This, the fifth in the series of ISDEF shows in Tel Aviv, shows tremendous growth. The show has almost doubled from last year. What started out as a show sponsored by large contractor, TAR Ideal Concepts Ltd., to gather their associates and customers together has turned into a small but increasingly world class event. We booked SADJ in for next year’s show, of course.
ISDEF is the type of show that all attendees anticipate will continue to grow and attract serious customers. While the younger IDF attendees might not be decision makers, yet, most long term defense contractors understand the “Yet” and work to educate them as to what products are available to solve future military problems. This is not to say that the show wasn’t attracting higher level decision makers because they were certainly there in quantity. There were many nationalities there as well and we noted representatives of the military from many European and South American nations, as well as Asian and Congolese, Ghanaians, and some Egyptians looking to coordinate more closely with the Israeli defense groups.
Scuttlebut was that the IDF is really dropping the .50 BMG (12.7×99) caliber rifle in favor of a .338 Lapua Magnum sniper rifle; the H-S Precision .338LM 2000 series Heavy Tactical Rifle (HTR). This has been reported before as “fact” and was said to be a done deal, but this is the first time that all knowledgeable people we spoke with said it was a full-tilt change-out dropping the big fifties and that the .338s have been seen in action. Apparently the IDF is keeping some old 7.62×51 rifles running as well: that would be the Knight SR25 and the M24. IDF soldiers said to us that it “Just makes sense. The .338 LM rifles don’t weigh too much more than 7.62 rifles and extend anti-personnel range out to a solid 1,200-1,400 meters with a good shooter.”
Gilboa rifles are from the Israeli company Silver Shadow. This is the same group making the “Corner Shot” round-the-corner platform for handguns, short carbines and 40mm launchers. The Corner Shot is now pretty well known. Perhaps the most interesting information was that IMI’s weapons designer Efraim Yaari is now with the Firearms Laboratory Development group at Silver Shadow. The two most important things in this writer’s opinion are their 7.62x39mm piston operated M16 clone with AK magazines, and the “APR.”
The APR is called the Assault Pistol Rifle, in 5.56x45mm using standard M16 mags. It has a rail top, and the charging handle is moved to the left side of the upper and is easy to get to. (Yes, the handle travels with the bolt carrier.) The bolt carrier has been changed to a Negev or UltiMax type and the recoil assembly is behind the bolt carrier with a long spring and rod reaching to the front for a modified constant recoil performance. Efraim insists it is smooth and they are getting zero carrier tilt even though the piston is above centerline by necessity. There is a rail on the rear that allows for a quick attachment of side-folding buttstock, but the system can also be fired as a machine pistol.
On the 7.62x39mm M16 variant, this is a piston operated weapon, and a very natural design. (www.silver-shadow.com)