Last year I published a story here saying the IWI X95 Tavor might be the best hog hunting rifle ever. Well, times change and maybe we can call that Part 1. But now we have the X95 chambered in 300 Blackout and, yeah, it might just be even better!
Full disclosure there, we’ve had a love affair with these rifles since the first Tavor SAR rifles hit American soil. The Israelis don’t play around when it comes to their military weaponry. Our first Tavors ran like rock stars. We did what might have been the first and smallest Tavors only carbine class with Fred Mastison. Then we turned them to hog hunting.
Next we covered the launch of the 5.56 X95 the day they were announced. Not much later we were hog hunting with one. It was great, thus the headline last year, “Best Hog Hunting Rifle Yet? Spend the Night with The Tavor X95!”
If you’re a run and gun tactical hog hunter, you’re in and out of vehicles, running across fields, maybe blasting down dirt roads or across fields on an ATV. What you don’t need is your rifle banging your knees as you run or getting hung up on your vehicle. These bullpup rifles are a mere twenty-six and half inches long, just long enough to keep them from being restricted NFA items. Yet, you still get a full length 16.5” barrel, ideal for keeping your 5.56 velocity up. In short, it has the ergonomics of an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) without losing any muzzle velocity while avoiding a $200 NFA tax stamp. Sweet!
Now, as well as the 5.56 X95 performed while hog hunting, the holy grail would seem to be that platform chambered in 300 Blackout with an adjustable gas system facilitating running suppressed and unsuppressed effectively. The clamoring seen on social media for that exact rifle build was something like the crowd in the movie Gladiator loudly crying out for Maximus – “Maximus! Maximus!” “300BLK X95! 300BLK X95!” IWI came through.
I couldn’t wait to get a couple of 300 Blackout X95s in. I’d then head to Texas to join our newest Pro Staffer Jared Hilton in one of our favorite activities, Tactical Hog Combat. Before you think I’m overstating that, we run night hog control ops with thermal optics, silencers, the works. Unlike their cowardly cousins, some hogs decide that fighting back is a good option and charge us. None have survived the charge.
My kit is a tan X95 hosting a SilencerCo Specwar 7.62 suppressor. The 1x thermal is the Trijicon EO Patrol. Perhaps the most versatile thermal ever, I’ve added a ZRODELTA Mini DLOC mount so I can remove it for hand held spotting and helmet mounted stalking. It returns to zero every time I remount it.
At 11:30 at night we find ourselves bouncing down a dirt road between wheat fields hundreds of acres in size. It’s 80 degrees and to me feels as humid as a wet sauna. The moon is at 81% and waxing. It’s bright enough for the hogs to see us if we’re not careful.
Scanning out the passenger side open window using the Trijicon IR Patrol hand held, I spot hogs dinning on the stubble in the field to our right. We bail out with the wind in our faces, snap our QD slings quickly to the X95s and close 150 yards on foot to set up our 60 yard shot. Just when we’re ready, the hogs alert and move purposefully south away from us. They’re not in a full run, just an earnest trot. We hustle single file as quickly and quietly as we can another 50 yards to catch up. Not good enough. We advance yet another fifty yards, still chasing the hogs. With the hogs now 90 yards away and moving, we take our shots. Jared has the perfect shot, placing his 300 Blackout Maker subsonic bullet right in the center of the neck. The pig makes a half turn and drops. My shot placement isn’t as good. My pig soaks up multiple rounds and dies 7 yards from Jared’s. Two sows down, closer to each other in death than they were in life. It’s 11:40. The night is young and I love how fast paced this is!
Fast forward a few hours. To get a feel for how we patrol a lot of fields over a large amount of land, read Jared’s version of this hunt. We’ve engaged multiple hogs in multiple fields. We’ve seen hundreds of them. In this field alone we’ve dropped a dozen in several different engagements, including a couple with a 50 BMG, but that’s a story for later. Daybreak can’t be far off and we’re super tired. It’s been fun, but we’re done. Or at least we think so. We’re heading back to the vehicle and turn to scan the field one last time.
150 yards away is a really big pig. We don’t know how big he is at this point, but here we go again! Once again single file we’re closing distance. With 50 yards range to target, we both pull triggers and both connect. That big bore took off like he was being shot at! We both stayed on target, sending a hail of Maker subsonics his direction. Some hits, some misses, but 35 yards from where the first shots connected with him he was down for the count. For years we’ve hunted these fields. The biggest hog we remember was 350 pounds. The beast we just killed was bigger.
300 Blackout is just an incredibly versatile round. Using the subsonics, we didn’t recover as many hogs as we shot on this hunt. But when the farmer was cutting the Haygrazer crop the next day, he kept finding the bodies. Lots of them. I’ve seen supersonic 300 Blackout drop a bear with a single shot. If we’d been running supersonic rounds through the X95s, we’d have quite the pile of pigs to show.
In the end, the X95 Tavor in 300 Blackout is a terrific hog hunting gun. It’s simply super versatile. Run subs (purpose built like the Maker Rex), run supers. Run suppressed, run unsuppressed. Single point sling or double. The short length, the ergonomics, I’m forced to say it’s a better hog hunting gun than the 5.56 X95 I fell in love with last year. I have no plans to get rid of that 5.56 X95, but the 300 Blackout is the hunting show stopper. If you want a short non-NFA all around hunting rifle, you want this one.