IWI US TAVOR® SAR with  A*B Arms T*Grip (courtesy abarms.com)

 

The IWI US TAVOR® SAR is a kick-ass bullpup rifle manufactured by IWI of Israel. It is also a phenomenally ugly gun. Add bits and pieces to the weapon – red dot sight, light, laser, A*B Arms T*Gripetc. – and the TAVOR could well be the first Medusa firearm: a gun so ugly you don’t need to shoot it to incapacitate your attacker. Similar though less credible charges have been leveled against GLOCK brand GLOCKs. At the risk of pre-empting the Armed Intelligentsia’s righteous indignation, defenders of these and other butt-ugly guns will tell you that function is more important than form. Character counts. As a man who divorced two beautiful women, I’m inclined to agree. You?

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111 Responses to Question of the Day: Can You Love an Ugly Gun?

  1. Most everything to me except the Hi-Point looks nice. I guess I am a utilitarian at heart and design trumps beauty. I find the AK-47 to be a handsome gun, for example.

    • I even like the look of Hi-Point carbines. I’m not a fan of the look of the ring of fire jiminez-bryco-jennings- pistols though.

    • I’m with you on this point, for guns as well as cars. For cars, anything designed to make a vehicle function better will inherently make it look more awesome, so I don’t waste money on nor do I generally appreciate alterations that are purely cosmetic, unless they’re alterations to something that is itself purely cosmetic.

      So yeah, The Tavor and Glock may not be purdy, but they work. Can’t argue with that.

    • criteria for the beauty of a firearm:
      1. does it fire when the trigger is pulled?
      2. does it hit where i aim?
      3.does it come with 500 round magazines?
      this is a beautiful weapon

  2. Sure, but the TAVOR has a godawful trigger that keeps me from even liking it.

    Quite honestly, if you’re going to make the gun/woman comparison, it’s not just ugly as sin, I’d consider it as lacking the requisite openings.

      • A friend of mine put a Timney in his Tavor. It took the gun from unusable (literally…the first time I tried to fire it, I pulled on the trigger, but it didn’t move, so I kept fiddling with the safety, thinking it was stuck on safe) to crappy.
        Meanwhile the Geisseles in my ARs go bang with just the right amount of pressure.

      • Except for the fact that I’ve shot the TAVOR extensively and concluded, all by myself, that the trigger does, in fact, suck.

  3. I must be able to because I don’t think the Tavor is ugly. Now hi-point on the other hand and that Walther that looks like a hi-point…

    • Yeah I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or something, but I think the Tavor looks great. Otherwise, I pretty much agree across the board with what most people think is a good looking vs. ugly gun… but I cannot understand why anybody thinks the Tavor is ugly. It’s sleek, utilitarian, and futuristic all at the same time without being ostentatious in any way, IMHO. I do hate the look of the vertical forward grip in the photo at top, but that’s aftermarket. You could make any gun look ugly by slapping a bunch of crap to it — especially crap that doesn’t “match” in design style to the firearm.

      Whatevs

      • I don’t know what generation you have to be to love the Tavor but, I’m 42 and I want to add one to my safe so bad I can’t stand it. Beautiful gun. Feels great in your hands too. I haven’t got to shoot one yet but, irregardless, the moment the wife cuts the funds loose – it’s mine.

  4. As a woman who 1) divorced a good looking guy and 2) owns a GLOCK brand GLOCK, I agree that character counts more than looks. Also that gun is so fugly it’s actually kinda awesome.

    • Oh it IS awesome. I love it far more than any AR I’ve shot, including Sig Sauer’s line and the Bushmaster ACR. I’m downright cruel to my Tavor but it has stayed faithful and true. I think the gun is beautiful, but that may be because I’m a youngster and polymer framed guns push all the right buttons for me. For example, the PS90 and FS2000 built by FNH are like little slices of heaven with extra whipped cream.

  5. I still have a certain appreciation for Harrington & Richardson revolvers, but that has more to do with family history than esthetics or function. An old top-break H&R .22 was what my dad had when I was little, so I thought it was the bee’s knees – until my uncle Ralph let me shoot his S&W model 10.

    • That is not the video I linked and it wont let me EDIT, WTF?!

      It was supposed to be “Beauty’s only skin deep” – The Temptations

  6. I’m not sure how you consider a Tavor ugly. It’s like the FS2000 put on a diet but without the Steyr’s anorexia. There is a nice blend of form and function in the overall design where they didn’t put too much thought into aesthetics but didn’t forget them altogether.

    However, looks aren’t everything. Among my many complaints about Glocks, looks aren’t one of them. I appreciate that Glock as a purely functional firearm.

