IDF Tavor 1 on 1 After Action Review

This is an After Action Report written by Michael, who attended the course! I’ve published it in it’s entirety here with his permission. I’m far too closely tied to this project to offer an objective review of my own. Thanks Mike!

Nov 6-8, 2015
Calgary Shooting Center
Instructor: Lovie Malespin
Facilitator: Edward Osborne –TV PressPass
Zahal: Yoav Dotan
Prologue, Friday Evening.

Participants met at the Calgary Shooting Center and were welcomed warmly by the CSC staff. We were led to the member’s only area and eventually to the Cinema range where tables were set up for the students. Timmie’s and donuts were supplied (not to worry about calories, they would be worked off).
A brief introduction by Edward Osborne, course facilitator was made with a little history of the Tavor being presented. Mr. Osborne has a very detailed knowledge of the Tavor platform.

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Introductions by the students were made and the shooting instructor Lovie introduced herself and gave a brief overview of her life while serving in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) as an instructor. Overall there were 20 students present Friday evening, with one more to show up on Saturday.

Edward also introduced us to a firearm safety device that both plugged the full length of the bore and the chamber. This is what we used to dry practice with over the weekend. Ed also covered proper disassembly of the bolt carrier group, for both the TAR-21 and SAR-21 with proper lubrication points.

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Saturday, Nov 7
Dry practice – Morning

Started the day with quick shuttle runs, interspersed with pushups. After we were out of breath, Lovie had us come to a stop and started off with explanation of the Het or the Hebrew letter that stands for the semi square of soldiers that stand around the instructor so that everyone hears instructions, commands and orders. Over the course, I found it to be very effective. Got into Het and was called out numbers for roll call, these were to be our numbers for the weekend. When Het was called, we would get into the semi square and call our numbers in order to ensure that all students, facilitator and Instructor were present. Counting stopped until the person not present was accounted for (bathroom break, etc).

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With Het in order, Lovie started explaining the IDF Ready position. This is the position we would start each exercise from, basically a reset switch. Then we moved on to the IDF standing position, which for myself felt very weird at first, but got accustomed to it by course end. A thing to mention about the IDF
shooting positions, it that they are born from combat, not simulation, or thought up at a desk. The reality is, the IDF has gone to being more focused on urban fighting, and the IDF standing position is the evolution of that combat mindset, even down to the way you kick your lead foot when you place it on the ground, to kick debris out of the way. In practice, on a concrete square range, it is one item that all of us forgot about very quickly. In this regard, an outdoor range would have helped to cement that movement. The other item to mention about the IDF standing position, is that not all troops are issued armor, so the emphasis is on reducing the troops profile.

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After some more dry practice doing Ready and Standing, we started movement with them. Running towards our targets, then coming to a shuffle/stutter stop. Then shuffling ahead. During all of these positions, the Tavor is always held parallel to the ground, either at just slightly higher than the hip (Ready), or at the shoulder (Standing). Lovie was very adamant about muzzle control during these exercises, muzzle down, or muzzle up was not acceptable due to range considerations.

During the explanation of the IDF standing position, the points of contact with the Tavor were discussed, in all there are 5 points of contact with the Tavor. Using the IDF standing position allows for all 5 points of contact to be made naturally.

During dry practice with our chamber and bore blockers installed, trigger reset was emphasized. This led to a discussion of the IDF way of addressing the Tavor trigger. The stock trigger with the rifle usually comes in around 11lb. considering this, and that the IDF trains both Men and Women on its use, they have a unique way of addressing the trigger. Instead of using the index finger pad, they use the index mid finger joint.
A brief introduction into stoppages / chamber checks were covered as well on Day 1.

Mag changes were covered. The IDF way of reloading the Tavor is to tilt the rifle up 60-65° and the mag well approx. 45° to the support / weak hand. The magazine is then stripped out with the support / weak hand and either dumped on the ground or stored in a dump pouch (situation dependant). Then a fresh mag is inserted into the mag well and the bolt release button is depressed with the thumb. Lovie teaches that the fresh mag is held mid mag, with the thumb in the thumbs up position, this is to help the shooter index the mag when inserting it and to feel the mag well upon insertion. Then that thumb is used to depress the bolt release.

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During mag changes, Lovie was very vocal about not looking at the rifle, but keeping your head up and looking at the enemy.

Because of the sheer volume of mag changes, and not having everyone picking up spent mags everywhere, the drill progressed to (upon shooters discretion) to stripping the mag out, retaining it, touching your back with it, then reinserting it into the mag well to complete the drill. I found this to be effective as it takes the mag out of your sight, then you have to re-index to get it back in the mag well. As well, with the concrete floor, I wrecked a mag from throwing on the floor too many times.

