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The LMT MARS Rifle: The New Infantry Rifle For The New Zealand Defense Force

By Christopher R. Bartocci

In this vast sea of black rifle manufacturers there has been a consistent island of innovation, Lewis Machine and Tool. Since the release of the MRP or Monolithic Rail Platform (2004), LMT has distinguished themselves as the next generation of the M16. Perhaps the most significant development in the weapon system since the release of the M4 carbine in 1995.

What was so ground breaking about the MRP system was it redefined the modular assault rifle. The M16/M4 series of weapons has always topped the industry in “modularity”. This was mostly based on changing the configuration to suit a particular need by swapping out upper receivers. You could alter barrel length as well as caliber by swapping upper receivers. LMT took this to another level. What if instead of changing uppers, you changed out just barrels?

MRP is a patented receiver manufactured from a solid forging of 7075 T6 aircraft aluminum. Monolithic means 1 piece. There are several manufacturers in the industry who claim to be monolithic but they have removable lower handguards. That is not one piece, that is two pieces. The barrel is held in place by two locking bolts; Torx head bolts tightened down to 140 inch pounds. The barrel when installed is completely free floated within the receiver. Thus, the operator cold hang multiple accessories on the rails and they would not affect the harmonics of the barrel. This increases accuracy of the rifle. There are six quick-detach sling swivel attachment points. The rifle also has the standard ejection port dust cover, fired cartridge case deflector as well as forward bolt assist. LMT has an additional MRP called the LM8 slick side upper. It has all the same features of the MRP but the rails on the sides and bottom have been removed. The user now has the ability to install detachable rail segments so rail is only where needed. The benefit of this is it is slightly lighter and the user will not have to worry about damaging unused rails on...

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