IWI Tavor 5.56/.223 Bullpup Battle Rifle – Solving the Trigger Debacle – Timney Trigger Review

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The Timey trigger group for the Tavor is so easy to install that it is obvious the Tavor was created with replacement trigger in mind.

The Timey trigger group for the Tavor is so easy to install that it is obvious the Tavor was created with replacement trigger in mind.


IWI Tavor
http://www.iwi.us/TAVOR

Timney Trigger Tavor Trigger Group
http://www.timneytriggers.com/Tavor

The IWI Tavor battle rifle was a great addition to the field of tactical firearms. It is a bullpup design, so you get a really short and handy rifle, without having to register a “Short Barreled Rifle,” or SBR.” Short barreled rifles have their limitations. The barrel being so short, you tend to get a giant muzzle flash, a loud boom, and you lose a substantial amount of velocity because much of the gunpowder burns outside the barrel. Along came the Tavor, which has a full 16″ barrel, doesn’t require an SBR tax stamp, and you don’t have to wait 6 months for it while the BATFE reviews your paperwork. The big problem with the gun is that it has a dreadful trigger. Rather than do yet another review on the basic Tavor, replete with trigger complaints, we found a way to solve the problem with a new sear group from the folks at Timney Trigger. Their $352 completely self contained drop-in sear group solves the problem with the Tavor. Is it worth the investment to improve this otherwise awesome rifle? You be the judge.

The stock trigger on the Tavor was so heavy it was difficult to even measure, but at the right angle and slow pressure I got 11 lbs.

The stock trigger on the Tavor was so heavy it was difficult to even measure, but at the right angle and slow pressure I got 11 lbs.


The problem with bullpup triggers is that the firing mechanism has to reside in the back of the gun, under your cheek, while you have to of course pull the trigger much more forward. This means that there has to be some kind of linkage between the forward trigger and the rear mechanism. And that is where bullpups run into trouble. The Tavor falls into the same trap that many other rifles do. They try to do too much work with that transfer bar. I haven’t taken apart the guts of it, but you can feel that in the 11 pound or so trigger pull of a stock Tavor, the pull is doing something in the back of the stock, and it is doing too much.

The Timney answer to this is to use some kind of lever system to both shorten and lighten the pull, yet be able to reliably fire the weapon. The result is a drop in sear box that makes the trigger pull very, very short, with very little travel at all. It breaks at about 4 pounds, and the reset on the trigger is less than a 1/4 of an inch, possibly as little as a tenth of an inch. You are not replacing the trigger. As you can see from the pictures, the Tavor has a very easy, no tools, two pin system that was clearly made to provide easy access to aftermarket trigger groups. You push the pins to the left with a bullet tip, open the hatch, pull out the sear group, drop in the new sear group, close the hatch, push the pins, and you now have a fantastic, crisp and light Tavor trigger.

The Timney replacement sear group is identical to the part that comes out of the gun.

The Timney replacement sear group is identical to the part that comes out of the gun.


Where this is going to most effect your shooting is in rapid fire offhand shooting. The trigger feels just like my Springfield XD-M the way it resets with almost no let off. The Tavor doesn’t recoil much because, with a full magazine and tactical sight, it weighs 10 pounds. With the new Timney sear group you can really just hold it on target and bang bang bang without much effort.

Bench rested long range shooting didn’t show much improvement. As with all of our reviews, we try to stay in the real world and test guns the way people use them. Therefore we tested for accuracy using an EOtech holographic sight and the EOTech G33 3x magnifier When you dial the brightness back on the sight it is fairly easy to shoot at 100 yards with some precision, and it is far more precise than iron sights at that distance. The Tavor is not known as a rock star in the accuracy department, but there was a lot of speculation from initial reviewers that the accuracy testing suffered due to the dreadful trigger. That is not the case. Like so many other battle rifles, the Tavor just doesn’t have inherently great accuracy. This is probably due to the design, which as a actual battle rifle being used today, was created for reliability, not precision. You can’t have both when it comes to firearms, and this gun was created to be used in the blowing sands of the Middle East. Using a Caldwell Lead-Sled, the trigger pull isn’t as cumbersome as when you are just standing and firing a rifle offhand. The crisp and light Timney trigger did little to improve the better than AK but worse than most ARs fair to midlin accuracy of the Tavor SAR. It generally shoots rested into about 2-3″ at 100 yards. Many would argue that a real scope with magnification would improve this some, but this is primarily a close quarters battle rifle hello.

These two captured pins can be opened with a shell casing.

