The M-16 was the first rifle I was issued during my mandatory service in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). That’s the gun I used to become a proficient rifleman. After basic training, we switched to the more modern M-4. From then on, I carried my M-4 during my military service, and continued to carry it when I went home on leave.
All of a sudden, during deployment to the Gaza border, my unit switched over to the new Tavor X-95 rifle. With very little instruction, my life, and the lives of my unit, depended on using the IWI-made bullpup firearm.
At first, the X-95 felt too like a toy; it was small and almost entirely made of polymer parts. I soon learned that the bullpup’s operation was not that different than my beloved M-4. The magazine release and safety were in the same place. I had to adjust to the bolt stop — located behind the magazine — and the trigger felt completely different than the M-4’s mil-spec trigger.
It took some time getting used to the X-95 Tavor. However, basic training taught me that a rifleman should be able to shoot whatever weapon system he’s given — if he or she understands and knows the fundamentals of marksmanship and practices running the gun in a variety of circumstances.
For me, the X95 never seemed as accurate as the M4. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the IWI rifle to match the M-4’s groups. That said, after further training, I was hitting targets at 400m (437 yards) and even as far as 500m (547 yards) with M855 green tip ammunition.
The Tavor was primarily designed for CQB (close quarter combat). That’s the reality the IDF faces; most of our operations occurred in urban environments, tunnels or heavy growth areas. In fact, I could easily shoot the X-95 one-handed, using it almost like a pistol.
With all of the weight in the back, the Tavor is an easily rifle to maneuver. During long range patrols, the weight distribution made a huge difference. The X-95 seemed weightless compared to the M-4.
Since its adoption by the IDF, the Tavor has been tested in thousands of operations. It has taken out hundreds of terrorists. It is a great rifle — just like the M-4. But a good military is always trying to adapt to the threats that it faces. The X-95 does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well.
[TTAG’s review of the Tavor X-95 in 300 BLK is dropping next week.]