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LMT Defense Announces MARS-L Fully Ambidextrous Rifle Platform

MARS-LS Barrel Right

From LMT Defense:

MILAN, ILLINOIS – January 18, 2016 – LMT Defense is excited to announce they are releasing the Modular Ambidextrous Rifle System – Light (MARS-L), the most modern ambidextrous M4 ever.  The MARS-L platform was designed in response to a foreign military requirement to field a fully ambidextrous weapon system with complete symmetry and commonality of controls so that users could manipulate the weapon from either side in the same fashion.  This weapon now proudly serves the New Zealand Defence Force.  The MARS-L can first been seen at the 2016 NSSF SHOT Show in booth #20249 and is expected to start shipping at the end of the first quarter of 2016.

The weapon is fully ambidextrous with LMT Defense designed and manufactured: Ambi-Safety Selector Switch; Ambi-Magazine Release Button; Ambi-Bolt Catch/Release Paddle; and Ambi-Charging Handle. All have been tested and vetted by both military and law enforcement agencies.  The ambidextrous features allow an operator to perform more operations from either hand including catching the bolt with the right index finger so as not to remove the hand from the grip.  To achieve this, the new lower forging design includes the bumps for the Ambi-Bolt Catch/Release Paddle, Ambi- Magazine Release Button and Fence Well. The lower forging also includes a flared magazine well that assists the operator in locating the magazine during insertion.

The modular weapon design is available in Semi-Auto (LS) or Select Fire (LA) models with 14.5”, 16”, 18” and 20” barrel options and can be fitted with the CQB® upper to accommodate a 10.5” barrel. The weapon also includes eight QD locations – five on the front rail, one in the end plate of the lower receiver and two on the stock. The weapon is “lightweight” in that it is designed for smaller rifle calibers: 5.56mm, .300 Blackout, .204Ruger, and 6.8 SPCI.

Finally, the MARS-L utilizes LMT Defense’s monolithic upper receiver to ensure the straightest and strongest rail in the industry. The one piece aluminum forging also allows for the longest barrel extension in the industry which contributes to the greatest weapon accuracy on a production scale.

The CQB16-MARS will retail for $2,347.90.

Review: LMT Defense DMR556 Stock

LMT’s DMR556 Stock is a precision oriented adjustable stock that has LMT’s SOPMOD finger prints all over it. While it is sure to draw comparisons to the Magpul PRS Stock, the DMR556 packs a lot of unique features that set it apart including one that puts this head and shoulders above anything else I have tried.

LMT Defense DMR556


The DMR556 is a drop-in, adjustable stock designed for AR-15 based precision rifles. It is adjustable for length of pull (LOP) and comb height, features two QD sling swivel locations on each side (total of four), and has a covered lower rail section for mounting a rear mono-pod. Best of all, the DMR556 can be mounted on any mil-spec dimension carbine receiver extension (buffer tube).

Both the LOP and comb height dials click into position as you rotate them to help keep your adjustments repeatable. The LOP can be finely adjusted at the dial or more coarsely adjusted by moving the stock’s position on the receiver extension.

This stock looks similar at first glance to the Magpul PRS because they are both descendants of the HK PSG-1 stock. The LMT differentiates itself with several features including the ability to mount on a carbine receiver extension and built in QD sling swivel mounting points as mentioned before. It also has LMT design elements throughout including a SOPMOD stock inspired cheek piece and the same buttpad as the SOPMOD stock.

LMT Defense DMR556 Top Down

Observations from Use

This stock has a lot of great features but none are greater than the way it mounts to a mil-spec carbine receiver extension. The stock simply slides on and is retained by a spring loaded pin that locks into the stops on the receiver extension. This is excellent for several reasons. First, it allows you to more easily tune your recoil spring and buffer set up with heavier buffers, extra springs, etc as there is a much wider variety of items like this for carbine receiver extensions than there are for rifle length extensions. It will even fit on Vltor’s excellent A5 receiver extensions though there will be a slight gap at the front of the stock which is not a big deal. Second, it allows the user to adjust the length of pull in a more coarse way than the dial allows by moving the stock forward or back on the receiver extension.

Finally, the stock mounting setup allows the user some impressive modularity. Let’s say you have a carbine built up to be something of a light precision or RECCE configuration with a precision barrel and low power magnification optic like a 1-4x or 1-6x. With a carbine like that, you may want a more compact, lighter adjustable stock on it at times and you may want a no-compromise precision stock on it at other times. The DMR556 allows you to accomplish that easily without the need to swap buffer tubes. You simply use the tip of a bullet or similar object to compress the retention pin and slide the stock off of or on to the receiver extension. It couldn’t be much easier.

