Bullpup Rifles are a mystery to me. I saw it only once, and through that, it was a funny-looking rifle. When I was browsing catalogs one afternoon, I came across an article about them. Fascinated, I ended up missing dinner because I was glued to the article after the article.
When it comes to bullpup rifles, though, I know I can trust IWI Tavor. The company was created in 1933. After a few years, they began collaborating with the Israel Defense Forces. Fast forward to 2014; the Tavor SAR made waves by winning a much-coveted award. But more on that later. To keep things fair, I will be focusing on the 9mm Parabellum models for both the Tavor SAR and X95.
Tavor SAR vs X95: Compared
Tavor SAR at a Glance
The SAR is a semi-automatic bullpup centerfire rifle. The barrel length is 17 inches, with an overall length of 26.125 inches. It weighs 7.9 pounds. It has a Polymer NATO STANAG magazine with a capacity of 32 rounds. Its front sight is a folding blade with a Tritium insert, which makes it flexible for elevation and windage. The rear sight is an aperture, a more precise sight when combined with the folding sight.
The barrel is cold-hammer forged. It is available in the black and flat dark earth. It has a full-length Picatinny mount. It also has a standard short rail on the left-hand side at a 45-degree angle. The charging handle is located on the right-hand side. The rifling is a 1:10 inch twist with four grooves designed for right-handed shooters. The stock configuration is a reinforced polymer bullpup configuration. It is operated by blowback and closed bolt system.
A blowback system, according to analyst George Chinn, operates by riding on the energy of the cartridge as it is pushed to the rear by the expanding gas made by the ignition of the propellant charge. A closed bolt system, on the other hand, is the mechanism where the spent cartridge is ejected from the shotgun, and the bolt goes forward with a new round. A Hollywood nut, such as myself, can imagine this action with all the close-ups in a lot of movies that utilize shotguns.
The NRA Publications American Rifleman Magazine gave the Tavor SAR the Golden Bullseye Rifle of the Year in 2014. It also owes its fame as the choice weapon by the Israel Defense Forces.
Generally, reviews online love this model with nothing but praise for it. It combines a short weapon but with the full power of a long barrel. One common negative thing about it is the way the bullpup releases the magazine, which requires the use of your support hand.
Pros and Cons
The pros are:
- Winner of the Golden Bullseye award in 2014;
- Ergonomic design; and
- A total of 32 rounds per magazine.
The cons are:
- A little on the heavy side of rifles; and
- Magazine change is a bit of a hassle.
Tavor X95 Overview
The X95 is an enhanced version of the SAR. The official site lists the improvements such as a 5 to a 6-pound trigger pull, moving the mag release to a location similar to an AR-15, a charging handle closer to operator’s center mass, a modular Travor pistol grip that may be changed to a standard pistol grip, and a smaller bolt release button placed on a lower position.
Another difference is that the forearm has three Picatinny rails with removable covers, in addition to the exposed rail at the top. They are positioned at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. The charging handle may be changed from one side to the other to accommodate left-handed shooters; The steel IWI COLT Style magazine has a capacity of 32 rounds.
It has the same length and weight as the SAR. It also has a folding front sight with a Tritium insert and an aperture rear sight. The barrel is cold-hammer forged and is available in the black and flat dark earth. The rifling ratio and stock configuration are the same. The X95 also utilizes the blowback and closed bolt systems.
Reviews praise it for being a fully ambidextrous rifle as opposed to the Tavor SAR. Another review summarizes the experience as having a full-length AR 15 the size of an SBR. We all know what a huge inconvenience an SBR purchase can be, plus the additional expenses, so purchasing this may be a good, if not better, decision.
Pros and Cons
The pros of the X95 are:
- Mostly ambidextrous;
- Improved magazine release;
- Additional Picatinny rails all around the barrel; and
- Has a customization kit for left-handed shooters.
The cons are:
- Its weight, which is still heavy as compared to other 5.56 rifles; and
- The grip is a right-hand twist; the kit is available. Still, it is a hassle to buy the kit instead of just getting a truly ambidextrous bullpup rifle.
Overall, I think I would be more satisfied with the X95. It is a newer design and a much-improved version of the Tavor SAR. The latter has a few good points. However, if I would be investing a lot of money in something, I’d instead go for the newer and more improved rifle.
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Tavor SAR vs X95 Compared
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We analyzed 17 forum threads, researched 10 sources, evaluated 93 reviews and spent 6+ hours on our analysis.
The latter has a few good points. However, if I would be investing a lot of money in something, I’d instead go for the newer and..