The IWI Tavor X95: Should AR Owners Give in to the Temptation?

I once had a firearms instructor share his dirty little secret with me. We were in the middle of an AR-15 class, and he couldn’t contain his private obsession any longer: he liked bullpup rifles.

Having an AR instructor declare a fascination with a bullpup may be something worthy of a grand-jury investigation. The reality is that bullpup-style rifles are battle-proven designs with certain benefits over the more-traditional AR-15 design.

Possibly one of the best bullpup rifles on the market right now is the Tavor X95. This rifle cut its teeth in the service of the Israel Defense Forces, where it has seen plenty of use. A semi-automatic version of the rifle has now been made available to U.S. citizens. Let’s take a look at a few of the features that might make you consider adding one to your own inventory.

Size. The most obvious benefit of any bullpup is the reduced length of the gun. With a 16″ barrel, the X95 is just a hair over 26″. An AR-15 typically runs around 32.5″ – 36.5″ with an M4-style stock. To chop an AR down to get close to the same size as an X95, you would need to run a 10.5″ barrel and accept the reduced bullet performance and significantly increased muzzle blast.

For anyone wanting a rifle that can be maneuvered around a house or boat, the X95 makes a lot of sense just on its size. For a police officer or nuclear-security officer, the guns can be a significant tactical advantage when searching confined areas.

Balance. Although the X95 is slightly heavier than the typical AR-15, the gun is balanced much closer to the body. This makes the gun easier to hold on target for long periods of time.

For anyone that does not have an abundance of upper-body strength, the balance of the Tavor X95 can be a real boon. My wife prefers to shoot the X95 more than a typical AR rifle solely because of the balance of the firearm.

Controls. The X95 uses a non-reciprocating charging handle mounted on the side of the rifle. This allows the shooter to operate the handle without having to unmount the gun.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly my body adapted to the magazine location. I’ve learned that the human body likes to pull things in close when working on them. The closer to the body, the more control we can have over an object.

With the magazine well located behind the pistol grip, my mind readily adapted to magazine changes and I became quite fast with them. It was as if the gun became part of my body.

Is the X95 destined to be part of your collection? You’re the judge and jury. Rest assured, however, that you will not be alone if you do pick one up.

Just be prepared to love it more than you thought you would.

View versions of the IWI Tavor X95 on