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Thanks to a loan from a friendly member of the Bullpup Forum, I was able to get my hands on a Geissele Super Sabra Tavor trigger as well as an aluminum-bodied ShootingSight TAV-D and test them back-to-back against the offering from Timney and my Delrin-bodied TAV-D. And, of course, against the factory unit. I took a bunch of measurements, did a lot of shooting, and have come to the following conclusions . . .

Factory Trigger

My factory trigger has been modified by removing the second trigger return spring, and, due to apparently losing it since then, I ran it in this configuration for the test here. The removal of that spring makes the trigger pull lighter (unmodified it comes in between 11 and 11.5 lbs) but does not affect any other aspect of the trigger.

Pull Weight: 8 lbs
Weight to Cycle Charging Handle w/ Hammer Down: 24 lbs
Take-Up Distance: 0.248″
Break Distance (end of take-up to maximum rearward travel): 0.213″
Reset Distance: 0.27″

The OEM Tavor trigger takes a lot of flak for being horrible, but I find it passable. There’s some slack, there’s about as much creep as a GLOCK trigger, and the break is okay but not great. The reset is positive and it’s certainly reliable. Naturally, it comes included with your Tavor purchase and is therefore “free.”

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Geissele

Pull Weight: 4 lbs 8 oz
Trigger Pack Weight: 4 6/8 oz
Weight to Cycle Charging Handle w/ Hammer Down: 27 lbs
Take-Up + First Stage Distance: 0.266″
Break Distance: 0.104″
Reset Distance: 0.146″
MSRP: $350

This is an extremely precise, crisp, and short trigger. A near-complete lack of overtravel makes for that super short break distance, then the short reset distance gets you onto the next shot quickly. The first stage pull weight is adjustable from 3.5 lbs (where it’s set from the factory) to 5.5 lbs, and that first stage helps you get tension on the trigger and sort of “still” yourself ahead of the break. Extremely clean break with no creep at all. Overall, it feels like a highly tuned target trigger.

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ShootingSight

Pull Weight: 4 lbs 1 oz
Trigger Pack Weight: 3 3/8 oz (Delrin body) or 4 5/8 oz (aluminum body)
Weight to Cycle Charging Handle w/ Hammer Down: 25 lbs
Take-Up + First Stage Distance: 0.271″
Break Distance: 0.163″
Reset Distance: 0.208″
MSRP: $315 Delrin, $340 aluminum

The ShootingSight TAV-D is also a two-stage trigger with an extremely clean break and a pronounced reset that are much shorter than stock. It’s available with a lightweight polymer (Delrin) housing or a machined aluminum housing. I found no difference whatsoever, other than weight of the unit itself, between the two. I did “torture test” my TAV-D and was pleased with the results, including cleaning it out with hot water and dish soap and leaving it to dry, finding no hints of surface rust or anything of the sort afterwards. Overall, it feels like an extraordinarily refined battle-appropriate trigger.

3

Timney

Pull Weight: 5 lbs 4 oz
Trigger Pack Weight: 4 7/8 oz
Weight to Cycle Charging Handle w/ Hammer Down: 23.2 lbs
Take-Up: 0.196″
Break Distance: 0.154″
Reset Distance: 0.170″
MSRP: $352.95

So Timney had some issues with its Tavor trigger originally. Many people saw problems with light primer strikes — mine would only ignite NATO primers like ~30% of the time and Russian steel cased ammo primers maybe ~60% of the time — and some folks had issues with “doubling” or even “going full auto” when running it suppressed. The Timney in this test is a new one and these issues are supposed to be resolved. Without a doubt, the light strikes are gone.

However, as you’ll see in the video, I still have problems with it “doubling” or “tripling” on me. It appears as though it basically resets the trigger forwards with some amount of force such that I’m actually still pulling it rearwards, which means it fires again immediately. This is essentially how the Tac-Con 3MR works, except the Timney doesn’t seem to kick the trigger forwards with as much force and I can’t get it to “bump fire” on purpose. Nor can I prevent it from “doubling” (or more) when I’m trying to shoot quickly.

Aside from this, which I could see people viewing as a positive selling point, the trigger is extremely good. The Timney is supposed to be a single stage and it’s basically as good as I imagine you can get that to happen in the Tavor. It’s incredibly short and crisp in every way, with only the tiniest possible bit of a flaw being an almost imperceptible amount of creep. The pull weight of 5.25 lbs is, in my opinion, ideal for a “battle” or self defense rifle. Overall, I think it’s a perfectly appropriate trigger for the Tavor.

