At the time of this writing, I know of three companies working on replacement trigger packs for the IWI TAVOR SAR: Timney, Geissele, and ShootingSight. If you haven’t heard of ShootingSight don’t feel bad; they’re a small “mom & pop” type shop out of Cincinnati, which first started out making aftermarket aperture sights for competition rifle shooters and then branched out into high-quality trigger units and FCG parts replacements. Although Timney beat ShootingSight to market by a few months, its TAVOR trigger has been plagued with light primer strike problems that, unfortunately, I was able to confirm in my review. With a little trepidation due to the Timney TAVOR trigger experience, I dropped in ShootingSight’s kit and hit the range…
ShootingSight’s TAV-D is still in a pre-release phase before going to full production. When it does become generally available, though, it will be offered in the version you see here, which has a Delrin housing, and in a version with an aluminum housing. I liked the look of the aluminum-housed Timney (keeping in mind, of course, that these units are 100% not visible when installed in the gun), but on the TAVOR I can’t really say that I have a preference either way. The factory trigger assembly is in a plastic housing, and the ShootingSight Delrin job looks and feels as good or better. This one is machined from a block of Delrin rather than molded from whatever plastic IWI uses, and it’s clean and light weight. It does weigh less than an aluminum unit.
Inside that housing you’ll find machined components made from heat treated tool steel with an “ultra hard, low friction surface coating.” The sear surfaces are polished and honed. This is a self-contained, pre-assembled unit and you can literally drop out the factory one and pop in the new one in all of 10 seconds.
The TAV-D is a 2-stage trigger, and you’d be just fine calling it a match trigger. Some folks don’t think a battle rifle benefits from this design, but Art at ShootingSight reminded me that the M1 Garand and M14 had pretty darn good 2-stage triggers and it was one of the things that made them superior. I personally prefer a nice single stage but the TAVOR falls into a category of exception where any trigger is really a 2-stage — due to linkage slack that you can’t tune out (at least without modifying or replacing the trigger blade itself or adding some sort of pre-travel adjustment set screw in the bottom of the trigger pack) — and the end result might actually be better from a company that embraces this reality.
That said, SS managed to reduce the amount of slack by tightening up the U-notch in the ‘connector’ or ‘sear bar’ into which the end of the trigger linkage sits (in the first photo, we’re talking about the width of the “U” on the metal piece that sticks out of the top, middle of the housing). It’s narrower than the factory one and it’s narrower than the Timney one. Despite this, the trigger pack has dropped in flawlessly each of 5 or 6 times that I’ve had it into my TAVOR and back out. The end result is less slack/pretravel/takeup in the trigger than with either the factory or Timney units.
My Timney trigger pull gauge [apparently doesn’t hold a grudge and] showed the release weight of the SS unit to be very consistent, coming in each time at right around 4.75 lbs. In my opinion this is just about perfect for a firearm that may be used in a defensive role. 4.5 to 5 lbs is a great balance between light enough to target shoot for small group sizes and heavy enough so as to avoid accidents.
There’s a bit of slack in the system still, but take that up and you hit the first stage of the trigger pull. This requires about 3 lbs of pull and a tad under 1/5″ of travel. At this point you’re up against the sear, which represents the second stage. Just the smallest amount of creep I’m capable of detecting as you increase pressure to 4.75 lbs, then snap to a really nice break. Very little overtravel.
Letting the trigger back out rewards you with a solid reset that’s easy to feel and hear. It resets right on the point where the first stage becomes the second stage, so riding that reset closely effectively turns this into a single-stage trigger. You’re right up on the sear again and the thing becomes a dang on/off clicker — you know, those metal clicker things that snap a piece of sheet metal to one side then the other? That feels like the break and reset.
I should mention that I’ve been trying to show trigger pulls as clearly as possible in my videos, and this one is no exception. Check it out to see all of the above things done slowly and close-up.
While the first stage is great for getting ready to take a precision shot, it really isn’t noticeable if you’re pulling straight through the trigger pull. From zero to break, if you’re making that decision to fire quickly and you’re doing a full trigger press, you cannot feel the stages. It’s more like a gradual increase in weight from slack to sudden break.
Compared to the factory trigger, it’s better in nearly every way. Lighter (but not too light) pull weight, much smoother, 99% less creep, cleaner break, less slack. Reset is shorter but equivalent in feel, and obviously the factory trigger has the advantage of being “free,” as IWI does include one pre-installed with every TAVOR purchase.
On The Range:
After the Timney fiasco I made sure to shoot a range of ammo through the ShootingSight, including the types with primers too hard for the Timney to handle. In my stock those were IMI M855 and M193, Federal XM193, and Silver Bear (very similar in this regard to Wolf, Tula, etc). With the IMI, the Timney was igniting about 1/3 of them and with the Silver Bear about 1/2 of them.
Well, I’m happy to report that the ShootingSight trigger saw no such issue. Every single primer dent looked textbook perfect on all brands of ammo tested.
If you cock the hammer by hand it’s easy to tell that it requires significantly more pressure to do so on the SS and the factory trigger (about the same on these two) vs. the Timney unit. This coupled with the depth and consistency of the primer dents and the quality of the steel and machining in the ShootingSight plus, of course, its flawless performance, makes me highly confident that it’s going to serve me well, well into the future.
Review Update: I did a bit of a “torture test” follow-up. Find it HERE.
It works. It’s awesome. I’m happy to recommend it to any TAVOR owners looking for an upgrade from stock, and this one is staying put right where it is in my TAVOR.
Specifications: (from ShootingSight’s product page)
- MSRP: $315 for Delrin housing, $325 for aluminum
- 2-stage, giving a predictable glass like break
- 3 lb first stage, 5 lb total pull
- Machined from heat treated plate tool steel, for superior metal grain structure
- CNC cut Delrin housing (also available in CNC machined billet aluminum, mil-spec hard coat anodized housing)
- Utra hard / low friction surface coating allows lube free operation in dirty / tactical environments.
- Polished and honed sear surfaces for butter-smooth pull.
- Drop in trigger pack is fully assembled.
Ratings (out of five stars):
Build Quality * * * *
Really nice. Made in U.S.A. The housing is nicer than factory but it could still be a little cleaner, and it’s still plastic. I’d probably give the aluminum version 5 stars.
Slack (pretravel/takeup) * * *
Improvement over factory, but it lags behind many other rifle triggers. Again, though, the TAVOR design makes tuning this out difficult.
Creep * * * * 1/2
It’s really at the point where I can just barely notice it if I pull the trigger as slowly as physically possible. Any less creep and I couldn’t detect it. But it’s there so it isn’t perfect. The Timney I dropped into my Mosin Nagant is perfection.
Break * * * * *
Great. No real room for improvement.
Reset * * * * *
Overall * * * *
If it were either less expensive or got rid of nearly all of the slack, I’d give it five stars.