    Now if you want an absolute Chimera of a firearm, look no further than the original Ruger semiautomatic handguns. The P85 and P89 were overengineered “throw everything at the wall and see what sticks”. They ape some of the stylings of classic Browning designs, but are thick, have unergonomic grips, heavy, and generally look like what would happen if Hi-Point decided to give up straight blowback. Ruger has since refined the design, but their early attempt was a handgun released in the 90’s using a late 80’s sensibility. That said, I love my P89. But it next to the sleek Beretta 92 series and it suddenly looks like a Yugo next to a Ferrari.

    • “I’m not sure how you consider a Tavor ugly. It’s like the FS2000 put on a diet but without the Steyr’s anorexia. ”

      You win, sir. That’s the most concise yet very accurate description of the looks of modern bullpups that I’ve ever seen.

  7. Form is nice, but function is ALWAYS the prime factor. If you can’t trust it to run, or if the ergos suck for your hands, pretty don’t mean diddly.

  8. Forget the trigger, the worst thing about the tavor is the ambidextrous ejection port that leaks gas on your face…

  9. I’d say with most firearms function follows form. Neither the AK or SKS are attractive but: they function well and work as advertised. The AR, FN and HK combat rifles will neither win a beauty contest but all are designed with purpose and all perform well and I like all of the above. Ever shot a Dardick or a Gyrojet? The Dardick is possibly the ugliest pistol ever made the Gyrojet just weird both are awkward and feel strange when firing (no like). The 1911 I find beautiful while the Para DA misses the mark and I don’t know just why? The P38 is downright ugly but fun to shoot. The English seem designed the most graceful shotguns ever made, their revolvers and semi-auto pistols though rank as unattractive and difficult to shoot. I also find the Enfield ugly but one of the best shooting combat rifles of all time.

  10. I rarely find a gun to be ugly, besides, if it goes bang when I want it to why should I complain?

    • Thats a great line, I may have to use it sometime for a buddy of mine who likes to put tons of shit on his car.

    • Yeah, I have to disagree. I really like the looks of the FN P-90 and PS-90. Actually, I like the PS-90 a bit better than the P-90, but I digress. I like the Tavor on function (mostly, in general), but it is one fugly little beastie, for sure.

  11. I actually think the Tavor and Glock are nice looking. Glocks are simple, plain, and have a utilitarian look about them. There is something nice about simplicity.

    And Tavors? What makes them so ugly? You think budget AR’s are pretty?

  12. Not only is the Tavor ugly, it is a fail in function.
    There is just something inherently wrong with having the firing chamber right alongside your face.

    • Hasnt been an issue to the Israeli’s and they’ve been using the design for years. Not to mention the Austrians.. The Australians.. Singapore…

      So.

      • But it only has to happen just once, right?

        I had an M60’s chamber explode on one occasion and it made for some very interesting scars on my right hand and a LOT of stitches. You cannot say with any certainty that it will never happen because that’s just being in denial.

        Any firearm can and will at some point have a catastrophic failure. Having that happen right along your head when it does is more risk than I want to take hence my comment that it fails “function” in my eye.
        If you feel different great. I was just expressing my opinion based on my own experiences.

        • What is the difference between an explosion 10 cm from your face and next to your face? Not much, it still is an explosion right next to your head.

          You are gonna have a bad time either way, besides most guns are designed to fail in a way that won’t kill you. For instance the 1911 slide can’t shoot back in your face in a catastrophic failure, same applies to bullpups; they usually have a kevlar and/or steel plate over the chamber to protect you.

        • I would dare say that there is a bit of a difference between having 7.62×51 explode in a chamber, versus 5.56.

  13. I have no experience divorcing pretty women, but had and used a TAVOR just long enough to realize it is an awesome weapon. So easy to shoulder quickly and get rounds on target. Reloads are easily as fast as a M4, once you learn the proper way to do it. The *only* thing about the TAVOR I did not like was locking bolt back. I think the M4 has it beat in the “easy” category here.

    But….the TAVOR is one of the easily shooting 5.56 rifles out there. The ergonomics are great. The recoil impulse is very flat and allows you easily to keep rounds on target with quick shots.

    I am sure the trigger upgrades coming on line will only make it better.

    It is also EXTREMELY easy to field strip. I’m not aware of any 5.56 platform that makes dropping the entire trigger group so incredibly easy.

    I could go on, but I’d only be sad because I sold mine, only because I wanted to stick with the M4 which remains the “lego sets for big boys” and the myriad number of parts and part replacements for it.

  14. If it works for me, I don’t care about aesthetic. If it is accurate, reliable, easy to maintain and operate, then it’s a beautiful firearm.