LMT Defense DMR556 Retainer Pin

The cheek piece is excellent. It has the familiar flared SOPMOD stock shape. On the SOPMOD stock, those flares serve to house the extra battery storage and enhance cheek weld. On the DMR556, there is no battery storage and the flares are in place solely to enhance the cheek weld which they do well. The use of a SOPMOD buttpad works well here too. The rubber texture locks it into your shoulder and, as SOPMOD users already know, the rounded edges make it easy to roll the rifle up to your shoulder from a low ready position.

The stock has a covered bottom rail that is easily accessed by prying the cover off. The rail is useful for those who use a rear mono-pod. When the cover is in place, it creates a very long flat surface that settles into a rear shooting bag nicely. I don’t use a mono-pod but I do use shooting bags and I really appreciate the shape of this stock on the bag. The club foot area works well whether you are on a shooting bag or not. It is the perfect place to put your support hand when the front of your rifle is supported.

LMT Defense DMR556 Front

The four built in QD sling swivel sockets are greatly appreciated. I use mine to mount the excellent Armageddon Gear Precision Rifle Sling that I use on my precision AR. It is nice that these mounting points don’t have to be purchased separately and that they have both a low and high mounting position on both sides of the stock. If I could change one thing about the stock it would be to make the sling swivel mounts rotation limited. The free spinning sockets are a disappointment on an otherwise excellent stock.

The LOP and comb height dials are easy to turn, even with gloved hands. The detent action in each position is strong and positive. You can easily feel each click and I had no issues with my adjustments moving once they were set. I used a paint pen to witness mark my adjustments.

The DMR556 fit every mil-spec receiver extension that I tried from several different manufacturers including Colt, BCM, LMT, Vltor, Spike’s Tactical, and more. There is minimal movement and zero rattle with the stock mounted.

LMT Defense DMR556 Pad

Wrap Up

The ability to mount the DMR556 on a standard mil-spec carbine receiver extension takes this stock to another level. It is the greatest feature on a stock that is packed with great features. The added QD swivels are a big plus but I really wish they were rotation limited. The SOPMOD design elements remind the user that this is an LMT product and they aren’t just there for branding. They are also functional. This is an EXCELLENT precision stock for the AR-15.

Check out the DMR556 at LMT Defense.

Disclosure: The DMR556 was provided to me free of charge for review by LMT Defense.

Review: LMT Defense Flip Up Sights

When you think LMT, you probably don’t think back up iron sights… That might change by the end of this review. I have been spending some quality time with a set of AR-15 back up sights with a very straight forward name – the LMT Defense Flip Up Sights. At first glance, you might see some influence from other sights on the market but when you drill down a bit you see some unique features that make these worthy of your consideration.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front Top LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Folded


This review will cover the L8BUI556 sight set which consists of the L8N 5.56 Flip Up Rear Sight and the L8K Flip Up Front Sight. They can be purchased separately or as a set.

Both the front and rear sights feature steel construction with a black phosphate finish. They weigh in at 4.4 ounces for the set. The sights do not lock in the up or down position. They have a strong and positive detent that keeps them upright until you decide to fold them (or down until you need to deploy them). Both sights mount via a large cross bolt that can be turned with a flat head screwdriver or an improvised facsimile.

The front sight features large ring shaped protective ears. LMT managed to cram a standard AR-15 front sight post into the relatively compact design.

The rear sight has a BDC cylinder that is marked in increments of 100 yards out to 700 yards. Elevation adjustments are made at the front sight as normal but bullet drop can be compensated by twisting the cylinder in the desire direction. Each click of the BDC cylinder is a 1/2 MOA elevation adjustment. The windage adjustment is accomplished via knobs on either side of the sight and offers 1/4 MOA increments.

The rear sight features two, same-plane apertures which can be easily selected by the shooter. The sight can be folded with either aperture in the deployed position. The smaller one measures .0625″ in diameter and the larger measures .125″ in diameter.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front

Observations from Use

These sights are easy to install and zero. They have a Z (zero) setting on the BDC cylinder which I did not use. I just set the cylinder to the 200 yard mark, zeroed at 50, and then confirmed that I was zeroed at 100 yards on the 100 yard setting. I generally just keep the BDC cylinder set at 200 yards for everything from arms length to 200 yards just for consistency sake with my other ARs that have 50/200 yard zeros.

