Elite Force Professional Tavor TAR21 AEG Review by Booligan
Table of Contents:
Basic Gun Information
I've got a bit of history with the Tavor line of AEGs, as I previously reviewed the "Explorer" series. With that gun, I praised its unique design and affordable price, however, I was disappointed with the body construction which was easily flexed in some parts as well as the polymer gearbox. This is the new, higher end version with a higher price to match, so let's look into this AEG platform and see if it's worth the extra bucks to pick it up!
I was sent the Elite Force TAR21 from Airsoft Megastore who has it available HERE currently priced at $299.99. It qualifies for AMS's free shipping promotion and their in house 45 day warranty, as well as Elite Force's warranty against manufacturer defects. It arrived a few days after shipping out via UPS Ground and got here safe and sound, thanks to AMS's great packaging.
Basic Gun Information:
The Elite Force TAR21 is a polymer bodied bullpup AEG with a metal custom gearbox. Given the bullpup design, it's a bit rear heavy, but not as much as the earlier Explorer version, probably thanks to the extended metal outer barrel. It appears to be made by S&T, like the old model, but overall, the thing seems just higher quality overall. It's available in black or tan at the same price point. The bullpup layout makes the gun well suited for CQB use, however, the performance and extended outer and inner barrels make it an absolutely viable platform for outdoor use as well. The thing really is the best of both worlds.
Umarex and Elite Force put together a nice package with plenty of licensed IWI markings on the box letting you know what this thing is. The inner surface of the box keeps everything nicely centered during shipping and prevents damage while shipping. Let's see if they put as much effort and care into the gun itself as they did the packaging...
Along with the gun itself, Umarex and Elite Force included a single hi-cap magazine, manual, and not much else. No battery or charger is included, so you'll need to purchase your own before you can use the gun.
Weight: 6.5 lbs
Sight Radius: 11
Length of Pull: 16.75
The Tavor is constructed almost entirely out of a high strength textured polymer but it does seem to be quite sturdy and has absolutely zero flex or creaking. Seriously, you can really put some pressure on this thing and it has zero give. The model I received is the black model, and the gun does have a nice matte finish to it, with the textured finish adding to the realistic look of the thing.
Click on the individual thumbnails to see the full size photos
Overview, left side
Overview, right side
Normally, I'd start with the stock with my external section, but since there really isn't a stock, we'll have to start with the butt pad. The butt pad is a flat shape with few grooves to help keep it from slipping off of your shoulder. The butt pad pivots down to allow for access to the gearbox and quick change spring system.
Butt pivoted down
The receiver and body of the gun are all pretty much one integrated unit, but like any bullpup gun, the rear houses the gearbox, magwell, and many of the controls. At the bottom of the frame, you'll find a large button which acts as both the bolt catch and the spring release. Above the bolt catch, you'll find the faux bolt which does reciprocate with each shot due to the EBB system. The bolt can be locked back by pulling back the charging handle, and pressing the bolt catch will release it.
Receiver, left side
Receiver, right side
Bolt locked back
The pistol grip is large and textured and has a massive guard in front of the whole thing instead of a small trigger guard. It reminds me of my old laser tag gun, and that just makes me happy. The selector switch is located on the left side and has an indicator on the right side to show what firing mode it's on. The magazine catch is located behind the grip and is a simple lever that can be accessed by right and left handed users.
Pistol grip and selector switch
Pistol grip and selection indicator
Magazine and magazine catch
The handguard is wide and comfortable and can be removed with the push of a button in order to access the battery compartment. Above the pistol grip you'll find a charging handle on the left side and a rail on the right side. As mentioned before, the charging handle pulls back the faux bolt and will lock it back until you press the release button.
Handguard and rail
Handguard, release button and charging handle visible
The outer barrel is quite long and extends about 4" from the handguard. It is terminated in a 14mm+ threaded muzzle and an orange plastic flashhider. There is no free play or wobbles to be found in the barrel setup, the thing is extremely rigid.
Outer barrel, optional metal flashhider installed
The iron sights are rudimentary at best, with the rear being a simple flip up hole and the front being an adjustable post. There is an optics rail and it'll fit pretty much any modern optic with ease.