  15. I find beauty in all things that go bang.
    The simplicity of the glock. The complexities of the browning a-5.
    The cherished blue of a mid 70’s python.
    The power of a McMillan .50.
    The fine woodwork of a Sako mannlicher stock.
    The strict utilitarianism of the AK.
    Just like a woman in some respects. Complex, simple, beautiful….and sometimes ugly.
    But I love them.

  16. The Tavor is NOT an ugly gun! Opinions and slander! J/K lol. I think it’s a very “tacticool” rifle, and I’ve loved it’s looks since I saw it for the first time. Just not enough to spend 2400 damn dollars on it. I can see how some people wouldn’t find it very pleasing to the eye though.

  17. I don’t judge a person or a gun based on it’s looks but only on how they act.

    And when you do find that special one, it’s beautiful.

  18. Functionality has its own beauty and elegance.

    Consider, for instance, the theory behind the Kill-o-Zap.

    To quote Douglas Adams, “The designer of the gun had clearly not been instructed to beat about the bush. ‘Make it evil,’ he’d been told. ‘Make it totally clear that this gun has a right end and a wrong end. Make it totally clear to anyone standing at the wrong end that things are going badly for them. If that means sticking all sort of spikes and prongs and blackened bits all over it then so be it. This is not a gun for hanging over the fireplace or sticking in the umbrella stand, it is a gun for going out and making people miserable with.'”

    Reminds me of the Tavor.

    And now I want a ray-gun. And a jetpack.

  19. From the Rules of Combat: “If it’s stupid but it works, it isn’t stupid.” Same for ugly.

    A few more of my favorites:

    When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is not your friend.
    If you can’t remember, the Claymore is pointed towards you.
    It’s not the one with your name on it; it’s the one addressed “to whom it may concern” you’ve got to think about.

  20. The TAVOR isn’t that bad-looking. The FAMAS on the other hand is one ugly gun. GLOCK brand GLOCKs are alright, but other clones are better looking.
    In my opinion the higher quality 1911s are gorgeous but I think that Yellow Boy rifles are just sublime.
    In direct answer to the question, yes, you can if it has enough redeeming qualities.

  21. Hell, I’ve been loving me an ugly gun since before all these plastic and alloy wonders were evil dreams. My Remington Model 8 in 35 caliber, with the shotgun butt no less, will turn 100 next summer. The old girl is more brown than blue and the spring tube has a few dents, but Johnny B.s autoloader is still my favorite.

  22. I’m an old guy, and I grew up with guns that were blued steel and walnut. That said, I LOVE my Tavor. I don’t even mind the stock trigger. I got accustomed to it, and it works just fine.

  23. Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder. I find the Tavor very ergonomically pleasing to the eyes. I have always thought bullpups were really ugly until this babe came around. To each his own I suppose.

  24. Ugly guns are often like ‘ugly women’, they perform better when doing the ‘nasty stuff’.

    /ducks thrown shoes from the offended people 😉

    My ugliest guns are my most reliable. Of course, I don’t have any safe queens either. At least I didn’t have, prior to that horrible canoeing accident in which they all, lamentably, sunk into the bowls of the snake river canyon. 🙁

    I’d even buy a hipoint carbine…if it could use a Glock/Sig/Beretta magazine. Not those silly low-cap things.

  25. Ugly or beautiful, people should not love inanimate objects. Besides, it’s illegal in several states.

  26. I own a half dozen Glock brand Glocks. I wouldn’t mind a Mosin, but don’t have room. My Savage 110 BA is also pretty ugly. Beauty is just a light switch away.

  27. It is going to be a long time before bull pups don’t look odd/ugly/wrong to most people. This rifle was designed for the specific purpose of being shorter than the M-16 or even M-4 which itself was shortened from the M-16 for the purpose of being easier to enter buildings, mount and dismount vehicles and so on in the confines of the urban battlefield of today. If you were to ask the Israelis who use the Tavor, I suspect they would tell you it is not ugly.

  28. I miss guns with real wood (preferably a fine grade of walnut). There are some to be had, but usually at a substantially higher price. Also grips made from goncola alves are a thing of beauty.

  29. While the Tavor may look like the bastard pup of a pitbull that found itself tossed through a blunted blender set to puree, it does its job very well, and does so while differentiating itself from everything else. Hell, it practically looks like a space-age blaster.

    The Glock has a certain utilitarian appeal to it, while the Beretta 92 looks smashing with its unique, open-top design. The AK looks as though it was designed by someone with the intent of creating the simplest automatic rifle as possible, while the AR shows Stoner’s limitless capacity for innovation.

    If there are people who state that even ugly girls need love, then the same applies to ugly guns, as well.

    And you don’t need a paper bag for the gun!

