NRA Gun Of The Week: H&K SL8-6

by
posted on June 17, 2022

Heckler & Koch has a rich developmental history involving many interesting and novel firearm designs. Of the arms developed by the firm, one of the most well-known is the G36 rifle family. Based off its select-fire counterpart, the SL8 is a U.S. import version of the G36 chambered in .223 Rem. Watch American Rifleman staff on the range with the semi-automatic SL8-6 in the video above.

Man wearing gray polo hat earmuff on range shooting black H&K SL8-6 semi-automatic rifle dynamic angle remote camera

Originally discontinued some time ago, the SL8 was brought back to the market in 2021 with noticeable differences right off the bat. H&K provides a polymer thumb-hole stock instead of the skeletonized folding stock found on the G36. The included SL8-6 stock incorporates an adjustable cheek riser, a rubber butt, a red H&K logo on the side as well as the use of spacers to change the length-of-pull measurement.

HK SL8 rifle buttstock stock black polymer gun rifle closeup parts

The SL8-6 is configured for a 10-round single-stack magazine rather than the double-stack unit used by the G36. The semi-automatic SL8-6 utilizes its own bolt mechanism to feed from its magazine, a longer barrel and handguard profile compared to its G36 sibling. The unthreaded barrel on the SL8 is 20.8 inches long and is cold-hammer forged for repeatable, precise accuracy results. The action is driven by a short-stroke, gas-piston design of H&K's. For controls, the SL8 has the same bilateral control features as its military counterpart, with a magazine release, bolt catch, charging handle and safety selectors that are easily accessed and used from both sides.

H&K SL8-6 left-side full-length view on white background black rifle gun semi-automatic thumbhole stock

On the range, the H&K SL8 handles similarly to its G36 sibling. The controls of the SL8 are relatively straightforward and well thought out, with the charging handle being attached directly to the bolt carrier and folding forward out of the way when not in use. All other controls have the same manipulation from either side, which makes the SL8 fairly friendly to left-handed users.

Specifications
Importer: Heckler & Koch
Action Type: piston-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire rifle
Chambering: .223 Rem.
Receiver: fiber-reinforced polymer with steel inserts
Barrel: 20.8" steel
Sights: none; Picatinny rail
Trigger: single-stage
Magazine: 10-round detachable box
Stock: fiber-reinforced polymer
Length: 38.6"
Weight: 9 lbs., 6 ozs.
MSRP: $1,699

Latest

Rock Island Armory TM22
Rock Island Armory TM22

Review: Rock Island Armory TM22

In 2021, Rock Island Armory shook things up in the defensive-pistol world when it launched the aluminum-based STK100, and in 2022 the company continues its commitment to “Total Metal” firearm construction with the TM22 rimfire rifle.

The Armed Citizen® March 27, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

New For 2023: Marlin Model 336 Classic

The first Marlin 336 introduced under Ruger's ownership will be the "Classic," and the model remains true to the original design, albeit with a few subtle updates.

In The Fold With ArmaLite

The Tech Files, dating back to the early 20th century, are a treasure trove for editorial researchers looking for unique firearm facts. File folders from the industry’s best-known manufacturers to the smallest of firms contain company literature, photographs, blueprints, drawings, schematics and more.

Product Preview: Peet SafeKeeping Dryer

Peet is primarily known for its line of shoe dryers and odor-eliminating products, but the company also offers a dehumidifier model intended for use inside gun cabinets and safes, to help fend off the formation of rust and the damage to your firearms that it can cause.

The .380 ACP: History & Performance

Despite disagreements surrounding the .380 ACP cartridge's performance, its history shows it to be a popular, effective round, because people have always enjoyed small, easy-to-carry pistols that can be quickly deployed.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.