Rear sight flipped up
20mm optic rail
One of the perks of the Umarex/Elite Force licensing arrangements is that the gun has properly and tastefully applied IWI trademarks. The left side of the gun has IWI, model, and caliber markings as well as an engraved serial number. The visible bolt on the right side of the gun has the normal Umarex safety markings as well as a small 6mm caliber marking.
IWI receiver markings
Faux bolt markings
The included magazine is a standard M4 unit made of metal and holding 300 rounds. Nothing too groundbreaking here, pour the rounds in the top, wind it at the bottom. Unlike many other bullpup STANAG mag equipped guns, this thing seems to be pretty much compatible with any normal or aftermarket mag from my collection. Magpul PMAGs, PTS EPM, hicaps, low caps, magazine conversion kits, this thing fit and fed everything I threw at it.
Performance after a 500 round break-in, using ASG .20g ammo is as follows:
High FPS: 429.8 FPS
Low FPS: 421.4 FPS
Average FPS: 425.0 FPS
Rate of fire will vary depending on the battery used, however, using my standard test workhorse, the Tenergy 11.1v 20C 1000 mAh LiPo pack, the rate of fire came in at 17 RPS with the blowback enabled, and 18 RPS with the bolt locked back. The gun sounds very smooth when firing and the trigger response is great due to the microswitch trigger system.
Range and accuracy was impressively good! That's one of the benefits of the bullpup layout is that you have a lot of barrel in a relatively small package, and this gun is no exception. With an M16 length barrel in a package shorter than most M4s, the Tavor is a lot of gun. Given its moderately high velocity, I fed it some ASG .28g BBs and set my torso sized target out to 150', which I hit with ease. I kept adding 10' to my range, ultimately settling in at just shy of 180' torso accurate fire, after a fair bit of hop-up tweaking. I'd comfortably engage targets out to 175' and be pretty confident of a semi or quick burst fire hit on a torso sized target. Now, I will note, this is after putting some proper optics on it, as the iron sights are all but useless.
Accessing the internals of the Tavor is fairly straightforward if you follow the proper guide to do so. I personally use this one, as it's the most straightforward: http://www.airsoftforum.com/board/topic/211806-ares-tavor-disassembly/
Once the gun is opened up, you'll find the custom metal gearbox fitted with a combination of 8mm ball bearings and bushings. Inside the gearbox, you'll find steel gears, a polymer piston with steel teeth, a non-ported cylinder, polymer cylinder head, and non-o-ring air nozzle. The motor is a short type, and the gun has a microswitch trigger system. You'll also find a small shuttle that lets the blowback system work. If you don't want blowback, just take this little piece out.
Gearbox, right side
Gearbox, left side
Ball bearing and bushings
Lots of doohickeys on this thing...
All opened up
Gears and wiring
Microswitch trigger, note, there should be a trigger linkage here which was still installed in the other half of the shell
Blowback shuttle, take this out if you don't want blowback
Piston with steel teeth
Ported piston head
The hop-up unit uses an M4 style adjuster, but it is a custom designed one piece polymer unit. The gun is fitted with a 509mm inner barrel, the same length as most M16 AEGs.
There's not a lot of aftermarket support for the Tavor, however, there are a few companies that have things like rails and handguards available if you wish to add a little extra rail estate to your gun. The muzzle is threaded 14mm+, so your muzzle device options are a little limited compared to some other guns. Otherwise, you have a quick change spring guide so you can adjust your velocity to fit your desired performance goals. The layout of the gun makes it great for either CQB or field use, so really, the sky is the limit as far as what you can do with this gun.
High strength polymer construction
Full metal gearbox
Quick change spring system
Very long barrel setup in a compact overall package
STANAG mag compatibility
Skirmishable performance out of the box
Fair amount of battery space
Upper receiver still has 1-2mm of back and forth free play
14mm+ threaded muzzle limits muzzle options
Back up iron sights are very rudimentary
Long length of pull might be a bit of a stretch for smaller players
Somewhat difficult disassembly
I really liked the last Tavor that I reviewed, however, after living with it for a bit, I found the construction and materials used were a little lacking. I'm happy to report that this new version has much better materials used and seems to feel much more solid. The performance is absolutely skirmishable in stock form and can be easily modified to fit your own performance goals. Hopefully Umarex and Elite Force will continue developing this model into some of the more modern versions such as the MTAR, or one of the railed flattop versions without the iron sights. We can only hope!
Many thanks again to Airsoft Megastore, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!