IWI Carmel Review

by Dave Chesson

February 1, 2023



Israel Weapons Industries has been known for making incredible rifles and bullpups over the past few years.  So, when I heard they’d be making the IWI Carmel available in the US, I had to check it out.  I was able to see it at the 2023 NSSF SHOT Show and have been told they will send a media/test sample for an IWI Carmel review. 

However, before that happens I figured that in this IWI Carmel overview, I’ll cover what we know about the one being sold in the US, its features, and what I could glean by checking it out on the SHOT Show floor. Then, once one comes in, I’ll take it to the range and update to reflect what was found.

Available soon in the United States.

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IWI Carmel Specs

  • Barel Length 16″
  • Caliber 5.56 NATO
  • Sights Rail, 1.5/3x Optic
  • Overall length 33 3/4″
  • Folded length 26 3/4″
  • Weight 8 lbs 2 oz
  • Magazines accepted Most or all AR15 compatible

IWI Carmel Background

As IWI tends to do with naming their weapons, the Carmel is named after Mount Carmel and its close ties to the region and for those versed in the old testament, that would be the spot Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal. 

The Carmel was first launched in Brazil as a military/LEO export project. It boasts a short-stroke gas piston, with a 16” cold hammer forged and chrome lined 1 in 7” twist barrel. 

However, as is often the case with imports, some changes were made to better fit the needs and tastes of US shoppers. I’m generally happy about that and will go into more detail later in the article (and into even greater detail in our full review).

Close-up of the IWI Carmel rifle.

  • MLOK fore-end, which is sleeker and has a 3-6-9 o’clock positioning for mounting
  • AR-15 grip
  • Shorter switch from safety to fire

Currently, the caliber is listed as just 5.56; however, if this performs well, I wouldn’t be surprised to see different variants be added, like 300BLK and maybe even an SBR version.

IWI Carmel Features

IWI Carmel review grade card
1 Fully ambidextrous

An ambi design you can change easily in the field.

2 2-Position Gas Regulator

For regular use and when shooting suppressed.

3 AR/M4 magazine-fed

Uses any NATO MIL STD 5.56 Steel, aluminum, or polymer magazines

4 Organic side-folding stock

Will shoot even when the stock is folded.

5 Multiple rails

Monolithic aluminum 1913 rail on top; MLOK accessory rails at the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions.

IWI Carmel Review – Our (Initial) Take

Okay, so the first impression on the Carmel is that IWI did a good job in delivering exactly what they intended.  A solid system with the right features and capabilities for its purpose, and what appears to be solid reliability.

IWI Carmel sand test
Manufacturer function testing by IWI.

Let’s break this down.

Starting with the trigger, I found it to be crisp and honestly puts most AR stock triggers to shame.  However, I’ll admit, I’m a fan of the two-stage trigger as a whole – so if you’re not, then keep that in mind. Now, while the Carmel works with standard AR pistol grips, the trigger group is surprisingly specific to the Carmel and was reported to me that it isn’t interchangeable with AR15 triggers. 

Israel Weapons Industries shooting the IWI Carmel rifle.

Special note – it does take AR-15 magazines. 

Now, let’s move on to one of the more prominent parts to the Carmel – the side folding stock with adjustable length and height of the chin rest.  This absolutely allowed a customizable fit, and was very ergonomic.  I also liked how when the stock was folded, due to its angle, it did not impede on any important components or access points.  If I had to be a bit particular though, I’ve seen folding stocks that were easier to engage and to unlock than this one.


Being a short gas piston system, the Carmel has a 3 position gas regulator switch: Regular, Extreme, and Suppressor.  I found this to be easier to control than previous ones I’ve handled in the past. 
One thing that they discussed on the floor was that this rifle also has a significantly efficient jump compensator.  However, since I haven’t shot it yet, I can’t say for sure.  But I look forward to testing this out when it is delivered. 

Another interesting feature was their ambidextrous system. Unlike most ambidextrous charging handles, there is no assembly needed to switch.  Just pull back on the charging handle and lock it.  Then slide it forward to where there is a larger hold, and punch the pin to the other side.  Just like that, you’ve got the charging handle on the other side.

Carmel rifle on display at SHOT Show 2023

One of the cons or potential negatives for lefts is that the ejection port only occurs on the right side.  However, luckily the Carmel is a forward ejecting system, so it shouldn’t blow into your face and I don’t think that should be a problem.  Something I’ll look into when I test it out.

Okay, so how much does this cost?   Well, currently, the MSRP lists the Carmel at $1799, which for a NextGen rifle seems pretty fair. It’s priced at the equivalent of a high-end AR15, but very affordable for a NextGen rifle. Based on the quality of the parts, and the capabilities, I’d say that is a very fair price.  We’ll just have to see how it performs.  

Buttstock on the IWI Carmel - foldable and retractable.

So, as you can see in this first impressions IWI Carmel review, it looks and feels pretty good. There is real quality to the parts, the 2-stage trigger feels crisp, the stock is well done and the collapsible stock is a major plus. It doesn’t hurt that you can shoot it while folded, either.

I’m really looking forward to testing this out when it comes in. 

IWI Carmel Pros and Cons

  • Too soon to tell – wait until we can thoroughly test it.
  • There may be a couple but we don’t know for sure yet.

IWI Carmel Review Results

IWI Carmel Ammo

This is just some typical ammunition we like – we’ll try a variety of manufacturers and let you know how they perform.

Black Hills 5.56 NATO TSX Ammo

Cost Per Round
Brownells $1.96

NORMA 62 GR FMJ 5.56X45

Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $0.60

Upgrades and Accessories

IWI Carmel Accessories

Vortex Viper PST GEN II 1-6X
  • Versatile LPVO
  • MOA Reticle
  • 2nd Focal Plane
Check Price
Viking Tactics VTAC Padded Sling
  • Adaptable and Comfortable
  • Wide Shoulder Strap
Check Amazon
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs
  • Great In-Ear option
  • Custom molded – super easy and comfortable
  • NRR: 31
Check Amazon

How to Care for Your IWI Carmel

It’s a little early for us to have a video of the IWI Carmel broken down, but we’re working to get you one. If you can clean an AR, however, chances are you can clean one of these!


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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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