By Paolo Valpolini
In one month time the latest version of Israel Weapons Industries’ Tavor, the Tavor 7 in 7.62 x 51 in calibre, touched ground in three different continents, Asia, Europe, and now Latin America, where it is exhibited at the Expodefensa defence show taking place in Bogotá, Colombia, December 4-6 2017. The ties between the Israeli small arms manufacturer, part of the SK Group, and Colombia, are well known, Indumil producing IWI assault rifles under license, the Colombian company also manufacturing parts for IWI itself.
According to IWI officials at Expodefensa Indumil is starting selling the Jerico PL pistol, the polymer frame version of the well known IWI handgun, and hope that soon also the new Masada striker pistol will be distributed in the country by Indumil. Probably the only bullpup rifle in 7.62 mm NATO calibre, the Tavor 7 is not a grown up version of existing 5.56 mm Tavors: its bolt is completely redesigned and is not a scaled-up version of the smaller calibre one, the Tavor 7 rotating bolt having eight lugs compared to the three of the Tavor TAR, which however are bigger.
As in all its bullpup weapons, IWI maintained full ambidextrous characteristics, something vital in a bullpup rifle. To revert the expulsion port it is sufficient to field strip the rifle, using the tip of a round, revert the port cover and turn the bolt 180°, the loading handle being also quickly moved from the right to the left using a round. The Tavor 7 has a hammer forged floating barrel, which in the standard version is 17-inch long (432 mm), a 20-inch (508 mm) barrel being also available.
The gas mechanism features a gas regulator with four positions: 1 for standard conditions, 2 for difficult conditions such as sand, dirt, etc, 3 to be used when a suppressor is fitted, and finally 4, which stops the gas from operating the bolt system, making the Tavor 7 a bolt action rifle. This together with the 20-inch barrel allows using the Tavor 7 as an accurate DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle). The upper receiver is fitted with a full-length Picatinny rail, a short rail at 6 o’clock being used to install a front grip. M-Lok slots on the sides allow adding two further short Picatinnies for accessories.
In the standard configuration, with the 17-inch barrel, the Tavor 7 is 4.1 kg heavy without magazine, and 723 mm long, the length remaining under 800 mm with the longer barrel. IWI will produce the Tavor 7 in four different colours, sniper gray, olive drab green, black, and flat dark earth. According to IWI the Tavor 7 was designed to cope with some customers’ requirements, customers remaining unnamed. Deliveries will start in early 2018.