IWI Tavor X95 Review: X95 vs SAR

by Dave Chesson

March 16, 2023



[UPDATED] In this IWI Tavor X95 review, I’ll be covering its specification, my thoughts on how it fires, how to improve it, and how it compares to other Bullpup rifles. Let’s check it out.

IWI X95 Specs

  • Caliber 5.56mm NATO
  • Barrel Length 16.5″
  • Overall Length 26.125″
  • Weight 7.9 lbs.
  • Action Gas operated semi-auto
  • Piston Long Stroke Piston

IWI Tavor X95 Background

Israel Weapon Industries produced the x95 rifle as a newer version of their SAR rifle. Both rifles take advantage of a bullpup design and have serious Israeli military proven reliability. Created for Israeli troops and special forces, the Tavor series was designed to take a beating, while also be dependable.

Bullpups are rifles that have their actions (the moving parts/bolts/chamber/etc.) behind the firing hand and close to the shooter’s shoulder. Typically, rifles have their actions just in front of the firing hand. The bullpup design allows for standard/longer barrel length while keeping a fairly short overall rifle. This has added benefits in that you have rifle precision to certain ranges, but also can use them in close combat quarters.

Because of this, this allows the bullpup rifle to have relatively long barrels, but be in a shorter package. This allows for more travel time in the barrel, while still being somewhat compact.

IWI’s first bullpup, the SAR is a great rifle. However, the X95 improves upon the design in some key ways. They’ve even continued their bullpup design to their newest Tavor TS12 Shotgun.

IWI X95 Features Review

IWI Tavor X95 Weapon Features
1 Foward Handguard/Rail System

The X95 has a unique system of rail-covers that act as handguards on the forend of the rifle.

2 Ambidextrous Mag Release

The X95 has a mag release button that can be operated with the firing hand, similar to an AR-style magazine release.

3 Mid-Mounted Charging Handle

The charging handle on the X95 is closer to the middle of the rifle as opposed to the far forward mounted charging handle on the SAR.

4 Improved Trigger

The X95’s trigger is better than the SAR. However, as we’ll cover below, we still recommend an upgrade.

Models and Variations of the IWI Tavor X95

The Tavor X95 is available in several variants. You can get it in 5.56 NATO, 300 Blackout, and 9MM. For colors, they have black and flat dark earth in most configurations and few configurations are offered in OD Green. Barrel lengths come in 16.5in, 18.5in, and a 13in SBR configuration for the ultimate compact firearm. They even have a left handed option. If you are looking for an X95, odds are they have the configuration you need.

IWI X95 Review – Our Take

When I first got the X95, over 5 years ago, I’ll admit I was a bit hesitant about it. It was expensive, and bullpups weren’t exactly popular or well ‘loved’ in the community – something that’s started to change over the past year. With it’s Starship Trooper’s look, it was perceived as more gimmicky and novel.

However, there is no denying the benefit a bullpup rifle provides with their ability to give you a short overall rifle length without having to deal with NFA laws with a short-barreled rifle (SBR) – which it is not. Also, I’ve always appreciate the “out of the box” design (I can only see so many AR-15s).

However, my first experience with the IWI X95 was a very pleasant surprise and it continues to be!

The biggest things I love about the X95 Tavor is the controllability and the recoil mitigation.

Being used to AR-15 style rifles and their front-end heavy design, I thought I might have a hard time adapting to the rear-heavy design of the X95. I thought that moving from position to position would be awkward, however, after running a couple of courses of fire, I realized the the compact design made it easier to control and the rifle is actually really well-balanced.

With the X95, the magazine release was like an AR-15. This was nice – having to deal with the alternate magazine release locations of most bullpup rifles would’ve have been one more thing to worry about/learn.

I also like the multiple QD points for sling attachments and the available rail real-estate (if needed). I could easily slide the handguards forward to access the rails and add accessories, such as flashlights.

Although the trigger is better than the SAR, I really recommend upgrading it by installing a Geissele’s Super Sabra Trigger and Tavor Trigger Bow for the X95. It’s not cheap, but I used one on my buddy’s X95 and it is AMAZING. I’ve since purchased both and installed them, something I’ll talk about later in this article.

When it comes to accuracy, it is excellent for a battle-rifle. I could easily keep a pie-plate sized group at 300 yards but not much better than that.