The dual windage knobs on the rear sight made zeroing just a little bit easier. While zeroing, I was laying in the prone position with the muzzle resting on a backpack. The left side knob allowed me to reach back with my support hand to make adjustments. If you are unsupported, you can still use your strong hand like you would on most sights. I suspect that my southpaw friends will appreciate the ambidextrous knobs as well. I do wish they were smaller to avoid getting knocked off zero. I didn’t have a problem but smaller knobs might keep Murphy at bay, especially since these knobs are basically used to zero and then never touched again.

The BDC cylinder is easy to read and easy to use. It is plainly marked from 100 to 700 yards. The cylinder bottoms out on the 100 yard mark which serves as a sort of zero-stop. One full rotation puts you on the 600 yard mark with the 700 yard mark coming about a half turn after that. This means that the 700 yard mark is located between the 400 and 500 yard marks on the cylinder and the shooter needs to give a full rotation before settling on the 700 yard mark (not that these sights will be used often at 700 yards on an AR-15 carbine). There are 10 additional clicks after the 700 yard mark before the BDC cylinder hits a hard stop which is nice because it makes it hard to get lost when you are dialing distance.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Front Folded

The apertures on the rear sight have it going on. They are same-plane which is a big plus in my book. You can keep either aperture in the ready position and still fold the sight normally. The smaller aperture is fairly standard in size and provides very fine aiming. The larger aperture is actually smaller than most rear sights. It is large enough to provide some additional light and speed but still small enough to be used as slightly extended distances. I suspect that it’s smaller size is dictated by the form factor of the sight but it works.

I am glad to see that these sights use only a detent to stay in position rather than a positive lock. In my experience, this makes sights much better equipped to handle impact. Every rail mounted fixed sight or locking sight that I have drop tested will bend or break, often on the first drop. Typically, those that use only detent action to stay in place survive repeated drops because they can collapse on impact. That was the case with the LMT Flip Up Sights. I dropped them 3 times from waist height with no physical damage other than scratching.

The front sight has a lot going for it. I was thrilled to see that it uses a standard front sight post. That may seem like a small thing but it actually one of the features that really sets these sights apart. By shoehorning a standard front sight post into a relatively compact front sight LMT has given you a ton of options like tritium front sight posts, finer front sight posts, and the ability to use common front sight adjustment tools.

I would prefer to see the standard, outward curving front sight protection ears but that is just personal preference. I know that some people find the round ears to be faster since you basically look through the sight and place the entire round front sight assembly on your target to get a quick hit up close. However, I find that sometimes my eye wants to center the round protective ears rather than the front sight post during slow fire.

LMT Defense Flip Up Sight Rear

It is obvious that LMT took great care to remove sharp edges from these sights. Even the top of the rear sight apertures is blended into its dome shaped protective ears to make the whole structure as blunt as possible. The lack of sharp edges and break away action of the sights are all part of the original design requirements to create sights that were as safe as possible to the shooter.

These aren’t the smallest or lightest sights on the market but they should be pretty darn durable. Like I said, they came through 3 drops basically unscathed and the all-steel construction should make them plenty rugged.

Wrap Up

These LMT Defense Flip Up Sights may have a mundane name but they pack of lot of slick features. The windage knobs should be reduced in size and I would prefer outward curving protective ears on the front sight. The rear sight is very well designed with its same-plane apertures, ability to fold with either aperture in the ready position, and dual windage knobs. The use of a standard front sight post give the end user tons of options. These sights are definitely worth a look for your next build.

Check out the Flip Up Sights at LMT Defense.

Disclosure: These sights were provided to me for review, free of charge, by LMT Defense.

Flip Up Sights – New Back Up Iron Sights from LMT Defense

LMT Defense has introduced a interesting set of front and rear back up iron sights that they are calling Flip Up Sights. That isn’t a creative name but it is descriptive.


The LMT Flip Sights have a detent to lock them into the deployed position and are designed to collapse at a specified break away pressure. The positive detent prvides the best of both worlds – a sight that will lock into the deployed position repeatably and still absorb impact by collapsing.

Separate 5.56 and .308 versions of the sights are available with BDC calibration in yards. The .308 version is calibrated out to 800 yards and the 5.56 version out to 700 yards.

The Flip Up front sight uses a standard front sight post which allows the user to replace it with any number of aftermarket options.

The LMT Defense website is currently light on information. You can click here to view a PDF data sheet regarding these sights.

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