Hands On with the X95 Micro-Tavor

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IWI US demoed a select fire version of their X95 Micro-Tavor at the Kentucky Bullpup Convention in September. I had the opportunity to put a few rounds down range and put together my first impressions…

I like to describe my Tavor as rifle length function in a carbine length package. If that’s the case, then the X95 is carbine length function in a PDW sized package.

Its interesting that the IDF is gradually moving away from the TAR-21 (and even more gradually moving away from the M4) in favour of the extremely compact X95.

Even the X95 has seen substantial changes from its early deployment to the current flattop model with its quad rail handguard.

The IDF training with their issued Micro-Tavors

The IDF training with their issued Micro-Tavors

The most recent variant of the X95. Photo by Benny Levin  of IWI Israel

The most recent variant of the X95. Photo by Benny Levin of IWI Israel

I’ve been keeping an eye on the X95 for years, so Kentucky was a great opportunity to finally get my hands on the rifle and put some rounds down range.

This thing is tiny. If you’ve ever handled a full sized 18″ Tavor, then a 14″ CTAR, it feels like a big jump. This feels like the same kind of jump from a CTAR to an even smaller setup. Everything is folded into the shared vertical space.

I’m not sure why IWI decided to demo this rifle to the public with an AAC flash hider on the end of it. It seemed to produce more jump than was really necessary for a .223 rifle.

The forward mag release is a big improvement. There’s a decent amount of travel to it, so it’s unlikely you’re not going to bump it and drop a mag, but its easy to press with an index finger. Easier than I expected.

The bolt release sticks out less than a regular Tavor, but is similarly sized. So now you’re less likely to accidentally hit your own bolt release (say with a sling. I’ve watched it happen!)

A few things to be aware of: I could see a potential for some optics to be uncomfortably close to the new charging handle. I could also see some 3-gun style muzzle brakes being uncomfortable for the shooter. With a 13″ barrel inside a bullpup rifle, the shooter’s face is much closer to the muzzle than with other firearms.

Of course the pressing question on everyone’s minds is when can I buy one for myself?”

IWI reps gave no indication of plans for a civilian semi-only variant of the X95. I would hazard a guess and say that with the SAR-21 selling strongly and the Galil Ace about to be launched at Shot Show 2015, it will likely be a few years before IWI US diverts attention back to this little bullpup.

Post Script: Bearing in mind the discussions around over-all length, barrel-length, pistol bracing and other things that might help this little guy become generally available, I’ve dug up a photo from the IDF of the X95 with an extended barrel. Current estimates peg this at 16 inches:

X95_extended_barrel



Edward O

Edward is a Canadian gun owner and target shooter with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. Crawling over mountains with tactical gear is his idea of fun. He blogs at TV-Presspass and tweets @TV_PressPass.


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  • Ken

    This needs to be imported as a pistol to avoid it being an SBR, just like the old Bushmaster Arm Pistol.

    • I’m not super familiar with the ATF, but that would be a stellar solution for this platform. That being said: I’m not sure how you “arm-brace” this or dissuade them from shoulder use age.

      • Jonathan Wright

        install a bayonet mount on the back end?

  • santi

    I am glad that I decided to wait and not buy the Tavor. I have a very special place in my check book for this carbine.

    • JSmath

      You decided not to buy the SAR. The Tavor is the parent name for all the IMI rifles. (TAR/CTAR/STAR/-21, X-95 aka Micro Tavor/mTAR, SAR, etc.)

      It’s been the SAR’s success that drives IWI to consider trying to re-engineer the X-95 for export. Heck, the whole point of exporting the SAR was that the TAR-21 design had essentially become obsolete as the X-95 began replacing them. Similar to how to the M-4 replacing most M-16s in US military forces, excepting for the Marines. IWI (Israeli Weapon Industries, the commercial front of Israeli Military Industries)

      I would be ecstatic if IWI brought the X-95 sooner than later, but I severely doubt that will be happening. In about 3-6 years, though, I would imagine we’ll be able to acquire them.

  • Giolli Joker

    C-clamp this, operator! 😛

    • Cheese_McQueen

      Not approved for Coast Guard operators operating on operations.

      Sad Costa is sad.

  • tazman66gt

    Kinda wish they would have kept the older style trigger guard rather than the full handguard, keeps wandering fingers at bay.

    • Paladin

      The X95 has a modular grip that can be changed between a standard trigger guard design and the original Tavor style.