  30. It is not ugly at all!!! It´s 1. class gun and i would change it for every other tactical rifle… I don´t like yews but i love tavor…

  31. I don’t know that I would say my HignPoint 9mm is ugly, just kind plain jane looks. My Ruger P95 9mm is a handsome devil but so long if both go bang when I pull the trigger, I’m good with either. HighPoint is a little easier carried concealed due double action only. Ruger is d/s and good night table, car travel locked & loaded in driver side bin. Form has to follow function in prority of any gun. Pistol or revolver.

  32. Reading the title, I looked up, saw my Tavor and thought, “that’s ugly, but I love it.” I opened the article, and there was a picture of 2 Tavor’s. I thought I should share the coincidence.

  33. In my collection (that was lost in a canoe accident), I can claim only one piece as “pretty”… A Browning BL-22. The rest are decidedly ugly and incredibly functional. My FS2000, affectionately known as the “tuna,” is uuuuuuuugly but cooooooooool.

  34. I never handled a Tavor. and though I’m not a fan of bull pup weapons, I’d gladly grab this one of something bacd was happening at o-dark:30. If beauty is only “skin deep”, then I have never seen an ugly gun. If I have to consider quality, function, ergonomics in addition to just the visual, then yeah, I have seen a couple of ugly guns.I recall an aquaintance having an RG revolver that had more pot metal in it than steel.

  35. I love the Tavor, a few mods to the trigger if it is too heavy for most people who shoot the m4, but overall length is short, incredible gun.

  36. Can you love an ugly fire extinguisher? An ugly ball peen hammer? An ugly soldering iron?

    It’s a tool. It’s not your handbag and matching Prada shoes.

  37. What makes a gun beautiful or ugly to a person is just but one more of the mysteries of life…same thing goes for cars, motorcycles, watches, bicycles, what have you for the guys, and then there’s shoes, clothes, dresses, diamonds, and what have you for the ladies. None of it’s supposed to make any sense 🙂

    I personally like the Tavor, and would love to get one in FDE with a 9mm conversion kit. I’m even slightly tempted to trade my minty Springfield Armory M1A ref. 9822 for it, but so far I’ve held off. I also like the Glock’s relatively clean, utilitarian lines and proportions. Just wish the trigger was lighter and had a shorter reset, like…a Sig.

    As much as I appreciate modern engineering like bullpups and modular firearms with lots of polymer, I also happen to like the clean, simple appearance of a good bolt action rifle (the Winchester Model 70 instantly comes to mind) just as much. Pity I can’t afford to buy two of everything 🙂

    Tom

  38. Ugly is relative. Everything was fine in my house until we put my wife’s new Sig P238 with the rainbow titanium finish in the gun safe. When that happened, I think my polymer guns developed a complex. My M&P won’t feed reloads anymore, my glocks saved the glockworx firearm refinishing website to my favorites while I wasn’t looking, and my 1911 knocked a nice set of grips off the rack (I guess that was a hint?) the last time I was in my local gun shop.

  39. I don’t care what it looks like as long as it works. Some of the ugliest guns throughout history have been the most successful/ effective. (AK-47, GLOCK, SA Colt .45, etc.)

      • AK’s have this awesome rugged good look to them but they don’t have the sleek 1911 or Sig good looks. I personally think SA only revolvers are ugly but I know a lot of people disagree. As for the “perfection bricks” well they work so people will still buy them.

  40. Am I the only one that really wants a KelTec M43? So ugly but I like the look. I’d feel as if I was scoring some pre 1989 hardware or something. Of course there’s no word yet if they’ll really exist, or function.

  41. My Tavor is a beautiful child and I love her dearly. Thought it was beautiful the first time I ever saw one, fell in love when I shot it.

    Purchased one last August and did the quick trigger mod, my weapon of choice since.

    It will be with me till I die or they put me in a home.

  42. The Steyr Aug is the most beautiful bull pup ever made, and why I own one. With its futuristic looks and sweeping graceful lines it is the embodiment of grace and style. That is also why it has stared in so many movies.

    However, the Tavor has its own je ne sais quoi. It is like a pug or an English bull dog, functional and so ugly it has its own beauty. With a trigger job I would happily own one.

  43. Funny most people I know talking shit about the Tavor trigger …don’t even own one. And never even shot one…my Sar has a 4 lb. Trigger. SMH

  44. not really fair to compare when you add all sorts of ugly accessories like some stubby foregrip off of an internet catalog

  45. Well I took my new Tavor out to dance Friday and loved it. I ran 240 rounds through it and man I had a blast. Built in sites suck so much and need to put better sites on that thing. I loved shooting it so much the AR never got out of the case. Granted it could be new gun syndrome.

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