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The New Zealand Army To Replace The Steyr With A Lewis Machine & Tool AR-15 Style Rifle

According to a Request for Tender available on the New Zealand Ministry of Defence website, The New Zealand Army has chosen to replace the Steyr AUG currently in service with an AR-15 Style rifle manufactured by Lewis Machine & Tool. The US-based manufacturer was one of multiple companies chosen for the Individual Weapon Trial Phase, which was conducted between March 2nd and June 1st of 2015.

Replacement Individual Weapon

After the trials, LMT was selected by the Ministry of Defence as the preferred Tenderer. Pending a Due Dilligence activity by the Ministry, negotiation of a contract package, and New Zealand Government approval, LMT will be awarded a contract to provide the rifles. The exact model of LMT rifle hasn’t been revealed, although according to sources, the rifles are expected to start fielding in 2016-2017.

The New Zealand Army is already well acquainted with Lewis Machine & Tool, having selected and fielded a LMT DMR since 2012. Here is a video released by the NZDF of the LMT DMR in action:

You can find out more information on the New Zealand Army’s ongoing Weapon Replacement and Upgrade Program at

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15 Responses to “The New Zealand Army To Replace The Steyr With A Lewis Machine & Tool AR-15 Style Rifle”

  1. Brian says:

    While Steyr’s are great guns, LMT makes extremely reliable tack drivers. Somebody at NZ military knows what they are doing.

    • Dev says:

      Much better than the EF-88 for sure.

      • Brando says:

        I suspect the adoption of the F88 in years past had more to do with commonality with Australia as both countries work together often. Apparently that’s changing.

        • Eddie says:

          The Kiwis are taking the initiative to stand out against Australia. The soon to be changing of their flag, the new army uniforms, and now this. Better to be original these days. Hell, Ukraine was Russia to me before the shit hit the fan. I realized their national identity once they realized they needed to show it. Identity Identity Identity.

  2. Hodge175 says:

    I own two LMT rifle, and used to own a MWS. Every LMT rifle I have ever shot, using just their chrome lined barrels just plain shoot. Everyone I have shot have been 100%, from regular M4 style uppers to the MRP’s. LMT makes great guns and great barrels. Maybe on the bit heavy side compared to all the lightweight stuff out there now, but they are great guns.

  3. Disco says:

    While I find Steyr rifles amusing, there is no reason not to use an AR these days.

    I sorta hope they will be rifle length MRPs

  4. aski says:

    An AR-15 suits New Zealand’s small military <10,000. Far easier to find accessories and upgrades. NZSAS also uses M4s.

  5. CAP says:

    Piston or DI?

    I know LMT makes great piston rifles, but it would be awesome if a DI rifle beat out every top of the line piston rifle from around the world.

  6. Justin jolly says:

    Kiwi defence can move forward, why can’t we? Polishing this turd of a weapon is embarrassing…

  7. Bob says:

    What the NZDF has forgotten to see, is that LMT is to new (just like Steyr) to recognise the different types of terrain/enviroment that the NZ Army is exposed to and is going to be exposed to in the future of NZDF ops. Why not choose a product that has known qualities as a total weapons system. Why choose one brand for the infantry, another brand for multi-divisional ops and another brand for operational support (small arms excluding MRB(main rifle battlion)). So the Lewis was good in WWII, but so what! Big mistake, procured by those with no knowledge of conflict.

  8. kc says:

    It’s got nothing to do with reputation and’s to do with meeting the requirement set by the nz mod. The choice of requirements and how they can demonstrate this is down to the skill of the customer The worst thing any military can do is not fully understand what the requirement is and not run an open competition. Glock never made a firearm before they submitted thier model 17 for the Austrian army pistol replacement competition yet it met the requirement that was set and was subsequently adopted.

  9. Rick says:

    I agree with KC, sadly the decisions are made by Mods not the ones actually using the rifle. And, unfortunately when the decision is made its massive order sizes that aren’t easily reversed…