Today’s SOFREP Pic of the Day features a Kiwi (New Zealander) soldier and his MARS-L rifle. The photo was taken recently during Exercise Tauwharenīkau, the largest collective training exercise involving New Zealand and Australian reservists in 20 years.


About the MARS-L

The MARS-L (Modular Assault Rifle System – Light) is a modern assault rifle designed and manufactured by Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT), an American firearms manufacturer founded by Karl Lewis in 1980. The MARS-L is widely recognized for its versatility, reliability, and modularity, making it a preferred choice for various military and law enforcement agencies.

Key Features

  1. Modularity:
    • The MARS-L features a fully ambidextrous design, including the magazine release, bolt catch, and safety selector. 
    • The rifle’s modular nature allows users to easily swap out components such as barrels, handguards, and stocks, enabling customization to specific mission requirements.
  2. Barrel Options:
    • The rifle has various barrel lengths and configurations, including standard and suppressed options. This flexibility allows the MARS-L to be tailored for different operational environments, from close-quarters combat to longer-range engagements.
  3. Caliber:
    • Primarily chambered in 5.56x45mm NATO, the MARS-L can be adapted to other calibers with appropriate barrel and bolt changes, adding to its versatility.
  4. Construction:
    • The rifle uses high-quality materials, ensuring durability and performance in harsh conditions. The upper and lower receivers are made from aerospace-grade aluminum, providing a balance of strength and weight reduction.
    • The monolithic upper receiver design enhances accuracy and stability by providing a continuous top rail for optics and accessories.
  5. Accuracy:
    • The MARS-L is known for its precision and reliability. The monolithic rail system and free-floating barrel contribute to its accuracy, making it suitable for standard infantry roles and designated marksman duties.
  6. Ergonomics:
    • The rifle is designed with user comfort and efficiency in mind. The adjustable stock and ergonomic pistol grip ensure a comfortable fit for a wide range of users.
    • The ambidextrous controls and modular components further enhance the rifle’s user-friendly design.
sniper support weapon
This L129A1 Sniper Support Weapon (SSW) has been fitted with a 3-12×50 telescopic sight. This US Army photo of a British sniper was taken by SPC Nyatan Bol.

Operational Use

  • The MARS-L is employed by various military and law enforcement units worldwide. Its modularity and reliability make it a versatile platform for different mission profiles.
  • The New Zealand Defense Force (NZDF) is one of the notable users of the MARS-L, adopting it as their standard service rifle in 2015.


  • The MARS-L has been praised for its consistent performance and reliability in various environments, including extreme temperatures and adverse conditions.
  • Its ability to maintain accuracy and functionality with minimal maintenance has made it a favored choice among professionals who require dependable firearms.

In summary, the MARS-L by LMT is a highly adaptable, reliable, and user-friendly assault rifle designed to meet the diverse needs of modern military and law enforcement personnel. The modular design allows for extensive customization, making it suitable for a wide variety of tactical applications.