IWI Tavor X95 Review [2020]: X95 vs SAR

In this IWI Tavor X95 Bullpup review, we’ll be covering the X95, its specification, how it compares to other Bullpup rifles and give an in-depth look at how it compares to its previous version in a Tavor X95 vs SAR analysis.

IWI TAVOR X95 BACKGROUND

Israeli 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 combat operations, 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.

IWI X95 SPECS

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Barrel Length 16″
Caliber5.56mm NATO
SightsIntegrated Backup Trition Iron Sights
ActionGas operated semi-auto
PistonLong Stroke Piston
ColoursBlack, FDE, OD

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

1 FORWARD 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.

IWI X95 REVIEW – OUR TAKE

Before trying this rifle out, I’ll admit, I had never fired a bullpup before. I’ve always appreciated their ability to provide a short overall length rifle without having to deal with NFA laws/the ATF with a short-barreled rifle (SBR).

Also, I’ve always appreciate the “out of the box” design (I can only see so many AR-15s), but I always believed that they had a sort of science-fiction look to them and they didn’t look enjoyable to shoot.

Honestly, I was a little embarrassed to show up to the range looking like I was a Starship Troopers cast-member.

However, my first experience with the IWI X95 was a very pleasant surprise!

The biggest things I loved about the X95 Tavor were 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 Gieselle’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.

Accuracy was good for a battle-rifle. I could easily keep a pie-plate sized group at 300 yards but not much better than that.

My biggest gripe about the design is the cutlass-style trigger/hand guard. Instead of actually guarding the trigger, it allows the rest of my firing hand to get up around the trigger. I think this could be a safety issue and it’s also not comfortable when a shooter is used to using their middle finger to support the weight of a rifle.

There is an aftermarket grip available that converts it to a standard pistol grip and trigger guard – this is a recommended upgrade.

The modularity of this rifle is AWESOME! It is easily convertible to a left or right-hand configuration. A small note: the left-side ejection port cover (used when in right-hand configuration) doesn’t seal very well. When shooting with a suppressor, the back pressure allows gasses to escape right onto your face.

I’ve upgraded the gasket under this cover to one designed to seal better – so far, so good.

 

However, my first experience with the IWI X95 was a very pleasant surprise!

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 tyle grip guard is…just…weird
  • Ejection port cover leaks gas in your face when shooting suppressed
  • Premium rifle cost is not as accurate is similarly priced AR-15s

Report Card

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RELIABILITY
Seriously, this thing is a tank.
A+
ACCURACY
Good enough accuracy, but nothing spectacular.
B+
CUSTOMIZATION
Although there are some upgradeable parts, customization is fairly limited.
C-
VALUE
This is a true battle-rifle. It’s a bit pricey, but worth every penny.
A

FINAL GRADE : A-

Look, we love the X95. But that doesn’t mean it comes with everything you’re going to need to properly care for this gun. Here’s our recommendations to boost your and your gun’s quality of life.

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

Best Sights for the IWI Tavor X95

If you’re serious about your bullpup, you’re going to want a serious sight to go with it. Optics are normally one of the most expensive investments when it comes to your firearms. However, they can not only extend the effect range of your bullpup, but beef up your accuracy as well.

spectre tavor gun university

Elcan Specter DR Optical Sight

Our top pick for optics on the X95 is the Elcan Spectre DR. This thing is a beast of a sight and quite possibly the best battle-ready scope on the planet. No joke. This thing probably has the clearest, brightest glass you’ll ever look through. Even at 4x magnification, you still get a 24 degree field of sharp vision. Not only that, but we’re pretty sure it’s bomb-proof–but don’t hold us to that. CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

If you’re looking for something a bit (ok, a whole lot) cheaper than the Elcan, you may like the Trijicon MRO. It’s a miniature reflex sight that’ll take up less room on your rail and provide you with multiple brightness controls. However, it doesn’t quite have the magnification capabilities that you might desire. But as a quick reflex scope, this more than serves its purpose. CHECK PRICE

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Best Accessories for the IWI Tavor X95

While we really love the IWI X95, it doesn’t mean that this platform is absolutely perfect. However, there are some things that we can do to address some of its shortcomings. And that process all starts with our Editor’s Choice.

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MAGPUL VERTICAL GRIP

Our Editor’s Choice for X95 accessories is the Magpul Vertical Grip. If you’ve ever fired a bullpup with a vertical grip, then you’ll understand why this is a must-have. The vertical grip provides that extra bit of snugness and stability that is hard to replicate with a standard horizontal hold. CHECK PRICE

One of the biggest drawbacks to any bullpup carbine is the noise it makes when firing. They’re just too dang loud. However, a quality suppressor such as the Innovative Arms Deception can help alleviate that issue. You might have concerns on sticking something heavy on the end of the barrel, but the X95’s bullpup design actually helps to move the weight of the suppressor closer to you–making it more manageable. CHECK PRICE

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Other Bullpup Rifles of Its Class 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
steyr-aug-gun-university

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

TAvor-Sar-Gun-University

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.

Looking for more info on the Tavor X95? Check it out these articles concerning the firearm–and a link to the user’s manual.

Rate

Average rating 4.8 / 5. Vote count: 4

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    4 Comments

    • Ben
      Posted May 6, 2020 12:18 pm

      I don’t understand how in the “best bullpups” category this gets an A+ in accuracy but a B+ on the comprehensive review for accuracy.

      • Roy Chesson
        Posted May 6, 2020 3:14 pm

        Great question. When we did the Tavor X95 individual review, we used to have a criteria/grade for “Customization.” Later this year, the team and I had a discussion on our grades and thought the customization grade wasn’t a good one to base a gun on. Some just aren’t made to be customized or because their uniqueness there aren’t other companies out there making customizations or special add-ons, etc. As you can see, this dragged the X95’s grade down, even though it is now my personal favorite rifle (in our about the authors page, we list what our favorites are). So, when we wrote the “best Bullpups” review, we then incorporated the new grading system, and replaced customization with Shootability, and Ergonomics. With that, the X95’s overall grade is much higher because it is …as it really should be. Seriously..it’s my favorite. We haven’t gone through all of our articles to change up the grading system, but we’re definitely working on it.

        • Ben
          Posted May 6, 2020 6:08 pm

          Have you guys done “lead sled/bench rest” accuracy baselines on these rifles? I’ve been looking for hard evidence of what is the most accurate bullpup when compared to others.

          • Roy Chesson
            Posted May 6, 2020 7:18 pm

            No, not yet but I’d like to – that’s a great idea. I’ve had experience with most on that list at different times, while one of our other writers who actually wrote the Best Bullpup article has fired them all. But from that experience alone, we both went and bought our own X95s – so I can say that we put our money where our mouths are after having fired them all. I also just got the TS12…although that’s a different story…haha. It’s fun, but yeah…

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