Civilian variant of Heckler & Koch's G36, the SL8, is making a comeback after a more than 10-year absence from the American market.
What's The SL8 Hitting The Market Like:
- Chambered 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington
- Sports a 20.8-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel
- Similar in appearance to the SL8-6, including elevated Picatinny rail
Welcome back, old friend. It’s been a spell since the Heckler & Koch SL8 graced gun store shelves, but expect to see the late 1990’s star make another appearance sometime soon. The civilian version of H&K’s famed G36 select-fire infantry rifle is once again in the company’s catalog and the German gunmaker has dropped a video heralding its return.
Despite being a compromise to meet onerous import laws, the SL8 developed a dedicated if not sightly cultish following. It was later updated in 2010 to the SL8-6 that jettisoned the original gun’s grey stock for all-black while tacking on an elevated Picatinny rail/carrying handle and vented handguard. Nice update, somewhat aesthetically bringing it closer to the G36, but one that only made it to U.S. shores for a year before H&K called it quits. And while there’s a certain charm to the original’s ultra-modern lines, that’s not the iteration the gunmaker is bringing back.
For all intents and purposes, the newly unveiled SL8 pretty much fits the SL8-6 pattern, which might prove a blow to throwback fans. Still, it appears a solid setup, even if it lacks in some nostalgia.
Overall, the SL8—chambered 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington—features a 20.8-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel with a recessed crown. The barrel is a free-floating bull, bored with 6 groves and a 1:7 RH twist and is crafted from H&K’s renowned cannon-grade steel. Also, the bore is chrome-lined for improved corrosion resistance and longer life. Additionally, the rifle is still operated by a reliable short-stroke gas piston, which has always improved its appeal with many shooters.
Heckler Koch also maintained the somewhat odd SL8 thumbhole stock, as well as adjustable comb and length of pull. They’ve also included a match-grade trigger, with a snappy 4.5-pound pull. It feeds from 10-round SL8-specific magazines and ships with two mags.
Perhaps most intriguingly, Heckler & Koch kept the new SL8 relatively competitive in price, with an MSRP of $1,699, with a $50 premium for California-compliant models.
Caliber: 5.56 NATO/.223 Remington
Barrel Length: 20.8 inches
Overall Length: 38.6 inches
Weight: 8.6 pounds
Magazine: 10 round
For more information on the SL8, please visit hk-usa.com.