Tag Archives: 5.56 NATO

The HK SL8 Fever Dream is still Alive

Much as the HK91 was a civilianized version of the G3, soon after the very sci-fi looking G36 hit the market in 1997 HK moved to give hungry fans what they wanted.

I mean, who wouldn’t want a G36, right?

First introduced in 2000, the .223 Rem caliber SL8 used a short-stroke piston actuated gas operating system with a 20.8-inch cold hammer forged heavy barrel. Semi-auto with a grey carbon fiber polymer thumbhole stock– it debuted during the Federal Assault Weapon ban– with an adjustable cheekpiece and buttstock, the initial version of the rifle included a removable Picatinny rail, an ambi charging handle that folded into the centerline of the gun, and adjustable sights.
So this is the “G36” consumers in the U.S. got stuck with:

The original SL8-1. Originally imported 2000-2003 and then again in 2007-2010, the first generation model now known as the SL8-1 included 10-round mags and a grey thumbhole stock.

In 2010, HK updated the design to the SL8-6 which ditched the space cadet grey for an all-black format and added an elevated Pic rail/carrying handle. It also had a vented handguard, closer to the G36 original. Unfortunately, this model was only imported for a year.
Now, the SL8-6 is back, and it is still kinda wonky but, if you call people like TBT, they can turn it into something great.

KAC getting a lot of Pentagon Love

The aircrew of the Florida-based Coast Guard Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron stand for a photo after the 500th recorded drug bust in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, March 11, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard photo. Note the M107A1 with mounted AN/PEQ-15 aiming laser in the foreground, the M110 7.62x51mm sniper rifle with can in the background, and the fact that the crew names and weapons’ serials have been blurred for OPSEC/PERSEC.

In the past week, the DOD has announced two big contracts for Knight’s Armament Company in Florida.

For those who aren’t familiar with Reid Knight’s KAC, just keep in mind that the company served as the final home of Eugene Stoner, who redesigned his original AR-10 there as the new and very much improved SR-25. That 7.62 NATO precision rifle went on to pull down the Army’s XM110 Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifle competition in 2005.

The resulting M110 has gone on to be used not only by the Joes but also with the Navy EOD and Specwar community, the Marines in a designated marksman role, and the Coast Guard’s HITRON interdiction teams.

It is so well-liked that, even while the Army is picking up HK-made G28s for the new M110A1, they are still buying M110s from KAC, announcing a $13M contract for the rifles last week. 

Quiet Time

U.S. Marines assigned to Scout Sniper Platoon, Battalion Landing Team 3/2, 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), conduct an M4 Carbine live-fire exercise on the flight deck of the USS Kearsarge, at sea, July 18, 2013. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Christopher Q. Stone, 26th MEU Combat Camera/Released)

And in other related news, the Marines just issued a $25M contract to KAC for 5.56 NATO suppressors for their M4/M4A1s and M27 IARs. 

When it comes to suppressor-use by its warfighters, the Marines have been consistently striving to make them the standard rather than the exception. In 2016, the expeditionary-focused service moved to equip every element of a test battalion, from combat engineers to headquarters units, with suppressed weapons after company-level trials yielded results.

By 2017, they were exploring the option of picking up enough to outfit all of their battalions. The new contract will go a long way towards that if all the options are used.