      • Abraham Collins

        That’s awesome. Thanks for putting that out there. 🙂

    • Cheese_McQueen

      Reading comprehension is cool guys.

      • tazman66gt

        Well, Sparky, there’s nothing in the write up about changing grips, and i couldn’t watch the video til i got home so your comment is moot.

  • Nergyl

    What an oddly cute-looking carbine.

  • Barrel in the last picture looks _considerably_ longer than the X95L’s 15″ barrel. It looks closer to 18″ or 20″. Given that there are no factory variants of the X95 that long, I’m curious as to what exactly is going on with it.

  • echelon

    Observation: That guy in the last picture is either constipated or looks terribly uncomfortable firing that gun.

    Question: Why would you want the 16″ barreled version of this gun when the whole point of it is to be compact? This thing looks silly like that. It’s as bad or worse than the 16″ PS90. Just ridiculous.

    Just gather up your money and throw all of it at getting the stupid SBR laws repealed and then this won’t be an issue. And don’t tell me it can’t happen. Money basically solves everything.

    • The only reason for the extended barrel would be: to make it legal to own.

      • echelon

        Aaaaaaannnnndddd…..whiff!

        You completely missed my point. The gun should be legal to own. Period. The gun is not more or less lethal with a shorter or longer barrel. I could take an AR style gun, get a 7.75″ barrel on it, slap a magical ATF approved “brace” on it and viola! I have have a somehow less lethal, less evil, short barreled gun that the powers that be have deigned to allow the slaves and serfs to own.

        Get my point now?

        Plus it just looks flat out fugly with that long barrel. Same goes for the ARX. That gun looks almost sexy (note almost) with a short barrel. But with the 16″er on it and the short handguard coupled with the portly chassis and yikes!

        Micro! Now in Grande To Please The Overlords Edition!

        • the_duck

          He answered your question in an accurate way, hardly worth your snarky attituded response.

          I live in CA and I would take this with that stupid barrel because to own it is still better than not to.

          And I’ll just send the barrel to Adco when the laws get repealed and they’ll probably do a better job with the crown and threading anyways.

          • echelon

            I understand that he answered it in an accurate way, it was just obvious that he missed my point which was rhetorical. I would venture to say that it was not snarky though…

            I see your answer as not a solution but as part of the problem. We need to soundly reject these concepts so that the market recoils and the backlash is felt and heard.

            Look at the brewhaha over the movie “The Interview”. I’m sure the movie is utter garbage but look at the backlash over the anti-1st amendment and free speech issues surrounding it just because North Korea doesn’t approve.

            Now take that scenario and replace the movie with this gun, or any SBR, or FA, or Suppressor and…nothing…we’ve got nobody jumping up and down about the restrictions of not only our American 2nd Amendment but of the natural right of self defense in general. We should be rejecting any crap thrown our way and let the market fail to the point that the industry gasps and moans.

            But we don’t. We just bend over and gladly accept what massa gives us and continue to wait patiently for the “laws to be repealed”…

        • Wait? You mean gun laws aren’t pillars of logic and reason? Well this is the first I’ve heard of it!!

          • sammy_ j_bird

            I beleive his point was that getting rid of the SBR law here in the US of A would give IWI and othr firearm manufacturers an incentive to produce civilian rifles with the same barrel lengths as their select fire PDW counterparts. I’m with him, repealing the SBR laws would be great.

    • Abraham Collins

      SBRs have been under the NFA for 80 years. What makes you think they’ll be taken off within our lifetime?

      • echelon

        In a word? Hope.

        In the wake of the violence and everything that is going on in the world, coupled with the new technologies that people are enjoying worldwide, people are starting to realize that the responsibilities that have been given up to large government organizations and their promises to protect are hollow and false. People are rationally looking at things and asking good questions. These questions will lead to answers. And those answers will lead to action. Those actions will lead to change.

        The NFA may not be abolished in my lifetime or yours but then again why couldn’t it? Nobody thought the Roman empire would collapse during the height of its’ reign, nobody thought the Iron Curtain would ever fall in the USSR during the height of its’ power, not many believed that the Berlin Wall would ever come down. And yet all of these things happened.

        Humanity is indeed stupid in may ways, yet, we are also incredibly resilient and oftentimes course corrections come at just the right time.

        So in a word? Hope.

        • Abraham Collins

          I think it will go down unconventionally.

          The United States will default on its debt within 20 years and many agencies will be slashed in austerity. The ATF will be one of those agencies and the law will no longer be enforceable.

          I just don’t see the gun grabbers compromising at all and I definitely don’t see them being voted out of office.

