Tag Archives: IWI

Timney Trigger Pack Failed in My Tavor X95 – I Switched to the Geissele Super Sabra

Back in August 2021, I bought a Tavor X95 and everybody told me to switch the stock trigger cartridge. I did some research and at that time people were recommending Timney or Geissele. My first choice was honestly Geissele because I really like their AR triggers but I couldn’t find them. Timney was the same way so I ordered both – I ordered the Timney on 8/17/21 direct from them and they shipped on 10/6/21. I also backordered a Geissele Super Sabra 05-267 with the thought that I could write a blog post at some point and compare them. The Timney arrived first and that’s what I installed and used up until yesterday. Let me explain.

I took my daughter’s fiancΓ©, Kris, visiting from out of town to our local Berrien County Sportsman’s Club range for a few hours of shooting. The Timney trigger pack was in the Tavor and has been since I bought the Tavor. It has maybe 300-400 rounds through it – I’ve not shot it since I posted about taking it to the range last fall and the great time we had. At any rate, we shot a number of pistols and then it was rifle time – I told Kris that the Tavor is my favorite rifle right now and we start shooting.

I shot about 5 rounds to show the controls and make sure everything was good. I then handed it to Kris who then shot a few rounds and then things got weird. He pulled the trigger and nothing happened. I took the Tavor from him, and explained how to safely handle misfires and ejected the round. There was a barely noticeable dent on the primer. “Huh” I thought – must be a flaky hard primer. I loaded it again and tried – same thing. I took the round to the range’s misfire tube and dropped it down the pipe.

This is Kris wondering why it didn’t just fire.

I cycled the Tavor empty, it seemed okay, I then inserted a mag and made sure it was fully seated, handed the X95 to Kris who then charged it, we made sure the bolt was all the way home and he pulled the trigger. Nothing. Okay … something weird was happening. I took the X95 and ejected the round – same thing – a very light dent on the primer. At this point I was beginning to suspect something was wrong with the Tavor – we were shooting Winchester bulk M855 that normally I don’t have any problems with and absolutely never twice in a row.

I had Kris try again and this time I heard something. He would pull the trigger and nothing would happen but when he released trigger there was a delay followed by a click and then if he tried again it would fire. Okay …. something funky was going on inside the Tavor.

I removed all of the ammo and I could replicate it. Something was going on with either the rod that transfers the trigger pull back to the “trigger pack” or “sear mechanism assembly” – what IWI calls the trigger pack – or the trigger pack itself. It was time to pack the rifle up and we moved to an AR I brought that ran just fine.

Taking the X95 Apart

I have a love hate relationship with aftermarket parts. Most of the time when I take and replace a stock part with an aftermarket and something goes wrong, it’s the fault of the aftermarket part. To make a long story short, the problem at the range was caused by the Timney trigger pack.

On a Tavor, the trigger pack normally pulls out very easily once you pull out the two retaining pins. Not this time. It did NOT want to come out. I had to pull pretty forcefully to get it out and the culprit was a big silver dowel/axle pin located in the top front of the pack. Both it and a smaller one in the middle were way out towards the right side. Why? No idea. I tapped both the pins back in with a nylon head soft blow hammer in my Weaver gunsmith kit. I tried to get it to “fire” and it wouldn’t so I switched gears and installed the Geissele Super Sabra instead that was still new in the box.

Both of these pins were sticking out on this side. I already tapped them back in before I took this photo.

I lubricated the Super Sabra per their instructions and it dropped right in and worked. So, right now I have an inoperable Timney that I can’t get to do anything on the bench that I think I will try and have Timney do a warranty repair on – I’m kind of curious what they will do or not do. In the mean time, I will happily run the Super Sabra.

The Geissele Super Sabra on the left and the Timney Tavor trigger pack on the right. Note how the Super Sabra is using screws vs. pins.
Here’s the other side of the trigger packs.
I have always found Geissele’s engineering to be top notch. This trigger pack dropped right in and felt great. If I were to bet money, and I guess I already did since I bought it, this pack will last. The Super Sabra 05-267.

The Super Sabra feels really good – I am still using the stock Tavor trigger itself – the part you actually pull with your finger. Geissele sells a replacement trigger but I am not using it – just the replacement Super Sabra trigger pack.

For a bullpup trigger the Super Sabra is quite decent. There is a long pull but it breaks pretty nicely at 4 pounds 12 oz on average. To get that number, I did 10 test pulls with my Wheeler digital gauge. The lightest pull was 4 pounds 2oz and the heaviest was 5 pounds 1 oz. Very manageable and will be what I use going forward.

As I was writing this blog post, I had the Timney trigger pack in front of me. I tried repeatedly to actuate the hammer by pulling on the little lever that connects to the transfer rod in the rifle. Boy, it would not move – not one bit. I’d put a ball pin in the “U” and pull – it would not budge. I just tried again right now and heard a loud click just like we did at the range. I pulled on the lever again while controlling the hammer with my free hand and it “fired” – the hammer came up. In looking inside the cartridge i have no idea what has happened but don’t want to take it apart and void a warranty either. When I closed the hammer, it made a funny clunking abnormal sound and now doesn’t want to open/fire again. Weird. Something has gone wrong, that much I know.

I was able to eventually get it to open while I was writing the post. It made the same odd click sound that we heard at the range and after that it opened.
When I closed it, an abnormal clunking sound came from the pack and it will not open again.

Summary

Not sure what happened but the Timney trigger pack stopped working. I plan on contacting Timney to see if they will look at it under warranty and will report back how it goes – I emailed them on 2/12/2023. I’m now running the Geissele Super Sabra pack and will see how that holds up.

I’m hoping Timney will do a warranty repair so I can compare both units down the road as I had originally hoped. I’ll update the blog post with how that turns out. By the way, I’ve had a number of Timney triggers over the years and this is the first problem I’ve had with one.