These two captured pins can be opened with a shell casing.


The only issue I have with this trigger replacement is that I take issue with IWI. This trigger swap out was clearly part of the design, not because the sear is prone to breakage or wear, but because the designers knew that it needed a different idea for the trigger. When you see how ridiculously easy it is to remove and replace this pre-packaged sear group, you will have a very bad taste in your mouth about the rifle that you paid probably well over $1000 for. Who wants to pay $350 more dollars for their rifle to make the trigger simply acceptable? Granted, a lot of us install AR-15 “drop-in” triggers, but only because we want a good rifle with a decent trigger to be even better. The worst AR triggers I have seen are on out of the box Colt rifles, and even those are easily twice as good as the stock trigger on the Tavor. It was a challenge to get the trigger to measure within the range that my electronic trigger gauge even measures.
The trigger group comes right out.

The trigger group comes right out.


This is, however, the ideal configuration for the Tavor I think. With an EOTech (or copy), a magnifier, and the Timney sear group there is no better close quarters battle rifle, that can also reach out and touch a target in the 100-200 yard range, which is really the effective range of the cartridge. Plenty of people pay much more than the cost of a basic Tavor and the Timney sear for a fancy AR-15. My beef with IWI stands, but you could view it in that light I guess. This is going to be my ready rifle now. We had originally gotten our test gun from IWI months later than most reviews came out, and it had sat since, because there is no real point in just whining about the trigger again. This Timney sear is a huge development in the story of the Tavor. Why is it $352? Timney is a small company and they can only make so many. This is no piece of plastic you can stamp out for pennies. CNC probably cuts the basic pieces, but these are hand assembled and tuned after that. Ultimately it is supply and demand. The Tavor is a hot gun, and an expensive gun, and the sear transforms it into possibly the best battle rifle on the planet for the money. That’s worth $352.
The replacement trigger is very short, with a less than 1/4" reset and about 4 lbs. pull weight, very crisp with no takeup.

The replacement trigger is very short, with a less than 1/4″ reset and about 4 lbs. pull weight, very crisp with no takeup.

At 100 yards, rested,  the accuracy gains were not significant, but offhand and in quick shooting you will see a world of difference.

At 100 yards, rested, the accuracy gains were not significant, but offhand and in quick shooting you will see a world of difference.

{ 19 comments… add one }
  • lv2shoot December 30, 2014, 4:54 pm

    The Tavor is sweet, but I’m not buying one unless IWI mitigates that damn trigger. For $1500-1700 a nice trigger seams like a menial request.

  • SHWAT December 30, 2014, 10:18 am

    Swapping the trigger in the Tavor takes 28 seconds. Watch here: http://youtu.be/0R6wNKhWRJk

  • A. Contreras December 30, 2014, 10:09 am

    I get that there is a fair bit of editorializing (and thus opinion) on gunsamerica.com. We all know the saying about opinions.

    Still, some comments really make me scratch my head, as they don’t pass a simple logic test.

    “you can feel that in the 11 pound or so trigger pull of a stock Tavor, the pull is doing something in the back of the stock, and it is doing too much.” Unless it’s doing the dishes, hard to say it’s doing too much. Perhaps you were trying to say the trigger pack was poorly designed, and the springs are heavier than they need to be? Interestingly, as far as bullpups is concerned, the Tavor trigger is actually one of the best (I do own one, and have fired others). The transfer bar PULLS the sear, which means there is no additional flex found like in the PUSHING transfer bar designs. It is in fact designed to prevent slack as much as possible.

    Then there is this gem: “This trigger swap out was clearly part of the design, not because the sear is prone to breakage or wear, but because the designers knew that it needed a different idea for the trigger.”

    This one you manage to answer yourselves, and don’t even realize it “You push the pins to the left with a bullet tip, open the hatch, pull out the sear group, drop in the new sear group, close the hatch, push the pins, and you now have a fantastic, crisp and light Tavor trigger.” Substitute “fantastic, crisp and light Tavor trigger” with “a functioning trigger” and voila.

    This rifle has been around since about 2001, and started being fielded to the IDF around 2003. Do you think if you were correct, they would have modified the design by now? (The US trigger pack is slightly different to prevent inserting a select fire Israeli pack, but aside from a channel, they are virtually the same.) No, it is designed for field expedient swapping by troops without the need for higher echelon armorer. I could change my own trigger on my M16A4, but let’s face it it’s not a simple task that can be performed on the fly. In the field? Not a good idea. In combat? Need I answer that? But the Tavor’s? Sure. Easy day.