Live Fire Day 1 – Afternoon

Earlier in the course, the group was split into 4 squads: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta. The first group up was A & B.

Started off with 10 rds slow fire, using AR 15 pistol mags or Beowulf mags. Cadence was introduced to the group, 1 shot, pause, 1 shot, pause, 1 shot for a slow fire rate. In discussion with Lovie, she mentioned that full auto fire for the IDF is for the light/heavy machine gunner, not the rifleman. There is slow and rapid fire only.

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The group progressed to three shot slow fire strings, mag reloads, waiting on command to fire etc. We spent around 1hr 45mins on live fire and roughly around 100 rds. The pace was very quick with only 6 shooters on the line at a time. While one group was shooting, the other was reloading and watching those on the line to see mistakes in stance and to learn from them. Safety while on the live range was very good.
Lovie instructing on the finer points of the IDF shooting stance.

When we came off the line, we went for a session with Ed in the lounge.

Ed went through how to tie the knots for the slings on a Tavor. Although I missed the exact knots he used, I did pick up where he placed the knots, which worked great on my Tavor. My sling no longer catches the bolt release.

Ed also helped change over a rifle to left handed version, and helped add newly purchased accessories to student’s rifles.

Student Supper.

After a day of training we all met up at Limericks for some much needed refreshments.

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November 8th Day 2
Dry Practice – Morning

Shuttle runs…. Just to warm up, with pushups…… My legs were sore from Day 1, but the fun was just starting…..

After review of the prior day’s stances, Lovie moved onto IDF kneeling, which is much like what I am used to, with the minor difference of front leg placement. I am more used to having my kneeling look like an L shape, whereas the IDF kneeling is more T shaped.

Doing the kneeling exercises, now the fun began, with doing multiple repetitions very quickly, kneeling, standing, ready, kneeling, standing, etc. Then we occasionally had Lovie jump on our backs and command us to stand. She jumped off, as soon as we started to push up. IMO, she was looking for us to make the effort, not just accept that she was on our back. This progressed further as she kept instructing us to look at the target no matter what.

During the dry practice positions, Lovie and her partner, Zahal’s Yoav, were constantly testing the stability of our positions by pushing us, moving our rifles, exerting pressure on our shoulders, etc. If we
were moved, we had to recover and get back on target. *NOTE* this was done during dry practice only, NOT during live fire.

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Next up was prone position. Much like other prone positions, this one has the shooters support / weak hand come to the ground approx. 45° in front of them, whereas they kick out their legs, with the strong leg’s (strong arm) foot ending up in line with the rifle, and the other leg making a 90° with the inside of both feet on the ground. The upper body is held very high to make use of the 5 points of contact. If you are not wearing plates, or a chest rig, it’s fairly difficult to do properly. On the other hand if you are wearing a chest rig or plates, it works very well.

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Dry practice again with all the positions. Ready, standing, prone, up, kneeling, all in very fast repetition.

Dry Practice – Morning

There were three stoppages discussed. Lovie mentioned that there were actually 11 stoppages that the IDF deal with.

First – Bolt fully forward
Second – Bolt partially closed
Third – Bolt fully back.

The IA for each one was as follows:

Check chamber, yell out Mabat, and identify stoppage by number, then:

First – Tap the magazine into the mag well, rack the bolt, chamber check. Do not move from position.

Second – Move to cover, or to kneeling if standing, or prone if kneeling or roll if in prone. Then rip mag out and retain, charge the action three times, reinsert mag, charge the action to load, chamber check.

Third – Move to cover, or to kneeling if standing, or prone if kneeling or roll if in prone. Remove mag and either discard or place in dump pouch, insert fresh magazine, charge the action, chamber check.

Then a lot more dry practice using everything learned to date.

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Afternoon Live Fire.

Squad C & D started with live fire, while squads A & B were with Edward in the lounge. Ed gave us three choices of what we could do with our time. We could do more dry practice, we could learn about Night Vision and Thermal systems, or we could go over knots in more detail and more technical knowledge about the Tavor. Well, looks like I was the only one rooting for more dry practice.. Night Vision and Thermal were the course topics for that 1 1/2hr session. Ed has very good knowledge of these systems from his time working for Scout Base Camp. Gen 1, Gen 3 and iPhone thermal systems were discussed and demonstrated as well as a PEQ-4 unit.

When it was our time to go to the range, we came into Het and received our instructions from Lovie. All the positions (with exception of rolling) were going to be used, as well as inducing all three stoppages. Shot strings were no more than 7 rds.