3/28/2023 Update: Got a nice update email from Timney. They are revising the design of the disconnector and will start production in June. That’s pretty cool that they are learning and improving their design. They offered me a refund or to wait for the new model and I opted for a refund at this point and they processed it (I bought it direct from them in this case). So, I am happy with the result.

3/25/23 Update: Really not happy with Timney customer service – I sent them polite emails asking for a status or even if they have the trigger (I can see they do from the tracking #) but they don’t even reply. Last email I told them I don’t mind waiting but please give me an idea of the lead time – no reply. I literally have no idea of the turn around time – they never gave me an estimate.

2/17/23 Update: Timney customer service was really easy to work with. They asked me to send them the trigger pack and they would take care of it. So, I sent it via priority mail with insurance on 2/16. I’m curious if they will tell me what went wrong.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


My Favorite Rifle of 2022: The IWI Tavor X95

I like compact rifles but that means you have some combination of shorter stock and/or barrel. With that shorter barrel also comes trade-offs in terms of velocity because the ammunition is expecting a longer length of barrel and unburned powder exits the muzzle – often with a really cool flash. Other than shock and awe, that wasted powder isn’t turning to gas to shove the bullet down the barrel. It’s all a game of trade-offs. So, what if you don’t want to play the trade-off game?

This is where you enter the world of bullpups. A bullpup refers to any weapon where your cheak is basically resting on the action with the magazine under it. The barrel can actually be much longer now because the buttstock is gone and so you have a compact weapon with higher velocities. So what’s the catch?

Well, a lot of bullpups have a huge trigger problem. They typically use a solid linkage to take the movements you create by pulling what looks like the trigger and transfers them to the rear of the weapon where the actual trigger, disconnector are at. The result is long mushy feeling triggers …. unless you have a plan and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) did have a plan when they designed the Tavors.

My first encounter

The first time I saw a Tavor was a number of years back. My friend, Scott Igert, who owns Michigan Gun Exchange, had one in and it caught my eye. It looked like something out of a SciFi movie and I wasn’t really sure whether I would like it or not plus it was way more than I could afford at the time. I shouldered it a few times and had Scott put it back. I read a bit about them and decided it didn’t fit into my plans … at least not then now fast forward a few years – like maybe 3-5 years.

What changed my mind? Why did I go back?

Interestingly enough, a number of things happened. First, I had learned a lot more about firearm design. Second, I’d worked a lot more with both IMI and IWI Galils in both 5.56 and 7.62×51. Third, because of the Galils I became interested in Isreaeli weapon designs in general and what drove the industry constantly towards innovation (existential threats to the state are certainly a big factor. Fourth and final, I was getting kind of jaded towards short barreled rifles excluding pistol caliber carbines. I guess I should mix in a healthy dose of curiosity across alll of those.

So, I wound up older, maybe a bit wiser and more interested in the Tavor. I could also afford one I must add, but it was still going to be a chunk of money. So, I ordered one with the intention of selling it if things didn’t work out – as Scott will tell you, I rarely hold on to firearms of any kind.

What’s up with the name?

I’ve always found why something is named what it is of interest. If you’re really into the history of words you study what is known as the etymology of a given word. Me … I’m a redneck from Southwest Michigan and am just curious where they come from so I can sound smarter than I am when drinking with friends.

Ok, “Tavor” – where did it come from? Well, you may know it’s modern English name of Mount Tabor and it romanized name from Hebrew is “Har Tavor”. It is a real mountain located in lower Galilee, Israel. According to the Hebrew Bible, a great battle was fought there between the Israelite army and the army of the Canaanite King of Hazor. It’s also considered the site of the Transfiguration of Jesus. There is so much history around Har Tavor that there is a whole wikipedia page devoted to it.

Is the Tavor X95 a new design?

Not exactly, the design team to create the Tavor began work in 1995 with Zalmen Shebs as the team lead. They wanted a rifle that could withstand sand and the elements, be accurate enough and also compact enough to be readily carried in vehicles. Of course, they wanted something better than the American M4 and the Galil had proven itself to be too heavy and large for continued use by the Israeli miliary.

By 2001 they had versions of the Tavor in trials that helped them learn better what was needed and refined the design to better handle fine sand for example. It was issued in November 2001 as the TAR-21. From 2001 to 2009 a number of refinements were made. In November 2009 the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) announced they would adopt the Tavor X95 as their standard infantry weapon.

That’s a short summary and the whole point is that it is not brand new and your not risking a bunch of money to be a guinea pig. The Tavor has seen real combat use and performed respectably. If you buy an X95, you are getting a proven weapon that has a good combination of accuracy and reliability in a variety of environments.

Ok….So what did I buy?

I bought a model XB16 in August 2021. This model of Tavor is black (you can also get them in flat dark earth or olive drab), is in 5.56×45 NATO, has a barrel length of 16.5″, an overall length of 26.125″ inches and weighs 7.9 pounds empty.

I wanted to pair it up with an optic that would excel in close quarters with rapid sight acquisition and a wide field of vision but that I could also magnify a bit if needed. I went with the Vortex UH-1 holographic sight and a 3x flip up magnifier. I had a red dot and magnifier combo on an AR many years ago and did NOT like it. The UH-1 and 3X magnifier pairing on the Tavor were made for each other. If you want speed, flip the 3X out of the way. If you want some magnification, flip it back into place.

There is only one change that I made internally. A lot of Tavor owners were removing their original trigger packs and installing either a Timney or a Gisselle. I backordered both and the Timney showed up first. Changing a trigger pack in a Tavor is super easy – it’s a modular cartridge that goes up through the bottom of the bullpup. The Timney did make a world of difference.

