Soldier with Tavor rifle.
Soldier with Tavor rifle. IDF website

After years of testing and modification, the Tavor assault rifle is headed towards becoming the IDF infantry’s chief assault rifle following a successful performance in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.

The IDF has completed its study of the weapon’s performance in the Gaza fighting and a report will be handed in to the Chief Infantry and Paratroopers Officer, Brig.-Gen. Yossi Buchner, and to OC Ground Forces Command, Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi, within the next few weeks.  

The weapon is not expected to undergo any upgrading in the near future because the Ground Forces Command found nothing to improve in it, IDF journal Bamachaneh reported. I.W.I., which manufactures the weapon, asked the IDF for feedback on the weapon’s performance, but “the answer we got was that the weapon is excellent and there is nothing to fix,” I.W.I. Director Uri Amit said.

The Tavor T.A.R. 21 was first used in combat in Operation Defensive Shield, and has been the standard issued weapon of the Givati Brigade since August 2006. New recruits to the Golani Brigade have been issued the rifle since August 2008.

No longer jamming

A source in the Ground Command said that the Tavor’s flawless performance in Gaza came as no surprise because “the weapon has undergone numerous improvements and upgrades, and it has been functioning without a hitch and in a superb way for over a year. A team on the Givati Regiment’s reconnaissance unit that used the Micro-Tavor gave very favorable assessments about the weapon, as did the battalion commanders in the regiment.”

The Tavor initially encountered numerous jamming problems and was temporarily taken out of service until these were fixed.

Amit said that the T.A.R. 21 is enjoying growing popularity with foreign armies, which have acquired tens of thousands of units.

The Tavor’s “bullpup” configuration, in which the action and magazine are located behind the trigger, makes it possible for it to maintain accuracy despite being relatively short. It is made of lightweight materials and boasts a Multi-Purpose Aiming Reflex Sight (MARS) with laser designation.