IWI Tavor TS12 Bullpup Review [2021]: Legit or a Dud?

by Roy Chesson

January 4, 2021

6 comments

4.9
(56)

In this Tavor TS12 Bullpup Shotgun review we’ll be covering the Tavor TS12 and its specifications.

We’ll also check out how the TS12 shapes up against other Bullpup Shotguns that are out there.

Tavor TS12 Specs

  • Barrel Length 18.5″
  • Caliber 12 Gauge
  • Capacity 15+1
  • Sights Rail Mounted
  • Action Semi-Automatic
  • Overall Length 28.34″
  • Weight 8 lbs

Tavor TS12 Background

Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) has earned respect in both the civilian and military firearms communities. IWI is known for making robust and reliable weapons suitable for combat in harsh conditions.

Although they make modern versions of some classic firearms like the Galil and the Uzi, IWI is most known for their bull-pup firearms in their Tavor line.

They first came out with the Tavor SAR rifle in 5.56mm NATO, then the Tavor X95 rifle with improved ergonomics, then the Tavor 7 in 308 Win, and now the Tavor TS12 shotgun.

Shotguns have always had capacity limitations. The TS12 by IWI aims to help solve this.

Shotguns usually have tubular magazines under the barrel – this means that shotgun shells are held in the magazine front to end, in a line longways. Therefore, if you wanted high capacity in a shotgun (8 rounds is generally high capacity), then you need a long shotgun. For example, 8 2-3/4″ shogun shells add up to 22″ in length! Adding some extra room for hardware, compressed spring, and follower, this means that the shotgun barrel needs to be about 24″ long – too long for defensive/combat use in small quarters.

Some shotguns are now using detachable box magazines that hold the shotgun shells above each other like standard rifle or pistol magazines. However, these are not always reliable and have similar capacity limitations – an 8 round magazine is still very large.

Not only does IWI’s TS12 Bullpup design allow for a shorter overall length, the TS12 also has a very novel concept: a rotating tubular magazine. This not only triples magazine capacity, it also allows the shooter to select between 3 different types of shotgun shells (e.g. slugs vs buckshot).

If you’re thinking of making the TS12 your next bullpup shotgun purchase we’ve discovered a few things you’ll definitely want to know first. So read on to get the full unbiased Gun University take on the Tavor TS12 bullpup shotgun.

Tavor TS12 Features

IWI-TAVOR-TS12-BULLPUP-SHOTGUN-Features-Gun-University
1 Bullpup Design

Moving the action to the butttock saves considerable size and length. This is a huge benefit for a shotgun where compact size and capacity are typically trade-offs.

2 High Capacity/Rotating Magazine Tubes

15 round capacity in a shotgun is amazing enough. But, adding the ability to rotate and change between magazine tubes is a big benefit.

3 Full Length Picatinny Top Rail

Tactical shotguns often have picatinny rails on top of receivers but they are only the length of the receiver. The TS12 has a full-length rail that allows the forward mounting of accessories and sights.

Tavor TS12 Review– Our Take

First off, I’ve really started to like bullpup firearms. At first, they seemed a bit…well…awkward because I’ve been so used to standard firearms.

However, the Tavor X95 really started to change my mind – that rifle by IWI is absolutely incredible and has become one of my favorite rifles. Don’t believe me, check out my author bio on Gun University where we have to list our favorites.

So, what do I think of the TS12? Well, let’s start by truly understanding what it is and its purpose. IWI started the TS12 project with the idea of creating a 15+1 semi automatic 12 gauge shotgun in a tight package. With that in mind, I think they knocked it out of the park. I mean, this really is the only way to get 16 shells into this size of a shotgun…and, with how it operates, it’s excellent.

However, that being said, it’s not without some issues. Let’s start with some of the positives I ran across while test firing this both in the rain, and in better conditions.

Things I Really Like About It:

Easy to Manage Recoil

The shotgun shoots very well with fast follow-up shots being a breeze. I think a lot of this is due to the overall weight of the gun, and it’s pivot point due to the location of the barrel being comparatively lower than most shotguns. For 12-gauge shotgun, this has the best recoil management I’ve experienced.

Easy to Manage Ammo

15+1 rounds is awesome. However, it is even cooler to be able to segregate the ammo into groups of 5. This way, you can have two magazine tube full of 10 rounds of buckshot total and one filled with slugs. You can then easily switch magazine tubes to change ammo types while you shoot! Even better, when the bolt holds open after the last round from a tube is fired, rotating the cylinder to a full tube automatically loads and closes the bolt! That is such a cool feature, I wouldn’t have even thought to ask for it.

Shell Ejection Capability

With many shotguns you have to cycle through all the shells to get them out. With this, I can turn to any tube I want and press a button and it will eject and catch thus making ejection much easier.

