HK XM8 PDW clone by TommyBuilt Tactical

Every great journey starts with a single step. My collecting habit started with AK's. It didn't take long for me to gain interest in other platforms, but I was certainly an "AK Guy". My first diversion was into roller-delayed blowback (commonly called roller-locked) guns like the HK MP5. That sparked an interest in HK firearms. I've never shaken that. Of course as anybody that takes even a cursory look at HK weapons finds, they're expensive. Even clones aren't cheap. Well, the polymer rifles take it to a new level. I resigned myself to the fact that they were out of my reach.

And then one day I saw some pictures of an XM8 conversion project being worked on. One picture I saw was this striking photo of a futuristic looking rifle in white. It was beautiful. I did what I always do -- research. Lots and lots of research. The conversion was a kit, called the TBT8, created by Tom Bostic, the mastermind behind TommyBuilt Tactical. Tom is the guy that pioneered the fuse job polymer rifle conversions. This kit converts an HK SL8 into an XM8 clone, and it does it basically as a furniture swap. It's a little more involved than that for the basic swap, but it's close. Then if you want to take G36 mags you have to do some permanent changes to your rifle. Underneath, you've got the operating mechanism of a G36. I looked at the cost of an SL8 and the conversion kit. It wasn't crazy. So, I reached out to Tom to find out more.

Yeah, the convincing was really done in the research. Tom just helped confirm there wasn't a hidden cost I wasn't expecting. A proper build needed to be an SBR, as the configuration I was interested in is most like a G36K variant. I told Tom I intended to run a suppressor, so he suggested a slightly longer barrel. I filed a Form 1 for the SL8 I acquired for the project and then the wait began.

Five and a half months later my Form 1 was approved. As I prepared my parts for Tom, I made sure it was OK to send the project in and I inquired about the "C length" builds I'd seen pictures of. He offered one of his prototype handguards and quoted me the cost to do the build in the shorter length instead. Yeah, it was more, but I just love short guns, so I went for it. I requested a custom cut Pelican case to go with it. A couple weeks later my space gun arrived.

While this was my first project with Tom, getting this build back wasn't my first look at his work. While the Form 1 was in-process I acquired more projects and actually had 3 more of his guns already in the safe (also waiting on Form 1 approvals). So I knew what to expect in terms of quality. The bar was high, and Tom certainly met expectations with this build. It seems my collection has taken a polymer turn and this one was the hook that caught me.