I put a Streamlight 88509 weapons light on it along with a real IDF Zahal sling. For mags, I use a combination of Magpul Pmags and Lancer Advanced Warfighter mags – I like both and just grabbed some spares.

Lastly, I did go for one accessory I don’t normally buy – a fitted Peak Case. Normally I just go with some generic carrying case but decided I wanted something a little “cooler” and more protective than a softsided case. Click here to go to their page in a new tab.

By the way, the Zahal sling can be purchased off ebay from here.

Unlike some of my reviews, I don’t have a ton of unpacking and assembly photos. Why? Your’s truly misplaced/lost/deleted almost two months of digital photos and I have no idea how. What I can do though is jump ahead to the results:

The Peak case comes pre-cut for the Tavor and a handgun off to the left. I actually have the original trigger pack stored in there for Click here for their web page.
Here’s the Tavor with the Zahal sling and the Vortex optics mounted.
The rail covers slide off once you depress the button.
Pushing that button allows you to slide a rail cover right off.
The Tavor X95 design immediately made me realize that I needed to read the manual and a couple of Youtube videosto learn how it works. In this photo, we are looking at the back bottom. You have the mag well hole and behind it is the bolt release lever for when the bolt locks open on empty.
There’s the trigger with the mag release to the above left and the safety selector lever to the back right.
Combining a Vortex UH-1 with a Vortex 3x magnifier gives you a lot of versatility. When you want a wide field of view for close-in work you can flip the magnifier out of the way as shown in this photo. When you want 3x magnification, just flip ti down.
The Vortex UH-1s are great optics. This is my second and I can’t recommend them enough. Rugged, bright, easy to use, reliable and a no-nonsense fix or replace warranty – what more could you want?
With the Timney trigger pack installed, I did 5 trigger pulls and the average pull weight was 4 pounds 9.7 ounces. The minimum pull weight was 4 pounds 3 ounces and the max was 4 pounds 15.4 ounces. One thing you tend to notice with good triggers is both a lighter and more consistent pull weight.

Preparing for the range

I’ve written about this before – do not take a new firearm straight to the range or you are going to have a lousy time. Instead, field strip it, clean & lubricate it and then cycle the action about 200 times to let the parts wear in and get to know each other – no, you don’t need to pull the trigger 200 times. It makes a world of diference with most firearms.

Range Time

We were able to take the Tavor to the range twice this summer and put about 300-400 rounds of bulk box M855 through it. The Tavor ran flawlessly – no problems feeding or ejecting. The control layout does take some getting used to – the more I use it then the more I will get used to changing magazines I’m sure.

Jim shooting the Tavor – he definitely liked it. I mentioned it in my blog post about taking the Stribog to the range that same day – Jim forgot his hat and the only spare I had in the truck was my wife’s. Nice hat Jim πŸ™‚
Niko fire the Tavor from a number of positions and really liked it as well.

I honestly did not think I would like it but I actually do. It takes some getting used to in terms of the controls and swapping magazines but these are things that practice can overcome. Think about it, you have a 5.56×45 NATO rifle in the same form factor you would normally find a SBR or braced pistol with a much shorter barrel.

This photo highlights the advantage of a bullpup over a traditional firearms design. The weapon on top is a Grand Power Stribog SP9A1. It has a F5 Manufacturing Modular Brace, the action in the middle and then only has an 8″ barrel. The Tavor has the rear “stock” and action integrated with a 16.5″ barrel that can achieve far higher velocities from the 5.56×45 cartridge than a shorter barrel could. Yet, the over all lengths are almost identical.

We were shooting at paper targets and plates – not for accuracy – at about 10-15 yards. The Tavor just handled wonderfully. I couldn’t have been happier.

After a bunch of rounds we needed to let it cool down before putting it back in the bag.

By the way – I like the weight and rear-biased balance. Granted 5.56 does not have much recoil to begin with but the Tavor is very pleasant to shoot. Again, if you hear people mentioning it is awkward, well, bullpups in general take getting used to because the mag is so far back.

Summary

I kid you not, I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I do. It’s compact and reliable. The trigger is good enough … some day when I have time, I need to take it to the range with match ammo and see how it does but for now, I am quite happy. I’ve tried a number of different rifles this past summer but this takes first place and my IWI Galil Ace .308 takes a very close second [click here for my review of it]. The rest are all “ok” in comparison.

There are a ton of positive Tavor X95 reviews out there and now I know why. If you are on the fence about buying one, just get it πŸ™‚

I hope this post helps you out.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


My Galil Ace .308 DMR

Okay, I wrote about Galil Ace .308 Pistol some years back and it got sold at some point to fund other projects. However, when I sell firearms it’s not that there was any problem – like tons of other projects, I finished it, learned from it, got bored of it and sold it … that’s my usual progression for 99% of the firearms I buy. At any rate, some time last year it really dawned on me that the hands down best factory manufactured rifle that you can buy in the US today are the Galil Aces. I’m sure someone will argue with me but the evolution of the design that they did is remarkable regardless.

This is the original 308 Galil Ace before updates. I took the photo right as the sun was going down so everything had a bit of an orange hue to it.

RS Regulate Handguards

So, I bought a .308 Galil Ace rifle knowing I would get rid of the handguard. Yes, the factory one is functional but it is way too fat for me I prefer a long narrow one aluminum handguard. Even before I bought the rifle, I knew I would get one of RS Regulate’s GAR-14M-N handguards. The biggest problem you will run into with an RS Regulate product is finding one – his scope mounts are the best out there and the handguards are excellent as well. As a result, you may have to hunt around. I found one in grey thinking I would refinish it but the contrast actually looks pretty cool so I am running with it.

