Tavor SAR-FD18 review

Rating:
4.66667/5,
  1. ampaterry
    This rifle from IWI (Israel Weapons Industries) is the first bull-pup design I have ever handled. In this style of rifle, the action is back in the stock area, the magazine and ejection port are both behind the trigger area instead of ahead of it. This allows having a longer barrel in a compact rifle. Consider these pictures, and remember this rifle has an 18 inch barrel.

    This 5.56 has an 18 inch barrel, but does not look like it!

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    Besides being compact, the heft - the balance - of this rifle is vastly different than conventional designs. In a wooden stock rifle, the center of gravity is about in the middle of the rifle. In a plastic stocked rifle, the center of gravity moves forward. In this bull-pup design, the center moves to the rear. When you shoulder this, you notice a marked difference - your TRIGGER hand is bearing the weight, not the forward hand.

    After reading the manual and familiarizing myself with the weapon, I took it out today to zero it using the integral pop-up sights. The rear is aperture, and the front is tritium insert. Here, you can also see the full length Picatinny rail on top, and the short rail at 45 degrees to it at the front.
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    I had some reservations about the trigger action, considering that the firing mechanism is further back, and the trigger has to be linked back to it instead of being located close to it as a conventional rifle is. I need not have worried; the trigger is beautiful. I found no creep, no excess force required - I squeezed it slowly and it fired without any snap or jerk at all - just the way I want it to.

    Zeroing the piece was pretty easy. 25 meter target, five rounds from a rest, and the MPI (Mean Point of Impact) was right on the aim point with no adjustment needed. All adjustments to zero, windage and elevation, are made to the front sight with the provided sight adjustment tool.

    Another concern was having the ejection port located between my right ear and right fore-arm. I need not have worried; all casings went to the right rear, completely clear of everything.

    Like the AR, the line of bore is into the shoulder instead of above it, so muzzle rise is non-existent. Recoil felt about like my old J. C. Higgens .22; not noticeable.

    This front left view shows the charging handle, used to draw the bolt back.

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    This bottom view shows where the magazine goes in - well BEHIND the rear hand, which feels so odd - the trigger on the front of the well is the magazine release. The black piece behind the magazine well is the mechanism to manually lock the bolt and charging handle in the open position.

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    Oops! NOT the New Jersey model; it has one of those dangerous Bayonet lugs!

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    Everything about this rifle is exactly as it should be.

    This is the package as received.
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    And the left side:

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    It is well packaged in form-fitting foam on all sides, and includes the manual, good push-button sling swivels, the sight adjusting tool, one magazine with a snap-on cover, one compact cleaning kit, and is shipped with the red plastic cushion in the chamber.

    The manual is very detailed and well illustrated. Field strip really is easy; that one single pin on the top near the butt plate is pressed from the right side with a finger tip if you have guitar picking callouses, or with a bullet point if you do not - then drawn out the left side to the detente where it stay in place while you swing the butt plate down, then grasp the internal firing mechanism and draw it completely out the rear.

    I recommend this one. This Israeli designed rifle is made in the US from Israeli and US parts, and is the semi-auto version of the IDF battle carbine. It won the Golden Bullseye award as the 2014 Rifle of the Year in the American Rifleman. If you don't like the Dark Earth color of mine, it is also available in evil Black.

    The MSRP is $1,999, but you can find them on-line for under $1,600. My LGS sold it to me for $1,549.

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    rlb, ms6852, Big Mak and 8 others like this.

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