Material and Extra Features

Just about everything on this shotgun, except for one thing, which I’ll bring up later, is extremely sturdy and well made. It feels durable, and wasn’t cheaply put together. Also, the inclusion of QD sling swivels is a great addition and I wish more companies would do that.

Small size, reliability, high capacity, ammo management, and shootability. What’s not to like? The Tavor TS12 gets an A+ from us!

Things I Didn’t Like About It

Reliability Issues

Right out of the box without any extra care, we tested this out in the field on a rainy day. We basically experienced a 1 out of 25 issue with the shell catching in the ejection port. However, after cleaning it and taking it out again and again, it has fired much better with a ~2 out of 100 catching, which I think is much more acceptable for a semi-automatic shotgun firing at the rate I do, and at this price.

Rotation Lever Material

I’m only going to point this out because it just doesn’t feel right. The rotation lever you press to rotate the magazine tube feels a bit chintzy. However, after all my use, I haven’t had a problem with it. It’s in a great place and allows me to easily rotate tubes. I only point it out because it was a bit surprising. It’s more like a quality of a part you’d expect to find on a Kel-Tec.

My Final Thoughts on the IWI Tavor TS12

Originally, we requested IWI send us one to try out for this review and ensured we’d return in immediately upon finishing up our tests. However, I loved this shotgun so much that I instead personally paid them for it so I could keep it and add it to my collection.

I’ll admit, I don’t exactly have a purpose for it. I could use it as my home-defense shotgun due to its capacity and size. Also, as it goes for 12-gauge home-defense shotguns, it’s a good fit for my wife since it has great control and recoil, plus she loves the look and size of it. But that doesn’t mean it’s a perfect “home-defense” shotgun for most others…and my wife is a bit different than most.

However, the real reason I wanted this is because of how fun it is to shoot, and the wow factor it gets. Whether it’s with others at the range, or my shooting buddies, it’s been a novel gun that many have enjoyed, as well as myself. There’s no denying it turns heads at the range.

Tavor TS12 Pros and Cons

  • Bull-pup Design
  • High Capacity
  • Full-length Picatinny Rail
  • Ability to Change Between 3 Different Mags
  • Available Benellie/Beretta Chokes
  • Semi-Auto
  • Easy to change Ambidextrous
  • Heavy
  • Pricey
  • Short, but Large
  • No Markings to Differentiate Mag Tubes

Report Card

Reliability

Right out of the box, we had some issues, however, since cleaning it and testing it, it’s been great.

B+
Accuracy

As accurate as a shotgun can be.

A
Shootability

Rapid fire is a breeze with low recoil

A+
Ergonomics

The bullpup design and the ability to change magazine tubes make this shotgun super easy to use

A+
Value

It is pricey, but you are getting a TON for the money

A
IWI-Tavor-TS12-Bullpup-Final-Grade

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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Video Review of the Tavor TS12

TS12 vs Kel Tec KSG: How do they Compare?

Anyone who’s looking at the IWI TS12 is probably thinking about the Kel Tec KSG as well…and rightfully so. They’re comparable in that they are both bullpup shotguns with larger magazine capacity. However, there are some major differences that tips one over the other.

IWI Tavor TS12

  • Final Grade : A
  • MSRP : $1,399.00
Gauge 12 GA
Weight 8 lbs
Overall Length 28.34″
Height 10.23″
Barrel Length 18.5″
Capacity 15+1
Check Price

Kel Tec KSG

  • Final Grade : C
  • MSRP : $720.00
Gauge 12 GA
Weight 6.9 lbs
Overall Length 26.1″
Height 10.48″
Barrel Length 18.5″
Capacity 14+1
Check Price

And while I intend to do a full side-by-side comparison later on in Gun University, I’ll give you a quick and dirty on what my take will be:

I love this bullpup shotgun more than the Kel-Tec KSG. It has better recoil, capacity, and there is no shell ejection directly into my arm – which really sucks. Plus the TS12 is semi-automatic shotgun, whereas the KSG is a pump action. Plus the TS12 is sturdier and made of better quality parts.

However, that being said, the KSG is about $600 cheaper, and 1 lb lighter, which can be significant for some. But all in all, I like the TS-12 better, and think it’s worth the extra money.

Best Sights for the Tavor TS-12

The IWI Tavor TS-12 comes with a full-length Picatinny top rail. And there’s nothing better to mount on one than a premium set of optics. Now, a good sight can set you back a penny. But you’re gonna want to get something nice for this. If not, it’s like putting a cheap set of plastic rims on a Rolls Royce.

