New Zealand Defence Force Releases Sneak Peak At New Carbine

Recently, the New Zealand Defence Force selected Lewis Machine & Tool Company to be the supplier of rifles to replace their aging Austrian-designed Steyr AUG bullpups. The exact model of rifle was not revealed in the press release regarding LMT’s selection, but those who speculated that it would be that company’s CQB16 model were soon proven correct. However, we have not seen the exact configuration of these rifles… Until the NZDF released the video below, that is:

The video shows the LMT rifle with its trademark monolithic upper receiver and “SOPMOD” buttstock, as well as an added 3 o’clock position bayonet lug mount, a combined flash hider/muzzle brake unit (EDIT: It’s a Surefire Warcomp, thanks to Charlie Taylor for the correction), and ambidextrous safety. The gun also mounts a PEQ-15 laser designator, LMT back up iron sights, Trijicon TA33 TA31 (thanks to Squirreltakular for the correction) ACOG optic with piggybacked RMR red dot sight, and an LMT M203-2003 short barreled 40mm under barrel grenade launcher.

The LMT CQB16 was adopted as part of the New Zealand Defence Force’s recent small arms modernization effort, which also included the adoption of the LMT MWS with a 20″ barrel as a designated marksman’s weapon, the replacement of 5.56mm Minimi light machine guns with their 7.62mm caliber stablemates, and the adoption of the Glock 17 handgun to replace the SIG P226. With this new suite of weapons at their disposal, New Zealand troops are very well armed indeed.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Pretty sweet contract for LMT.

  • Mr.Volt

    I still think that the pros of those 3 and 9 o’clock bayonet lugs were too obvious after the appearance of a under barrel grenade launcher to avoid it for so long.
    I mean we had a a couple of generation of service AR pattern rifles after the M203 were introduced. And yet no one have bothered to make such a pity but worthy change.

    • Joshua

      Agreed, it is a interesting design change.

      • jono102

        The Steyr/M-203 the NZDF had, also came with the bayonet lug at 3 o’clock

    • Riot

      The AN-94 designers thought to include it.
      It’s likely due to ubgls not being standard issue.

  • Joshua

    Good for LMT. They were the odd man out in that competition and beat a lot of huge name companies for the contract.

    Also good to see LMT used Pmags to feed the rifle, taking out the number one issue with the AR platform.

  • Al

    Was anyone able to determine the NZ issue barrel length, last time there was some dispute of 16 vs. 20 inch? BTW, interesting muzzle device in the video.

    • Joshua

      The video is a 16″ with a SF Warcomp.

  • Squirreltakular

    TA-31, not 33.

  • Charlie Taylor

    that muzzle device looks like a Surefire WARCOMP 762, but in 5.56.

  • Treiz

    Congrats to them, sweet rifle!

  • Lance

    Major upgrade from a AUG nice to see some common sense in the military world.

  • FarmerB

    Will give the Aussies and Kiwis something else to argue about when on some joint Anzac deployment.

    • Dave

      Not really, those on the really pointy end of both forces use AR-15 derivatives, the Kiwi’s the LMT’s and H&K’s, the Aussies the locally made M4A5’s and H&K’s.

      • LLLL

        ADF M4A1s are made by Colt, there is no such thing as the M4A5.
        417s are issued, with 416s around, though I have yet to see any photographic evidence.

        • FarmerB

          Local designation. M4A5 is the correct name, I believe.

        • Plenty of photos of Aussies with H&K ARs are online.

  • Sharpshooter99

    The nzdf are calling it the MARS-L which sounds sick in my case. But no fore grips ?

    • Southpaw89

      Nave looks like an acronym, I’ll bet whoever chose it was real proud that they got it to spell out the name of the Roman god of war.

    • tipsey

      Modular Assault Rifle System – Light

      • Sharpshooter99

        Thats the 1

        • jono102

          It will end up with one, most probably end up with the same folding monopod that’s on both the LMG and DMW

  • Kivaari

    Wow! Great rifles and a great handgun but the 7.62 replacement for the SAW strikes me as odd.

    • jono102

      7.62 was decided as it gave the range and capability the NZDF wanted at section level, one of the reasons they also have the 7.62 LMT DMW at Section level as well

      • Kivaari

        My concern was a box magazine without a quick change barrel. It takes discipline to manage the load and role. I like seeing a 7.62 on the line. I am of the school that an M4 is the GENERAL issue RIFLE. As a DMR the 7.62 is excellent and needs to be there with high quality optics. As long as a belt -fed machinegun is in the mix. A more reliable M249 with the long range loads can do MOST of the job. There certainly are good arguments for a heavier GPMG on the line. I base my criticism of the M249s, my kid used in Iraq was unreliable in the USA. While in Iraq he wasn’t even able to fire the damn thing, not even training. State-side it may have been the guns used for training. Especially when using the M4 magazines stuffed in. He made it home with having only dodging mortar rounds at Anaconda.

        • jono102

          When we went from the C-9/M249 to the FN/MK48 fire discipline was a key point primarily due to how much 5.56 vs 7.62 belt could be carried. The average NZ Infantry section is pretty spoilt for choice now with 2x FN/MK48’s, the 7.62 LMT in the DMW role (Leopold 4.5-18X) and a couple M-203’s and a shotgun for good measure. I hear your point about training on weapons systems. We had some US guys from 101st attached to us in Afghanistan. The guy with the M-249 had sat in a lesson one one during Recruit/inital training but never used it. We ended up teaching him NZ drills and getting him out live firing with us.

          • Kivaari

            That’s a well balance unit.

  • nadnerbus

    I think the Kiwis picked a really high quality and well rounded set of weapons. I will be really interested to see what the grunts think of this rifle compared to the AUG once they get a chance to use and abuse it for a while.

  • Tassiebush

    I am glad for our Kiwi cousins. Seems they’ve picked well.

  • LazyReader

    Good for LMT, they must design a good product if they could beat out HK and FN Herstal in offering a rifle.

  • shooter2009

    It’s a “peek”…

  • shooter2009

    Nice…but, you have to admit, the AUG looks cooler.