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Shootout

The “doubling” on the Timney won’t bother everyone, and it may not actually do it at all if you aren’t shooting with a suppressor. For me, though, it knocks this trigger out of the running as the winner. It’s unfortunate, because, as mentioned, I really do think it’s ideally-suited for use in the Tavor.

That said, the two-stage triggers have a lot to offer. The owner of ShootingSight made a point to remind me that the M1 Garand, M14, and other excellent rifles were designed with two-stage triggers and that the design allows for both very rapid fire as well as the utmost in precision for slow, aimed shots. I did find this to be true with both the TAV-D and Geissele’s Super Sabra. They were both excellent for rested fire at longer ranges and they were both extremely fast.

It’s hard for me to pick a winner between these two, but I can describe where I see differences and tell you what I would purchase were I to receive a second Tavor and a gift certificate for the aftermarket trigger of my choice.

  • The Geissele trigger travel is extremely short. Feels the closest of these to an electronic clicker (a la computer mouse). It might be the one for 3-Gun or other gun games.
  • The ShootingSight is very short, but has a little more travel from sear to break to reset than the Geissele. The reset on the Geissele is great, but the ShootingSight click is noticeably stronger on my finger, and I like that.
  • Despite having a slightly lighter break weight, the ShootingSight unit feels more appropriate for self defense type use. I’m not sure I can quantify this. It may be that the just slightly longer travel makes it seem like you have to be a bit more deliberate, or it may be the stronger reset or something about the feel of its break.
  • Both ShootingSight examples (and the Timney) did install smoother than the Geissele. The pin holes in the Geissele are either tighter or spaced a bit differently and it required some wiggling around and a smack to the second pin, whichever one that was, to get it started. Very minor nit-pick here, as it’s still easy as pie to install.
  • The Delrin-housed TAV-D is over an ounce lighter.
  • From what I can tell, the quality on both is absolutely top notch. They’re both nice and smooth in every part of their travel. Clean, crisp breaks. No preference on any of these things.

Thanks to the design of the Tavor, the trigger pack can literally be swapped out in less than 10 seconds. This allowed me to go back and forth between all of these triggers many times over. As good as it gets for back-to-back testing.

So…which would I pick for a second Tavor?

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I’d get another Delrin-housed TAV-D. It feels right to me. It’s less expensive than the other two brands by at least $35. I actually like the plastic housing. Now, I admit that I am most familiar with it as I have shot it the most behind the factory one, and that I have some penchant for leaning towards “the small guy” vs. a larger company. I do not feel like this is weighing on my “choice” here, but I want to be as transparent as possible. I’d go with the TAV-D because the length of its pull and the feel of its break and reset just feel “right.”

TAV-D

 

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32 Responses to Tavor Aftermarket Trigger Shootout: Geissele vs. Shooting Sight vs. Timney

  1. The Tavor is a battle rifle, the stock trigger is perfect. Unless you are competing for total accuracy at range on paper or have a weak trigger finger like many save the $$$ and put it into optics or ammo. Jerry Miculek keeps the Tavor stock minus his custom muzzle brake, I love the stock trigger, I’m sure there are others out there that love the stock trigger, maybe including the IDF? Why are people putting money into already perfected design?

    • When I take my Tavor into battle, I’ll consider swapping the OEM trigger pack back in. Otherwise, these aftermarket ones are more enjoyable and more fun to shoot on the range. As mentioned in the write-up, I’m not one of the people who has an issue with the factory trigger. I always found it to be okay. To me it felt like a heavier Glock trigger (except the trigger shoe is more comfortable), and I don’t have any particular problem with that. But, like KenB said, better is better, and these triggers are quite substantially better.

      And for the record, this trigger pack is nothing like what the IDF or rest of the world has in its Tavors. This pack was designed specifically for the U.S. market and was designed and is made in the U.S. It was not based on any other Tavor trigger pack from any other markets. So for all of the folks who say things like “this is the battle-proven, reliable trigger from blah blah blah” it isn’t. It’s brand new for the U.S. market and nobody knows how well it would do on the battlefield and nobody knows if it’s “perfect” any more than the ShootingSight or Geissele might be “perfect.”

