Another interesting novelty pleased the American division of IWI, which demonstrated on January 17 this year its new development - a self-loading rifle in a bullpup layout with a total capacity of three integral tubular magazines of 15 rounds. This is not to say that this weapon is something revolutionary, there are a lot of weapon models similar in characteristics, which are more or less convenient in certain unique situations, and in most cases they lose to more compact and simple models. Usually, such weapons are positioned as "assault" weapons for law enforcement agencies, but in this case, the manufacturer does not exclude the use of such weapons for civilian needs, in particular hunting. Officially, the weapon will be demonstrated only on January 23-26 at the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, after which its sales should begin. Let's try to figure out in more detail what kind of beast Tavor TS12 is and what it is with.
Tavor TS12 appearance and ergonomics
In terms of looks, the Tavor TS12 looks … modern. However, talk about beauty is strictly subjective, but the fact that the appearance of the weapon allows him to appear in more than one film is indisputable.
Ergonomics has both positive and negative aspects. First of all, you need to pay attention to the fact that this 12-gauge gun is made in a bullpup layout and is self-loading. In order for the shooter not to experience discomfort when shooting from the left shoulder, the Tavor TS12 rifle has the ability to switch the side for ejecting the spent cartridge case. Moreover, switching this requires not only time, but also incomplete disassembly of the weapon. Many models from other manufacturers with a similar layout throw the spent cartridge case downward, which does not greatly complicate the design, but makes the gun more convenient.
The shutter cocking handle can be installed on the right and left sides. This, together with the switching of the side for the ejection of spent cartridges, makes it possible to say that the weapon is adapted for both left-handed and right-handed people. The safety switch is made in the form of a button at the base of the handle for holding the holding hand under the thumb. There is no information about whether it can be "turned over" yet.
Separately, it should be noted a block of three tubular magazines under the barrel of the weapon. Each block can be loaded with 5 rounds of 12/70 different types and by turning the block to choose the appropriate ammunition for the situation. In order to unlock the magazine block, it is necessary to press the button in front of the safety bracket, which will be very difficult for people with short fingers. In addition, the block of stores will need to be rotated 120 degrees. In order to understand how convenient it is, you can try to take any cylindrical object as a fore-end and try to turn it to the required angle in one motion.
Features of the Tavor TS12 shotgun
With a total length of 740 millimeters, the weapon has a barrel with a length of 470 millimeters. The weight of the Tavor TS12 gun without cartridges is 3.5 kilograms. Feeding is provided from three tubular magazines, combined in a swivel block. The capacity of each magazine is 5 rounds 12/70 or 4 rounds 12/76, that is, the total capacity is 15 (12) rounds.
Tavor TS12 shotgun design
The Tavor TS12 self-loading shotgun uses a gas-operated automatic system that locks the barrel when the bolt is turned. The weapon is fed from one of three tubular magazines located under the barrel of the gun and combined into one unit.
Due to the use of the bullpup arrangement, the Tavor TS12 gun has a relatively small size, in addition, as the cartridges are used up, the change in the balance of the weapon is not critical due to the pistol grip extended forward. It is also worth noting as a positive point the location of the shoulder rest in line with the axis of the barrel.
The safety devices are represented by a conventional button that only blocks the trigger, but not the percussion mechanism, which can hardly be attributed to the positive qualities of the weapon.
In general, the Tavor TS12 gun is not revolutionary, it uses well-developed and well-known solutions that have become a kind of "classic", the only interesting and not the most common moment is the rotary block of tubular magazines.
The manufacturer positions its weapons as universal for the civilian market, for law enforcement agencies and for the army. Let's take a closer look at how Tavor TS12 is suitable for various use cases.
So is the Tavor TS12 "assault" or hunting rifle?
Despite the fact that only one appearance of the weapon can make a completely logical and correct conclusion, we will try to consider the advantages of this gun in the context of civilian use. Omitting entertaining (for which this weapon is quite suitable) and sporting shooting, let's go straight to the main civilian use - hunting.
Whoever says anything, but for any adequate hunter, the weight and dimensions of the weapon are primarily important. Of course, if hunting comes down to a simple outing on a private vehicle, for any purpose other than hunting itself, then all this fades into the background, although the space in the trunk is also saved in this case. It is unlikely that anyone will dispute that it is much easier to wade through the bushes with compact weapons, and even if you only need to walk a couple of kilometers with your own feet, then the mass of the weapon also matters. There are also hunters who walk exclusively with their feet and not for one day, which means that you will need to carry at least a minimum of equipment, plus some supply of food and water, in such a hunt-campaign every kilogram is counted.