          • echelon

            It’s possible that this may occur. But then again, people like the people who run the financial system often know how to work the system so that even in a time of collapse it’s controlled and done in such a way so as to not cause too much disruption.

            If any of the recent collapses or other issues have shown, it’s that once the local violence dies down it’s pretty much back to business as usual just under new management…

            And of course there will be no compromise or people being voted out of office! Are you kidding? Right/Left it’s just the two sides of the same coin. The government we have is the government we deserve and it’s definitely the government that the constitution lays out.

            Whether through economic collapse, internal strife or barbarians at the gates, the experiment that was the US will come to an end some day. It’s up to us to decide what comes after. Will it be better and more free or will it be worse?

  • Seburo

    And here’s where Lance proves he’s a dumb ass who never fought in a battle or war. Just some retarded AR fanboy who trolls every gun and military forum on the internet.

  • Looks like it’ll be great; now make it lighter, IWI.

  • Seburo

    No. But he likes to pretend he’s a soldier and hates on everything that isn’t an AR, 1911 or M9 on just about every gun and military website.
    To his kind bullpups and plastic guns are inferior no matter what.
    The kind of owner we call mall ninjas.

  • Seburo

    Don’t need Mall Ninja rounds in a gun that is already lethal enough.

  • Jon Ugalde

    A big puch in a small package was invented many years ago, look at this,

    You want it bigger? Look at this,

  • LCON

    …. the barrel length of the X95 is 13 inches, that is just a inch and a half less then a CAR 15 or M4 carbine, both having been in IDF service for years (often with cut down barrels) . but that is in a package smaller then a CAR 15 Colt Commando. with the right choice of Ammo and barrel X95 could produce pressures, Ranges and Muzzle velocities equal to M4A1. Well still being small enough to toss in to a average size civilian backpack. IWI also has a Grenade launcher tailored for it. the only thing the IDF seems to be loosing is the Bayonet and free rifles from the US. Otherwise you have a full power Assault Rifle Carbine, with modern accessories, in a package easy for a Israeli reservist to keep in a Car, pack, apartment. compact for Urban fighting, room clearing, Para Drop, easy storage in a helicopter, Merkava Mk4 Windbreaker ( really cool tank bad choice of name) or for the grunts crammed in the back of a Nammer APC ( come on mount a IFV turret already) well still giving accuracy and effective range equal to or greater then the weapons it replaces. factor in IDF Infantry training and armored equipment which is second to none, and It’s a good choice.

  • Seburo

    Because the 300 BLK is a mall ninja round for AR fanboys. Sub sonic rounds loose velocity as they come of the barrel.

  • Seburo

    Because the AR mall ninjas have to mention their overrated round in any new gun thread. And AR15 dot com is not a valid source.

    300 MN is short ranged and maxes out before 200m and an attempt to replicate 7.62×39 ballistics out of .223 case. It offers nothing over 5.56 or proven PDW rounds. Hell 9mm over pressure rounds would perform better. The X95 Tavor already has a conversion for 9mm. Though you would need a more durable barrel.

    There are two reasons for .300 MNs existence: marketing and reload ability as compared to 7.62×39. If ammo manufacturers get their heads out of their rectums and start producing, Boxer-primed x39 brass as well as a wider/cheaper variety of 7mm bullets, .300 MN will die.
    All that “better energy retention”, “subsonic loads” besides being overhyped, really do not make enough difference for a rifle turning into useless chunk of metal every time an ammo panic hits.

    • n0truscotsman

      Blaming the ammo manufacturers for a lack of production is foolish. They’ve had to meet demand for the post 2012 election shortage and the combined post-Sandy Hook shortage. A tall order.

      And I have my complaints of arfcom, but it does have a mountain of good, tangible evidence on many subjects and array of experience. To simply dismiss it as “invalid” is rather narrow minded.

      • Seburo

        A new round is even worse when it comes to demand. Especially when the military gets first dibs as they come off the production line. Although complaining about that is about as stupid as not reserving a movie ticket and then being mad about having to stand in line behind people who already have there.

        I view AR15 dot com the same way I view the F-35 fanboys of F-16 dot net. Only right slightly less than a broken clock.

  • Sirpad

    Select fire X95 begun manufacture few years ago, along the same line of select fire guns made by IMI/IWI for the past 20 years or so. These guns are sold to civilian security contractors in israel, specifically the X95 can be seen at border passages, major checkpoints along the borderline with the palestinian authority, and public transportation security personel.