip features finger grooves can be replaced with your choice of standard of pistol grip with traditional trigger guard.
The new Tavor will have an adjustable gas regulator system that has four positions: Off, Low, Medium, and High (Max). As a change from the previous incarnations of the Tavor, this version will features a short-stroke gas system, rather than the earlier long-stroke systems. The charging system is very similar to the MP5: the charging handle is lockable in the open position and you can release the bolt from the charging handle with a quick downward slap. Additionally, if you’re not into the HK slap, you can use the centerline bolt release. The new Tavor will use LR/SR 25 magazines, so you’ll be able to use your Magpul AR-10 magazines in the Tavor.
Expanding on the earlier versions of the Tavor, this .308 version will be even more ambidextrous. The bolt is completely ambidextrous, so there’s not a “left hand” bolt version, nor will you need to worry about sending it to a gunsmith for switching the orientation of the bolt. To switch the bolt, just push the charging handle through the receiver; no need for tools or disassembly. Both the magazine and bolt releases are ambidextrous all the time, with no need for switching. The safety selector is also ambidextrous, and features a 45° rotation, rather than the full 90° of the previous versions. Finally, the ejection ports are easily configurable without tools, making it easily to switch them in the field with a slide of the case deflector.
In a departure from the previous models, this fire control group is new and not compatible with the SAR or X95 trigger systems. The new IWI Tavor in .308 Win/7.62 NATO is expected to start shipping in January of 2018. Unfortunately, IWI US has yet to release an expected price or whether there will be conversion kits for this platform (such as a 6.5 Creedmoor barrel kit).