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MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

18 January 2016

SHOT Show Industry Day: The Evolution of the TAVOR

Israel Weapon Industries’ (IWI) X95 (Micro TAVOR), a direct derivation from the TAR-21 TAVOR bullpup rifle, adopted in 2003 by the IDF, is a stand-alone extremely compact rifle. The X95 is a versatile and innovated weapon system that can be modified for a variety of users. Initially the X95 was developed to answer the growing need of the IDF SOF for a new multipurpose weapon. The development process was done in collaboration with one of the elite SOF units of the IDF (the IDF chose the X95 as the main weapon). The X95 can be fitted for a wide verity of operations and scenarios (can be used by SOF\Infantry\Crew)

X95L 5.56mm compact assault rifle/carbine with 419mm/16.5in barrel and integrated Grenate Launcher; with MEPRO 4X, a fix 4x magnification, compact and lightweight (320g), telescopic day sight, utilising a quick release Picatinny adaptor, providing five different brightness settings. (Photo: Mönch/DPM)

With the use of a relatively simple conversion kit, the X95 can be converted from a 5.56 mm assault rifle to a 9mm submachine gun loaded with 32-round magazines and 5.45x39. This leap in technology allows the fighter to use the same weapon platform for a wide array of scenarios. The interchangeability can be done with a silencer for all calibres, thus distinguishing itself as the ideal weapon for Special Forces dealing with complicated situations. A suppressor can also be added to the weapon, as part of the 9mm conversion kit. A fast attachment integrated grenade launcher can also be attached.

When configured to fire 9mm rounds, the gun uses a blowback operation to eject and reload rounds, but in the same body as the gas-operated rifle reloading system. It is fed from proprietary magazines. A suppressor can be mounted that allows for the use of standard velocity 9mm ammunition, not specialised subsonic ammo. The barrel is the same length as the rifle version, but has a 1:10 in rifling twist to stabilise heavy 9mm bullets.

Compared to the 35in (890mm) long M4 with its stock extended with a 14.5in (370mm) barrel, the X95 is 23in (580mm) long with a 13in (330mm) barrel. The X95 barrel is produced using a cold hammer forging process.

It comes in a number of variants (including):

  • X95 (5.56mm, compact assault rifle/carbine with 330mm/13in barrel)
  • X95L (5.56mm, compact assault rifle/carbine with 419mm/16.5in barrel)
  • X95 SMG (9mm, SMG with 330mm/13" barrel)
  • X95R (5.45×39mm, compact assault rifle/carbine with 330mm/13in and 419mm/16.5in barrels)
  • X95S (9mm, integrated suppressor with 275mm/10.8in barrel, and a rate of fire of approx. 700-1,000 rds/min)

In 2014, the IDF announced that in the future some infantry units could start to be issued some numbers of an improved X95, which will have a longer 38cm barrel (instead of the original 33cm barrel of the X95), a lighter trigger pull, and a number of other upgrades.
According to media sources, foreign users include SOF of Angola, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Nepal, Philippines, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam; police forces of Chile, Colombia, Macedonia, Portugal; plus Ethiopia, Georgia, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Thailand, and the USA.