Securing the Border: The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Experience Using the TAVOR®/X95™
Written by Winston Behle
Deep in the south of Texas near Reynosa, Mexico, Hidalgo County has seen the violence, kidnapping and smuggling brought on by ongoing cartel wars spill over the border. Needing a rifle they can trust, the Sheriff’s Office chose the TAVOR® and the X95™. We wanted to know why.
Why did you choose the TAVOR®/X95™over other rifles? What advantages does it give you as a law enforcement agency?
We did a very extensive and tough test and evaluation of several different rifles for our new patrol rifle program. After testing more traditional platforms, we had to develop a separate test for the TAVOR® due to it sweeping through the tests. It proved to be an amazing rifle.
The TAVOR® and X95™ perform like no other weapon this agency tested. We have had a successful transition from traditional AR-15 platforms to the TAVOR® with relative ease. The system has proven itself not only in ease of use on the range, but also in the much higher qualification scores for deputies. Our deputies are also very confident with their rifles and approve of the agency’s choice.
Do you prefer the TAVOR® or the X95™, and why?
Our SWAT teams are using the X95™ in its traditional select fire with 13-inch barrel. The weapon has proven itself to be highly accurate and reliable. It handles extremely well in a close quarters battle environment and just as easily takes great 300-yard shots.
Our patrol deputies are issued the TAVOR® SAR in a 16.5-inch barrel. They are extremely happy with its size, weight and performance. They leave the transition course confidently hitting E-50 steel targets from a standing position at 230 yards with aperture sights.
What tips do you have for others to become more adept at using the TAVOR®/X95™?
Practice. Like all weapon systems, you need to develop the fine motor skills needed to be effective under stress. The TAVOR® tested well with our SWAT teams and deputies due to its ease of use and very fast learning curve. It was also an easier platform for our female deputies to use due to its drastically reduced size and better balance.
What would you say to other LE agencies considering the TAVOR®/X95™?
Test it. Try and break it. Shoot it until the sun goes down, then shoot it some more. Don’t bother comparing it to AR-15 platforms. It is a different animal and deserves to be treated as such.
What are some of the unique law enforcement issues you face as a county bordering Mexico?
The Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office has some unique challenges that face us, just like any agency would. We enjoy a great working environment and cooperation with our local and federal partners in many different types of missions. It is a fast-paced environment with many complex needs that are traditionally seen in border counties.
How does having the TAVOR®/X95™ help you face those issues?
We tested this weapon in a variety of different ways. It performed incredibly well in high dust/dirt and under other adverse conditions. Due to the size and build of the weapon, it also is easy to shoot with one hand in the event of a vehicle ambush, K-9 on leash or if you have to drag an injured fellow officer to safety. These were all factors that led to us choosing the IWI TAVOR® SAR and X95™.