The original handguards do have rails under those covers but the combination is too fat for my taste.
This is the RS Regulate GAR-14M-N handguard in Desolation Grey. Installation is very straight forward and instructions are provided.
The two short screws and spacers are for attaching the handguard to the barrel. The long screw is for the rear. Install the rear end cap before you install the rear screw. Use blue Loc-tite on all. Use needle nose pliers to hold the spacers in place when you side the side screws into the handguard and on to the barrel.
The end cap goes to the bottom rear of the handguard and sits on the inside. Two additional short screws are in another bag for it. See the long needle nose pliers at the top? Something like them will enable you to install the spaces very easily.
This is the end cap right before I installed the screws.

Vortex PST II Scope

Because of the accuracy reports (1 MOA-ish) I also planned on getting a decent scope to make the Ace a designated marksman’s rifle (DMR). To explain, a DMR is a supporting rifle that usually has better accuracy and/or reach than the rest of the squad but it typically doesn’t have the accuracy of a true sniper rifle. From what I read, the Galil Ace would fill a DMR role no problem so I wanted a scope with a decent range starting with a low value so I would have a decent field of view (FOV). What I bought was a Vortex PST II 3-15×44 — first off, Vortex is my favorite scope maker and second, the second generation PST scopes are very clear and have good light transmission. I purposefully did not go with a 50mm objective because while it does pull in more light all things being equal, I didn’t want an topic standing up a mile above the receiver either.

American Defense Scope Mount

I’ve become a scope mount snob over the years after having a ton of problems with cheap ones – screws stripping out, moving on the rail, letting the scope move, quick release levers that bend on break off, crappy finishes, etc. To be honest, I am done with the cheap ones. My go to for scope mounts is American Defense – I also use the offset Vortex mounts that are also made by American Defense.

Why American Defense? They are solid quality all the way through – they are everything the cheap ones are not and have never let me down. So, yes, I will pay a premium for them and be happy about it. For this build and the smaller objective, I used a AD-Recon-X-30-STD.

This is an American Defense AD-Recon-X-30-STD scope mount with quick release levers. Excellent quality.

In Case You Are Wondering – Why .308?

Well, I am done adding yet another caliber and had a good selection of range and match .308 ammo that I can try out. When I do take this to a range, I’d like to find out what this particular rifle likes and buy more. By the way – for folks relatively new to firearms – you will find out that some ammo works great in one firearm and horrible in another so always experiment and find out what load your rifle likes. Handloaders spend hours agonizing over every possible details to find the round that works best at a given range and situation.

The Result

It came out pretty cool – I thought I would refinish the grey but it grew on me.

In Closing

The .308 Galil Ace is pretty slick. I really like the components I picked and now need to find time to go to the range. I will be adding a Magpul bipod before then as well.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


PSA Has Some Cool Rifles In: 7.62×51 Galil Ace, FIME Molot RPK-74 and Breda M1 and M1D Garand Rifles – Wow!

I have and IWI Galil Ace rifle in 7.62×51 NATO and it’s exceptionally well made. I notice that IWI has it in and an Italian version of the Garand known as the “BREDA” in 7.62×51 also. I thought I would spread the word – I sure wish I had the funds to buy both models of the BREDA.

Just to make the lack of funds hurt even more, they have a FIME Molot RPK-74 in stock also. Where these came from, I don’t know but they command a princely price.

If you are looking for one of the above and can afford it – rock on! I hope this helps you out.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



The Vortex UH-1 Sight and V3XM Magnifier Are An Amazing Combination On A Galil Ace Pistol

Well, the pandemic threw all my plans right out the window including having time to go to the range. I bought and customized my 7.62×51/.308 Galil Ace Pistol in the Fall of 2019 and just recently was able to take it to the range with my daughter and good friend Niko.

Niko having fun with the Ace and optic combination.

When I was planning the customization of the Ace, I wanted a holographic sight for rapid target acquisition in close, parallax free viewing and also a magnifier to help me out to a hundred yards or so. By the way, tons of guys go further even without a magnifier but this is just me.

Being a Vortex Optics fan and having read good reviews of their Razor AMG UH-1 optic, I bought one plus the V3XM Micro 3x magnifier. I have to admit that I was nervous. Years back I built an AR-15 and installed both a full size red dot and a full size 3x magnifier and honestly did not like it. The combination used a ton of top rail space due to the size of the two parts and it was heavy. To be honest, I found myself wishing I’d just bought a 1-4x or 1-6x optic at the time.

Why Bother With A Magnifier?

In case you are wondering why I even wanted the 3x magnification, it’s s a simple answer. As I get older,I find myself needing more magnification for any degree of target shooting as I get closer to 100 yards and beyond. Yeah, make fun of me but in talking with a lot of 50+ year old guys, I’m not the only one. I tend to favor 1-6 and 1-8x Vortex Strike Eagles for relatively close in optics – they are light, rugged and allow me to trade off field of view and magnification.

The optics combo fits nicely on the Ace. I like the quality quick release levers they used. The levers clamp very well and have a repeatable zero when removed and re-installed.
Here the magnifier is swung out of the way for 1x viewing through the UH-1. All controls are very easy to use.

At any rate, back to the UH-1, the UH-1 itself weighs about 11oz and the Micro 3X (V3XM) magnifier adds 9.55oz. So you are looking at about 20-21oz or just over 1.25 pounds for the combination. A 1-6x Strike Eagle weighs 18.5oz and then you need to add at least a basic cantilever mount at 1.3oz, you are totalling 19.8oz.

Why am I bringing this up? Some situations really require variable magnification optics and the 1-6x and 1-8x Strikefires are hard to beat. In other cases, you are expecting situations where you will need little to no magnification then the UH-1 wins hands down. Why? Target acquisition is screamingly fast and you don’t have parallax. No parallax means that no matter how you look at the projected recticle (the hologram), the recticle is on the target. With regular scopes, as your eye position changes relative to the recticle, the point of impact changes. This is one reason why a good consistent cheek weld is so important with a traditional optic. Bottom line is that holographic sights seriously rock when it comes to speed of target acquisition.

