The TAR-21 (or simply Tavor) is an Israeli bullpup assault rifle chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition with a selective fire system, selecting between
semi-automatic mode, burst mode, and full automatic fire mode. It is named after Mount Tavor, while "TAR-21" stands for "Tavor Assault Rifle - 21st Century". It is the standard issued weapon of the Givati Brigade (since August 2006) and Golani Brigade (since August 2008). The MTAR-21 (Micro Tavor) was recently selected as the future assault rifle of the Israeli Defense Forces, and within the next few years it will become the standard Israeli infantry weapon. The Nahal Brigade began receiving it in March 2011. The TAR-21 uses a bullpup design, as seen with the French FAMAS, the British SA80, Austrian Steyr AUG, and the Chinese Norinco QBZ-95. Bullpup rifles are configured in a layout in which the bolt carrier group is placed behind the pistol grip; this shortens the overall length but does not sacrifice barrel length. The TAR-21 provides carbine length, but rifle muzzle velocity. The bullpup design is also used to minimize the silhouette of soldiers and to maximize effectiveness in turning corners in urban warfare.
The TAR-21 has ejection ports on both sides of the rifle so it can easily be reconfigured for right or left-handed shooters. However, this process requires partial disassembly, so it can not be quickly reconfigured while the rifle is in use.
The TAR-21 design was created by Zalmen Shebs, with the express purpose of creating a weapon more suited to urban combat than the M16/M4 carbine. It is based on advanced ergonomics and composite materials in order to produce a more comfortable and reliable rifle. The TAR-21 is waterproof and lightweight. The weapon has a built in laser and MARS red dot sight; one of the main advantages of having a built in system is that the weapon does not have to be zeroed after each use, but the TAR-21 can also be mounted with an array of different scopes such as EOTech holographic weapon sights, night vision systems and other electronic devices.
The TAR-21 accepts standard STANAG magazines. It can also be mounted with the M203 grenade launcher. Its ambidextrous fire mode selector above the pistol grip has a semi-automatic mode, burst mode, and a fully automatic mod. The Micro Tavor (MTAR-21), also designated X-95 and sometimes called Tavor-2, is a stand-alone extremely compact weapon specifically designed for special forces units, as well as military personnel who are normally not issued long assault rifles.
With the use of a relatively simple conversion kit, the MTAR-21 can be converted from a 5.56 mm assault rifle to a 9 mm submachine gun loaded with 20, 25, and 32-round magazines. A suppressor can also be added to the weapon, it is part of the 9 mm conversion kit. An integrated grenade launcher is currently being developed for the Micro Tavor. In November 2009, the Micro Tavor was selected as the future standard infantry weapon of the IDF.