Story and images by Russell Purcell (@RoadTestRuss)
I have always been a fan of bullpup rifles and shotguns as their compact design allows for increased manoeuvrability and the ability to tuck the firearm in tight to the cheek, body and shoulder.
This makes them a fine choice for using at the indoor range, where space limitations make handling long barreled rifles and shotguns more of a challenge.
I own a Keltec KSG 12-gauge shotgun which is bullpup design that features two independent onboard magazine tubes and the capacity to carry up to 15 rounds. It is relatively lightweight due to its largely polymer construction, but it also has proven to be ultra reliable, and a great deal of fun to shoot. Together we have put lots of holes in paper, as well as sacrificed hundreds of pumpkins.
If there is one drawback of the KSG it is the fact that the placement of the ejection port tends to launch empty shell casings in line with your wrist, that is if you are a right hand shooter, and if you tend to shoot as much as I do, a little bruising will be the result. Long sleeves, a wrist wrap, or a long glove will remedy the situation for the most part.
Recently DVC added the IWI TAVOR rifle in .223 to its fleet of rental firearms, and after spending some time exploring this capable rifle’s capabilities I must say that I came away plotting how I could put away enough cash to secure one for myself.
The TAVOR was originally developed for military use in Israel, where fully automatic versions of the rifle are used by infantry soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces.
The model available for sale and use in Canada is a semi-automatic which features an 18.5-inch barrel for accuracy. It’s compact size and short but stout body design place the centre of gravity near the rear of the rifle, which helps provide shooting stability. The rifle itself is light (due to its largely polymer construction) and manoeuvrable, which allows the shooter to bring it up to target more quickly. The magazine well resides to the rear of the rifle which makes mag changes a learning experience, but I suspect if you shot a TAVOR on a regular basis the task would become routine. This placement results in spent casings being spit out through a wide ejection port nestled in the right-side of the buttstock, which saved my wrist from further abuse, but will no doubt pose a problem for lefties.
Individuals who have experience with the more common rifle designs such as that utilized by the AR15 platform complain that the lack of adjustability limits the shooter’s ability to really get comfortable with the TAVOR, which is a significant drawback that comes along with having the body and stock integrated together as single unit.
The compact length also takes some getting used to as the shooter’s face is in closer proximity to the muzzle blast.
I must admit that the trigger looks rather odd and exposed, as its guard has been enlarged and extended to serve the additional function as a secondary grip. Mind you the TAVOR’s pistol grip and integrated fore-grip have been so well thought out that your hands will tend to find a home there quickly. I found that the trigger itself, at least on DVC’s example, is dialed for accuracy and has a nice, crisp reset.
The annual charity pumpkin shoot at Vancouver Gun Range is just around the corner. I suspect that the TAVOR will make short work of a number of these orange range intruders.