If you’re looking for a top-notch sight, you can always count on Leupold. And the DeltaPoint Pro is among their best. It provides for a 60 MOA elevation/windage adjustment in 1 MOA increments. Plus, it’s damn near bomb-proof. CHECK PRICE

If you’re looking to get a big time sight advantage while maintaining the tactility of your bullpup shotgun, the Trijicon RMR might just be the sight for you. It gives you an optimal field of vision with a 3.25 MOA adjustable LED and eight different brightness settings.

Check It Out on Amazon

Best Lights for the Tavor TS-12

It really seems like the TS-12 can do it all. And that fact is extended to its use of its top rails. You can use this to add on many things, but we will focus on lights here. The TS-12 can fit top rail lights but not underbody lights because of the triple barrel.

Truth be told I am not usually a fan of lights because I think it is a little Hollywood and overrated. However, with that said I can get on board with lights more with Shotguns like the Tavor TS-12, then handguns. This particular model, has good lighting with 1000 lumens., and it’s relatively easy to mount directly on to your Tavor TS-12 top rail. CHECK IT OUT ON AMAZON

After the hype we just gave Surefire, it only makes sense to have another option as a recommended choice. The Surefire M600 is similar to the X300 but with some key differences. First, it’s much better at producing a softer surrounding light illuminating spaces at shorter-to-mid-range level. Next, it’s a bit more ruggedly designed so you’re always ready for battle.

Check It Out on Amazon

Other Bullpup Shotguns of its Class to Check Out

In our eyes, this is the best bullpup shotgun hands-down. As a matter of fact, it’s becoming one of our favorite shotguns period. However, there’s one major downside to the Tavor TS-12. And that’s the price. But if you’re still in the market for a bullpup shotgun, consider these two alternatives.

#1 EAA MKA 1923

EAA MKA 1923

Sold at PalmettoStateArmory

The purpose behind the MKA 1923 was to bring the quality associated with MKA weaponry to a new bullpup shotgun packed with innovation and quality.

Check Latest Price

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

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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If we had to choose another bullpup shotty instead of the TS-12, it’d have to be this one. It’s a solid choice and scores well in just about any criteria we’re looking for. Sure, it isn’t the best out there, but it’s far from the worst. Not to mention, it comes in at a price point much, much friendlier than that of the TS-12…READ MORE

#2 Kel Tec KSG

Kel Tec KSG

Sold at PalmettoStateArmory.comBrownells.comGuns.com

The KSG is Kel Tec’s first foray into the shotgun market. In fact, the gun is so significant to the company that KSG simply stands for Kel Tec Shotgun

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability B
  • Accuracy A
  • Customization A
  • Ergonomics D
  • Value A

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Roy Chesson

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

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Added To Our Reader’s Score

KelTec fans, head’s up! If you haven’t gotten your hands on the KSG, you might want to give it a go. It’s a pretty solid choice as a bullpup shotgun. However, unlike the EAA and Tavor, it’s a pump action. But hey, that might just be right up your alley…READ MORE

How to Care for Your Tavor TS-12

With all the features the Tavor TS-12 has, you might expect taking down this weapon for maintenance to be relatively difficult. But in all reality, it’s a lot simpler than you think. Aside from the manual, the folks over at IWI US have put together a great instructional video showing you how to disassemble the weapon and get it back together.

Important Links And Manuals For Your TAVOR TS-12

We can’t stress this enough….The Tavor TS-12 is going to set the bar for future bullpup shotguns to come. So if you’re interested in learning more about this amazing weapon, check out our recommended reading list.

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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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6 COMMENTS

  1. I’m assuming you’re the son of my classmate, Roy Chesson, USNA ’75. If so, sorry for your recent loss. Thanks for the very helpful review. I have a Tavor TS12 on order. I’m looking forward to checking it out personally.

    1. Wow, small world. That I am, and thank you. He was a good man and I’m sad I won’t get to take him and my son to more Red Sox games. Tried getting him out to the range but that wasn’t his thing…haha. I hope you enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun.

  2. Thanks for your review of the Tavor TS12. I’ve got one on the way right now. Looking forward to getting my hands on it and getting to know it. Space Force, here I come.

  3. I own a TS12 and it’s my goto home defense gun. Best of all, I can choose which ammo I want to use with the flick of the magazine. I’ve also weighed it with different ammo to see if it helps mitigate the overall weight when fully loaded versus round capacity. You can load a mix of 2.75 and 3 inch ammo (both slugs and 00 buck). The weight varies within 1 lb. I did add a torch for illumination and a quick acquisition micro red-dot. So basically, if the target is within the field of light at 50-100 feet, it’s in the effective zone. The red-dot is mainly for slugs, which I found is pretty accurate. I haven’t tried different chokes yet, mainly because I am using slugs in the gun. But I plan to try modified and full chokes later.

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