TFBTV at SHOT Show 2016 Industry Day: The LMT Modular Assault Rifle System-Light (MARS-L) and M203 Grenade Launcher

LMT brought the new M.A.R.S. (Modular Assault Rifle System) Light carbine and the LMT M203 Grenade launcher (with dummy rounds, of course) to Industry Day at the range. This rifle has several improvements over the standard AR15, and, as recently reported by our own Nathaniel F. in this article, the M.A.R.S. was recently adopted by the New Zealand Defense Force.


Jane’s reports that the New Zealand Defence Forces (NZDF) will spend NZD59 million (USD40 million) on 8,800 new MARS-L rifles, support, training, and accessories.

James Reeves

• NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
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• Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
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• GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
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  • Andy

    Ambi controls. Revolutionary.

    • TheSmellofNapalm


  • notalima

    Its been really weird seeing the shot show folks taking over my range for the last few years. That’s the steel silhouette range area. (Boulder Rifle and Pistol Club)

  • Kefefs

    So is it “Modular Assault Rifle System” or “Modular Ambidextrous Rifle System”? The video and description both say different things.

  • Alex

    I’m hoping it doesn’t come with the gaudy laser engraved LMT logo plastered on the side of the receiver when it hits the market.

  • TheSmellofNapalm

    So quad rail, birdcage flash, sopmod-ish stock…. Pass. Hope New Zealand got a good deal, but I’ll take a KAC any day. Those have been ambi for years and have the E3 guarantee.

    • joel. k

      The NZ variant actually comes with a surefire 556 warcomp, and since you are complaining about the quad rail you might wanna know that its fully monolithic and made from one piece. So any lights and lasers will always stay zeroed since the hand guard and upper is one piece. LMT over KAC any day of the week for me.

      • TheSmellofNapalm

        Show me video evidence of an LMT running for over 20,000 rounds with zero cleaning, minimal lubing and zero malfunctions. Then we can talk. And are you insinuating that Knights guns aren’t accurate? Maybe you forgot they build the SR-25, one of the most successful military-adopted gas snipers in history. KAC knows precision. Also, you gotta admit that LMT is pretty late to the party with the whole ambi thing. Hell, even Colt beat them to it.

        • MechanizedSwede

          No obviously i can’t, I’m not saying that KAC’s are inaccurate per say. Im just stating that a hand guard which isn’t permanently fitted to the receiver is inferior to one which is in one piece. And you can’t argue with that. I would never put an optic on a regular AR hand guard, but on a lmt i would. And another thing i like about LMT’s are the quick change barrels (and the possibility to change between DI and piston), so it’s a pretty modular system.

          And about being ambi, since I’m a lefty this is a major issue. And yeah LMT is pretty late to the fiesta, but better late than never i guess.

          • TheSmellofNapalm

            Why you would mount an optic so far forward that it’s on the handguard is beyond me.

          • MechanizedSwede

            I always put my aim point as far out as i can to get full peripheral vision. just about where the hand guard starts on a regular AR-15.

        • jono102

          I’d be more worried about the fact a trained Soldiers rifle got left for 20,000 rounds with zero cleaning and minimal lubing.
          Yes the SR-25 is a very accurate system but largely a one trick pony. A while back, It was the first semi that really performed up in the vicinity of bolt action rifles and stood out. But when it gets hot, the groupings grow fast, which is why a lot of outfits that can have dropped them for more capable well rounded .308 DMR/Battle rifles and gone to larger calibers for snipers.
          Unless KAC had a 5.56 platform in service with a ABCA or recognized NATO element it wouldn’t have been able to enter the NZDF tender to begin with.
          NZDF had a chance to get a fully ambidextrous platform, from a military training stand point alone why wouldn’t you take it over the standard AR platform.
          Yes Colt may have beat them to it along with some others, but which company is getting international contracts and which is languishing in bankruptcy and going hat in hand to get out of it.

  • LazyReader

    40 million dollars for 8,800 rifles, not really, plus support and training, so who’s training them? Still that seems a little expensive.

    • jono102

      That also includes the purchase of optics, illuminators/lasers and a qty of 40mm launchers

    • Joshua

      Includes optics, lights, rail mounted aing devices, and grenade launchers.

      The ancillary items are the largest portion of the cost.

  • MechanizedSwede

    After probably 6-7yrs of reading TFB i finally registered and account so i can post comments, instead of posting as a guest. Yes i am very lazy.

    I gotta say, i am very impressed with the Mars-L, i can’t think of anything on a combat role AR that i am missing. Except a proper side-charger, but hey I’m just a stupid swede. But Keep it up LMT, you are this close at becoming my new AR-build.

  • jono102

    Didn’t “Insinuate” anything. As a soldier and trainer of soldiers I don’t really care what some review states or the latest youtube review. I base my opinion on personal experience with the weapon as a soldier nothing else.
    The SR is still an effective bit of kit especially when it first came out 20yrs ago as at the time there was nothing on par as a semi and has done some solid damage. Its grouping in my personal experience will open a lot more dramatically than the likes of an AI AW or and LMT.308 once it begins to conduct a few rapid engagements in reasonable succession. It also requires more “nurturing” and support than a lot of more current 7.62 semi’s which have had. Since its introduction 20yrs ago a lot of development has gone in to 7.62 semi’s

    • TheSmellofNapalm

      Fair enough. I’m just a civy and you clearly have more shooting and combat experience than me. I’d just like to point out that KAC has been churning out more and more improvements to the original design, including the gas system and barrel lengths. I’m confident that a modern 16″ SR-25 APC could certainly hold its own as a modern DMR. And the ACC would be an excellent addition at the squad level for shooting through engine blocks and engagements past an M4’s effective range.