The XM95 Micro Tavor includes an improved trigger and AR ergonomics

A few years ago Israeli weapons designers released the IDF’s standard-issue rifle on the American market and the Tavor became the instant darling of firearms enthusiasts across the country. So how could Israeli arms maker IWI make the bantam bullpup even better?

Two words: Micro Tavor.

I had a chance to run a half-dozen magazines through the new X95 MTAR, at this year’s Big 3 East in Daytona, Florida. IWI was there in force, with dozens of Tavor’s and UZI Pro pistols available for testing.

Yes, the even smaller version of the bite-sized Israeli bullpup is finally arriving stateside, and it brings more to the table than a reduced overall length.

Anyone who’s ever run a full-sized Tavor or Steyr AUG knows all too well the ergonomic woes of reloading either firearm under stress. Some argue that with enough training a shooter can become fully competent and basically on par with the gold standard – the M16/AR15 carbine.

Possibly, but I’m not a Soviet quartermaster and don’t subscribe to, “Better is the enemy of good enough.” Many government and law enforcement agencies feel the same way. So while the awkward placement of the Tavor’s magazine is a necessary evil, the location of its magazine release is not.

The new civilian-legal X95 the magazine release is located forward of the trigger guard rather than adjacent to the magazine well.

The new civilian-legal X95 the magazine release is located forward of the trigger guard rather than adjacent to the magazine well.

Evidently, IWI engineers felt the same way, because on the new civilian-legal X95 the magazine release is located forward of the trigger guard rather than adjacent to the magazine well. This is important because shooters with muscle memory formed while running AR15 carbines will naturally find the new magazine release – making the carbines an easier sell to police and military units looking for something more compact than their M4, with a manual of arms similar to the M16.

Other great features include the modular trigger guard system. Now shooters who want to run a Tavor don’t have to utilize the oversized whole hand guard if they don’t want to – the new X95 is available with either a smaller trigger guard, or the full-sized one from the original Tavor. Better yet, shooters can easily change between the two at their leisure.

Now shooters who want to run a Tavor don’t have to utilize the oversized whole hand guard if they don’t want to – the new X95 is available with either a smaller trigger guard, or the full-sized one from the original Tavor.

Now shooters who want to run a Tavor don’t have to utilize the oversized whole hand guard if they don’t want to – the new X95 is available with either a smaller trigger guard, or the full-sized one from the original Tavor.

Another improvement to the gun is the new trigger system. Bullpups are known for having long, spongey triggers due to their use of transfer bars. After studying all the aftermarket triggers that released for the original Tavor, IWI released their own marksman trigger that reduces over travel and trigger pull weight. While it’s not quite on par with ultra-high-end AR15 triggers, the new X95 trigger is a vast improvement over the original’s. Also, shooters who want this upgrade in their existing Tavor, will be happy to learn that IWI will be selling it a separate upgrade for older guns as well. If you already own an aftermarket trigger for your Tavor, it also functions in the new X95.

After shooting barely 150 rounds through the new X95, I’m impressed. My two biggest gripes with the original were not only addressed, but resolved – the rough, long trigger and the awkward magazine release. Before I crown it “King of the Bullpups,” I’m going to need to run a few thousand rounds of ammo through it. But given the IDF’s recent adoption of the Micro Tavor as the standard infantry rifle for their infantry, it’s fair to assume the compact carbine is a winner.