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. They have gone through several upgrades, but generally fall into 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 new flattop model with integrated back up iron sights in the full length 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.