A 7.62×51 Galil Ace Is Not A Distance Weapon

Another thing to point out is that this weapon is not a target rifle by any stretch of the immagination – it’s for close in work. The 7.62×51 Galil Ace pistol has an 11.8″ barrel and that short length is really going to limit the weapon to less than 200 yards and that is just my opinion because that short length will reduce the velocity of the bullet and there will be more bullet drop at a given distance. The reason is simple – the 7.62×51 and .308 cartridges are still burning powder, generating more pressure and bullet speedwhen the bullet exits the muzzle – all that burning powder makes for an impressive muzzle flash but that’s actually a waste of powder and why it will have less velocity than a weapon with a longer barrel.

How far do I intend to shoot the Ace? Now that’s the real question and is what drove the selection of the optic. I honestly plan to shoot it under 50 yards the majority of the time. I can flip the magnifier out of the way if I don’t need it.

A Bit Of Range Time

How did it work at the range? It was fantastic. The Ace itself ran great with PPU M80 FMJ ammo and the optic pairing was way better than I expected. The recticle was nice and bright even during mid-day son and it was easy to swing the magnifier in and out of position. All three of us liked the Ace and optic combination. After shooting the Ace for the first time, I can definitely see why they have such a excellent reputation.

Even in close the magnifier worked nice. It still has a pretty wide field of view — 38 feet at 100 yards. I went from being cautiously hopeful to really liking the combo.
In this photo, Niko is getting ready to shoot with the magnifier swung out of the way.
I’m still trying to learn the art of getting a decent photo of a recticle. With the UH1 you have 1- brightness levels to select from and I really like it.

In Summary

I really like the pairing of the UH-1 optic and the V3XM magnifier on my Galil Ace. The pairing works really, really well and I am already planning on getting one of the new second generation UH-1 optics for a new build I am planning – a 7.25″ 12.7×42 (Beowulf) pistol πŸ™‚


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



How A Modern IWI Galil Ace Differs From A Traditional AKM – With Lots Of Photos – Part 2

This is the second part of my review of the differences I saw between a 7.62×51 IWI Galil Ace pistol and a typical AKM-type rifle. [Click here if you would like to open the first post in a separate window.] The following round out my observations:

Railed handguard

AK handguards have evolved from wood to bakelite to elaborate affairs made of polymers or aluminum. In the case of the Ace, no rhyme intended, an aluminum handguard with Picatinny rail is covered by sculpted rail covers.

The handguard is U-shaped with rails at the the 3-, 6- and 9-O’clock positions. The top rail is integral with the gas tube. Note now they have a cut out read for a pressure switch and the rails are open on the middle for wiring. There is one socket screw on each slide to fasten the handguard to the weapon.
The two socket screws thread into a retainer and have thread locker on them. When you look at the top of the rail, you see a small circle indentation on each side and then just a bit further back a rectangular shaped indentation. The screws are on each side. Also, you also get a good view of the front sight .
These are the three rail covers for the handguard. They lock into place and can be released by pushing the visible button at the back. The panel in the middle is the bottom piece and it has a lip that serves to help you index your hand.

So, two differences to note – a unique railed handguard and it is held in position with screws vs. the traditional AK front handguard retainer.

As a personal comment, I stopped buying tri-railed handguards some time ago because they feel too fat for me once you add on rail covers. The Ace handguards aren’t too terrible but they are fat and shorter than I would like. The stock unit will be replaced by one of the excellent handguards from RS Regulate – the GAR-9M-N model to be exact and that will be in a future post.

The Gas tube has tabs and a rail but no locking lever

This is a unique little item right here. The gas tube slides into place via tabs on the unit that mate with slots on the rear base. It does not have a locking lever like an AK does.

The top has a Picatinny rail and the whole unit is locked into place when the dust cover is installed, which pushes the gas tube forward into position. The fitment is so well done that the Picatinny rail is level all the way across the top.

The gas tube goes over the nipple on the front sight block. The relieved tube you see with the screws are where the handguard retainer screws thread in from each side.
This is the gas tube with the rail on top. Note the tabs at the bottom rear and the groove on the rail that mates with the rail from the dust cover.
Here’s another angle – you can see the heat shield on the handguard and the slots on the rear block. We can’t call it a Rear Sight Block (RSB) like we would on an AK because the sight is on the dust cover on the Ace. Here, all it is doing is securing the gas tube.
The fitment of the dust cover and the gas tube are so well done that despite being two separate parts, their two respective rail sections align very nicely.

Integral lower plastic assembly – grip, magazine guide

Part of the revisions from the IMI Galil to the IWI Ace was changing 12 parts from steel to plastic. To be honest, I did not hunt down all 12 and itemize each. What I did readily see was the plastic lower assembly that connects with the steel forged receiver. It has the following:

  • An integral grip that has a hollow storage area
  • Ambidextrous magazine releases
  • An enlarged integral trigger guard
  • A natural hand hold curve just forward of the magazine

Folding Brace Assembly

IWI makes two models of the 7.62×51 pistol – the GAP51 without a brace and the GAP51SB with the brace. I really just needed the GAP51 but went with the GAP51SB because the price was so good from Palmetto State Armory at the time.

What you get with the GAP51SB is an IWI designed integral folder with a 1.25″ diameter pistol tube and an SB Tactical SOB brace. The SOB part makes me smile every time I write it. So, it does give you a well designed fixed length brace and a rock solid folder.

The SB Tactical SOB Brace with the unit locked into position.
That hinge is soooooo cool.
A close up with the brace folded alongside the receiver.
The unit is very compact and functional with the brace closed. Note the IWI logo on the brace but it is definitely an SB unit and the butt end has their logow. SB Tactical OEMs for others as well – meaning they will sell units with the logos of other firms displayed.

