IWI Tavor TS12 Semi Auto Shotgun: First Impressions-The Star Wars Mandalorian would love it.
We test fire a brand new Israeli made IWI Tavor TS12 semi automatic shotgun today and it is nothing short of #awesomesauce! This shotgun has been around for a little while, but it's limited production make it scarce and expensive to purchase ($1299). Don't mistake it for the Keltec shotguns (even they both share a bullpup design). The IWI is Israeli made and designed like all their gear; for extreme use in combat conditions. The Keltec had some negative user reviews on feeding and ejection which don't carry over to the IWI. This is a wholly different weapon.
Before we get into the actual shooting characteristics and some quick pro's & cons; here's the specs and description of the Tavor TS12.
The Tavor TS12 12 gauge shotgun is a gas regulated bullpup shotgun with an interesting design that feeds from one of three (3) individual magazines. Each magazine can hold four 3 inch shotgun shells or five 2 ¾ inch shotgun shells. This means that the potential overall capacity from all three (3) individual magazines is 15 rounds plus one additional round in the chamber; so 16 for the math challenged. Yes, 16! You can obviously alternate loads either between magazines or within magazines giving you the option for slugs/shot.
The TS12 will automatically load a round in the chamber once the subsequent loaded magazine is rotated into position. It can be fed and unloaded from either side. It "clacks" into battery with a sound almost as satisfying as the foreboding pump sound that makes most gun owners drool and potential robbers wet themselves.
Additional features of the TS12 include four (4) sling attachment points [which you'll need as it's almost 9 pounds unshelled], M-LOK compatible rails, a continuous Picatinny rail on top, and Benelli/Beretta choke tube compatibility. Although the TS12 has an 18.5 inch barrel, the overall length is still only 28.34 inches.
While incredibly compact it meets the laws of most reasonable states and is NOT an SBS. Another point of interest is the magazines. They are rotating MAGAZINES, NOT rotating cylinders. Rotating cylinders spin each time the gun is fired and load a new shell, exactly like a revolver pistol. Because it's not rotating cyclinders, its not prohibited in states that block "rotating cylinders". You will need to verify your state and city regulations as it could be prohibited based on capacity (16 shells) or other characteristics (ie finger hole stock, semi automatic etc).
A couple other important specification notes. IWI very clearly instructs you to use 1200fps velocity shells with a minimum 11/8oz weight. This isn't unheard of. My Benelli M4 needed the same type of shot to break in the heavy spring otherwise it initially may have cycling issues (especially with sub 1200fps target shot). The TS12 shotgun is also configured for a right hand shooter and isn't prone to be shot from the weak side shoulder. Mainly because the ejected shells will hit you it the face. Configuring it for a left shooter is possible but "requires it be sent to IWI" [you may be able to gunsmith it yourself, but's it not an easy switch]. It also does NOT come with any sights, but it has a full length pic rail so slap on your favorite MagPul sights, Burris or Vortex optic and you're good to go.
Here's the teaser: We shot a couple hundred shells through the gun and cleaned it to get a feel for disassembly. We'll keep this review short and just give you some quick impressions as we're going to do a full video review and show you the Tavor in more detail.
First thing we both noticed...weight and balance. It's heavy at 8.5 pounds plus 16 shells loaded into it. But its also well balanced, like most bullpup designs. Most of the weight is in the center (even with the 3 magazines supported by your off hand). Due to it's short overall length and tight tuck into your shoulder; you feel the weight more when reloading than when shooting.
The Good; Damn it's fun to shoot! Blast through the first 6 rounds in rapid fire succession... Trigger finger to paddle button...rotate magazine.. blast out 5 more shells. Trigger finger to button...repeat. This thing eats ammo.
We blew the hanging target off the mount before we finished all 3 cylinders. No doubt it's a total force multiplier. It kicks a little [see clip below] due to the shorter length, but it's easy to maintain target acquisition. You can reload from either side and we think with practice you could probably become proficient at dual or quad loading it. As long as you can find a comfortable position to one-hand the weight while you grab those shells.
The Neutral: It had no problem with various types of shot ammo; all more than 1250fps (as instructed by IWI). We'll fire more shot and some slugs in the full video review. It cycled smoothly and cleanly. With shells loaded in the cylinder, it returns to battery automatically when you rotate the magazine making the transition very fast. It was simple to operate and functioned as designed/expected.
The Jury's out: It doesn't have a "noticeable" indication when you empty a magazine. It racks open and it's impatiently waiting for you to cycle the magazine so it can quickly return to action. Unless you're counting, you're most likely going to press the trigger on an empty chamber before you realize it's empty.
We aren't sure yet on how functional it would be under a stress or combat situation. Once you deplete the first 16 shells (heaven forbid), you'd find that you face some interesting choices on reloading, cylinder choice and speed. We'll need more time with it to evaluate it's true tactical usability.
Alright fine. We'll suffer some more outdoor speed shooting to help you decide ;-).
There is no doubt though; If you're in close quarters defending yourself from home invaders, an active shooter or zombies-the 16 shells will clear a path for you very quickly!
More to come...Thanks for reading.