First, let's figure out the dimensions of the weapon. The length of the gun is 740 millimeters, which is a very good indicator for compactness. However, you have to pay for compactness, even despite the use of the bullpup layout, the weapon does not have the longest barrel with a length of only 470 millimeters.
For clarity, it can be compared with the domestic model, in particular with the Saiga 12K rifle with a folding butt, although in many respects such a comparison will be incorrect for a number of reasons, but many are familiar with this weapon. The length of the Saiga 12K rifle is 910 millimeters (with the stock unfolded) and 670 millimeters (with the stock folded), with a barrel length of 430 millimeters. At first glance, the domestic product loses only in the length of the barrel, but there is one feature in the design of this gun, which puts the weapon in an unfavorable position in terms of dimensions. It is impossible to fire a shot from the Saiga 12K until the butt is unfolded, while the Tavor TS12 does not require additional manipulations. Of course, you can remember the export version, in which you can shoot with a folded stock, but how reasonable is that?
As for the mass of the gun, everything is not as bad as it might seem. Most weapon models in the bullpup layout give the impression of being quite heavy, but do not forget that nothing new is being introduced into the design, on the contrary, the butt is removed, so that, despite the apparent "weight", such a weapon, by definition, cannot be much heavier than its counterparts in a classic layout. The mass of the weapon without cartridges is 3.5 kilograms, which is a very average figure for modern self-loading rifles. The same Saiga 12K rifle has a similar mass.
The main feature of this weapon, the manufacturer notes the large store capacity with the ability to quickly change the type of ammunition. In particular, it is said about 15 cartridges in stores + 1 cartridge in the barrel. It is the moment with the capacity of the stores that spoils the general impression of the weapon, since the manufacturer's statement is true with only one small caveat. The total capacity of the under-barrel magazines is equal to 15 cartridges of 12 gauge only in the case of using casings with a length of 70 millimeters. If cartridges with a 76 mm sleeve are used, then one cartridge should be taken from each store, that is, their total capacity will be 12 cartridges. Of course, this is also a very good result, but there is an unpleasant feeling from the fact that the manufacturer makes such reservations about one of the key features of his weapon, or rather speaks only of the 12-gauge, not to mention the length of the case.
In addition, with such a capacity of magazines, the Tavor TS12 has a competitor in the form of a KGS shotgun produced since 2011, which, with the same capacity of two under-barrel magazines and barrel length, is lighter and more compact. True, a gun from the Kel-Tec company has to be reloaded manually and in some situations this is only a plus, but more on that below.
In addition to the large store capacity, the manufacturer declares a quick change in the type of ammunition, which, according to marketers, will allow you to quickly select the appropriate cartridge for a specific animal. Of course, this statement is true, but in many countries it is at odds with the law. Of course, if suddenly a hunter was hunting ducks, and a bear was thrown at him from the reeds, and a herd of wild boars in diving suits jumped out of the water, then such a gun is simply irreplaceable. As a last resort, you can play Russian roulette with the same bear with a winning odds of 33, 3%, 0, 1%, we will give it to the possibility of a misfire. But seriously, the ability to quickly change the cartridge can really save life, if the hunter does not get confused, if he loaded, say, bullet cartridges into one of the magazines, if he did not forget that the selected type of ammunition will be used only for the second shot or after manual recharge and many more if. Otherwise, such a gun is ideal for a poacher. Well, if you play the situation with the same bear, a pack of wolves, a wild boar and so on, then there are wonderful "combinations", including a self-loading rifled part, including for serious cartridges, MC27-1 under 12x70 and 9x53 for example, if you choose from domestic.
From this we can conclude that the Tavor TS12 gun can be used for hunting and even has some advantages, in particular in terms of size, but it is unlikely that hunters will like it. The weapon is certainly interesting, but a short barrel is a minus, and in general it is not customary to go hunting with a "blaster", although this is subjective.
Let us now try to consider this weapon in the context of its use as a combat weapon and as a weapon for law enforcement agencies.
Conversely, starting with weight and dimensions, the Tavor TS12 is a pretty good choice. Maneuvering in confined spaces with it is much easier than with similar weapons in the classic layout. In the context of use as a military weapon, even such a parameter as the length of the barrel fades into the background, provided it is used at very short distances. And it would seem that this is the ideal assault rifle, compact, lightweight, the magazine capacity is good and you can even choose the type of ammunition that suits the situation, but this is not entirely true.