Magpul Pmags

No AK ever used Magpul magazines so I think this counts as a difference πŸ™‚ The 7.62×51 Ace uses Magpul’s 7.62×51 PMags. You can get them in a number of sizes as well as a drum if you really want to rock and roll. I bought some 20s, 25s and one of the D50 drums. I’ve not tested the pistol yet but expect it will work great with all of them. Note, both PSA and Gun Mag Warehouse have a variety of mags and drums that will fit.

The 7.62×51 Ace uses readily available Magpul Pmags.

The Manual

I can’t say that I’ve ever read a very good AK manual that has tons of illustrations and covers a lot of topics – operating, cleaning, trouble shooting, and a detailed parts breakdown. The IWI Ace manual really is exceptional. The PDF copy is 88 pages long!

IWI puts all of their operator manuals online – click here to visit their site.

Summary

That’s it for differences I’ve noted thus far. In the next post, I’ll share a number of reviews and videos that I watched before I purchased the unit. By the way, this pistol is amazingly well made. It’s the most impressive firearm in terms of design and execution that I’ve seen in a long time. If you get a deal on one, buy it.


References


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



How a Modern IWI Galil Ace Differs From A Traditional AKM – With Lots Of Photos – Part 1

The Ace is definitely a modernized AK weapon. One look inside confirms that. The Colombian defense firm of Industria Militar (INDUMIL) began a commercial relationship with Israeli Military Industries (IMI) that would later carve out the small arms division to become Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI). Their collaboration was on the Galil Automatic Rifle (AR) and INDUMIL obtained exclusive rights to it.

What the two organizations accomplished is remarkable. The two collaborated and modified 43 of the 96 parts in a base Galil AR to reduce the weight by approximately 1 KG (about 2.2 pounds). 12 of the parts shifted from steel to plastic. The goal wasn’t just to reduce weight, they improved precision as well.

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I bought a Galil Ace pistol chambered in 7.62×51. It’s IWI model GAP51SB. [Click here to see what PSA current has for sale] Because there was a relationship between IWI and INDUMIL, I asked IWI USA to confirm where the Ace series is made and they told they are all made in Israel. I asked more out of curiosity than anything else.

I decided to see how many differences I could observe between it and a traditional AK. I wish I knew enough about Galil’s to compare a traditional Galil AR to the Ace but being an AK guy, I was very curious to see how the Ace compared.

I tried to be objective about things and started out that way but the more I took the pistol apart, the more genuinely impressed I became. So, let me try and catalog the differences with as many photos as I can.

Two Chamber Muzzle Brake

One thing that caught my eye was the two chamber muzzle brake and that it is held on by a jam nut, which is a nut that is tightened uo from the rear against the brake to lock it in place. The thread is 5/8-24 for the 7.62×51 Ace models.

In comparison, an AK-47 typically has a 14mm diameter by 1mm pitch left hand thread (14x1mm LH). They are held in place by a detent pin that protrudes from the front sight block (FSB) and engages a timing groove that secures the brake in the correct orientation. Now, 14×1 LH is typical for AK-47s but once you add in the variants, threads are all over the place with different style brakes and boosters.

Improved Sights

Note the longer sight radius, integral gas block with front sight, aperatrue rear and protected front sight.

There are five things I noticed right away

  • The Ace has a longer sight radius, which is a fancy term meaning the distance from the rear to the front sight is longer. In general, the longer the sight radius, the more accurately the weapon can be aimed.
  • Aperture rear sight – The Ace sports an aperture (meaning a hole you look through) rear sight that has flips to show either a small circular hole for distance work (300-500 meters) or a larger circular hole for close quarters work (0 to 300 meters).
  • Integral Front Sight and Gas Block – The Ace sports a combination gas block that combines the gas and front sight blocks. Note, AK folks use the term “blocks” to refer to the three sub-assemblies that sit on the top of the barrel – the front sight block (FSB), gas block (GB) and rear sight block (RSB).
  • Both the front sight post and the larger rear aperture have Beta Lights – Tritium Gas – for low-light visibility. In general, tritium is radioactive and will last about 10 years. After that, the sights still work but you will not have the glowing effect.
  • The height of sights enables co-witnessing with optics such as red dots.
View of the front sight and you can see the tritium (white dot) painted on the post.
Rear sight with the close quarters aperture flipped up. Note the tritium circles for low light. This close quarter aperture is 0-300 meters.
View of the rear sight showing the smaller aperture sight flipped down. It is used for distance work and the manual identifies it as 300-500 meters.

Ok, this pistol is in 7.62×51 and has an 11.8″ barrel – I’m real curious to see what it can do within 100 yards. The sights are the same used on the full size 16.5″ barreled rifle so I really don’t think the smaller aperture would ever realistically be needed but we will see.

Railed Dust Cover

The dust cover of the Ace is pretty interesting. Most of the cheap aftermarket railed AK dust covers simply aren’t very stable or consistent when the dust cover is removed, installed and the weapon fired – in short, they don’t really work very well.

The Ace dust cover is beefy and installs very firmly with no travel it is a stable platform to build on. The top of the dust cover has a Picatinny rail section on the top that is welded in place. It aligns with the rail section on the gas tube via a small tab.

This tab slides into a corresponding groove on the gas tube to align the two rail sections,

The rear of the dust cover has a second layer of sheet metal wrapping the bottom making for snug fit and reducing flexion.

This is the dust cover = you can see the rail, dual aperature rear sight and the double reinforced rear bottom that mates with receiver.
You can see the welds that secure the rail to the dust cover plus the reinforced rear.

In short, the dust cover is remarkably solid. I actually have to give it a knife hand chop on the rear to get it to seat down fully into the receiver. It needs to fit tight as the installation of the dust cover also locks the gas tube in place.

