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TAAS reveals new handgun, rifle

Josey1Josey1 Member Posts: 15,758
edited May 2002 in General Discussion
TAAS reveals new handgun, rifle
By ARIEH O'SULLIVAN


Opening the gates to its Academy for Security and Anti-Terror Training to journalists for the first time yesterday, TAAS Israel Industries revealed its newest handgun, the Barak.

TAAS also displayed publicly the Tavor, which it claims is the world's lightest and shortest assault rifle. These awkward looking weapons, which have the ammunition magazines stuck into the butt behind the trigger, have been in trials with the IDF's Givati Brigade. TAAS hopes the IDF will soon choose it to replace the US-made M-16, but IDF officials have said privately that the cost is too high.

The double action Barak pistol is the first totally Israeli-produced handgun and an executive said it would soon be available in stores to meet the swelling demand for weapons.

The new pistol is just one by-product of the fear brought on by the Palestinian terror attacks on Israel. Long a provider of weapons and munitions, TAAS is naturally trying to cash in on the rising demand not only for handguns, but also for trained guards.

There has been an increasing demand for guards ever since police made it mandatory for businesses to provide protection against suicide bombers. Security companies have sprung up overnight offering to fill the void.

"Any clown can open up a guard business, pack a few targets in the back of a van, and teach people how to shoot at the local garbage dump," said Ami Maor, director-general of the academy.

On the high-end of the security training are just a few academies, mostly set up by former commandos and Shin Bet agents. TAAS opened the doors to its academy in 1999 and has been quietly training government, military, and private corporations ever since.

Located just adjacent to a secret military base in the center of the country near Nahal Sorek, the 400-dunam base can house, feed, and train clients on site and has set up numerous shooting ranges and classrooms.

With such a set-up, Maor would naturally like to see a system of accreditation put into effect for those training guards.

"This would immediately eliminate all of the pretenders," Maor said.

The situation in Israel today has many businesses taking anyone, giving them a weapon, and calling them a guard just to prevent the police from punishing them.

Maor thinks this attitude is irresponsible. Most public government and public institutions, however, do give their guards some training and this is where places like the TAAS academy flourishes.

Taking a break from pistol shooting practice, Juamis Haled Ibrahim recalled his 30 years of service as a guard for the Jewish Agency. A native of the Beduin town of Beit Zarzir, Ibrahim believes the training is a must for all guards.

"We do a five-day course and then refresher classes once every three months. Those who have guns but aren't trained in how to use them are ineffective at best and dangerous at worse," he said.

Foreign clients make up about 30 percent of business for the academy. Hopes that it would grow following the 9/11 terror attacks in America failed to materialize. Maor attributes this to the actual fear of sending teams to Israel for training.

"It should have grown, but the intifada scared them off," Maor said.

For the moment, the anti-terror school has clients from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. It also runs cooperative programs with the United States, Greece, India, and Angola.

Maor said they take precautions against training dubious clients, like bodyguards for drug lords and Mafia bosses, etc.

"We need approval from Sibat and anyone who doesn't get this approval cannot train here," Maor said, referring to the Defense Ministry's Assistance and Defense Export Department.

As for the Barak, thepistol weighs a very light 740 grams. TAAS has made it in three calibers: 9 mm, and 40 and 45 caliber, mainly for the US market. An added feature is the de-cocker, which shuts the hammer after a bullet is put into the chamber.

"This is how those crazy Americans like to walk around, so we added that feature," said Eitan Shimi, the designer of the pistol.

The pistol costs about NIS 2,700 to 3,000. Unlike the earlier Jericho pistol that had components manufactured abroad, the Barak is 100 percent "blue and white."

Meir Roth, one of Israel's leading handgun experts, said yesterday he was anxious to see the new Barak. "I heard it existed, but they haven't launched it yet. I would be very happy to see a 'blue and white' pistol because that would be something this country could be very proud of," Roth said.
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"If cowardly and dishonorable men sometimes shoot unarmed men with army pistols or guns, the evil must be prevented by the penitentiary and gallows, and not by a general deprivation of a constitutional privilege." - Arkansas Supreme Court, 1878
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