IWI Tavor SAR Review [2021]: SAR vs x95

by Roy Chesson

January 7, 2021

3 comments

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In this Tavor SAR Bullpup rifle review we’ll be covering the Tavor SAR and its specification. We’ll also look at the options you have to customize and modify your SAR Bullpup.

Tavor SAR Specs

  • Barrel Length 16.5″
  • Caliber 5.56 NATO
  • Sights Folding, Rear
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 26.1″

IWI Tavor SAR Background

The IWI has earned the respect of the firearms world with their reliable and durable weapons. The IWI Tavor SAR is one of the more established firearms from IWI, having been originally released onto the market back in 2014. So what do you need to know about IWI as a company, and about the Tavor SAR in particular?

IWI have earned their experience building durable weapons by designing those up to the requirements of the Israeli military. You know if it’s capable of functioning in the Middle East, it’s probably capable of functioning in America. But is it worthy of your time and money, and are there any problems you need to know about?

If you’re worried about the durability of the Tavor SAR, you should know this is the bullpup rifle of choice for the Israeli Armed Forces. Of course, the civilian version has been adapted to be compliant with the law, but it’s a very similar firearm.

The Tavor SAR is customizable, so if you like modding your bullpup rifles, you’re in luck. The prestige of this IWI firearm is also evidenced by the fact it won a Golden Bullseye award back in 2014.

However, you’ll know that other bullpup firearms, including bullpup rifles, have had their share of performance problems. So is the Tavor SAR to be included in the category of flawed firearms?

Read on to discover the full, no holds barred Gun University review of the IWI Tavor SAR. We will reveal information you absolutely need to know before going any further with this bullpup rifle.

IWI Tavor SAR Features

1 Full Length Picatinny Top Rail

Allowing you to easily mount accessories onto your Tavor SAR.

2 30 Round Magazine

High capacity magazine.

3 Cold Hammer Forged Chrome Lined Barrel

Israeli military spec barrel

Tavor SAR Review – Our Take

The IWI Tavor SAR is the bullpup rifle that really got me to consider using a bullpup. Sure, the Steyr AUG has been around for a while and it’s a great gun but it was always a bit of a novelty for many people (me included).

The Tavor Bullpup is a serious-use battle rifle.

Now, we at Gun University are more partial to the next itteration of the IWI Tavor, the IWI Tavor X95 for the reasons below:

tavor-sar-370x370-1-300x300

What we love about the Tavor: It’s a capabale bullpup rifle run off of a piston system with a forward mounted charging handle – it already solves three of the complaints I have about AR-15 style rifles:

  1. AR rifles need a buffer-tube buttstock thereby requiring the action of the rifle to be forward of your firing hand and increasing the overall length of the rifle,
  2. The standard AR design is a direct impingement gas system which blows the exhaust gasses into the action, and
  3. AR rifles require you to move your head and bring your hand back in order to charge/operate the bolt.

So, piston driven for reliability and bullpup design so that you can get a short overall length but the velocity of a regualr barrel AND you can charge/operate the bolt with your support hand without moving your position on the rifle!!?!?? What’s not to love?

Well, the manual of arms takes some getting used to if you’re more familiar with AR style rifles. Trust me, I still am not as fast with mag changes on a Tovar as I am with an AR style rifle.

My biggest complaint about the ergonomics/controls of this rifle is the mag release! Instead of reaching for a new magazine with your support hand while you release the magazine with your firing hand (fast), the Tavor SAR requires you to use your support hand to grab the empty/old magazine to reach the release and THEN go dig for the new magazine. It’s a bit of a pain and its one of the main reasons we like the X95 vs the SAR.

The Tavor SAR is nice, but we strongly recommend getting the IWI X95 instead. It keeps all the great things of the SAR and fixes all of the bad.

Tavor SAR Pros and Cons

  • Awesome bullpup design
  • Very reliable
  • Weird mag release
  • Heavy

Report Card

Reliability

Super reliable

A+
Accuracy

Good enough for a battle rifle but not an “accurate rifle”

C
Customization

Full picatinny rail for optics sights but not much else to upgrade/change

B-
Ergonomics

Easy to shoot and operate – except for mag changes

B
Value

Good value, but the X95 is better

B

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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If you’re serious about owning a Tavor SAR, you need to be ready to accept that responsibility. Here’s some things to get you started.

