A Bullpup Design With A Bulldog Bite!
Words: Tom Harris
Photos: Tom Harris & Walter Sidas
With a desire to go beyond the played-out M4 platform, Elite Force took their product line in a different direction when they developed the Elite Series Israeli Weapon Industries (IWI) Tavor Assault Rifle (TAR-21) with original equipment manufacturer, S&T. What they got was a fantastic addition to their catalog that offers airsoft players an alternative to the M4.
The firearm version of the TAR-21 is currently in use by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). TAR-21 stands for Tavor Assault Rifle – 21st century. The M-TAR-21, which is a micro version, is an unlockable weapon in the video game, Battlefield 4. All true stories.
THROUGH THE SCOPE
WHO MAKES IT: Elite Force, by S&T
TYPE: Bullpup assault rifle
WHO IT’S FOR: Dudes and chicks who like bullpup airsoft rifles
HOW MUCH: $299
FPS: 360 – 380 FPS
PROS & CONS
+ Compact body, yet still allows for a carbine length barrel for better range and accuracy
+ Great for CQB and open field play
+ Really solid, highly durable body materials used
+ Uses standard M4 magazines
+ Picatinny rail space for an optic and a flashlight or PEQ-15 lazer
+ Crisp blowback for simulated recoil
+ Quick-change spring for easy power upgrade/downgrade
+ Plenty of battery space for to house most battery pack sizes and types
+ 1-year Umarex warranty
+ Not an M4
– Not as much “rail estate” as the firearm version
– Mag changes are trickier due to the bullpup design
– Not an M4
– Not used by “Sealz”
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the TAR-21 is, in fact, the body and how well-made it appears. It can certainly take a beating. I actually dropped my rifle during a game and with the exception of a few minor dings, this thing just kept hard-charging with me.
RAIL INTEGRATED SYSTEM (RIS): There is a small section of rail space available on top of the rifle for mounting an optic, and a 45-degree offset section of rail on the right side of the rifle for mounting a flashlight or laser aiming device.
STOCK: Fixed, built-in to the rifle.
BODY: Solid, and I mean, SOLID, nylon fiber. May as well be full metal. This thing is a beast!
GRIP: Weird pistol grip.
MAGAZINE: Uses standard M4 magazines.
SLING ATTACHMENTS: QD sling attachment points have been added to the stock for use with a one-point sling. If you prefer two-point slings, just make an attachment point on the front end using a small bit of paracord. Problem solved.
SIGHTS: Built-in, flip-up front and rear sights.
MOTOR: Standard torque motor
GEARS: Version 2, steel
PISTON: Pistol is made of polycarbonate material with reinforced metal teeth.
SPRING: 110 spring
SPRING GUIDE: Bearing spring guide rod
INNER BARREL: 509mm length, 6.08mm standard bore diameter
The TAR-21 is an Israeli “bullpup” assault rifle whose design is such that the magwell, which houses the magazine, sits behind the pistol grip. On a real bullpup firearm, you would also find the bolt carrier group behind the pistol grip as well, but in the airsoft version, you will find the hop-up adjustment dial in place of that bolt carrier group. Perhaps the most impressive feature of the TAR-21 is, in fact, the body and how well-made it appears. It can certainly take a beating. I actually dropped my rifle during a game and with the exception of a few minor dings, this thing just kept hard-charging with me.
Elite Force also made sure that the IWI TAR-21 had an ambidextrous control or two to mimic the firearm version. The primary feature being ambi is the mag-release button as well as the functional bolt-release button. The fire selector and charging handle, however, are both set up for right-handed shooters.
The gearbox is basically a modified Version 2 gearbox and will pretty much accept all the same standard Version 2 replacement and upgrade parts that we all know and love.
TRIGGER & ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
Nothing too exciting here. The wiring does appear to be of fairly good quality, comparable to some of the better stuff you can get at McMaster-Carr.com. If you’re a tech and you don’t know what that website is, then I just dropped some major knowledge on you. You’re welcome.
HOP-UP & INNER BARREL
The hop-up assembly is very similar to a standard M4 hop-up assembly, for better or worse. The inner barrel is probably another highlight because even though the rifle only increases the shooter’s silhouette signature by the equivalent of a stubby M4, the bullpup design still allows for a 509mm length inner barrel. So you’ve definitely got some long-range advantages in a very compact rifle.
Another highlight is that even though the design of the TAR-21 is rather unique, it still uses standard M4 AEG magazines. High caps. Mid caps. Low caps. P-Mags. E-Mags. C-Mags. Get wild.
Despite my aesthetic prejudices against the TAR-21 on account of it looking too weird for my tastes, I can’t deny the performance benefits of having such a compact frame, yet maintaining superb accuracy. Throw in the nice electric blowback for the fun factor and I’ll humbly admit that I had a good time playing with this rifle. It’s pretty comfortable to shoulder, though I’d prefer a little more weight balance than what the TAR-21 currently offers. Most of the weight sits at the back of the gun which feels kind of weird. Mag changes were something else that I had to get used to.
The gun rated fairly well on the chronograph. Right where I’d want it to be. Consistency in FPS on a shot-to-shot basis was “Good, not great.” That’s a quote from Dwight K. Schrute, btw. Pretty standard compared to a lot of the guns I test. My own personal benchmark for a “Great” rating on consistency is anything with a velocity spread of less than 10 FPS, or 5 FPS up or down. In case you were wondering. When we’re talking about guns assembled on a line in a factory overseas, the TAR-21’s results are just fine. However, if you send your gun to a custom tech to improve performance and get the same results, I’d say you need a new tech.
Here are the details from my chrono test, using Elite Force .20g BBs.
366, 375, 372, 382, 376, 375, 368, 373, 371, 369
Like I said, those results are just fine. I don’t think I’m being too lax on the standards, either. Adding some Teflon tape to seal the bucking is a relatively simple procedure that will take those results from “good” to “great.”
If you’re into bullpup rifles like the TAR-21, then this is going to be a great option for you. If you’re NOT into bullpup rifles, then I’m really not sure why you’re even reading this article.
Go read Airsoftology Jonathan’s article on “How to be Handsome and Not Have to Work For a Living, Thereby Escaping the Traditional Sense of Reality.” Pretty sure that’s the name of the article. Anyway, Elite Force offers this rifle in Black or what they call, “Dark Earth Brown,” (It’s darkish tan, Coyote or Flat Dark Earth). They also offer the short-barreled version of the TAR-21 in their competition series rifles, which basically means the rifles may not have as many features as the Elite Series Tavor rifle, but it’s more affordable AND they still offer a 60-day warranty on it. Personally, I would have preferred that they went with a short barrel on the Elite Series instead of the longer barrel, because I think the Tavor looks pretty cool with a suppressor sitting flush with the front end of the rifle’s handguard. Alas, no one consulted with me ahead of time on this. Since I really didn’t find anything wrong with the TAR-21 and paired with the fact that I was very impressed with the build quality, I’m going to have to go with a 4.5 star rating even though it’s really on par with other 5-star guns I’ve tested. I’m docking a half of a star because I don’t like the bullpup design, but that’s not really a reflection upon Elite Force or the quality of the rifle. Just being honest.
Elite Force, eliteforceguns.com