Heckler & Koch is bringing back a ’90s-era standout to the American shores, the SL8, with some tweaks and updates. This rifle, designed to comply with U.S. laws and import regulations, was a bit of a compromise when it was first released in 1998, but over time, has developed a cult following of its own.
The features, or rather, lack of features, will make this popular with shooters living in restricted markets, but there are plenty of H&K fans everywhere who will happily add a new SL8 to their collection. H&K is launching the SL8 in two versions, a standard model and a California-compliant one.
As configured, the SL8 is set up for precision target shooting. It has a 20.8-inch barrel with a recessed target crown with a 1-in-7 twist for use with long and low-drag projectiles. The rifle is marked .223 Remington but it will also run 5.56 NATO.
The free-floating bull barrel is cold hammer-forged with a chrome-lined bore. It uses the proven G36 operating system, a short-stroke gas piston action.
The new SL8 comes with all-black furniture unlike the original two-tone with grey and has red and white markings. It’s fully ambidextrous with a top-mounted charging handle that can be used as a forward assist.
There are a few small changes from the original American imports, including a ventilated forend, a MIL-SPEC rail for optics, and repositioned sling mounts. But it does come with a 4.5-pound match trigger and adjustable stock with a cheekpiece and buttpad spacers.
With its heavy target barrel, the SL8 tips the scales at 8.6 pounds unloaded and measures in at just under 39 inches long. It feeds from 10-round SL8-specific magazines and ships with two mags.
See Also: Heckler & Koch Long SP5L Now Shipping!
It might seem odd for H&K to bring back the SL8, even for limited markets, but it also opens the door for new G36 conversions. Boutique specialists like TommyBuilt Tactical have earned a strong reputation for their SL8 modifications and this will give these companies new rifles to tinker with.
That being said, there are plenty of people who will want one of these updated SL8 rifles, and they’re priced competitively at $1,699, with the California-compliant models running an extra $50.
For more information visit Heckler & Koch online.