Attendees at LAAD in Rio De Janerio saw a new firearm from IWI this week. News sources ran with what little they could find, most prominently my old friends at The Firearm Blog.
Considering the number of IWI rifles I’ve owned and tinkered with, a new line is exciting stuff. In this post we’re going to go over what we know, and make some guesses based on the photographs released so far.
First, the obvious: this is a non-bullpup polymer-shell 5.56 gun running off a piston system with lots of ambidexterity and built in adjustment.
My first question is: why this and not the Galil Ace?
I’d suggest that while the Ace is a long-stroke piston, the Carmel will be a short stroke piston. That’s a marked departure from previous IWI guns (both the Tavor and X95 have their pistons attached to the bolt carrier) but matches expectations from other players in the “modern-carbine” game.
The Tavor and Ace families may not have a lot in the way of gas adjustments, but the Carmel sports a very prominent gas-block, apparently outfitted with easy settings for standard, fouled, and suppressed setups.
Looking at the fore-end, I think it’s fair to say we have an X95 style “hidden quad rail” underneath those grip panels. Take a look at the lift levers on each part of the handguard, and sure enough you can see the pic rails exposed on the promo photo outfitted with the 40mm under-barrel launcher. The magwell attachment on that launcher looks like quite a chunk of hard-ware.
The charging handle looks to be folding and reversible, and I would certainly hope non-reciprocating. Almost every single photo I’ve seen appears to have the dust cover closed, so its hard to get any idea of what the bolt might be like, although promo material suggests a 3-lug rotating bolt.
The barrel on these is being advertised as a quick-change system and free-floating. I’m not sold on the necessity of quick change barrels outside of an LMG, but if you can build it, why wouldn’t you? More importantly, the note on free floating suggests that IWI is putting accuracy at the forefront of this new rifle family.
Just look at the size of that bolt-release! We’ve come a long way from the ping-pong paddle, and it looks like the lever on the right side can be manipulated to lock the bolt to the rear. I like to imagine that it’s a right-side-release of its own too, the shape certainly suggests it, but it’s hard to say that with certainty.
The stock seems to be a lift-to-fold design, with adjustable length, and a built in adjustable cheek riser. Also interesting: take a look at the hinged butt-plate. I’d bet a stack of bullion that there’s some kind of storage system inside there.
The pistol grip itself is distinctly more vertical than many off-the-shelf rifles, bearing closer resemblance to the aftermarket K-grips. That grip doesn’t look modular to me, but its interesting that the entire lower receiver is so low on the gun and such a small part compared to your normal half-and-half split.
Look at where the bottom of the pistol grip is compared to the bottom of the stock, and then look at your closest AR-15. I bet this feels very different in the shoulder.
We can see several metal sling mounts built into the stock and fore-end, but there’s no sign of the QD slots that were a key part of adapting the X95 for consumer use. IWI has effectively said that this rifle is currently being firmly pitched to South American military and police contracts.
Will a semi-specific version someday make it’s way to the commercial market? That seems like a natural progression, but no timeline or plan on that yet. What do you think: Is this the kind of thing we’ll see submitted for classification and on the civilian ranges in Canada?