Let's try to figure out how convenient it is to change the type of cartridge in this weapon. Let's omit the reasoning about how much it is generally necessary to quickly change the type of cartridge and is it not easier to change the magazine with the desired type of ammunition instead of switching, we will proceed from the fact that such an opportunity is needed, and it is implemented in the weapon. Let's say after several shots with one type of ammunition, it was necessary to quickly change this type. To do this, the shooter presses a button in front of the safety clip, which unlocks the block of tubular magazines and, by turning the block, selects the desired magazine with the desired type of cartridge. It seems that the ammunition has been changed and you can shoot further, but as always there is one "but" - the self-loading rifle, which means that after the last shot a cartridge from the previous magazine was loaded. Now the shooter has a choice: either to shoot again with the previous type of ammunition, or to reload the weapon manually. If you look at all this objectively, you cannot get rid of the feeling that the time spent changing the ammunition will not differ much from the time that will be spent changing the magazine for the same domestic Saiga 12 rifle with the same nuances.
A little above, it was said about the competitor of the Tavor TS12 shotgun, the KGS shotgun. This gun is also powered from tubular magazines under the barrel, only they are stationary and switching between them occurs when the lever is moved. This is a manual reloading gun, which reduces its practical rate of fire, but it really does allow for quick change of cartridge type, if necessary, simply by switching the lever and reloading the gun, which will take less than a second.
If we talk about the capacity of the store. So, the total capacity is 15 (12) cartridges, the gun is self-loading, but it will not work to shoot 15 (12) times in a row. After every fifth (fourth) shot, you will need to unlock the magazine block and rotate it 120 degrees, which in itself is not very convenient, and the gun still does not have a slide delay. That is, after each turn, you will need to send a new cartridge manually, or else count the cartridges and rotate the magazine block in advance. Conversely, any other self-loading rifle with a detachable magazine is, if not more convenient, then on a par with the Tavor TS12 in this regard.
Separately, it must be said and sighting devices. This gun is deprived of them, which is already the norm for modern weapons. Both open and more sophisticated sights are mounted on a long rail above the barrel. On the one hand, it is convenient, the shooter uses what is convenient for him and there is nothing superfluous. On the other hand, in the case of installing, say, only a collimator sight, situations may arise when it will fail and the weapon will remain without sights, if the shooter has not also installed the open folding rear sight and front sight. If we consider a weapon as a gun for law enforcement agencies, then it would not be superfluous to provide for the possibility of installing the same flashlight on the weapon, and in this case, it can only be attached instead of sighting devices.
As a result of all of the above, we can conclude that the Tavor TS12 gun is a weapon with an interesting appearance, recognizable, but having a number of features that make it very controversial. If we consider it as a weapon for hunting, then it is quite acceptable, and in terms of dimensions, it is generally perfect. But there is a chance to face jokes from other hunters, and the joke about hunting flying saucers will be the most harmless.
If we consider the Tavor TS12 gun as a combat weapon, then its advantages over other already existing weapon models are not entirely clear. The implementation of changing the type of ammunition has its own characteristics, in which the replacement of the box magazine equipped with the required type of cartridges will be made, of course, more slowly, but not much. If we talk about the rate of fire, then everything becomes quite sad. After every fifth or fourth shot, you will need to rotate the magazine block, that is, you will need to rotate it twice. If we take the same domestic Saiga 12 rifle with magazines with a capacity of 8 rounds, then for the same 15 shots it will be necessary to change the magazine only once, which in time will be equal to the same turns of the magazine block. In addition, after 15 shots, the Tavor TS12 will need to equip at least one magazine to continue firing. In weapons with a detachable box magazine, the magazine is replaced and the gun is ready to fire. In other words, in terms of its characteristics, the Tavor TS12 rifle does not differ much from self-loading rifles with detachable magazines with a capacity of the same 5 rounds, and if it is required to fire more than 15 shots, then it also loses to them.
Despite this, one cannot talk about the failure of a weapon that has not yet been officially presented, history knows many cases when not the most successful, and sometimes frankly unsuccessful weapons became massive and recognizable. People, unfortunately, are influenced by advertising, several large-scale films with the participation of this gun, praise on the Internet and the Tavor TS12 will become the “gun of the XXI century” in spite of all its features. And if you look at it, after all, the weapon does not have specific negative aspects, it is just that its not quite ordinary design does not give it any obvious advantages over other long-existing guns.
Otherwise, it will look harmonious in the hands of a Space Marine.