    “Granted, a lot of us install AR-15 “drop-in” triggers, but only because we want a good rifle with a decent trigger to be even better. ” Decent trigger on a stock AR-15 or A4? I chuckle. I even found the trigger on my M&P-10 to be worse than the Tavor’s. A stock DPMS trigger on my SBR AR-15 was also terrible. A Geissele trigger fixed those too.

    My RRA AR-15 was awesome straight out of the box, but I attribute that to Rock River having better standards than most AR-15 manufacturers that feel the user would replace the trigger anyway. Not so, if they did it right from the get go, the user would have no complains. My RRA AR-15 has had the same, sweet trigger since 2003.

    But would I want a Geissele on my Marine Corps issued A4? Not at all. It would be nice for the yearly quals, granted, but a 5lb trigger would feel like 5oz when rounds start flying. Not a good idea!

  • John December 30, 2014, 9:53 am

    Some interesting points, but again virtually everything is in the realm of opinion vs objective fact when I analyze it – – which is totally fine and should be respected. I initially looked at the same problem re the chamber lugs, until I realized: the brush supplied does a very nice job when screwed to the end of a cleaning rod, especially in “battlefield conditions”. You seem to want IG cleanliness under field conditions, which is impractical with ANY rifle. Moreover, these lugs will almost never become fouled like an impingement system, unless you’re putting THOUSANDS of rounds through it per day. I purposely didn’t clean mine at all for the first 1000 rounds just to check function. I don’t necessarily recommend it, but guess what? Half a minute with the supplied brush and 2 passes with my boresnake followed by a patch did the job just fine. A brush on the bolt head, 4 drops of lube overall, and done! If anything, it broke down for field cleaning almost TOO easily.
    But I’m guessing too that “when the music stops” you’re looking for either 7.62×39 or 5.56 to depend on (it’s 5.56×45, by the way; typo?). So from an ammo standpoint, your argument is invalid, as your LWRC and Rock River are also most likely 5.45, and if you’re even thinking about the NATO 7.62, it’s different from the AK round too, so again the Soviet 7.62 cannot be utilized unless you’re carrying an AK or clone. And your AR (and mine) are both a little finicky when it comes to external elements affecting function. From a parts commonality point, just look at our own variety of systems in use. And anything likely to break on the Tavor I can carry in the compartment of the T-handle. Hence I declare “point invalid”, it’s simply your personal preference. Which you’re entitled to, so we can agree to disagree. Agreed on the point of the Steyr, though. And the Paladin 109 was FUN to shoot. But I’ll still take the 113 or 577; I can ford a body of water with it, more fun and forgiving to drive, and a little more room inside. . Again, just personal preference. But the Tavor is compact; it’s reliable; it uses a common round; it’s easily broken down for field cleaning; and it’s accurate enough for its purpose. If I need something longer range, I’ll opt for my SCAR-H. (You do realize that more of the world still uses the 7.62×54 than they do the 5.56×45, right? Rhetorical question, of course.) By the way: I don’t work for IWI, am not Israeli, and don’t give a hoot about “cool”, lol.

  • King Vlad the Impalor December 30, 2014, 8:23 am

    A cursory review of this rifle showed me it was not a practical battle rifle for my uses. The coolness factor is there, but I really don’t see advantages much past bull pup design–and ‘coolness’ means shit when you’re looking at the business end of 15 guys with 45 year old AK-47s. that they built from parts rescued from a Honduran swamp 20 minutes before. The first impression ones gets is that IMI has surrounded all the functioning parts of the firearm with plastic, making it impossible to tear the weapon down to perform an adequate cleaning in battlefield conditions. I particularly disliked that, even after the firearm was field stripped, there was no way to actually, physically, touch the area around the chamber/lugs/etc. Then there is no way to get the rifle’s chamber to clean it with any degree of easy. I won’t even start on how hard it is to get to the piston.

    It looks cool and all, but you’re buying a rifle that is entirely encased in plastic with no easy why to take it down to clean it. I’ve never, actually, seen–in real life–a G-Tavor (semi-) with mounts for the appropriate version of the M203, which is the only one I’d be interested in. I don’t want a rifle that I have to spend two hours just taking apart so I can clean it after carrying it all day, then spend two more hours putting it back together again before I can use it again.

