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Why the Israeli Military Loves the Tavor X95 Rifle

Tavor X95
Tavor X95. Image: Creative Commons.

Tavor X95: Lightweight, long barrel length, and Israeli dependability has proven popular internationally.

A Solid Weapon

The Tavor X95 is a decidedly space-age looking weapon. With its bullpup-style layout and prominent handguard (on models sold in the United States), it is easily identifiable. The manufacturer, Israeli Weapon Industries, offers several X95 variants, with differing barrel lengths available, as well as several calibers, including the NATO-standard 5.56x45mm as well as the Soviet, now Russian 5.45X39mm cartridge. The X95 is even offered as a 9mm submachine gun, and more recently in .300 AAC Blackout.

Although perhaps not an advantage during the heat of combat, the X95 can swap between some calibers with ease. The X95 can swap from 5.56mmx45mm caliber to 9mmx19mm caliber and vice versa “in minutes,” allowing for one platform for function as a submachine gun and assault rifle.

Bullpup Here, Bullpups There

Part of what makes the X95 so unique is its bullpup-style configuration, which sees the magazine loaded behind the trigger group and grip, rather than forward. An animated video demonstrating how bullpups operate is available below, and uses the X95 as an example.

The bullpup setup offers a few advantages. First, the X95 is able to have a full, 16.5-inch barrel length (notably, the same barrel length as the United States Marine Corps’ M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle) on a platform that is just a little over 26 inches long. For comparison, the M27 is 33 to 37 inches long, depending on how far the stock is adjusted.

And while the X95’s compact length does offer a weight advantage over full-length rifles like the M27, and is mover maneuverable in tight, compact spaces, its bullpup layout does have a disadvantage. By definition, bullpup stocks are not adjustable and therefore less ergonomic for shooters of very large or very small size and also cannot be adjusted to accommodate bulky equipment like bulletproof vests or other equipment. 

From Israel to the U.S. Capital.

More recently, the Tavor has X95 splashed across the news when a Colorado man, Cleveland Meredith, was arrested in the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol. The man, Cleveland G. Meredith Jr., had a veritable arsenal in his possession when he was arrested, including a 9mm Glock pistol, painted with an American flag motif, about 2,300 rounds of ammunition, of which approximately 320 were armor-piercing — as well as a Tavor X95 rifle.

Postscript

Beginning in the late 2000s, the Israeli Defense Forces selected the Tavor X95 as their standard-issue infantry weapon, replacing the TAR-21, also an Israel Military Industries weapon. In addition to the Israeli Defense Forces, the X95 is also in service with a number of military and law enforcement groups worldwide.

Caleb Larson is a Defense Writer based in Europe. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European defense issues, and German politics and culture.

Written By

Caleb Larson, a defense journalist based in Europe and holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy. He lives in Berlin and writes on U.S. and Russian foreign and defense policy, German politics and culture.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kevin

    January 18, 2021 at 6:44 am

    “veritable arsenal”…..LOL

  2. John

    February 13, 2021 at 3:45 pm

    Is the commercial T7 built as reliable and durable, using proper materials, as the Israeli T95 that is used by their Armed Forces ?

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