A civilian legal, Israeli made version of the Tavor TAR-21 has been available in Canada since 2007. These sporting carbines are built to be semi-automatic only, and feature an 18.5″ barrel. There are two variants, the original model which retailed in the $3000-$3400 range and included a Mepro 21 passive red dot sight and folding BUIS, or the flattop model with integrated back up iron sights in the optics rail.
A number of 14″ barrels were also imported, which allow the rifle to be converted into a CTAR clone similar to the one used by the IDF. However these short barrels do require re-registration with the Canadian Government.
The Tavor TAR-21 is non-restricted because of 4 key reasons:
- It is not a fully automatic rifle, nor can it be easily converted with full auto parts.
- It is not prohibited by name. Many “assault rifles” in Canada are banned by name, including the Steyer Aug, FN FAL, and all Kalashnikov variants.
- It’s barrel is over 18.5″ long. Any semi-automatic rifle with a barrel shorter than 18.5″ is classified as restricted.
- The TAR-21′s over all length is above 26″ even in its bullpup configuration.
This makes the Tavor an excellent black rifle for Canadians. Unlike all variants of the AR-15, which are restricted, the Tavor can be carried in a vehicle and used for hunting. In contrast, any AR-15 must be locked during transport and storage, can only be transported with permit, and only fired at a Government certified range.
The Tavor still takes STANAG magazines like the AR, which includes 10 round capacity .223 pistol magazines. In the same vein, the 1/28 thread on the TAR-21 barrel will accept all AR flash hiders, brakes and other muzzle devices. It is the cross platform compatibility, while definitely being an entirely separate firearm from the AR-15 that makes the Tavor one of the most popular Canadian black-rifles.
The over all length advantages of a bull-pup, the fact that the parent system has seen field use by the Israelis, and the standardization with select AR components, makes the Tavor an excellent alternative for Canadians who want to enjoy a black rifle for varmint hunting or target competitions such as 3-gun and service rifle matches.
There are four variants of Tavors that have been available in Canada.
Gen 1 was imported by Canada Ammo, and came with a Mepro 21 optic clamped to the barrel. These units contained a military bolt and free floating firing pin, which were later replaced by IWI under concerns over slam fires when used with light primer ammunition. Some 15″ IDF CTAR barrels also came in during this time period. Looks like this:
The Gen 1.5 was a $300 upgrade available for the last two Can-Am batches of Tavors. Gen 1.5 is identical in every way, except that it included a factory picatinny rail and its Mepro 21 used a quick detach mount. Many Canadians with Gen 1 Tavors have converted them to Gen 1.5 using 3rd party rails to allow for more optics than just the Meprolight. Looks like this:
North Sylva took over the IWI contract, and began importing Generation 2 Tavors that feature a full flattop rail. [I]Most[/I] of these have integral BUIS and often come with some unusual iron sights off the shelf. These units use a lighter polymer body and have a different texture than the Gen 1 and 1.5 models.
IWI US Tavors have been imported to Canada by IrunGuns, although they are currently rare. These units come with 16″ or 18″ barrels. They are restricted, feature a lighter trigger, and have QD sling mounts in the hand guard and rear receiver. They are a flattop with integral BUIS, and have a body that is [I]very[/I] similar to the Gen 2. Looks like this:
All Canadian Tavors are under the TAR-21 model name. The IWI US Tavors are called SAR-21s, on account of their unique trigger pack and receiver insert. The IWI US Tavors seem to be compatible in terms of barrels with Canadian Tavors, but BCG and trigger packs are certainly not. In depth compatibility between the TAR21 and SAR21 platforms has yet to be tested.