    It handles nowhere near as nice as my Stryr Aug and LRWC or Rock River Arms ARs have better finishes, much better accuracy out of the box and have some standardization of components with the other 30 million or so ARs floating around in the world. Let’s face it, when the SHITF, you’re going to carrying one of, mainly, two platforms–AR or AK. (After that, look for me in a Paradin M109 155mm self-propelled artillery piece.) The IDF is like a single grain of sand on a beach, I don’t want to be the guy holding the Tavor (nice weapon though it is) when the music stops and all the seats left are for AKs or ARs. About the only standardization in the weapon is that it uses M4 magazines and is chambered in cal. 5.56x14mm.

    I noticed the problems with the trigger on the weapon I fired. It didn’t bother me, because I realized there was little chance I would ever try to use it in combat and it has worse, more fundamental problems. The IDF owns more M4s than Tavors, so if you are a member of the IDF. it’s more likely you are going to hit the sand with a M4 than a Tavor. I am an old man. My Stryr is a toy, nice but no tactical advantage. When the SHITF I will go with what I know and what has been proven. Read Sun Tzu, your fancy Tavor isn’t going to win the war for you, you’re going to wing the war for you.

  • Greg December 30, 2014, 6:56 am

    One major problem, you can’t use this trigger pack with a suppressor. Surprise! The “G” trigger maker is still deciding if their trigger will be suppressor functioning.

    Really stinks.

  • alex August 12, 2014, 6:46 pm

    What ammo was used for testing? I didn’t see it in the article, but maybe I missed it.

    Thank you,
    Alex.

    • Administrator August 13, 2014, 8:16 am

      The box is in the picture. Gorilla

    • Administrator August 13, 2014, 8:24 am

      The box is in the picture. Gorilla ammo

      • alex August 13, 2014, 1:46 pm

        Thanks. What was the bullet weight, and is it 223 or 556 pressured ammo. I can’t tell from the picture.

  • Craig August 11, 2014, 2:29 pm

    Problem with the Timney Tavor trigger…you can’t use it with a suppressor. Timney admits this. Geissele is still determining if theirs is suppressor friendly. How disappointing.

    • Mac February 5, 2015, 5:17 pm

      I’m curious how a suppressor would effect the trigger?

  • EP August 11, 2014, 10:32 am

    “Bench rested long range shooting didn’t show much improvement. As with all of our reviews, we try to stay in the real world and test guns the way people use them. Therefore we tested for accuracy using an EOtech holographic sight and the EOTech G33 3x magnifier . . . . . .The crisp and light Timney trigger did little to improve the better than AK but worse than most ARs fair to midlin accuracy of the Tavor SAR. It generally shoots rested into about 2-3″ at 100 yards. Many would argue that a real scope with magnification would improve this some, but this is primarily a close quarters battle rifle hello.”

    I still have to wonder if you could have done a bit better on grouping with a 10x scope. The 3x is nice reality check and I appreciate the thoughtfulness, but if really trying to see how well that rifle can do from an accuracy standpoint why not go all out so the readers can have a true flavor of the gun’s ability, whether or not they never put a 10x on it or not?

  • Augest west August 11, 2014, 10:29 am

    Any one who feels the need to change the trigger on this rifle is wasting their time and money. First off this weapon was designed with this trigger pull at 11-12 pounds for a reason and after firing about 1,000 rounds through it you should find the trigger pull to be relaxed at about 8 pounds. Some people have gone as far as removing one of the springs, This leads to a trigger that will not return to battery. The IDF has found no trouble using this weapon as is out of box, Why would you feel the need to change it? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6d6nIPVnI4

    • John December 30, 2014, 8:45 am

      Everyone has their opinion and preference; kindly allow us ours. Personally though, I prefer the 2-stage Geissele….very similar to the trigger on my old ARMY ISSUED M16 that I used when I served. Did you catch the part about “ISSUED”? Hmmmm….

  • craig August 11, 2014, 7:59 am

    Less expensive trigger solution is to remove a spring from the stock Tavor trigger group. Cuts pull weight to about half original pull. No loss in function or reliability (unless caught in a desert sand storm perhaps). Best of all: Cost is $0 ! Vs. $352 !! Check out YouTube video under Tavor trigger job.

  • Ron Freese August 11, 2014, 7:46 am

    I have a Tavor and I ordered the Timney sear pack back in June. At that time there was an issue with light primer strikes on the Timney. Was the sear pack you install ordered after June? I was told by Timney that delivery was held up until the problem was resolved. Shipment was suppose to start in two weeks, but I have not received mine as of this date Aug. 11th.

    • Administrator August 11, 2014, 8:00 am

      This is the new one.

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