No other firearm except the Kalashnikov’s have found as heavy acceptance among Indian Armed Forces as Tavor family of rifles. TAR-21 with ’21’ referring to 21st century implying that Tavor is a 21st century firearm , has been inducted in various elite units across Indian Armed Forces ranging from Para SF, MARCOS, Garuds to Central Armed Police Forces like CRPF and BSF. The key to success of Tavor family with Indian forces lie with its high reliability and compact nature coupled with its versatile design and sturdier build up.
Tavor family of rifles is chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO round which is capable to fire in semi-automatic and automatic modes. Its compact nature is due to its bullpup configuration which reduces the length of the firearm retaining the same barrel length and effectively balancing the weapon and thus making it much quicker during Close Quarter Battle and target engagement.
Indian Armed Forces uses a variety of variants of Tavor family of rifles according to the conditions and roles they operate in. These variants are :
It is the standard variant of Tavor family and sports a 457mm long barrel. It is used by Para SF, MARCOS, Garuds and SFF. Para SF uses ITL MARS Sights on TAR-21 while MARCOS and Garuds uses MEPRO MOR Sights on them. SFF however uses MEPRO 21 sights on their TAR-21. It features a safety / fire mode selector and accepts a 30 round M16-style magazines and has standard Picatinny Rails to sport various optics, flashlights and Illuminators.
It is the Grenadier variant of basic TAR-21 with a notched barrel to accept an Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher. Para SF have been spotted using Turkish MKEK T-40 40mm UBGL on their GTAR-21 with leaf sights. These are used to fire NATO 40x46mm low velocity grenades upto a distance of 150 metres (for point targets) to 400 metres (for area targets). MARCOS and Garuds are generally spotted using ARSENAL 40mm UBGLs on their GTAR-21.
It is the Marksman variant of TAR-21 with match-grade barrel and a detachable bipod for additional accuracy at long ranges. It is used for marksmanship at troop level giving precision firing at enemy targets. Para SF are seen using ITL MARS Red Dot Sights on their STAR-21 while MARCOS use Mepro MOR Red Dot Sights on their STAR-21. Garuds use Nimrod 6×40 Telescopic Sights which are most possibly scavenged from their Galatz Sniper Rifles. SFF and Special Group uses Trijicon 4×32 ACOG Sight on their STAR-21.
It is the compact version of basic TAR-21 intended for use by Special Forces teams and commanders. It features a 380mm shorter barrel than basic TAR-21 for use in cramped up spaces and situations where every inch of space is to be utilized. Garuds are the only unit in India to use CTAR-21 with MEPRO MOR Sights on them.
X-95 aka the Micro Tavor features a much shorter barrel than basic TAR-21 which can be varied from 330mm/380mm/419mm according to user requirement. However it falls in range as effective range is reduced drastically. It is more compact than M4 Carbine and is used by CRPF and BSF along with various state units like Uttarakhand ATS and Punjab Police SWAT. The best feature about this rifle is that it can be configured from a 5.56mm rifle to a 9mm submachine gun . It will be produced by Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems of India locally for Indian units. All X-95 used by Indian forces in India are spotted with MEPRO MOR Sights.