One area where there is a bit of disagreement from myself and some of the other writers for Gun University is the design of the cutlass-style trigger/hand guard. I personally don’t have a problem with it and came to like it over time. However, Ryan Cleckner wasn’t a fan. It’s design makes it so that it doesn’t guard the trigger. Luckily, there is an aftermarket grip available that converts it to a standard pistol grip and trigger guard – if you’d prefer that. Plus, it only takes 2 minutes to install, which is nice.

The modularity of this rifle is AWESOME! It is easily convertible to a left or right-hand configuration. The process by which to switch the charging handle is actually quite simple and makes sense. However, if you have a 2020 or newer, there are a couple of extra steps.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve put over 2000+ rounds through it, and cleaned it sparingly. In that time I have had ZERO malfunctions or issues. I seriously mean it…not one issue. Fires like a champ.

Final Verdict:

You can see from my previous grades on other weapons here on Gun University that I don’t give A’s often. However, this is absolutely my favorite rifle (don’t believe me? Check my bio on our about us page). It’s not only incredibly reliable, but it has real purpose and is extremely accurate. It is my #1 SHTF gun and I’ve tricked mine out with the best red dot, sling, and triggers.

I also bought one for my wife as well. Like I said about the recoil mitigation, it’s easy to handle and out of all my rifles, she feels she has the most control with it. Furthermore, there is no blow back in her eyes, and is thus her favorite rifle as well.

Sure, it’s pretty expensive for a bullpup rifle and if I didn’t have a specific purpose for it, then I would probably call it an expensive novelty item. But sliding in as my absolute SHTF gun, I really don’t want to cut corners. Therefore, it isn’t just a ‘fun’ gun or a luxury, but something that has a purpose.

Therefore, this rifle has gotten my absolute highest grade on this site and after years of firing it and testing it, it still holds that position.

IWI X95 Rifle Pros and Cons

  • Nice improvement over the SAR design
  • Very reliable (near bombproof)
  • Accurate (for a “battle” rifle)
  • My new SHTF rifle – full power, compact design
  • Must relearn rifle operation if coming from an AR-style rifle
  • Cutlass style grip guard can be weird
  • A bit costly compared to other bullpups

Report Card


Easy to control with low recoil for a battle rifle


Seriously, this thing is a tank and had zero problems.


Easy to operate, and release mags.


As much accuracy as I could ask for.


It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny.

IWI Tavor X95 Final Grade

Our Grade


Reviewed by Dave Chesson

Reader’s Grade


Based on 56 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

IWI Tavor X95 Gun Deals

Hornady Super Performance Match 5.56 75GR

Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $1.26
Optics Planet $1.40
Primary Arms $1.56
Winchester 5.56 55gr FMJ

Winchester 5.56 55gr FMJ

Cost Per Round
Gritr Sports $0.75
Brownells $0.62
Primary Arms $0.75


If you’ve decided to pick up a X95, or found another firearm suits your needs, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to pick up in order to maximize its potential and your safety regardless of if it’s your first firearm or not.

These are just the bare minimum. The basics. But what’s the point of having a sweet bullpup rifle without any customizations?

Best Accessories for the IWI Tavor X95

The IWI X95 comes out of the box in excellent shape. It’s customizable, and extremely reliable without much extra work. It has a picatinny rail on the top and the ability to attach on the handguard. However, like I said in my final verdict, there are some components that I added to my my X95 so as to not only improve it, but also give it more capability as my SHTF rifle.

Best Accessories List

Aimpoint Pro Red Dot
  • No switches or levers to fumble with
  • 3 year Battery Life
  • 6 daylight and 4 night vision brightness settings
Check Price
Geissele Automatics Super Sabra Trigger
  • Two stage trigger pull
  • First stage is user-adjustable
  • Can be adjusted to 3.5-5.5 lbs
Check Price
Geissele Automatics Lightning Bow Trigger
  • Adjustable via a set screw
  • 2-Stage
  • Made in the USA
Check Price
X95 Cantilever Forend
  • AR-15 Height top rail is cut to work with all calibers of Tavor X95
  • Gen II
Check Price
Magpul QD Sling Swivels
  • Push-button quick-detach sling swivel for 1-1/4 in webbing
  • Manganese-phosphate finished steel
  • Compatible with QD sling attachment points
Check Price
Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling
  • Fits standard M4 carbines
  • Can be mounted upside down
  • Overall length is adjustable to accommodate different sized weapons
Check Price
X95 Pistol Grip
  • Available in Black, FDE and ODG
  • Made in Israel
Check Price

The above items are things I’ve added to mine or are things that others I know have used on theirs.