Once you got your rifle outfitted with the basics, it’s time to get down to business with some killer customizations.

Best Sights for the IWI Tavor SAR

What’s a rifle without a sight? The two literally go hand in hand. Whether you prefer a new RDS and holographic options or old-fashioned irons, you need to make sure you can hit what you’re targeting. For the Tavor SAR, we like the former options. The two selections below are phenomenal optics that could fit on just about any rifle.

It’s not hard to see why the Aimpoint Micro T-2 is our favorite sight for the Tavor SAR. It’s so lightweight and compact, but rugged enough to get you through every environment. It doesn’t sit too high off the rail either keeping the esthetic of your SAR streamline. It has a two-MOA red dot along with 4 night vision settings and 8 different daylight changes. Rest assured you’ll be able to aim at any target anytime of day. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON

The EOTech makes our list here because of its great versatility. It provides a 68MOA Ring with a single red-dot reticle, but the EXPS2’s edsign also allows for you to maintain access to your iron sights. Not too shabby. It comes with 20 different brightness settings including night vision. And it takes just seconds to mount.

Check It Out on Amazon

Best Slings for the IWI Tavor SAR

Let’s get real. Hand carrying a rifle for an extended period of time just sucks. Sure, it might feel good to hold the heft of the weapon for a bit, but afterward, it becomes a chore. And what if you’re in a tactical situation? You’re probably going to need those hands free for other vital tasks. Which is why… You should seriously think about investing in a quality sling. Here are our favorites:

The IWI Savvy Sniper Sling is our Editor’s Choice for the Tavor SAR. And why’s that? Because this sling was specifically designed with Tavor SAR in mind. It fits great in all types of situations. And depending on where you anchor the sling on the Tavor, you can easily position yourself to have a tactical advantage when carrying. And if you’re having to wear body armor…No worries. There’s enough leeway to ensure your weapon isn’t riding up your chest. CHECK PRICE

This Magpul sling is awesome. Its versatility allows you to switch between your standard two-point configuration to single point setup all while on the go. They’ve even replaced one of the standard paraclips with a QD Swing Swivel.

Check Latest Price

Other Bullpup Rifles of its Class to Check Out

While the Tavor SAR is definitely a solid pick when it comes to bullpup rifles, there are a few other models that might fit you better. The models on this list provide you with some very unique options–including one that we would make the switch to if given the choice.

#1 IWI Tavor X95

IWI Tavor X95

Sold at palmettostatearmory.comGuns.com

The Tavor X95 has by far earned the Best Overall Bullpup Award. You can see below why we made that decision.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Value A
  • Accuracy B+

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Variation? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

The IWI Tavor X95 is hands down one of our absolute favorite bullpups we’ve ever gotten our hands on. As a matter of fact, it tops our list of Best Bullpup Rifles and Shotguns! This rifle is extremely similar to the Tavor SAR but with all right improvements…READ MORE

#2 Steyr Aug A3 M1

Steyr Aug A3 M1

Sold at EuroOptic.comGuns.comPalmetto State Armory

The Aug is a modular firearm and comes in many configurations to include those that fire in the open bolt position as light machine guns.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability B
  • Ergonomics C
  • Reliability A+
  • Value C
  • Accuracy B

Our Grade

B

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

In all reality, you might not want a Tavor SAR for any solid practical reason. It might just become one of your favorite range guns. And if that’s the case, you might want something a little more sinister–if not just look alone. If so, the Steyr Aug could be your exactly what you need…READ MORE

#3 Kel Tec RDB

Kel Tec RDB

at PalmettoStateArmory.comGuns.com

Some of the innovative aspects you’d expect from Kel Tec are found here in the RDB. One of these include an ejection system that is amazingly designed.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Accuracy B+
  • Reliability B+
  • Accuracy B
  • Value A

