TAVOR X95 | The basic Rifle of the National Guard’s Commandos

*Christos Loizou
Published on 08/08/2021 at 13:10

The TAVOR X95 of the Israeli IWI (member of SK group) is the basic rifle of the National Guard Special Forces (Commandos). 

Since the acquisition of this rifle in 2018, there have been ardent supporters of, and those who criticised, this choice. An evaluation of the TAVOR X95 is essential, as apart from the Special Forces, there are thoughts to also supply infantry units of the National Guard. Furthermore, the Hellenic Army is considering the TAVOR as one of the options for the future Hellenic Army rifle.

For several decades, the renowned G3 was the main rifle of the National Guard, while in 2016 the G3 was temporarily replaced by the Czech VZ58 for the Special forces units. The said units also use other types of weapons, such as the FN-P90 submachine gun, depending on their mission.

TAVOR X95 Technical Characteristics 

  • Caliber: 5.56X45 mm
  • Range: 300 meters
  • Weight: 3.4 kg
  • Total Length: 670 mm (Flattop 419 mm)
  • Rate of fire: 750-950 rounds/minute

The use of the TAVOR X95 was a milestone in two main aspects: Caliber and Design.

The change of caliber from 7.62X51 mm to 5.56X45 mm, according to the standards of most NATO members, offers, among other, reduced recoil compared to the G3, thus higher precision.

Along with the modern Red-dot-type sights and Meprolight scopes (also part of SK group) acquired by the National Guard, the Commandos can achieve improved aiming. Furthermore, with the appropriate combination of equipment, night missions – that is, the majority of the Commando missions, can be executed with better results. In addition, there is greater precision and performance in urban warfare. Hence, the fact that the supply of the TAVOR was accompanied by an upgrade of CQB training and urban warfare is by no means a random event. 

Also read: Green beret awarding ceremony for the 2020 Special Forces Class

More specifically, regarding urban warfare, the National Guard followed the example of the Hellenic Army where the Commando and other units such as the 71st Airborne Brigade replaced the main G3 rifle with the 5.56mm M16A2.

It is worth noting that in the case of the Turkish armed forces, the G3 was initially going to be replaced by the Turkish-made MPT-55 (5.56×45 caliber), but eventually the army preferred the MPT-76 (7.62×51 caliber) because of fire power, range and penetration. 

The replacement was not made in mass since various rifles and calibers are used, but it is worth noting that since 2016 the Turkish occupation forces in Cyprus have received more than 2500 MPT-76s with which they mainly equipped their infantry and Special Forces units. 

The second milestone and the main argument for those against the TAVOR was the fact that this particular rifle is of the bullpup type, that is, the magazine and bolt mechanism are behind the trigger. Critics of the TAVOR have argued that there are inherent ergonomic drawbacks in bullpup-type weapons. 

Special emphasis is placed on the greater weight distribution in the rear, the likelihood of damaging the magazine in case of abrupt position change as well as the difficulty in changing the gun side (left-right) since the shells drop closer to the operator’s face. 

By contrast, the bullpup design allows smaller weapon length and therefore provides the soldier with more agility, especially in urban warfare. At the same time, the length of the barrel is not reduced, allowing the weapon to maintain its ballistic performance characteristics. In addition, its weight distribution allows faster switching of targets while being more ergonomic in disembarking from vehicles and helicopters.

Although large armies such as the French and Chinese, which have used bullpup-type weapons for decades, have in recent years switched to conventional design, the TAVOR X95 is clearly an upgrade for the National Guard’s Special Forces (Commando) compared to the G3 and VZ58 predecessors. 

Also read: Modern Shooting Range inaugurated at the 33rd Special Forces Squadron – Photos

Regarding its adoption by infantry units, the evaluation should be based on the relevant experience of the Israeli army as well as the Special Forces Command, which also undertakes tactical missions.

In conclusion, the arsenal and equipment of the special forces units must be consistently upgraded as – due to the variety and nature of their missions – they must be equipped with weapon systems of various calibers and types. As mentioned above, the adoption of the TAVOR X95 as the basic rifle is an important step in upgrading the National Guard.  

Since there is no “absolute” rifle; rather, everything comes down to the needs and the mission itself, while the efficiency of a weapons system varies according to different factors such as the personnel’s training.

Also read: National Guard | Return to the routine activities for the Reservists with live-fire training and many more – Photos

* Political Scientist

** The views and / or comments expressed in the articles belong to each author and may not constitute an opinion and / or position and / or be adopted as such by company and / or site administrators. More in the terms of use of the website. 




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