IWI Tavor X95

The Real Freakin' Deal

Amidst a most remarkable pantheon of advanced modern sporting rifles littering your local firearms emporium, one in particular stands out from all the rest. I would informally estimate 80% are some variation of Gene Stoner’s timelessly sleek black rifle. The remaining minority is divided among Kalashnikov, Steyr, FN and the like. I would assert the most advanced of the lot is a remarkable bullpup design hailing from Israel.

The IWI (Israel Weapon Industries) Tavor X95 represents the current apex in the development of modern infantry rifles. Compact, reliable, versatile and cool, the Tavor X95 is the end result of generations of operational experience. Additionally, unlike many of those guns lining the walls at the shop, the Tavor X95 is also currently in active service in a combat zone as I type these wor

IWI Tavor X95 Gear List Ammo: Black Hills Mk 262 77-grain OTM Optic: Aimpoint M5b

Date Night

Abidan Mizrahi was a happy guy. A Corporal in the IDF (Israel Defense Force) assigned to the famed Golani Brigade, Abidan was home on leave after a particularly grueling training cycle. This night on the town with Rivka had been months in the planning.

Abidan and Rivka began dating in high school. When he finally completed his three years of national service he would make her his wife. She was bubbly, playful, smart and gorgeous. She had completed her two years in the IDF three months prior, having served as a firearms instructor. Abidan was looking forward to the day when he could stash his uniform away in a closet as a reservist so they could move on with their lives.

Abidan and Rivka lived on the outskirts of Jerusalem. Today they fancied an evening in the Old City. The market was populated mostly with tourists, but the couple had whiled away many an enchanted evening in years past exploring the cluttered stalls. Tonight they would score some shawarma from a vendor and just wander. He had not seen her in two months.

Abidan ran a comb through his hair one last time and straightened his collar. His little sister rolled her eyes at his aftershave. Abidan gave her a quick hug and snatched up his Tavor X95 rifle before heading out the door.

After two and a half years as a soldier, the weapon has become part of Abidan’s life. When he was home on leave he carried the rifle with a loaded magazine and a red plastic chamber flag in place. The little scrap of plastic along with all of the various accessories were secured with short lengths of dummy cord. He had trained to jack the bolt, drop the chamber flag and have the weapon up and ready in an instant.

Rivka was radiant as usual. He had forgotten how good she smelled. After a long hug around the corner from her parents’ view, the couple struck out. A short bus ride later and they were strolling arm in arm through the bazaar. Abidan did not know if he had ever been happier.

The screams were faint at first but then grew louder and more penetrating. Orienting to the sound both Abidan and Rivka reflexively struck out at a trot toward the noise. Without conscious thought Abidan had his rifle up, ready and charged as the screams grew ever louder. Now he was at a flat-out run.

The Aimpoint M4S tactical optic on his Tavor was on all the time. As Abidan rounded the corner into a long corridor between stalls, he saw an elderly woman lying in a pool of blood and several civilians struggling mightily with a young Palestinian man armed with a wicked knife. Abidan shouted for the bystanders to get clear, raised his rifle and shot the terrorist dead with a single round to the chest. Rivka immediately ran past him and began tending to the old woman’s wounds. The police arrived in force moments later.

The buttstock on a bullpup-design conceals the action. The X95
feeds from any standard STANAG M4 magazine.


Violence is an unfortunate and never-ending reality in the Holy Land. People have been fighting and dying over the revered scrap of dirt since the dawn of man. In one five-month period back in 2016 there were 211 stabbings perpetrated against Israeli civilians. The anger and hatred on both sides span millennia and perpetuates itself. There are no easy solutions.

As a result, the Israelis are quite well-acquainted with personal defense. Permission from the government is still required to carry a concealed weapon, but those rules were relaxed somewhat within the last couple of years. Many IDF soldiers do indeed bring their weapons home while on leave and carry them in public when out and about. When I was visiting there most every crowd had one or two young studs, many of whom were obviously out on dates, wandering about with an M4 or Tavor slung across their backs. More so than arguably any other people group on the planet, the Israelis know their guns.