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This is when Lovie took the time to correct my chamber checks. Up to that particular point of intervention, I had been chamber checking like I was checking a 1911, only looking at the end of the brass then letting the bolt go forward. But because I was not pulling it back far enough, there was not enough spring tension to fully go into battery. She bluntly told me that she had been watching me screw it up all weekend and it was time to stop it. She told me to pull it back farther and let go of the bolt. After a few times to get it right, it worked like a charm. I later asked her if in her instructional career with the IDF if she had seen troops fully rack the action while doing a chamber check due to adrenaline dump, she said flat out that, No she had not.

Final Ex.

Consisted of three magazines, two with 6rds each, one with 6 rds, but an induced malfunction. Basically on the command Attack and progress through the exercise. There would be at least a number 2 and 3 malfunction during the course of fire.

After that, we were told we had 10mins to clean up our gear and meet up in the lounge for certificate handouts and course close outs.

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Equipment Used

Of course I used a Tavor. My Tavor is equipped with a Trijicon 4×32 ACOG and Surefire scout light. The trijicon has stadia for out to 600yds. Usually I use 75gr Hornady steel match zeroed at 100m. To my delight, using 55gr Norinco, without changing elevation, zeros out at 50/200m, 25/400m, 12/600m. This was verified using the Valleyview range. I only had to adjust my windage 3clicks to the right for the 55gr bullet. The system worked flawlessly. Thanks to Ed instructing me how to properly lubricate my Tavor, no “real” stoppages were encountered. The sling used was a Magpul MS3, which after adjustments and retying my knots worked great. Steel magazines, thrown constantly on a concrete floor, will deform…

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Manticore buttpads were for sale during the course as well. With a great price to course participants how could I lose? The buttpad is a great replacement for the stock Tavor buttpad, throwing the rifle to my shoulder just felt better, and stayed in place better than the stock one. In discussion with Ed, he mentioned that the thick stock buttpad is for use with a 40mm GL. The other accessory I saw a lot of was the Podium. This slick little piece of kit attaches to the bottom of the hand guard and allows the rifle to
be at rest vertically. A button at the back releases two prongs that make a triangle with the third point being the rear of the handguard.

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Course observations.

This was a course of IDF shooting position fundamentals featuring the use of the Tavor. Over the course, as I observed Bravo squad during live fire, I noticed that those who really bought into the IDF shooting positions, were making very consistent groups at the 12m mark. Lovie did not critique the groups or shot placement on target with any of the students (to my knowledge anyway), she critiqued our shooting positions, manipulations and malfunction clearances. This was not a “shoot little groups on paper course”, it was about building the platform to do so. As was explained to us, she took a week long course, often 20hrs a day, and condensed it into 2hrs on Friday, 8hrs on Saturday and 7hrs on Sunday.

All the students I had the good fortune to meet, were great to talk to, easy to work with and fun to hang around with. Great group of guys for a great introductory course from Zahal.

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Summary

The course that Zahal put on was very professionally done. The quality of instruction, in my opinion, was top notch. Lovie, in her charming way, made sure each student’s cup of knowledge was filled. Could we have done more? Sure, with more hours, extra days, outdoor range for longer shots, but what was compressed into 17hrs was enough to keep me analyzing and practicing it for weeks to come, and leave with a taste of wanting more.

It was great that Yoav brought goodies from Israel with him. He knew that Lovie was going to be teaching kneeling, he had the foresight to grab kneepads with him before he left Israel.

One thing that really stood out in my mind about Lovie and Yoav was the lack of ego from them. Easy and relaxed when not engaged in business, they did not bring baggage with them to prove that they were the best or otherwise. Lovie stated it up front that the IDF is one of the best armies on the planet, something that to me is true.

Ed Osborne, TV PressPass, was fantastic to getting all the admin and behind the scenes work done. A very down to earth gentleman, he helped to make the course flow smoothly. Without him, a lot of good Tavor knowledge would not have been passed on.

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We had two CSC range officers present during the course, Brett and Carl, they helped to facilitate the range, were students, and RSO’s during live fire. To my knowledge, they did not have to take action once with a student, Lovie took care of any issues that were in contravention of her range commands or that may have compromised safety.

Over the span of the course, Carl and Brett were great in helping the students with range related issues, hall passes, showing me all the cool new Sig toys – ok, just the MCX, but DAMN that is one nice rifle!! They helped set up tables, sweep brass, just everything you would expect from a top notch facility.
Thank you to everyone that was there, it was a great weekend.

– Michael
Dude in G.P.

  • GeerGuy

    Great write up. I was doing the exact same thing with my “press checks”…basically half-assing it and I had a few extra failures because of it, which I blamed on the mags. Once you get the technique down it really is worth the time to make sure that you are good to go. Thanks to everyone involved with this course.