Since MAC started to review the new IMI Tavor, he has been searching for the perfect optic for the Israeli bullpup. It just so happens that I have a Meprolight MOR on T&E from The Mako Group, the official importer of all the Meprolight optics for the North American market and the optic of choice by IDF Special Forces.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) were one of the first militaries to understand the importance of an optic equipped rifle for every infantryman. The standard reflex sight of the IDF is the Meprolight M21, but a select few in each unit are issued a specialized reflex sight with a built-in laser designator. The first in this new class of sights was the MARS (Multi-purpose Aiming Reflex Sight). The MARS integrated an AA battery-powered red reflex sight, dual laser designators and a tethered pressure switch for activation in a single unit.
A small number of MARS sights were acquired by the US military during the early days of the War on Terrorism and the US Marines used it in the furious close-quarter fights during the Battle of Fallujah. However, the MARS sight was quickly withdrawn from US service due to some severe design issues. The MARS has a ruggedly built cast aluminum housing but this makes it a bit heavy at almost 16 ounces. The field of view is narrow for a reflex sight due to its smallish 25mm objective lens. The biggest complaint against the MARS was the short 200-hour battery life. Backup iron sight were out of the question since the MARS is too tall to allow for a proper co-witness.
The IDF isn’t happy with the MARS either, but they have retained it in service since it’s the only commonly available weapon mounted laser designator they have in inventory. I have been told that IDF is not buying any new MARS sights and their last order was several years ago. Meprolight was tasked by the IDF to develop a replacement for the MARS. In 2010, Meprolight released the Mepro MOR and it quickly became the favorite weapon sight of the IDF Special Forces.
The Meprolight MOR has a lot of interesting technologies and design features packaged into a single unit. It’s so feature rich that it took me a while to figure out how the MOR’s tri-power (fiber optic, tritium and battery) illumination system works. Another well-known reflex sight that has a similar tri-power illumination is the Trijicon TX30 TriPower. The Trijicon is known to have similar drawbacks of of the MARS, namely a short battery life. It also suffers from dim tritium and light leak through its fiber optic collector when battery illumination is in use. Meprolight took a different approach in designing the MOR’s tri-power illumination system. The tritium and fiber optic components are essentially the same as the Meprolight M21 reflex sight. Right behind that system you have the battery powered illumination technology used in the new Meprolight M5 reflex sight. This is a complex and expensive arrangement of systems but it effectively addresses all the design deficiencies of both the MARS and the Trijicon TriPower.
The first thing many will notice about the Meprolight MOR is its shockingly high price range of $1200 (single laser) to $1600 (dual-lasers). It’s actually a reasonable price considering that the MOR includes 2x reflex sights and a laser designator all in one unit. Lets do an equivalent cost break down:
- $563 – Meprolight M21 dual-illumination reflex sight
- $450 – Meprolight M5 battery-powered reflex sight
- $825 – Laser Device DBAL-I2 dual-beam (red & IR) laser designator
Total of: $1838
The MOR dual-laser model is still cheaper by $200. Unlike using separate devices, a single internal zeroing mechanism is used in the MOR for both reflex sights and the laser designator, which eliminates the need to zero each unit independently. The same two AA batteries power both the sight and the laser for thousands of hours.
For additional cost comparison, the EoTech EOLAD sells for $1500. The EOLAD is an EoTech 552 with a Laser Device DBAL-I2 piggyback mounted to the left of the protective hood. The lasers on the EoTech requires the operator to zero the red dot sight and the laser independently and each unit requires it’s own battery. The now discontinued Insight ISM-IR, which cost $5000, consisted of a reflex sight and dual lasers. It was developed for the defunct XM-8 rifle program. Both the EoTech and the Insight are only equipped with one reflex type sight instead of the two found on the Meprolight MOR.
The 30mm objective lens on MOR offers a similar field of view as most of the reflex sights on the market. The lens uses a greenish coating like the M21 but the lens seems to be a bit brighter on the MOR. The MOR’s fiber optic illumination is a bright orange colored dot when used during daylight hours. The tritium illumination at night is dimmer than the Meprolight M21’s for use with night vision equipment. The battery-powered illumination has 3 levels of adjustment and shares the same orange reticle color. The available reticles are a 3 MOA dot or a Bullseye that features a dot inside of a segmented circle. Although the MOR has a polymer housing it still weights 15.8 ounces. The MOR’s use of two AA batteries in two separated sealed storage compartments contributes to the weight of the unit.
The advanced polymer material used in the construction of the MOR makes it scratch and shock resistant in addition to being submersible in water. The non-removable tethered pressure switch can be mounted to the handguard of an AR15 but is designed to fit inside the Tavor’s handguard. The Tavor’s handguard features a special button cutout for concealment of the tether cable and allows for flush mounting the switch on the left side of the front handguard. The Meprolight MOR mounts to any 1913 style picatinny rail by way of its dual QD levers. If you have an IDF version of the U.S. Tavor, you can check with the Mako Group to see if they can supply you with the special mount to adapt it to your rifle.
On my AR-15, the MOR has a lower sight height than the MARS but it’s still too tall for an effective co-witness with the iron sights. The tops of the iron sights are barely above bottom of the lens. The Mako Group told me that the IDF is not concerned with using backup iron sight with the MOR since it offers redundancy from its dual reflex sights, lasers and batteries. In fact, IDF soldiers that are equipped with the Meprolight MOR on their M16 or M4 are not issued a flip-up rear back-up sight. Even the power system of the MOR has built-in redundancy as the MOR’s as the entire system will run on a single AA battery from either battery compartment. If one battery dies or fails, the MOR automatically switches to the second battery. As long as there’s ambient light, the fiber optic will illuminate the MOR’s reticle. The tritium illumination is warrantied for 10-years and it should be remain usable for 13-14 years. Should an operator find themselves in a rare light condition rendering the dual-illumination unusable, all they need to do is flip the power source selector switch to enable the battery-powered illuminated reticle on the Meprolight MOR.