      Edit: While I’m at it, I may just say that if you’re pretend going into battle you also have the choice of being a pretend grunt or a pretend “Operator,” and you may be interested to know that many of the “Operator” types aren’t using the same Mil-Spec armory firearms that are issued to infantry. Timney and other aftermarket trigger companies have large contracts with the military, and plenty of special forces units use aftermarket triggers and other components in their M4s and other “battle rifles” in order to Operate more Operationally. So my best possible answer to “why would you replace the factory trigger?” is: Bro…do you even operate?

      • So… guns teach boys to have a warped, impossible standard for their body image, that their worth is based on how well they conform to that standard, and that their achievement in life is measured by their clothes and accessories?

        Or were you saying that boys like to blow things up and that girls are shallow?

        • Because GI Joe and Ken have positively affected my self image…….GTFO

          It’s obvious to anyone with the mental capacity of a 5 year old, that the comparison between girls/barbies and boys/guns relates to the desire, by both parties, to interchange accessories.

          You must be a special kind of stupid……the kind that only an 8 year degree in “Women’s Studies” can produce.

    • I have no doubt the stock trigger is more reliable than the others. I have no problem shooting a 12×12 gong at 150 yards as soon as I get back on target. However, It sucks for target shooting.
      Nice thing is that we have options now.
      What I don’t like is the cost of these trigger packs…

      • All you state is true, but those of us used to high end ARs expect a little better. The trigger and transfer bar themselves could be better. That “buffered” trigger is great on a select fire weapon, but needlessly mushy on a SAO. The Geissele Lighting Trigger Bow works with all trigger packs and is the best $99 you will ever spend on your Tavor.

  2. I too would like to see a complete explanation of the negatives, better is better, unless something gets a little worse and then maybe I shouldn’t have messed with it. If it makes me shoot better, good, if I have to completely change the way I shoot, bad. Faux full-auto out of a trigger (at a public range) where I come from = bad, bad, bad.

    Speaking about suppressors, I want someone to tell me whether heat-wraps for suppressors ruin the weld or metal integrity over time (by retaining heat more, slow-er cooling them)?

    • I’ve put a lot of rounds through the factory trigger and a lot through the TAV-D and I don’t know of negatives for the TAV-D. I filled it to the brim with thick and gritty mud and it still ran. It does everything the factory one does but it does it better. The only “negative” I can think of is that you’re moving to a slightly over 4 lb trigger pull instead of an 11.5 lb (or 8 lb if you take out the 2nd return spring) pull, and this may not be ideal for “battle” use. Generally over 4 lbs is considered acceptable for self defense firearms and such, but a lighter trigger makes you more likely to accidently trip it when you’re under pressure and all adrenaline’d up. Hence, NYPD modifies its GLOCKs for a super heavy trigger. The 2-stage design does add a little safety back into the system.

      All that said, in a home defense or CCW role I am personally a fan of leaving a gun’s safety mechanisms unmodified. Lightening the trigger pull can look like a safety violation in the eyes of a DA or whatever. My carry gun is factory untouched other than the addition of Talon grips for better control. Things like improved sights and grips I think are cool, maybe even some internal polishing to smooth the trigger pull, but I’m not going to do anything that actually lightens it up on a firearm I may go to for self defense. In the couple of times that the Tavor has sat in the HD firearm spot, it had the factory trigger pack installed w/ both return springs.

      RE suppressors, the ideal scenario is that they can shed heat as rapidly as possible. Metal degrades in strength as it gets hot, and a suppressor needs that strength in its baffles and housing. Anything that insulates the suppressor in a way that it retains heat inside of the can is a bad thing if you’re shooting enough to really get it hot.

      • Jeremy,

        Whenever I hear someone say “Lightening the trigger pull can look like a safety violation in the eyes of a DA or whatever” or something similar like “if you lighten the trigger, you will go to prison in a self defense shooting” I always ask for proof. Been asking this to numerous people throughout the years. Even heard it from LEO buddies but no one as of yet has provided a case where this happened.

        So if you have proof, please provide me a link. I would appreciate it.

        SAR

        • Relevant case law:
          Kentucky v. Rucker
          Georgia v. Crumbley
          New York v. Frank Magliato
          Florida v. Luis Alvarez
          Crown v. Allen Gossett (Canadian case law, not directly applicable but instructive none the less).

          I found those citations in about 30 seconds with Google. I’m sure I could find more, but I think the point’s been adequately proven that you’re talking out of your ass. Willful ignorance like you are displaying is simply unacceptable in a world where virtually the sum total of human knowledge is only a few keystrokes away.

