So, first of all, happy Chanukah! This has been an amazing year for IWI, especially for their Galil ACE rifles, which has been picking up more and more positive press.
I’ve been remiss in posting due to real life circumstances, but wanted to chime in on a couple of bits of news.
The IWI Masada was announced in early November. This is an interesting gun in that it’s the first “real” weapon that IWI has announced using their US subsidiary, versus the Israeli company. This may be indicative of a greater shift by IWI to focusing on the US market, which wouldn’t be a bad move for them. It also supports the theory that IWI probably terminated the OEM relationship with Magnum Research, and not the other way around.
The gun itself is pretty nice, and is a “greatest hits” sort of deal:
- P320-esque serialized fire control module
- Sig-style take-down lever
- P30-esque front accessory rail
It is unclear whether it’s using proprietary magazines or if they’re CZ-75 mags and the floorplate is just weird-looking. IWI also didn’t include an optic mount for the slide, ala the Glock MOS, but that may be coming later.
After the break… the Tavor shotgun and 2018.
Moving on, there was another revelation in early December that IWI may be announcing a Tavor shotgun at SHOT in 2018. A listing in Davidson’s popped up for a Tavor shotgun with a 15rd “rotary” magazine. Alas, no pictures, so it’s a bit unclear how this is supposed to work. Given that it’s a bullpup shotgun, I’m skeptical that this is a Streetsweeper-style revolving cylinder, which would be WAY too big for shoulder use… my gut feeling is that this is going to be some sort of drum like the ProMag 12rd drum for the Saiga 12, maybe using a scaled-up version of the 10/22 rotary feed?
Of course, the better question is “what platform is this based on?” I am going to go out on a limb and say this may be a Tavor 7 variant! We’ve recently seen the 12ga UTAS XTR-12 upper for the DPMS-style AR-308 platform, so we know that stuffing a 12ga shell through a SR-25 magazine well is a possibility. It could be that IWI also noticed this, and built their first shotgun based on the concept.
The Tavor shotgun is more evidence that IWI is shifting focus to the US market. There is no real law enforcement or military need for a 15rd bullpup shotgun, and drums don’t reload fast enough for competition use. This appears to be the first IWI long gun designed purely for American consumption.
There are two challenges this gun will need to overcome, assuming it’s reliable: price and weight. It will be the priciest bullpup shotgun out there (rumored price is ~$1400-$1500), short of maybe the upcoming Crye, and SDS Imports is planning on reviving imports of the far-cheaper Chinese QBZ-style shotgun in 2018. Even the SM SKO-BULL is supposed to be cheaper. The Tavor platform has many features to recommend to it, but like the ACE, the price difference will initially make it a hard sell.
The weight is also going to be a problem. Unloaded weight is listed at 8.85lbs. Drums are HEAVY – I think the ProMag 12rd drum is 1.5lbs unloaded, and shotgun shells are about 10 per lb. So you’re talking something like a 3lb loaded drum in your 8.85 lb Tavor shotgun, which is going to make for a rather heavy beast of a gun. I can tell you that a Saiga 12 with an MD-20 is basically unusable outside of the range. The ProMag 12rd drum is more usable, but stick mags are far more preferable in most circumstances. I expect we’ll see aftermarket solutions in this regard if IWI doesn’t have them.
OK, moving past the Tavor shotgun, here are some other things I predict for 2018:
- The third-gen polymer Jericho will replace the current version.
- IWI will announce a cheaper version of the DAN bolt-action rifle, maybe with additional chamberings in 6.5 Creedmoor and/or .224 Valkyrie and using the MLOK system for attachments. There’s a robust market for tactical bolt-action guns in the US, and it makes sense for IWI to try to capture part of it.
- The relative success of the FN M249S makes me think the IWI will announce a semi-auto version of the Negev. They’ve done this with every other IWI gun, so… why not? Importing it will be tricky, though.
- A 5.56×45 version and conversion for the Tavor 7 will be announced, as they will not want to support the X95 simultaneously with it. A 9mm version is also possible; Glock magazines would be even more unlikely, but not impossible.
- They’ll do SOMETHING with the Uzi Pro. Uzi is a very popular brand that they aren’t leveraging very well, and I expect IWI is going to aim to fix that. The most obvious move would be a redesign of the Uzi Pro Pistol to use Glock magazines, ala the Uzi Para. A carbine version would also be a very smart move, especially if they use the original military Uzi Pro furniture (which integrated a folding VFG and had a sweet-looking stock).
- 300AAC version of the Galil ACE… because it’s very low-hanging fruit, and there aren’t many AKs in that caliber.