Quick hands-on: IWI Tavor TS12

   01.26.18

Quick hands-on: IWI Tavor TS12

I managed to get a little range time in with the IWI Tavor TS12, 15-round semi-auto bullpup shotgun that, thanks to its $1400 price tag, is the most divisive thing I think I’ve seen since The Last Jedi (garbage movie, but let me move on before I nerdrage.)

First, this is a nice shotgun. It feels sturdy and good in the hand, and but it doesn’t feel as heavy as it looks. Some of that is down to the balance on a bullpup; with all that weight right up against your shoulder, a bullpup often handles like a much lighter gun than it is. But it’s also because it’s just a lot of gun packed into 8 pounds.

shooting TS12

However, the manual of arms was a bit wonky for me and will take some getting used to. The gun is fully ambidextrous, and at all times there are two exposed tubes on each side of it. So no matter what state the gun is in, it’s very easy to slip new rounds in with your left hand while you hold it with your right.

Tavor TS12

The tricky part for me, though, was in working the tubes. There are three tubes of five rounds each, and to rotate a new tube into firing position, you push your trigger finger forward and press a small paddle in the front of the trigger guard. This unlocks the tubes and lets you rotate them. If the chamber is empty, then rotating a tube with a round in it into the firing position will bring the bolt forward and chamber that round.

Once you’ve emptied a tube, you push your trigger finger forward, rotate the tubes, and then keep shooting.

None of this is the least bit complicated or awkward, it’s just different. And it will take some training to make it second nature, at least in my case. I’m going to try to get one of these in for T&E and then I’ll really be able to tell how long it takes me to develop facility with it.

The recoil on the gun was totally manageable, the trigger was good, and in general it’s a nice gun.

shooting TS12

Is it $1400 nice? That depends. Quite a few folks I talked to thought this was a decent price for this weapon, but if you read the comments on my previous post you know there are plenty of folks who are happy with much cheaper pump and semi-auto alternatives.

For a fraction of the price of this gun you could pick up a very nice Remington 870 DM and a few box magazines. So it’s all in what you’re looking for.

Speaking of shotguns that are fed with box mags, I saw a few folks in the comments on the other post saying they prefer these to the TS12’s rotating tubes design. Sure, in theory I do, too. But I’ve heard from folks who run shotguns that are box mag fed that it’s not always a great idea to leave your mags loaded, because the shells can deform and cause feeding problems. This is not a worry with tube-fed guns.

I’ve not witnessed any sort of shell deformation like this, myself, but I pass it on in case anyone else has and can talk about it in the comments.

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