Milled Receiver

Speaking of the Ace’s receiver, it’s milled and built like a tank. I found it very well machined with nice touches like a funnel design to help guide the recoil rod assembly into position.

As an example of the care taken in the design, note how the seat for the operating rod assembly is funnel shaped to help with installation.

Note, while the modern AK (AKM ) uses a stamped receiver, the Type 2 and Type 3 AK-47s used milled receivers so it’s not entirely new but it does differ from the AKM. In fact, some countries continued to use milled receivers such as Bulgaria, Finland and Israel in at least some of their weapons.

Milled Recoil Assembly With Rubber Seal

The recoil rod and spring assembly is of a tubular style you typically see in RPKs. The benefit of this is a more consistent pressure being applied to the bolt carrier particularly when it comes to lock up. The thumb tab that locks the dust cover in place seems a tad longer than what I see in other AKs. Last comment is that they added a rubber seal at the rear of the assembly to seal out debris.

Here’s the recoil rod assembly with the dust cover removed. You can see the long thumb tab and also the rubber seal. It also gives you a good view of the plat that seals the length of the groove where the bolt cocking lever passes
Shows the recoil spring, tubular rear, round front shaft and retainer. In an AKM, rather than a tube and rod, two pieces of folded wire form the central element and can bounce all over the place. Not a big deal in a typical AK but it does matter when you want to improve consistency.

Forged Galatz Fire Control Group (FCG)

The Ace FCG is very nice. Let’s face it, most AK FCGs reflect and elegantly utilitarian design that isn’t very refined. I have always been impressed by the simplicity of the AK design and what the Ace designers decided to do was to take the enhanced FCG from the IWI Galatz designated marksman’s rifle (DMR) and used it in the Ace weapons.

Here are some differences I noted:

  • A single large forged trigger hook for holding the hammer
  • Engagement surfaces are polished such as where the disconnector grabs the hammer
  • Hammer and trigger springs are separate whereas the AK has two wires spiral wound together that power the hammer and push down the rear of the trigger’s rear ears/bars.
  • The top of the hammer is asymmetrical with only half of the normal bar that adds mass to the top rear of AK hammers. This is what normally gives an AK hammer the hammer-head shark hook.
View of the hammer. Note the polishing. You can see the double-wound hammer spring and a part of the single-wound trigger spring sitting on the left ear of the trigger.
Here it is from another angle. You can see the top rear of the hammer is asymmetrical vs. having the hammer-head shark design typically found in AK rifles.

Out of the box, it felt fair but once I used Superlube grease on the surfaces and Superlube oil on the rotating pins … wow. It is very smooth. [Click here for a blog post I did on Superlube – I use it on all of my firearms now]

Two Selector Levers

An AK has a single selector lever on the right side of the rifle that also serves to seal the receiver. It’s about as basic as you can get. On a semi-auto AK, the selector either physically blocks the trigger from actuating by moving a bar directly above the rear ears of the trigger or it moves out of the way allowing the trigger to move freely. On an automatic weapon it also allows the user to select full-auto or semi-automatic.

The Ace has a thumb control on the left side and more of a switch vs. the traditional long lever on the right side. Internally, the linkages do the same thing for semi-automatic in terms of moving the block bar into or out of position. The Ace has a separate plate for sealing the groove where the cocking handle reciprocates so the selector lever is not doing double-duty in that regard.

Visible are the thumb selector switch at to top of the grip and so is the charging handle and the very interesting articulating plate that pivots down and allows the charging knob to pass by in both directions.
Here’s the right side selector switch located where the traditional long AK selector lever would have been.

Note, the thumb selector connects to the safety bar via a linkage. The movement of the lever is an arc and not a horizontal slider. It is stiff and definitely needs lubrication when you get the weapon. I’ll comment more about that below when reviewing the pistol grip base.

Pistol Grip Base vs. Grip Nut

With AK’s, there tends to be a grip nut or in the case of Yugo-patterned AKs, a grip strap with an integral nut that the grip screw threads into. For the Ace, there is a “pistol grip base” that is uniquely shaped because it has a tube on top and my best guess is that it is to limit travel of the thumb selector and possibly to trap the pin so it can’t back out if it were ever to come loose.

The “barrel” in the middle of the receiver is the top of the “pistol grip base” as IWI terms it in the manual. You can also see the linkage – you’ll definitely want to oil this.
Another angle on the grip nut and thumb selector linkage.
Just behind the selector bar you can see a 6mm thread protruding from the bottom of the receiver. It is threaded into the unique “pistol grip base”.

Bolt Carrier and Bolt

The moment you open up a Galil Ace, you know you are looking at a rifle with an AK heritage and the bolt system clearly is AK inspired. When you look at the bolt and carrier, the refinements are interesting:

  • Most obvious perhaps, the traditional right-hand side cocking left on the bolt carrier has been moved to the left side and is tubular to reduce mass.
  • The bolt carrier has a lightening cut – that would lower mass and impact energy
  • Bolt and carrier do not appear to have serial numbers. While I can’t find confirmation of what I am about to say, perhaps the manufacturing tolernces are so good that the traditional hand fitting and matched components are no longer required.
  • At least for the 7.62×51 version the gas pistol is significantly shorter and has a collar on it.
  • While an AK’s firing pin is free floating, the Ace has a spring loaded firing pin that is pushing it back away from the bolt face. Now some will argue whether this was really needed or not but it is a design difference.
Note the short piston with the collar and that the cocking tube in on the left side.
A better view of the very short gas piston
Here’s a view of the underside of the carrier with the bolt installed. Note the knurling on the kocking lever. I am curious about the pin hole under the cocking tube. It may allow for the swapping out of the lever – some dayI will take it apart and see if this is the actual case.
Here’s the bolt. Definitely a good sized extractor.
Lightening relief/cut on the carrier.
Bottom of the carrier with the bolt removed. Curiously, notice the machining marks where the bolt’s lug would engage with the carrier.

