As the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) gradually phase out the Galil assault rifle in favor of the American M16A3 and M16A4 5.56×45 mm, Israel Military Industries (IMI) has embarked on the development of a state-of-the-art rifle of the same caliber.

The new firearm, designed from scratch, adopts the bullpup configuration. By the dawn of the final decade of the previous century, arms designers had accumulated considerable experience with this design, as evidenced by the AUG rifle from Austria, France’s FAMAS, and the United Kingdom’s SA 80 (L85). Leveraging this wealth of knowledge, Israeli engineers successfully sidestepped numerous pitfalls.

The Tavor TAR-21 assault rifle’s body is constructed from reinforced polymers. These materials match the mechanical properties of more traditional ones but are significantly lighter. The designers also addressed a common issue with bullpup-configured weapons: a shift in the center of gravity that can adversely affect firing accuracy. Moreover, aligning the Tavor TAR-21’s stock axis with the barrel significantly mitigates recoil.

Following its development completion in 2000, experts subjected the Tavor TAR-21 to rigorous examination and bench testing. It entered military trials in 2002 and was adopted by various IDF units and the Interior Ministry in 2004.

Despite its innovative design, the Tavor TAR-21 has not completely replaced various M16 models in IDF service due to its high cost. The weapon’s price tag is around $1,000, while the U.S.-supplied M16 comes in at around $100.

A few years back, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers held discussions with IMI about licensing production of Tavor TAR-21 rifles and their variants at the Fort plant.

The Tavor TAR-21 is available in several versions:

• GTAR -21 – an assault system with a 40 mm under-barrel grenade launcher;

• CTAR -21 – an assault rifle with a 380 mm barrel length;

• STAR -21 – a small arms shooting system;

• MTAR -21 – a compact assault rifle with a 330 mm barrel length that can be field-converted into a submachine gun firing 9 × 19 mm Parabellum cartridges.

Technical specifications:

Country of origin – Israel, Ukraine (under license)

Cartridge type – .223 Remington (5.56 × 45 mm NATO) SS109, M855, 5.56 × 30 mm Length – 720 mm

Barrel length – 460 mm

Weight – 3.27 kg

Magazine capacity – 20 and 30 rounds

Rate of fire – 750-900 rds/min

Sighting range – 550 m