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Heckler & Koch HK SL8

Semi-Automatic Rifle [ 1998 ]

The HK SL8 was developed for German reservists as a comperable understudy to the G36 as used by the Army.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/15/2018 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The HK SL8 (SL8-1) is nothing more than the HK G36 assault rifle in civilian guise with semi-automatic fire. Both weapons are the product of Heckler & Koch, with the HK SL8 series entering the market in 1998 and continuing production as of this writing. By all accounts, the SL8 shares much commonality with its more powerful cousin and is a favorite sporting rifle around the world with some owners going to the extremes of modifying the base sport rifle to look like the G36. The SL8 was originally developed for use by German reservists as a comparable unit to the G36 as used by the German Army.

Taking the base G36 assault rifle model, Heckler & Koch modified the stock and grip with a fixed stock with integrated grip for the civilian market. The carrying handle and integrated optics are also removed in the civilian version though after-market sources are available that sell these as an add-on. Beyond that, the commercial SL8 (at least for sale in America) is also modified to not accept high-capacity magazines like that as found on the G36 assault rifle. Conversions by SL8 owners of this limitation is possible, however, though at the risk of violating the 1968 Gun Control Act.

At its core, the SL8 weighs in fully-loaded at 8.6 pounds and features a 20.80 inch barrel. The barrel itself i of a heavier type than that found on the G36, offering up better control and accuracy. A 10-round detachable polymer magazine of .233 Remington or 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition feeds the semi-automatic system that utilizes gas operation, a short stroke piston and a lug type rotary-locking bolt for the firing process. Iron sights are standard and adjustable with a detachable MIL-STD-1913 rail system offering up the ability to mount the G36 sighting system as a option.

The SL8 exists in other marketed (or soon-to-be) forms including the silenced SL9SD firing subsonic 7.62mm ammunition and the R8, featuring a bolt-action mechanism for sport shooting.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Germany national flag graphic


Semi-Automatic Rifle

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(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)

Overall Length
980 mm
38.58 in
Barrel Length
510 mm
20.08 in
Empty Wgt
8.82 lb
4.00 kg

Iron Front and Rear; Optics Supported.


Gas-Operated; Semi-Automatic; Short Stroke Piston; Rotary Locking Bolt

One shot per trigger pull; self-loading or auto-loading action aided by internal mechanism; trigger management (and initial cocking) typically required by the operator; subsequent shots are aided by the unlocked / moving bolt.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


5.56x45mm NATO; .233 Remington

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 5.56mm intermediate rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

10-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
SL8-1 - Base Production Version Designation; adjustable iron sights; optional sighting system as found on the G36; detachable MIL-STD-1913 rail system.
SL9SD - 7.62x37mm variant utilizing subsonic ammunition; 10- or 30-round detachable box magazine; silenced.
R8 - Based on the SL8; bolt-action with 5- or -10 round magazine; carrying handle with integrated sight.

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