The first thing I did was Improve the trigger. Although the out-of-the-box trigger is great, I really wanted to do as much as I could to add to this gun. With it being my preferred SHTF rifle, I didn’t want to spare any expense.

As for the Manticore forend, I didn’t get this one for mine just because I don’t have a problem with the current guard rail system. But I do know others who prefer it. It’s just something to keep in mind.

Also, I kept the original grip, but since Ryan wasn’t a fan, I decided to add this to the list of accessories you can try. This is an easy and cheap replacement if you want a traditional trigger guard. Also, IWI us has a bunch of other upgrades and components to check out as well.

Upgrading Your Trigger and Trigger Pack

When grading this rifle in the X95 review, I graded it based on the factory trigger pack and trigger. And while these are still very good, because I have personally made it my SHTF gun, I do as much as possible to trick out my X95 (and my wife’s). Therefore, getting the Geissele Super Sabra trigger pack, and the Lightning bow trigger was a must.

Granted, this is adds to the cost by about $445 total, however, if you are using this gun as a SHTF gun or as a go-to or favorite, then I absolutely think it is worth it.

However, while switching out the trigger pack is incredibly easy (takes like 2 min), changing out the trigger is not. It requires taking out the barrel, and other components just to get down to the trigger itself.

To help you with this, I have added the below video which will not only show you how to complete disassemble your X95, but will show you how to switch out the trigger pack and trigger.

HOWEVER, there are two important things you NEED to know before starting this. This is something that many older YouTube films don’t tell you or miss:

  1. If your X95 is 2020 or newer, you NEED to remove the charging handle BEFORE you remove the barrel. Otherwise you will bend your charging handle, and crush your gas tube. Older models don’t need this. Apparently I have both (with mine being prior to 2020, and my wife’s being newer.
  2. This is a bit of a gripe, but if you want to safely and securely remove the barrel without damaging it, you sadly need to buy a special barrel wrench tool (or know how to manufacture one yourself). While this is $15 dollars, trust me, your Tavor and your knuckles will thank me. I just hate that I had to pay that to remove the barrel.

Other Bullpup Rifles to Check Out

Well, it’s hard for me to tell you to go out and check other guns. This truly is an awesome weapon. But for whatever reason, you may want to do a little shopping around first. So here’s a list of other bullpup rifles that may pique your interest–or have you crawling back.

#1 Steyr Aug A3 M1

Steyr Aug A3 M1

Sold at EuroOptic.com, Guns.com, Palmetto State Armory

The Aug is a modular firearm and comes in many configurations to include those that fire in the open bolt position as light machine guns.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability B
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics C
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 15 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Despite needing specialized magazines and parts, the Steyr Aug still remains a popular choice for those looking to buy a bullpup rifle. Why? Because of its cool factor! Seriously, it’s the ultimate bad guy gun. Other than that though, it’s a reliable choice for a bullpup. If you can afford its steep collector’s price…READ MORE

#2 IWI Tavor SAR


Sold at PalmettoStateArmory

If you’re worried about the durability of the Tavor SAR, you should know this is the bullpup rifle of choice for the Israeli Armed Forces.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Reliability A+
  • Value B
  • Accuracy C

Our Grade


Reader’s Grade


Based on 8 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Rifle? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

This is the bullpup behind the IWI Tavor X95. Its model paved the way for X95. If you’re interested in checking out the original, definitely give the Tavor SAR a look. But when it comes to actually purchasing a Tavor, stick with the X95… READ MORE

How to Care for Your IWI Tavor X95

After investing your well-earned money into this puppy, you’re going to want to take care of it. And rightfully so–the thing’s a beast when well-oiled and loved. Thankfully, the IWI Tavor X95 was designed for ease of maintenance, disassembly, and reassembly. Below is our favorite cleaning kit recommendation.


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About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is prior Navy with a specialty in international arms dealing for the US government across multiple countries. Having traveled the world and abided by ATF and ITAR, Roy has a unique background in legal as well as practical capabilities of weapons deployment and use.

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