The Beretta M951 (aka, 1951) was the first real IDF standard issue handgun (insofar as the IDF uses handguns, which is rarely). You could make the argument that the Webley came before it, but the Webley was used more by the Haganah and other irregular forces prior to the IDF’s formation. Mine is a particularly interesting specimen – read on for more details.
Inevitably, upon looking at the Kareen MkII or MkIII, the knowledgeable gun owner will pronounce it to be an Arcus 94 clone. “Look at the beaver tail! Look at the squared off trigger guard!” And, in fairness, this is a reasonable assumption to make. They really do look similar… but only at first glance. Read on for more about this interesting piece of Israeli firearms history.
I regard the entry of IWI into the US civilian market as one of the biggest firearms stories of the decade – and, yeah, that’s with half the decade to go. Michael Kassnar deserves a huge amount of credit for making this happen, and the entire IWI-US organization should be lauded for what is the most flawless roll-out of a totally new product in recent memory with the Tavor (and accompanying 9mm conversion kit).
Their execution after the Tavor, however, hasn’t been as fast and clean as I’d like. The 5.45×39 conversion got cancelled for somewhat dubious reasons (no reliable US made magazines? Really.), the .300AAC conversion barrel has been MIA, and the Uzi Pro Pistol was delayed due to its propensity to stop being semi-auto. Don’t even get me started on the spare parts situation. The Tavor is great, and still selling well, but you can only rest on your laurels so long.
Thankfully, IWI-US seems to have made some moves lately, and they have some great products in the pipeline!
The list of every Israeli-made handgun I know of. Feel free to add ones I missed in the comments. I deliberately avoided listing all of the variants in this post; even just figuring out all the basic models has been challenging.
Welcome to my new blog!
This blog focuses on Israeli-designed, Israeli-manufactured, and Israeli-used firearms. It will also include anything else I deem pertinent and interesting. Much like The Firearm Blog, my interest is “Firearms Not Politics”, so don’t expect a lot of commentary on the political situation in Israel.
In terms of who your intrepid blogger is: I am an Orthodox Jew living on the east coast of the United States. I am not Israeli and have never been to Israel, but find Israeli firearms developments fascinating from a Jewish pride perspective. Further, I believe the Israelis have a very unique and interesting small arms program from a historical perspective, one that combines indigenous development with carefully-chosen foreign guns, plus a smattering of desperation that gives a ton of flavor.
I am not claiming to be a historian, but I have done a fair amount of research on the Internet and in various books. I will endeavor to make clear what I believe is fact, and what I believe is theory.