The X95 has Pic rails all over the place, ringing the forend
and complementing a top full-length optics rail.

There are also unique flip-up iron sights — stowed, it would take a hand
grenade to destroy them! Here is the flip-up front sight extended for use.

Technical Details

The Tavor X95 is the most refined bullpup weapon ever contrived. Bullpup simply means the fire controls are located behind the action. Other examples include the Steyr AUG, the French FAMAS, the FN F2000 and the British SA80. To the purist every magazine-fed handgun in common use today is actually a bullpup design.

The X95 utilizes a long-stroke gas-piston action conceptually similar to that of an AK47. Optimized in Eugene Stoner’s AR180 and now used in such weapons as the HK416, FN SCAR-16 and G36, this design provides ample mechanical energy to ensure consistent operation even under austere conditions. This system represents the most reliable handheld firearm action ever contrived.

The X95 includes a non-reciprocating charging handle readily reversible at the user level without tools. The 16.5″ barrel is chrome-lined and cold hammer forged out of CrMoV steel with a 1:7 twist. IDF versions feature a 13″ barrel. This configuration is available from IWI as a registered SBR (short-barreled rifle).

There is a full-length optics rail up top along with a superb set of built-in iron sights which fold out of the way when not in use. Integral accessory rails come standard in the forearm and are concealed within removable polymer covers. These covers synergistically create a beefy forearm that is easy to grip even when sweaty or rushed.

There are sling sockets everywhere and the pistol grip can be configured as either the standard sort or a cutlass configuration like an AUG. I prefer the cutlass sort myself, but all the X95s I encountered in IDF service in Israel used the conventional design. The X95 feeds from any standard M4 STANAG magazine and features a last-round bolt hold-open device located behind the magazine well. With a little practice the gun runs just about as fast as an M4. As I mentioned, the Israelis have quite a lot of experience building practical combat tools.

Takedown is straightforward and stupid-proof. Running a bullpup weapon with your weak hand is a perennial problem as the gun ejects into your face. A left-hand bolt is available for the X95 as a factory accessory and is easily exchanged at the user level.

The X95 is relatively portly at around 8 lbs. However, the bullpup design puts the center of gravity over the firing hand, so the gun seems lighter than it is. Once you get comfortable with the weapon, it points naturally and runs like a chipmunk on fire.

With the front rail cover removed, you can add all sorts of accessories
such as this Streamlight TLR-9 weapon light.

The X95 features a unique “cutlass” handguard, though it can be changed
to a “standard” guard without the front piece, the way most Israeli guns are configured.

Trigger Time

The trigger on any bullpup weapon has to work a little harder than it does in your favorite AR. However, the 5.5-lb. trigger on the Tavor X95 is simply well designed. The firing experience is refined, comfortable and precise. The bilateral magazine release is located just ahead of the trigger and is easily accessed by the firing finger. Magazines drop away freely. The fire selector is a left-sided switch engaged by the firing thumb.

Once I took its measure, the X95 became one of the smoothest, most intuitive rifles I have ever run. The superb human engineering, ample mass and exceptional action thoroughly negate any recoil considerations so follow-up shots are fast, straight and painless. Stroke the magazine release and hit the bolt catch with your thumb as you seat a fresh mag and the gun is ready to go.

Accuracy is on par with any advanced modern combat rifle. A Streamlight TLR-9 pumps out 1,000 lumens of brilliant white light and activates using a remote tape switch. The Aimpoint Comp M4S I added is a combat-proven tactical optic with a 2-moa red dot. The M4S runs for eight years on a single AA battery and is indestructible. The X95 and Magpul P-Mags are a match made in heaven.


The IWI Tavor X95 is a combat weapon. The rifle has seen service in at least 14 countries and continues to defend Israel today. I have ragged my X95 mercilessly and have yet to clean it. I can’t kill it. The Tavor X95 is a war hammer of a weapon from a nation forever at war.

MSRP: $1,999 (Model XB16)


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