This post first appeared at AllOutdoor.com
LMT is one of the premier names in hard-use, no-nonsense, ultra-reliable ARs. Unlike many AR makers who talk the military talk but only walk the civilian walk, LMT’s guns are actually standard-issue service guns for parts of a few of the world’s militaries, including the UK. In fact last year, when I was hanging out at the LMT booth trying to score an interview with the CEO, some US Special Forces guys dropped by and just started raving about LMT’s platform. So I bought one (a Defender 2000 piston gun). Then later, I, uh, kinda bought two more (an LM8 in direct impingement and an LM8MWS). God, I hope my wife doesn’t read this…
Anyway, I had decided not to buy any more AR-15s for a long while, but at this year’s SHOT show, LMT has severely tested that resolve with the launch of the SLK8, a brand new “race gun” aimed directly at 3-gun competitors.
Now, “race gun” and “LMT” are words that usually are not uttered in the same sentence. The LMT story is all about insane reliability, and their guns are tough as nails and gassed up to the point that they’ll cycle every time, no matter what. This means that softness of shooting, an attribute much prized by the 3-Gun crowed, isn’t typically on LMT’s radar. So the SLK8 is a pretty significant departure for the LMT brand.
“We make our products to military specs. It’s not just US military, but worldwide military specs. But those kinds of specifications and requirements are adaptable to the US commercial market, and especially to 3-gun,” LMT’s Matthew Pruitt told AllOutdoor.
“What the 3-gun market is looking for is a very accurate, very reliable gun that can meet those kinds of competition needs.”
There are a few things that make this a competition gun, the first of which is the extended upper.
“The longer upper allows you to extend your hands, and we go with the slick side to give you a smaller grip. You can add material as you want it and where you want it, so this gives the room to place your hand where you want it,” Pruitt said.
The other big difference is the new, stainless barrel, which comes in 16″ and 20″ versions. The barrel features a 1:7.5″ twist, which Pruitt claims gives it a little more accuracy with the kinds of ammo and under the kinds of conditions that you find in 3 Gun competitions.
The gun also features an ambidextrous mag release and is bolted onto a Defender lower with a SOPMOD buttstock.
The gun in the pictures I took at the booth sports the company’s new DMR stock, which is also being launched at SHOT 2014 but isn’t shipping standard on any of their guns as of yet. Aimed at Designated Marksman Rifles, the DMR features a SOPMOD cheek rest that’s adjustable by 45 positions in cheek well height and length of pull, and two positions on the extension tube. There’s also a concealed rail where you can attach a mono-pod, and a total of four quick-detach sling sockets.
The stock fits onto any standard carbine tube, so you can slide your existing SOPMOD stock off and slide this right on.