The Tavor 7: Light Placement

Let’s talk light placement on Tavor Rifles, as I’ve seen the topic pass a few times.

The T7, and to a lesser degree the X95, are a different geometric beast than the Z-15, ACE, or most “conventional rifles.” The T7 especially exhibits this, it is a deep bodied rifle. This “tall” geometry and resulting handguard means we must reshape our thinking away from the concentric handguard design we can wrap our hands around. This compounds the already limited front space on bullpups, because they are bullpups. This also, conveniently, sums up most arguments against the Tavor design. They just don’t gel with the shape.

But back to lights. I have found three methods of light placement that workout well on the T7.

  1. Tape Switch: This is my least preferred method simply due to hand comfort, the same reason I run BCM Mod3 grips and matching shorty VFGs on most platforms. But it is likely the most workable of all three solutions for most users.

    Mounting the light in an out of the way space and using a tape switch at roughly 3 o’clock or 9 o’clock positions allows use of the rail space economy and a way to activate the light with both your support hand and your shooting hand, if swapped.

    The downside of this method is mostly the environmental vulnerability. Tape switch wires are more vulnerable to snagging, the wire interfacing egress is more vulnerable to moisture and dirt intrusion, and tape switches and their wires usually wear out much faster than their host lights. No, these should not deter you from trying a tape switch, they are just factors you need to note for your maintenance needs.
  2. 12 O’Clock Mount, Mirrored Switch: This method works well with two particular and popular light body styles. The Surefire X300U A/B and the Streamlight TLR7A/8A/9 (and the announced today 10)

    These lights feature a mirrored left/right switch that activates for both momentary and constant on with upward and/or forward pressure from your thumb (which would be downward and/or forward pressure from your thumb or trigger finger on a handgun)

    While the T7 design makes it more difficult to reach over the top rail and press down, into the rifle, for a light activation, it lends itself handily to upward and forward activations. The activation is mirrored so firing from the off/support shoulder and with your hands swapped is a mirrored use your light, along with the rest of your body position.

    Downsides to this method are primarily switch vulnerability related. The activation switches are in a location they can be bumped on, there are methods to mitigate this risk though. Secondarily this will result in a somewhat occluded sight picture depending upon your optic choice as the light will sit in about the same position as a front sight and will have a higher profile than that sight (folded). I did not find either of these to be a significant problem, just vulnerabilities to account for in choosing a method, just like the tape switch.
  3. Support Side Mounted, Offset Up: My preferred method and the one that is pictured. It works with Modlites, Surefire Scouts, and Streamlight ProTac series lights.

    Using an offset mount, the light is held at about the 10 o’clock to the handguard (2 o’clock for lefties), in a position where my support thumb can activate the momentary/constant tailcap comfortably. The tailcaps offer the most environmental resistance to water and debris and are crowned to help prevent negligent activation.

    I can shoot this and work the light from both shoulders, most easily by only switching shoulders and not switching my hand placement (something I prefer not to do unless I am going to be shooting or holding off/support shoulder for an extended period) and activation can still be done by reaching across the top rail to the tailcap.

    The weakness of this setup is using it off your support shoulder, with your hands swapped. It is doable but requires the most movement from your hand to reach the switch. While your hand is across the top rail you will also partially occlude your sight picture, though not to an useable level. With a magnified optic, either fixed power or dialed up, you will probably not see your hand, I don’t with the Elcan set to 4x.

So, there you have it, the three most comfortable and functionally ambidextrous ways I have found to run lights on the T7, and by extension deep bodied rifles in general. I run a very similar setup on my X95, but as an SBR my thumb tucks behind the charging handle where on the T7 there is plenty of space in front of it.

Of final note, yes there will be a little carbon build up on the lens of longer bodied lights in the shown configuration, with the stock muzzle device. Changing the device and/or adding a suppressor will eliminate it entirely if you don’t like wiping the lens every now and then.

Thank you for coming to my LED talk.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.