Wrapping Up The First Post

There’s definitely more ground to cover and that will be in the next post. Click here to read it.


References


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.



IWI Galil Ace Pistol In 7.62×51: Development History And Photos Out Of The Box

The Israelis definitely understand the need for quality armaments and let’s start with a quick recap of the history leading up to the Galil. In the 1950s, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) adopted the Belgian FAL but found that their regular drafted troops had a hard time keeping it clean. On one hand, you can blame the troops but on the other you also need to realize that factoring in the dusty environment of the desert, maybe the FAL wasn’t the best design for the situation not to mention its size.

Israeli heavy barrel FAL
Photo Source: Wikipedia

In June 1967, Israel was embroiled in the Six Day War and captured thousands of AK-47 rifles that they then evaluated due to its reliability. The IDF then decided to seek an alternative to the FAL and ultimately went with a design by Yisrael Galil, who had previously helped with the design of the Uzi submachine gun.

Galil’s design was based on the Finnish Valmet Rk 62. The Finn’s also wanted a more refined AK-type rifle and evolved their highly regarded design from the AK that Poland licensed from the Soviets. Compared to the typical AK of the time, the Rk 62 had better metallurgy, a better barrel, an improved sight radius by mounting the rear sight on the dust cover and more.

Valmet Rk 62 rifle with later version plastic furniture and Galil-style roll pin secured buttstock. Photo source: Wikipedia

In terms of the Galil, they took the Rk 62 pattern and evolved the design to the point that it was adopted in 1973 with several models being used. Due to the Military Assistance Program from the United States, 60,000 M16A1 rifles were delivered to the IDF and put into use. Troops liked the M16A1 because it was lighter and more accurate. By 2000, the Galil was mostly phased out of main units and by 2005, it exited the remaining units.

Israeli Military Industries Galil Automatic Rifle (AR) in 5.56x45mm NATO.
Photo from Wikipedia.

The Columbian Connection

Image source: IWI US Media Kit

In 2005, the small-arms division of Israeli Military Industries (IMI), known as “Magen”, was privatized and named Israeli Weapons Industries (IWI). IWI sells small arms all over the world. In 2006, the Colombian company INDUMIL secured exclusive worldwide rights to make GALIL automatic rifles (AR) worldwide – they even sold them to IWI.

With IWI suprevision and technology sharing, from 2006 to 2010, INDUMIL modified 43 of the 96 parts in the Galil AR. Of the 43, 12 steel parts were replaced with plastic and a cumulative savings of approximately 1 KG (2.2 lbs) was achieved. The other 30 parts were modified to improve precision. Thus, in 2010, INDUMIL introduced the Galil Ace. It is now offered in rifle, SBR and pistol configurations chambered for 5.56×45, 7.62×39, and 7.62×51. Here are some photos direct from IWI US:

Galil Ace Rifle chambered in 7.62×51. IWI model GAR1651
Image Source: IWI US Media Kit
Galil Ace Rifle chambered is 7.62×39. IWI model GAR1639.
Image Source: IWI US Media Kit
IWI Galil Ace SBR in 7.62×39. This is the GAR3SBR model.
Image Source: IWI US Media Kit
IWI Galil Ace SBR in 7.62×51, IWI model GAR51SBR.
Image Source: IWI US Media Kit

At this time, Galil Ace rifles are being used in a number of countries including Chile, Columbia and Vietnam. As usual, civilian versions followed including rifles, short barelled rifles (SBRs) and pistol versions to allow people to buy the shorter weapons either with or without braces.

What’s Your Point?

Well, being very interested in Kalahsnikov-related arms, I’ve long wanted to own a Galil. There are a ton of Galil kits available and other projects kepts popping up that precluded me from building a Galil AR. It’s still on my to-do list but I don’t know if I will ever get to it.

So along comes the even more refined Galil Ace weapons. Every single guy I talked to who had one loved it. This includes Scot Hoskinson of RS!Regulate. So, after seeing tons of photos from Scot, I knew I had to get a .308/7.62×51 model and definitely planned on replacing the short handguard with his longer GAR-6M-N unit and I’ll cover that in more detail later.

I started my journey of trying to find one. They were all over Gunbroker with a folding SB Tactical brace installed. To be clear, it’s the SOB brace (I giggle every time I write that product name) on IWI’s folding tube that is dimensioned like some AR pistol buffer tubes at 1.208″. Note, pistol buffer tubes can vary and their outside diameter does not need to be Mil-Spec (1.146″) or Commercial (1.17″). My PSA pistol buffer tube is 1.25″ purely as an example.

This definitely caught my eye – it is the Galil Ace pistol in 7.62×51 with an SB Tactical SOB brace.
Image Source: IWI US Media Kit

I found out a while ago to watch Gunbroker for a while to get a feel for prices so I didn’t jump. As luck would have it, Palmetto State Armory (PSA) ran a sale on the .308 Ace Pistol with the SOB brace for $1,499 and undercut everybody. I jumped on the deal and told PSA to ship it to my friend and FFL, Scott Igert, who owns Michigan Gun Exchange and is now quite used to my billion and one quirks.

Note, PSA sells a variety of IWI Galil Ace rifles and pistols. I find they have very good prices and are reliable. Click here for a current list of what they have and you can order direct from them – they will ship it to your FFL of course.

PSA shipped the unit in a few days and it arrived about a week later. As usual, I had to look it over and was amazed at all the changes from the base AK platform. I took the pistol apart and tried to jot down all the differences to then share with folks and that is what I will do in an upcoming post. What they accomplished is very impressive.

Photos

Until I get the more detailed post done, here are a bunch of photos of my unmodified GAP51SB pistol.


References


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at in**@ro*********.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.