By Louis K. Bonham
As I indicated in my initial review of the TAVOR X95, I tested it using an EOTech holographic sight, and it handled and functioned very well. However, from prone and supported kneeling positions, I was getting about 4-5 MOA groups with inexpensive range ammo. That was, of course, well within “minute of bad guy” performance, but before making a call on its accuracy I wanted to do a deeper dive and see what it could do under more ideal conditions and with better optics.
Equipped with a selection of match-grade .223/5.56 NATO ammunition and my 6.8 SPC pig gun as a control, my colleague Peter Schechter and I put the X95 on the bench at Best of the West.
Using a front rest and rear bags, we started by shooting “control” groups with my pig gun, which sports the same SWFA SS HD 1-6 x 24 scope on a LaRue mount that Tyler had reviewed. As expected, with decent factory ammo (Hornaday 110gr V-MAX), both Peter and I were shooting 1-1.5 MOA groups with it at 100 yards. We then removed the scope/mount from the control gun and put it on the X95. We then shot about 100 rounds of range ammo to get the scope zeroed and get acclimated to the trigger and feel of the X95.
During this warmup, the inexpensive range ammo (55g PBR Value Line and PMC Bronze) was giving us about 4 MOA groups, which was comparable to what I’d seen in my earlier outings. Peter’s groups were consistently a bit better than mine, so I made him the designated shooter for that day’s actual test.
We tested different types of match grade ammo, shooting at least three groups of five. As you’ll see from the chart below, while some match ammo performed better than others, none of them grouped better than about 2 MOA. Often, there would be a very tight group of 3 or so and one or two fliers that would blow the grouping.
These results were comparable to what other online reviewers had been reporting, but to try to definitively rule out operator error I also asked TTAG’s resident warrior Jon Wayne Taylor to see what he could wring out of it. Shooting it from a lead sled with sandbags, he was able to get one 1.5 MOA group with IWI match ammo (which was consistently the flavor the X95 liked best), but his average for that ammo was 1.75 MOA. His groups with other match grade ammo were comparable to what Peter and I encountered: a bit over 2.5 or more MOA.
Ergo, my findings are consistent with what others have been reporting: the X95 is well within the 4 MOA expected of a milspec rifle, but at least in its stock configuration it’s definitely not a precision rifle.
Why might this be? While the X95’s trigger is a huge improvement over the SAR, it’s nothing close to a premium AR trigger pack, and still has a longish pull (which JWT really didn’t like). I suspect installing an accurizing trigger pack would improve things.
I discovered another possibility by periodically ejecting and inspecting rounds that had been chambered by the weapon cycling (e.g., the fifth round in a magazine). Most of the time that inspection didn’t show anything remarkable. Occasionally (about a quarter of the time), however, I saw a scuff near the nose of the bullet, and in one instance it actually produced a gouge deep enough to raise a small burr.
I checked with TTAG’s Dyspeptic Gunsmith, who confirmed that something that is deforming the bullet or pushing it sideways in the case can indeed cause fliers, although he cautioned that there are all sorts of other things that could also be affecting accuracy – especially the shooter. I didn’t collect enough data on this to draw any definitive conclusions, but it may be worth investigating further.
Based on these results, here are my updated ratings for the X95:
Accuracy: * * *
If you’re looking for a match rifle, this isn’t it (at least not out of the box). Its accuracy is certainly more than adequate for its intended mission, but it’s not a tack driver.
Reliability: * * * * *
After several hundred more rounds downrange without any further problems at all, I’m thinking the initial hiccups were almost certainly magazine issues, and so I’ve upped the grade here.
Overall: * * * *
I’m sticking with my original rating here. It’s not a sub-MOA rifle, but it is a NFA-legal alternative to a SBR with great ergonomics and is built like a tank.