You’ve probably seen bullpup rifles before, and you’ve definitely seen shotguns in various forms. But today you will find out about one of the most talked-about shotguns that is currently taking the market by storm and is the subject of our IWI TAVOR TS12 Bullpup Shotgun Review.
By taking a look at it, you can instantly tell that the TS12 is unlike any other you’ve seen before. There are parts that stay true to the TAVOR platform, but other than that, it is its own beast. Before going into details, there is an interesting backstory for the TS12 Bullpup Shotgun.
Just a short recap in case you don’t know, Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) have been developing and innovating small arms for over 80 years. They have also been chosen by groups around the world as their weapons of choice for their militaries and security. IWI is well known for its high-quality, advanced, and reliable products.
IWI has made a name for themselves in with weapons systems like the UZI Pro, Galil line, and of course, TAVOR. All their products go through strenuous testing and for unmatched reliability. IWI has also collaborated with Isreali National Defense for research and development purposes.
In 2014, IWI subsidized its manufacturing to the United States. And since then, they have achieved must success within the US government and other markets. An example of their success would be from the TAVOR SAR rifle. Within the first year of IWI being based in the US, they were awarded the “Rifle of the Year” award by American Rifleman Magazine.
TAVOR TS12 Background
Before the TAVOR TS12, IWI released one of their best rifles; the TAVOR SAR rifle. This rifle fired a 5.56mm caliber and was one of the most popular rifles in 2014. IWI does make other classic firearms, as mentioned earlier. But they are most well-known for their TAVOR line.
The main issues the TAVOR TS12 had to combat in terms of the design were first, the length of the firearm, and the shell capacity. It is common knowledge that the length of the firearm directly influences the length. The tube under the barrel is where your shells are stored. The longer the magazine, the longer the firearm gets.
To fit eight shells, the barrel would have to be around 22 inches. Even if you used a stacked magazine (like that of an AR), then it is still pretty large and only holds 8-9 shells. This resulted in a large and cumbersome firearm not fit for defensive combat or close quarters. For IWI, this seemed like an opportunity for them to solve these issues.
By using the bullpup platform, you reduce the overall length of the firearm, making it ideal for home defense or close-quarter combat. As for the magazine, the TAVOR TS12 sports an innovative magazine. This is made out of three tubes under the barrel that rotate to increase the maximum shell capacity. Not only does this increase the shell count, but it also gives the shooter the freedom to choose different types of shells or slugs to put into the tubular magazine.
Before you make up your mind about the TAVOR TS12, there are a few things that you’ll be sure to check out before making a purchase. Up next, you will read about the features as well as some of the Pros and Cons we encountered while reviewing the TAVOR TS12 Bullpup Shotgun.
The TAVOR TS12 bullpup shotgun is a one-of-a-kind shotgun. The TS12 is made entirely from high-quality polymer, keeping it as light as possible. Running along the top, there is a full-length rail system for any preferred optic or iron sight as there are none that come with the firearm from the factory.
On both sides of the handguard, there are M-lok slots for accessories. These also aid in reducing the weight on the front end of the TS12. Under the barrel, you have the iconic rotary magazine that is also made from durable polymer.
IWI cleverly fixed the length problem by utilizing the bullpup design to its newest shotgun. Moving most of the action to the rear end of the firearm reduces the length. Before this would’ve have been a problem as it would mean a lower capacity but not anymore!
Before eight shells were considered a “high capacity” shotgun. IWI redefines this term by using a unique rotary magazine system that has not one but three tubes to load shells into. All three tubes are separate from each other and are able to fit up to 5 2-3/4inch shells per tube. Add that together, and you get 15+1 shells!
IWI went through more than four years in developing this system and made sure to take it a step further. They even added a mechanical automatic loading system into the firearm. So when one tube runs dry, all you have to do is rotate the magazine, and it will automatically load the nest shell in the fresh tube into the chamber. Pretty neat right?
Even though the TAVOR TS12 is a shotgun. The full-length rails on top just make you itch to put on a red-dot sight or any other optic. The M-lok slots that run the length of the barrel give you full options for any tactical accessory you fancy. In addition to that, the TAVOR TS 12 is fully ambidextrous.
Up next is the complete rundown of everything there is to like about the TAVOR TS12 to help you make a decision if you are looking for a new shotgun.
IWI TAVOR TS12 Bullpup Shotgun Pros & Cons
This is going to sound like a recap of the feature list, but to be honest, they are what makes the TAVOR TS12 worth buying.
- First up is the compact design, and the total length measures about 28 inches. Although it does sound like it is pretty long, however, taking into account that it is a bullpup design, the TAVOR TS12 doesn’t feel very long.
- The next one is obvious, the TAVOR TS12’s shell capacity that doubles the maximum amount from other shotguns in today’s market. Also, the fact that you can rotate the magazine tubes gives you the versatility to have multiple types of slugs, buck shots, and shells.
- Another feature to like about the TAVOR TS12 is that its gas operation makes it very easy to manage while firing. Usually, a 12 gauge packs quite a punch in terms of recoil. But with its design, the recoil doesn’t cause the barrel to climb, making follow up shots much easier.
And there’s more…
- A small detail that might be overlooked is the unloading feature. At the mouth of the slot where you load the shells, there is a notch that protrudes. This is so that when you unload the shells, they don’t spill out, making it easier to remove shells. This adds a nice touch to know that you won’t be making a mess every time you unload the magazine.
