It is a .223 bullpup with a 19” barrel that uses a short stroke gas piston and a rotating bolt, along with a reciprocating charging handle. At its core, the Type 97 is a civilian version of the Chinese QBZ-95 rifle; standard issue to the Peoples Liberation Army.
With a retail price just under a $1000, the T97 is the robust, capable black-rifle that any Canadian can afford to own and shoot, despite our flawed firearms legislation.
This is the latest version, imported by North Sylva as the T97NSR, manufactured by EMI (aka Norinco) in the People’s Republic of China.
The FAMAE Firearms Family is a product of the Chilean state-owned manufacturing company Fábricas y Maestranzas del Ejército and the Swiss Arms company, formerly Sig Sauer. The Chileans have licensed the original Sig540 design to outfit their armed forces.
This platform from the 1970s has been adapted into many variants with specific weapons for military and police use. They cover every base: large 7.62×51 designated marksman rifles, solid 5.56 assault rifles, short barrelled paratrooper carbines, 9mm sub-machine guns, snub-nosed personal defense weapons, and even police-specific options chambered for the World War II .30 carbine round.
Some of the semi-auto variants are exported to Canada, where they find a welcome home in the gun-starved north.
For those of you who remember: we started getting seeing these new Vz58 releases in Canada late last year as an alternative to the “flat paddle” design that came out of Czech republic.
I’ve spent a few months using this ambidextrous magazine release, a factory magazine release, and an extended magazine release from NEA.
The ambi-release is far and away my favourite method when it comes to reloading the Vz58 platform.
I’d consider this to be one of the least cosmetic upgrades to the Cz858/Vz58 platform. Definitely changes the mechanics for the better!
A short list of upgrades on this rifle:
Fab-Defense pistol grip, Czech military muzzle brake, Fiber optic front and rear sights, the mag release and 7.62 magpuls on all the magazines. Throw a blue force gear sling on there and she’s ready for the woods!
Now there’s some discussion over whether this is a real phenomenon or not. From what I could see, on my rifle, it seems quite likely that the rear profile of the polymer magpul p-mag is touching the bolt hold open device just enough to raise it and have it interact with the bolt even when the magazine has rounds in it.
I believe this to be the source of the jams and failure to feeds I experienced previously.
This is a combined video of my review of the Leupold HAMR and the run and gun exercises I’ve done with it. Its a 4X32 scope and red-dot combo. The full (long) cut of the run and gun is right after the jump . . .
Well it seems like I’ve finally done something wrong to this gun. She’s failing with disturbing regularity. Sometimes the round doesn’t make it into the chamber, and instead get bit by the bolt. Sometimes the bolt cycles and doesn’t grab anything. Sometimes the bolt-hold open device fails to engage.
After some substantial troubleshooting, I determined damage had happened to my bolt and bolt hold open device, possibly due to resting on a magazine, but also potentially from the magpul p-mags that I’ve been using. You can see the way they interact . . .
This combination took me a while to set up. Installing the full length top rail was a huge pain in the ass but it allowed me to mount a 512 eo-tech and riser in front of my ATN Spirit. With a Gen 2+ tube its not the best NVD available, but its certainly a cut above entry level units. Using a 1x lens and picatinny mount in conjunction with the IR output of the Inforce WML means I can confidently engage targets within 100 yards.
While current generation Tavors come with a full length rail, I had to buy mine from Canada Ammo. Made by Ranch Tactical, this rail is certainly a cut above the NEA equivalent, but it does have some fitting issues still. The rail fits over the lower profile gas block, effectively removing the rear flip up sight and covering the IWI proprietary NVD or magnifier mount.
The night vision I’m using now came from this site here:
This video was shot approximately a week after I finally picked up my Tavor. Lots of people told me this was an IMI rifle, but its stamped with an IWI logo right on the side, so I’ll proudly argue anyone who wants to that this is manufactured by Israeli Weapons Industries and not Israeli Military Industries. More on that later.