          Do you know more about self defense than Massad Ayoob? If so, please post your resume and publication history. Mas has repeatedly emphasized that it’s an extremely bad idea to lighten the trigger pull on a SD gun. I’ll take the advice of the world’s foremost authority on armed self-defense over the ramblings of some random yahoo on the internet who is too lazy to Google for the answer to a simple question.

          Bottom line: even if you’re not convicted as a result, you’re making your attorney’s job harder and giving a gun-grabbing DA ammo to use against you. Case closed.

        • JP, I randomly chose one of the “relevant cases,” New York v. Frank Magliato. From what I just read about this case, the prosecution never made any claim that Magliato had modified his gun. The question of the factory light trigger came from the defense, not the prosecution. The defense tried to make the case that Magliato didn’t intend to fire, blaming instead the light trigger pull (lousy defense, to be sure).

          So could it be that your comments are “the ramblings of some random yahoo on the internet who is too lazy to Google?”

          In any case, you didn’t need to be so rude.

  3. nice work up, now all i gotta do is wait for the 300blk conversion, if it is ever made. i hear supressed 300blk and pistons dont work well together, but im sure IWI will firgure it out.

    • The real key would be an adjustable gas block so you can increase the amount of gas entering the system for the weaker, subsonic loads. Otherwise it likely won’t cycle a system that’s tuned for full power loads, or it will just have to be overgassed with full power loads in order to be gassed correctly for subsonic stuff. The main issue w/ .300 BLK is just that the amount of gas and pressure generated by subsonic ammo is so much less than full power ammo that it’s hard to make both of them work ideally on the same rifle without adding an adjustable gas system. I mean, you most certainly can do it and there are many on the market that do (PWS MK109 is a piston-driven .300 BLK without gas adjustment ability), but I’m not sure how you get around overgassing it on supersonic in order to have it cycle on subsonic…

  4. Thanks, Jeremy, great review. I’m slowly becoming convinced of the argument for a light manueverable rifle as the “one gun, to do it all” if you had to constrain yourself, like grab and go wildfire, or bug-home in large region extended power outage, or earthquake blocking all traffic, in a 30-60 minute coomute thats commn in many metros, that happen often enough to consider it as a planned for emergency, and what you carry in the trunk. Works for home HD and hunting if only just to get handy, real world, with the platform, so if you ever had to “operate” you be comfortable with how it works, carries, fits with other gear, pack, etc.

    The reason I personally havent bought an AR, is because I am still putting in time to get good enough on a pistol, the a shotgun, for all the above, and depending on how serious you take the training, like some of the classes RF talks about, those ard plenty to commit to, and practice to keep basic competence.

    I’m not preaching, just sharing my personal thought process. If I had more, time, money, to adopt the light weight rifle platform, thats roughly another one-half of time and money, to be ‘good enough’ when the time comes.

    This is like committing to three gun, its almost a lifestyle, if you are busy with work, a family, teens sports, colege savings…no t throwing a wet towel, just reminding you young guys to have fun with hobbies, while you can….

    But, if priorities or real world situations changed, I’ve enjoyed all the research and reading, doing homework in advance, and here’s my take, YMMV, just my $0.02:
    :
    I like Nicks approach on SBR in 300, but the bullpup design makes most sense, to me, in the close confines of house, the car, hunting in thick brush, weight, balance, and ergonomics, especially for small sized family members, and if all the kinks are worked out and its stupid reliable like an 870, then its design has matured as a light rifle to add to the basics in the safe, in order, a 12ga, a hangun, a 22lr, and a bolt hunting gun in something heavy enough to harvest hamburger.

    At that point, for me anyway, you dont want to skip on $$$ if your family depeds on it. So the Tavor with a good trigger seems like the technology and wide adoption stage is just about there. Nice to hear Jerry M keeps his stock too, as I look for KISS and would spend the rest on range and train time.

    PS I really like Oleg Volks photography, and Keltec’s RFB design but those seem to be as rare as unicorns.

  5. Looks like I need the TAV-D then.

    I honestly can’t shoot mine with the stock trigger on it and it has nothing to do with accuracy.

    The trigger actually makes it painful for me to shoot constantly giving me jaw pain. It has to be the trigger and not a fault of the bullpup design. I have a Steyr AUG with the stock trigger yet it doesn’t give me any pain when I shoot it.

  6. Why the pull weight of Timney trigger you get from this time is so different with the pull weight you get half year ago?