- It was mentioned earlier, but there is no harm in repeating the fact that the TAVOR TS12 is fully ambidextrous. And you can switch the charging handle, magazine lock, fire selector, and the ejection port with next to no difficulties.
Although the TAVOR TS12 seems to have it all, it’s not perfect either. So, we’ll next go through all the little details that might make you change your mind about buying the TAVOR TS12.
- Some people may like the feeling of having box mags line their battle belts and reloading every time the firearm goes dry. The more box mags you have can increase the total amount of shells you can fire. Plus, you have the luxury of selecting different types of shells. But the TAVOR TS12 has a fixed magazine so you can only have a total of 15+1 shells before having to reload the magazine again.
- Another downside to the TAVOR TS12 is that there are no markings for the individual magazine tubes. Some recommend a serration or a sticker to identify each tube. But you’ll have to do that yourself, as the firearm from the factory doesn’t have any indicator. It’s a small detail, but mentioning is important.
- Even though the TAVOR TS12 checks a lot of boxes, some would say that it is still a very bulky firearm to lug around. Even though it weighs only 8.85 pounds when it is unloaded (which is not that heavy), it just looks like a beast to carry. Maybe in the future, IWI will find a way to work on its ergonomics.
Bullpup designs aren’t the most favored amongst shooters as they feel a bit awkward when firing. However, with time and practice, you will find that the design is as comfortable as standard firearms. It may feel bulky, but that’s to support the higher capacity.
Shooting the TAVOR TS12 is also enjoyable when you don’t have to worry so much about shell selection as the TS12 is not picky when it comes to ammunition.
To conclude, it is a short shotgun with a high capacity and unmatched performance. There are a few downsides, but nothing that can’t be overlooked.
In this section, you will read about a few other options that meet the same expectations you might have for the TAVOR TS12. Therefore they would need to be in the bullpup design and have a high capacity.
First up is the DP-12 that shoots in 12 gauge. The DP-12 is a two barreled pump-action bullpup shotgun that has a capacity of 16 shells. And it will load two shots every time you pump it. However, you can fire the barrels individually, which makes shooting faster as you get two shots per pump. The DP-12 measures at 29.5 inches and has a barrel length of 18.75 inches.
The receiver is made from 775 Pre-hardened aluminum billet with thermal coating and aircraft-grade aluminum. When it is empty, the DP-12 weighs around 9.5 pounds. Also, the DP-12 is fully ambidextrous and has front and stock sling swivel mounts. On the top and bottom, you’ll get a full-length Picatinny rail for any attachments.
Probably the longest shotgun on the list is the KSG-25. It fires in 12 gauge and has a capacity of up to 24 shots. The KSG-25 is a pump-action shotgun that has two magazines that feed into one barrel. And it can be switched at any time by simply flipping the loading selector lever at the loading slot. The KSG-25 is like traditional pump-action shotguns where each time you pump a shell, you will load one shot into the chamber.
The receiver is made from hardened steel and has a heat shield on the handguard for a better grip. The cylinder bore barrel measures at 30.5 inches. Making the total firearm a total of 38 inches, and therefore, a fairly long firearm. Although it is long, it is still decently weighted and weighs about 9.25 pounds.
The KSG-25 is not fully ambidextrous. But it makes up for it by providing a few accessories like Magpul MBUS sights, vertical foregrip, upper and lower Picatinny rails, and sling loops.
Last on the list is the UTS 15, which is another bullpup pump-action shotgun. The UTS 15 has a 19.5inch barrel and double 7-round magazine tubes running underneath the barrel. The feed selector is located on the top of the shotgun behind the rear sight and has two selection modes; Individual barrels or alternate barrels. The alternate mode will automatically load rounds from each barrel until the firearm runs dry.
The upper and lower receiver is made from polymer. And it has multiple windows and cuts for attachments and weight reduction. The UTS 15 weighs only 6.9 pounds and has a total length of 29.3 inches. Also, the UTS 15 is fully ambidextrous and comes with a full-length top Picatinny rail for optics and attachments.
Need Some Accessories?
A shotgun, whether a Bullpup design or not, will always need some accessories, so check out our in-depth reviews of the Best Shotgun Scopes, the Best Red Dot Sights/Shotguns, and the Best Tactical Shotgun Sling currently available.
The best way to conclude this article is to identify your need when looking for a new shotgun. And hopefully, our alternative options may have helped you figure out what you are looking for. The pump-action shotguns are all outstanding but still fall short in key aspects. The DP-12 holds the same amount as the TAVOR TS12 but is slightly longer, and you can only have two types of ammunition.
The KSG-25 has the largest capacity of 24 rounds but still only has two options for you to load. Remember the trade-off? The more ammunition, the longer the firearm gets. This makes the KSG-25 the longest of all the options provided. So it might not be ideal for home defense or close quarter combat, which is something the TAVOR TS12 managed to maintain.
The UTS-15 comes close to that of the TAVOR TS12 in terms of length and weight. It has an alternative feeding lever that will automatically feed from different barrels. Whereas the TAVOR TS12, you will have to do it manually. However, the TAVOR TS12 makes up for it by having three magazine barrels giving you more options. And of course, the fact that it is gas-operated rather and pump-action.
In short, the TAVOR TS12 seems to check more key boxes for bullpup shotguns than the others in the market. It is compact and holds a high capacity, plus it is gas operated and provides three options for shell types. All these features make the TAVOR TS12 a worthy pick for your next shotgun. We like it, and we think you will as well!