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Variation? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Speaking of cool looking guns, KelTec always comes through with some really sweet weapons. But if you mention the name KelTec, you’re gonna get normally one of two reactions. You love ‘em or hate ‘em. But if you’re a KelTec fan, you may enjoy the handy, reliable KelTec RDB…READ MORE

How to Care for Your IWI Tavor SAR

When it comes to taking care of your Tavor SAR, it’s much easier than it looks–, especially with that signature Tavor trigger pack. And let’s be honest…you should want to maintain your Tavor. It’s a great gun that deserves that extra TLC. This video shows you just how easy it is to disassemble and clean your IWI Tavor SAR.

Important Links And Manuals For Your IWI Tavor SAR

Did you know that IWI US plan to phase out the Tavor SAR? Find that out and more on this list of recommended reading.

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About Roy Chesson

Roy 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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3 COMMENTS

  1. Regarding changing the mag. In the article it was said

    “My biggest complaint about the ergonomics/controls of this rifle is the mag release! Instead of reaching for a new magazine with your support hand while you release the magazine with your firing hand (fast), the Tavor SAR requires you to use your support hand to grab the empty/old magazine to reach the release and THEN go dig for the new magazine.”

    Not true! Changing the mag is easily a one hand operation. Pulling the stock into the shoulder with three fingers pulling the grip allows you to eject the magazine with the backside base of your thumb and easily setting a new magazine with the support hand.

    1. True…to an extent. You’re right, that process can be done in order to execute a one handed mag removal maneuver. However, you will sacrifice stability and security in ordre to do it. Therefore, the erganomics are still not very good for releasing a magazine as compared to something like the X95 where you do not have to loosen the grip of your support hand in order to release the magazine (trigger finger release for the X95). Without practice, anyone can execute that move for the X95.

      If however, you do get the SAR, like you said there are some extra manuevers you’ll need to perform to do a one handed mag release…something you’ll need to practice in order to do effectively and efficiently. Still deserves a lower ergonomics grade, especially when considered against its cousin the X95.

      1. while I agree the mag release is problematic I disagree on why. I would caution any who have had considerably more experience on an AR to say the tavor is inferior because it requires different trained motions that havent been practiced nearly as much. I will freely admit the AR takes a bit less learning to become proficient and is probably always slightly faster.

        Mag releases one handed do require you open up your hold on the rifle a bit, but you generally need to do that with an AR anyway… just slightly more for the SAR.
        One handed is simple, grab the new mag with your off hand, two fingers (middle and 4th) protrude to push the release with the off hand as you swipe down to dump the mag and your now lined up to shove the new mag into position without hesitation. If bolt is open your thumb hits the release, or I just pull then handle anyway right before gripping the forward grip. The whole thing practiced a hundred times or so is very fluid as long as your standing or kneeling, its harder in prone or very tight spaces requiring tilting the rifle up to open the work space. so on the ground the AR clearly wins but standing and kneeling, its close with practice.

        you can also do a tac reload the same way though it takes a bit of practice to get used to holding the new mag with the thumb and index while the middle and thumb grab the mag and release swiping it out, rotate both forward 20 degrees then insert the new mag. As its a tac reload you dont need to hit a release so the occupation of the thumb is not an issue. This it is very fast and efficient though an AR is a bit faster.

        No I think there is little advantage of an AR over the tavor for mag changes unless your prone, then it can suck to reload any bullpup.

        Where I think the tavor SAR-21 really fails on mag release is when switching hands/shoulders. If you are not careful you can easily bump the release as you swap hands which can be embarassing (if your lucky) to have your mag hit the ground as you shoulder on the other side. Most likely you only do this when in tight restrictive shooting positions anyway which is the worst time to have your mag get dropped.

        As an aside, the grip integrated bipod, I used to think was stupid gimmick but after trying it in a few classes Ive grown to love it. Your not going to get the accuracy of an AR with a bipod, but for quickly dropping to the ground and palming the release as you go down its fast and easy to add a lot of stability while still being able to pivot to engage targets over a wide field of engagement.

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