X95 – the Tavor evolved

I’ve discovered quite a few people think the Tavor is a new rifle.  While it’s true the Tavor was introduced only a few months ago to the U.S. market the rifle has been in development since the early 1990′s and in service with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for well over a decade.  During that time some changes have been made to the original design to accommodate special requests from various units within the IDF.  This has lead to the development of the X95 which is the next evolution of the Tavor.
The front handguard of the X95 has gone through evolutionary changes as well.  The original design was cylindrical and large enough in circumference to accommodate a suppressor so that it would be recessed into the handguard when mounted.  The more current design which is yet to be widely fielded is a more narrow design with integrated rails on all four sides.  On the sides of the handguard the rails are covered by removable rail covers.When you first look at the X95 you’ll notice that it looks much shorter than the Tavor.  The X95 is 22.8″ in length which is 6.2″ shorter than the U.S. Tavor and 5.7″ shorter than the IDF version.   This was accomplished by shortening both the barrel length and stock length.  The front of the X95′s stock has been shortened and redesigned with integrated rails and the rubber butt plate used on the Tavor has been removed thus shaving an inch off the rear of the rifle.
The most interesting change is the relocation of the magazine release.  The Tavor uses a trigger type device located directly in front of the magazine well and behind the pistol grip.  The X95 uses button style release that is forward of the trigger and is in roughly the same location as you would expect to find the magazine release for the AR15.  The magazine release requires the operator to push the button with their shooting finger which drops the magazine readying the rifle for a fresh mag to be inserted.  The release is found on both sides of the rifle making it easy for right or left handed shooters to use.  It was interesting to note that the X95 still had the mounting point for the Tavors magazine release present just in front of the magazine well.
Another change to the X95 that fans of the Tavor will quickly pick up on is a version with a more traditional looking trigger guard vs. the handguard found on the Tavor.  This variant uses a modular system allowing the operator to choose between the trigger guard or the handguard by replacing a single polymer piece on the stock.The barrel on the X95 is 13″ in length.  It uses the same 1:7″ twist found on the Tavor and the barrel is made from the same cold hammer forging process.  Because of the shorter barrel the X95′s charging handle has been set further to the rear on the receiver.
The pistol grip of the X95 has been re-contoured and also made modular so the grip panels can be swapped out for different designs.  The two designs that I’ve seen are a smooth finish like that found on the Tavor and a more aggressive texture with broad horizontal ribs.
The X95 retains the ability to be configured for either right hand or left hand use.  That means you can choose which side the rifle ejects from and well as the side where the charging handle resides.  I did see a unique variant in the field being used by border guards on the West Bank that had a charging handle on both sides of the weapon.  It can also be swapped between 5.56mm, 5.45×39 and 9mm calibers just like its bigger brother.
I confirmed that the internal components of the X95 are interchangeable with the Tavor.  The bolt carrier, bolt, recoil spring, trigger pack, etc. are identical in both rifles.
The X95 is available to the IDF and other units as either a select fire rifle or as a semi-auto rifle only.  I noticed the border guards at the West Bank were issued semi-auto variants.
I have some good news for you guys.  IWI plans to bring the X95 to the US market in the future.  It’s at least 2 years down the road, but it’s something they’re currently considering and have plans to do.  I don’t know what the final configuration will be for the imported rifles — it could be a SBR only firearm.  I’ll pass along more info as I get it.
I did get a chance to shoot the X95 on the range along with several other firearms manufactured by IWI including the Galil ACE, Uzi Pro, Negev and Jericho 941.  I will post video from our range session in about 2 weeks so stay tuned to the MAC channel.


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