To learn more, visit https://www.iwi.us/X95/XB16.aspx
Buy one on GunsAmerica – https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=x95
IWI US is known for its bullpup rifles. The 5.56mm Tavor was originally introduced to the US market back in 2013 and has been a tremendous hit. With more than 60,000 rifles out in the wild, saying that Israeli-based, US-made firearm has done well is an understatement. Now with the introduction of the new X95 variant of the Tavor, IWI US is attempting to convert the rest of the US into a nation of bullpup fans.
- Chambering: 5.56 NATO
- Barrel: 16.5 inches
- OA Length: 26.15 inches
- Weight: 7.9 pounds
- Stock: Polymer
- Sights: Folding; front sight (tritium insert), rear sight (aperture)
- Action: Closed rotating bolt, long stroke gas piston
- Finish: Matte black
- Capacity: 30+1 (AR/M16 magazines)
- MSRP: $1,999
Looking at the bullpup design as a whole, it is clear that they struggle with ergonomics. Historically it has always been difficult to perform magazine changes, clear malfunctions or unload the rifles. You name it, the bullpup makes it just a bit harder (but you gain compact handling characteristics and good ballistic performance). Does the X95 suffer from these shortcomings?
In my opinion, yes the X95 does. But only if you are moving to this rifle from another style of firearms. Looking at this rifle compared to an AR-15 or an AK-pattern weapon, yes the ergonomics are a bit of a stretch. It will be awkward to do magazine changes, clear malfunctions and engage targets.
Does this mean that the average shooter can’t pick up an X95 and competently use the rifle? Not at all. Given a small amount of training and familiarization, these rifles are just as easy to shoot and use as any other weapon. Ultimately it all comes down to training and the shooter’s willingness to learn how to use the rifle properly. And if done, the benefits of the design can make it well worth the effort.
The new Tavor X95 differs from the original Tavor SAR through the addition of several enhancements and upgrades. It includes a new fire control pack with a 5- to 6-lb. trigger pull, a repositioned and ambidextrous magazine release similar to that of an AR-15, a forearm with rails at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, a relocated charging handle and a modular Tavor-style pistol grip that can be swapped out to a standard pistol grip with traditional trigger guard. In addition, it has a smaller, lower-profile bolt release button.
Beyond its function, the X95 is also very ergonomic form a textural and utility standpoint. The body of the rifle is constructed of high-strength polymer. The polymer helps keep heat off of the shooter’s face and hands. The polymer is also lightly textured, making it tactile but yet slick enough that it doesn’t get caught on clothes or gear. The pistol grip has a coarse texture and incorporates a cutlass-style handguard in an effort to protect the shooter’s hand.
Moving to the forend of the rifle, the X95 offers its shooter the option of running the gun with the rail panels on or off. With the panels on the rifle, the shooter is protected from the 1913 rail while still having plenty grip on the gun. With the panels removed, the shooter can use the rails for traction or conversely add a vertical grip, lights or lasers.
All in all, the X95 is without a question the most ergonomic bullpup rifle on the market I have tested. For new shooters the X95 is an easy weapon to learn to shoot well. For those moving away from an AR-15 or AK, the transition to a bullpup may take a little getting used to. But, might be worth the effort!
SHOOTING THE X95
Shooting the X95 is unlike shooting any other bullpup on the market. To put it simply, the rifle just does it better than other bullpups. Why? Well it probably has something to do with how recently it was designed and put into production. Hitting the scene in 2009, the X95 has a few decades of engineering and weapon design on the competition.
Keeping true to its design and ergonomics, the X95 is a pleasure to shoot. Recoil is tame and muzzle climb is non-existent. Part of this is due to the weight of the rifle coming in at just under 8 pounds unloaded, and the other part of this is due to the 5.56x45mm cartridge the rifle shoots.
Beyond felt recoil and handling the rifle continues to impress. During long strings of fire, the rifle remains cool. Can the X95 get too hot to handle? I’m sure of it. But under normal shooting conditions possibly firing 60 to 90 rounds down range in rapid succession, it will not be a problem.
One flaw of the bullpup design is the use of trigger linkage. It inherently makes the triggers bad and leaves most shooters underwhelmed if not unhappy with bullpup rifles. While yes, the X95 has the best stock bullpup trigger I’ve felt, it is still less than ideal. However, compared to the heavy standard trigger of the original Tavor, the X95’s 6-lb. trigger pull is a huge improvement.
Reloading the X95 is straight-up easy. The forward-mounted ambidextrous magazine releases make dropping a magazine easy and possible without compromising your firing grip on the weapon. Given that you use magazines that drop free, reloads with the X95 are lighting fast.
THE REAL STORY ON ITS ACCURACY
I’ve seen allot of claims that the X95 is broken because it is incapable of sub-2 inch groups at 100 meters. People are saying they are defective and that the design is flawed. I for one don’t agree. In an attempt to see what my rifle was able to produce I decided to shoot the X95 with a Primary Arms 1-6 scope at 50 and 100 meters.
Utilizing a bench, a Caldwell Lead Sled and some IMI 77 gr OTM I tried to remove as much of the human element from the accuracy test as possible. The X95 was able to produce a 1.23-inch group at 50 meters and at 100 meters it produced a 2.17-inch group. Give that this isn’t a purpose-built precision rifle, I’d say the X95 is more than competent. This is especially true when you consider that the US Military accepts service grade rifles with accuracy up to 5 inches at this distance.
It is also important to remember that the X95 isn’t designed to be a sniper rifle. That being considered, I can confidently say it is more than capable of engaging targets out to 400 meters with relative ease.
ACCESSORIES AND WHAT IS STILL TO COME
While the X95 is great right out of box, there are a few things you will want to pick up as well be on the look out for. The first thing you will want to purchase for the X95 is a solid optic. For this review, I used both a 1-6X scope and my new favorite red dot sight, the Mepro RDS Pro. I found that the Primary Arms 1-6X was perfect for doing accuracy testing and all around plinking. In low magnification, it allows for quick but accurate shooting. For me though, the X95 is less of a precision rifle and more of a “blaster,” so the Mepro RDS Pro is my preferred optic. The RDS Pro really shines at close distances and makes fast shots very easy. If you are a collector like me, it is also very cool to have the most current optic out of Israel on top of the most current rifle from Israel.
In the coming year, IWI US plans to bring a (SBR) short barreled rifle version of the X95 to market as well as 300 Blackout and 9mm versions. IWI US will also offer the SBR and caliber conversion kits for people wishing to upgrade their existing rifles. I have already registered my rifle as an SBR, so when the kits become available you will get a firsthand look at the process and the short-barreled rifle’s performance. So stay tuned for more on that process and availability.
Beyond optics and factory accessories, the X95 already has aftermarket support. Companies such as Manticore Arms, Gearhead Works, and Geissele make rails, port covers, triggers and other small parts upgrades for the rifles. The X95 shares a lot of parts in common with the old Tavor SAR, so the odds are most accessories for it will work with a little bit of massaging.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
IWI US is a gun company many Americans know and love. They build high-end rifles designed for civilians and professionals alike with no compromise on quality. The X95 is something of a game changer. While yes, it is evolutionary in the fact that it is just a modernized Tavor, it still embodies features that make it unlike any rifle before it. In my opinion, IWI knocked it out of the park with this rifle.
The X95 is available now and can be purchased online for right around $1,800. Where will the price settle to in the months to come? After demand is met and politics settle I imagine the X95 will be available for $1,600 new all day long. For me and most people, it isn’t worth risking the wrong person in the White House or waiting for demand to subside. I am buying mine now!