Bullpups are among the handiest, most balanced firearms in existence, but they do have a few shortcomings. Reloads tend to be tricky or awkward because of the magazine’s close proximity to the shooter’s shoulder and the triggers are normally long and spongy.
That perception changed after IWI introduced the newest variation of their Tavor – the Israeli-based, US-made X95. This gun does away with the armpit mag release in favor of a push-button AR-15-style one and introduces a propriety trigger system that is an incredible improvement over any other MSR bullpup on the market.
Make no mistake, the X95 is among the finest bullpups in production. Still, there are a few areas that could use a little attention to really elevate the X95 to perfection – here are the top five things to stock if you have Tavor customers.
Low Powered Scopes With BDC Reticles
Being a bullpup design, it’s tempting to default straight to red dot or reflex-type optics on the X95. Sure those type of sights are applicable and great choices, but they leave a lot of long range accuracy potential on the table. You’ll probably never see the X95 on a precision target range, but it is more than capable of engaging targets out to 400 yards with relative ease.
Stock optics with 1-4x or even 1-6x variable power featuring half minute of angle adjustments. The X95 is not a precision target rifle, so finer scope adjustments simply aren’t necessary. Because the 5.56 cartridge is effective at longer distances, offer optics with zero-reset turrets and/or BDC reticles calibrated to the 5.56 cartridge because some customers will prefer to crank the turret and aim for a longer shot while others will simply want to hold over using the reticle.
Some may scoff at the limited magnification, but that has a tremendous effect on weight, cost, light-reception and clarity. The simplistic construction means fewer components to fail or weigh a scope down and fewer lenses for light to pass through, which translates into brighter images with better contrast.
Why recommend this type of scope on the Tavor?
The X95, like all bullpups, is designed with ergonomics in mind – keep the gun short and maneuverable. Tracking moving targets using heavy optics such as a precision scope or mil-spec combat optic runs against the design’s core principles and the BDC reticle allows shooters to reach out effectively if they’re using the ammo for which it is calibrated.
Many of your AR customers will also be interested in this type of optic for the very same reasons.
The X95 is already a very compact firearm, but the design tends to have a little too long a length of pull for shooters with short arms. At 26.125 inches overall, the X95 is at the cusp of NFA territory in terms of overall length, so shooters who don’t like its factory length of pull were stuck with it, since trimming even a half inch could potentially render the firearm an SBR in the eyes of the BATFE.
With that in mind, Manticore Arms took another approach, developing a curved buttpad that reduces the length of pull without reducing the overall length of the rifle. This is because the top of the pad is still full-length, while the bottom is more than an inch shorter.
The curved buttpad shape also makes weapon retention and recoil mitigation much easier than the factory pad. The shape also makes snapping to targets from a, low ready position much faster because you can rest the stock on your shoulder 45 degrees below your eyeline, then simply rotate it up to aim down the sights when a target presents itself.
Constructed of aircraft-grade aluminum with over-molded rubber, the Manticore Curved Buttpad is an excellent, relatively inexpensive upgrade.
IWI cautions on its website, “Note that the Tavor X95 rifle is assembled in the US from imported and US parts under 18 U.S.C § 922(r). You should only use magazines made in the USA in your Tavor X95. Use of an imported magazine may put you in violation of 18 U.S.C § 922(r).”
Daniel Defense, Hexmag, Mission First Tactical are a few examples of US-made magazines you can stock.
Daniel Defense’s DD magazine is a polymer magazine that boasts the slick look Daniel Defense aficionados expect, with features galore. For starters, the magazine holds 32-rounds instead of the standard 30 of most mags, but isn’t any larger than a standard STANAG magazine. While these extra rounds might seem unimportant, by increasing capacity, shooters can load their DD mags to 30 rounds and easily seat them inside their host rifle even with the bolt closed.
Hexmag magazines features the iconic Hexture design pattern for superior grip to ease extraction without snagging on magazine pouches or other equipment. Enhancements such as the self-lubricating anti-tilt follower for reliable feeding make Hexmag one of the most compatible, user-friendly magazines on the market. It’s proprietary PolyHex2 advanced composite delivers superior strength and reliable performance without adding weight.
MFT mags feature stipple texture, low profile front ribs and flared floor plates that aid in extraction and handling. The floor plate provides drop protection, has a paint pen dot matrix area for easy identification marking and is compatible with tight double and triple magazine pouches.
One of the nicest features on the X95 is its integrally-railed handguard. These three rails allow a shooter to attach any numbers of accessories to their compact carbine. One of my favorites, is an angled foregrip (AFG).
Some shooters wouldn’t normally run an AFG on a bullpup, the X95 is a special exception. Most bullpups have some sort of handstop built into the foregrip, which is one of the reasons for an angled foregrip on the gun – it’s effectively a built-in handstop.
While adding a long, heavy muzzle device to a compact rifle may seem counter-intuitive to most, the benefits of running a suppressor on the X95 far outweigh the downsides.
Plus, the butt-heavy nature of bullpups balances perfectly with the added weight of a can. The only drawbacks of running a suppressor on the X95 are the same as running a suppressor on any firearm – added length and accelerated fouling.
Suppressors reduce the muzzle report of a gunshot by delaying the expansion of hot gases from the muzzle. By delaying their release, much of the hot gas and carbon are blown back into the gun’s action.
This is an especially large concern with direct impingement design firearms, such as the AR-15, that already discharge gas into their receiver. Thankfully, the X95’s piston action runs much cleaner, venting most of this blowback through the handguards and outside the gun.
Make no mistake, the X95 as it arrives from the factory is a very solid firearm. It’s one that, in stock configuration, is potent. But if its inclusion of accessory rails and folding BUIS are any indication, it was designed to be customized.