    • Timney changed to a stffer hammer spring to address the light primer strikes. It raised the let off to over 5# from under 4#.

  7. The Geissele adjustment is unclear in the accompanying literature. Per Joe Plunkett at Geissele, the adjustment affects the BALANCE between the 1st and 2nd stages. The Super Sabra ships in its lightest adjustment: 3.5# 1st stage, 1# 2nd stage. Too light for my taste. By running in the adjustment 1.5 turns CW I got a 2.5# 1st stage and a 2# 2nd stage. Much more like the Tav-D. So why did I keep the Geissele and sell the Shooting Sight? Geissele’s customer service is awesome. They offered to overnight me a replacement when my gun had issues, even though their trigger was not the problem.

  8. Is it just me or do people not think that that these trigger units are vastly overpriced. How can they cost more than some decent mid range scope, or a just a bit less than a progressive reloading press for example?

    I would like to see trigger upgrade available at around the $150 mark and I don’t think my request is too unrealistic.

    • +1 What he said.

      I have to question the logic of spending that kind of money on a trigger for a firearm that already cost me over $1800 when I can add $10 or $20 to what one of those triggers costs, and cruise over to Walmart and buy a brand new Remington 870 Express or like he said, a decent optic for the Tavor.

      I haven’t taken my trigger apart yet but I’m guessing it shouldn’t be that difficult to come up with a “kit” something along the lines of what was done with the Ruger 10/22 where you send along the reamer and new pins and springs what whatever else is needed to “shape” it and make it your dream trigger.

      If you want to go down this road, how about having a custom barrel made by Shilen, or better yet, send it off to your favorite bench rest rifle guy and having him “true up” the action? Or how about adding a March scope to put on top of it? Or maybe just gold plate the damn thing.

      I’ll just stick with the stock Tavor until I have a LOT more trigger time on it. Even then, I don’t think I could justify spending that much JUST for a little better trigger pull.

      Now having re-read my rant, I will say this. If you can put the stock Tavor in a machine rest and it will shoot .5moa out to 500 meters, and when you put a human on the trigger it will only do 3moa, and you can demonstrate the trigger as being the cause of the difference, I’ll order a trigger tomorrow 🙂

    • It might have to do with the fact that they don’t sell anywhere near as many Tavor Aftermarket triggers as they do aftermarket AR triggers such as CMC or Velocity triggers (around $150 MSRP) The more specialized the marketplace the higher the price generally. the amount of Tavors in the American gun community is but a fraction of the AR series.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to put together this detailed review. I’m really enjoying my Tavor® SAR Flattop B16, but the stock trigger really is quite awful. In decades of shooting, I have handled absolutely no other rifle with such a heavy trigger. The Tavor is a particularly expensive rifle too, which makes the lack of a smooth & light trigger pull a real disappointment. However, in my opinion, the rifle is absolutely incredible in nearly every other regard. While I’m not particularly excited about having to spend another $300-$350 for a decent trigger, I am looking forward to fixing about the only thing wrong with this rifle. Thanks again for such a helpful side-by-side comparison. I’m going with the ShootingSight Delrin-housed TAV-D.

    • You won’t be disappointed in the delrin Tav-D. But I think you are being a bit tough on the OEM trigger pack. Ever shot a Beretta ax100? MSAR AUG? Save yourself some money and install the Geissele Lighting Trigger Bow and lose the booster spring on the OEM pack. You’ll get a much improved trigger for $99.

  10. I just purchased a new Tavor 18″ and had the Geissele trigger Gen 2 trigger pack installed and the new Geissele BOW trigger installed. WOW!! What a diff it made. I am impress with this combination as it took all travel but about 1/8th inch out and breaks at 4.5 Lbs. Its better than many of my AR’s. Smooth as glass. I took my time debating about the 16.5″ vs the 18″ and finally decided on the 18″ gun. Really impressed with it.

  11. I was in infantry in the IDF with a Tavor. Extensive experience with both now. The trigger in the US model feels very similar – very heavy, excellent snapping reset. This is precisely what the IDF trains towards, essentially protection against premature firing and trigger finger reset on each shot. “Matsav efes”. Your trigger finger joint will definitely hurt after a day of shooting due to the massive amount of pressure needed to consistently fire.

  12. I now have hundreds of rounds through my Tavor with the Tav-D. I also did the spring thing with the stock trigger. Hands down, the Tav-D is the right trigger for this guy. Thanks for the review, this influenced my purchase decision heavily.

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