SA80 – the Most Accurate Assault Rifle

sa80-titel
L85A1 rifle. Carrying handle and front sight instead of more common SUSAT sight

SA80 (Small Arms for 1980s) is the designation for a revolutionary family of assault weapons. On its introduction, the L85 Individual Weapon (IW) proved so accurate that the Army marksmanship tests had to be redesigned. The British Army uses the L85 Individual Weapon that replaced the rifle and sub-machine gun, and the L86 Light Support Weapon (LSW) that produces higher volumes of fire and is effective at longer ranges. An infantry section consists of two four-man fire teams armed with SA80s: three IWs and one LSW.

Both weapons have been modified in light of operational experience, and had a major mid-life update in 2002, which resulted in the SA80A2 series – the most reliable weapons of their type in the world.

One new Under slung Grenade Launcher (UGL), designed to be mounted beneath the barrel of the IW, will be issued to each fire team, replacing the Rifle Grenade General Service (RGGS) and 51mm mortar – significantly reducing the ammunition load the infantry section carries, while enhancing its capabilities. The UGL will be able to fire 40mm High Explosive (HE), smoke and illuminating rounds out to a range of 350 m to destroy, obscure or indicate enemy positions.

History

The rifle’s history dates back to the late 1940s, when an ambitious programme to develop a new cartridge and new class of rifle was launched in the United Kingdom based on combat experience drawn from World War II. Two 7 mm prototypes were built in a “bullpup” configuration, designated the EM-1 and EM-2. When NATO adopted the 7.62x51mm rifle cartridge as the standard caliber for its service rifles, further development of these rifles was discontinued (the British Army chose to adopt the 7.62 mm L1A1 SLR automatic rifle, which is a license-built version of the Belgian FN-FAL).

em1
EM-1 prototype assault rifle

em2
EM-2 assault rifle. Officially adopted (UK Army) but never put into service

In 1969 the Enfield factory began work on a brand new family of weapons, chambered in a newly designed British 4.85x49mm intermediate cartridge. The system was to be composed of two weapons: an individual weapon, the XL64E5 rifle and a light support weapon known as the XL65E4 light machine gun. Both designs were based on the 5.56 mm AR-18 assault rifle, which was manufactured in Britain by Sterling Armament Company.

sa80-iw
Enfield SA80-IW. Designed for experimental 4.85×49 cartridge

In 1976 the prototypes were ready to be trialled, however after NATO’s decision to standardize ammunition among its members, Enfield engineers re-chambered the rifles to the American 5.56x45mm M193 cartridge. The newly redesigned 5.56 mm version of the XL64E5 became the XL70E3. The left-handed XL68 was also re-chambered in 5.56x45mm as the XL78. The 5.56mm Light Support Weapon variant, the XL73E3, developed from the XL65E4, was noted for the full length receiver extension with the bipod under the muzzle now indicative of the type. In this configuration both weapons underwent a series of evaluations, with a small batch of pre-production weapons being used by British soldiers during the Falklands conflict.

Further development out of the initial so-called “Phase A” pre-production prototypes led to the XL85 and XL86. While the XL85E1 and XL86E1 were ultimately adopted as the L85 and L86 respectively, a number of additional test models were produced. The XL85E2 and XL86E2 were designed to an alternate build standard with 12 components different from E1 variants, including parts of the gas system, bolt, and magazine catch. Three series of variants were created for “Environmental User Trials.” XL85E3 and XL86E3 variants were developed with 24 modified parts, most notably a plastic safety plunger. The E4′s had 21 modified parts, no modification to the pistol grip, and an aluminium safety plunger, unlike the E3 variants. Lastly, the E5 variants had 9 modified parts in addition to those from the E3/E4 variants.

After receiving feedback from users, addressing concerns and incorporating the several design changes noted, including adopting the rifle for use with the heavier Belgian SS109 version of the 5.56x45mm cartridge and improving reliability, the rifle was accepted into service with the British Army in 1985, designated the SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s). The SA80 family consists of the L85A1 IW (Individual Weapon) and the L86A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon).

In 1994 production was officially completed. Over 350,000 L85A1 rifles and L86A1 light machine guns had been manufactured for the United Kingdom. They are also in use with the armed forces of Jamaica.

SA80
L85A1 assault rifle

Original SA80 weapons (both L85 and L86) were plagued with many problems, some being very serious. In general, L85 was quite unreliable and troublesome to handle and maintain, so, finally, in the year 1997, after years of constant complaints from the troops, it had been decided to upgrade most L85 rifles then in service.

The upgrade program, committed in years 2000-2002, was completed by the famous Heckler and Koch, which was then owned by British Royal Ordnance company (German investors bought the HK back in the 2002). About 200 000 rifles were upgraded into the L85A2 configuration, out of total 320 000 or so original L85A1 rifles produced. While official reports about the upgraded weapons were glowing, the initial field reports from the British troops, engaged in the Afghanistan campaign of 2002, were unsatisfactory. Most problems, however, were traced to improper care and maintenance of weapons, and for now the L82A2 performs fairy well both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Other than the basic L85A1 variant, the SA80 IW also appeared in the shortened Carbine version, and in the manually operated L98A1 rifle, which got its gas system removed and a larger cocking handle attached. The L98A1 is used to train the army cadets for basic rifle handling and shooting skills, and the rifle is fired as a manually operated, straight pull magazine repeater rifle. The latest weapon in the SA80 family is the recently adopted L22 carbine, which is issued to tank crews of Royal Armoured Corps. This weapon is available in two versions, L82A1 and L82A2, the latter being fitted with additional Picatinny rail on the right side of front grip base.

sa80-l22a1
L22A1 Carbine

The current L85A2 rifles are recognized as reliable and very accurate, especially when using standard issue SUSAT telescope sights. The drawbacks of the L85A2 are somewhat poor balance (which can be improved with installation of HK-made 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher), right-side only extraction and rearward placement of the fire mode selector.

sa80-l22a2
L22A2 carbine

Description and Specifications

The L85 (SA80) is a gas operated, magazine fed, selective fire rifle of bullpup layout. The receiver of the L85 is made from stamped sheet steel, reinforced with welded and riveted machined steel inserts. The gas operated action has a short stroke gas piston, located above the barrel. The gas piston has its own return spring. Gas system has a three-positions gas regulator, one position for a normal firing, second for a firing in adverse conditions and the third for launching the rifle grenades (gas port is shut off). The machined bolt carrier rides inside the receiver on the two parallel steel guide rods, with the single return spring placed above and between the guide rods. The typical rotating bolt has 7 lugs that locks into the steel insert in the receiver, just behind the barrel breech. The charging handle is attached to the right side of the bolt carrier, and prior to A2 upgrade caused some problems by reflecting the ejected cases back into the action, thus causing stoppages. In the L85A2 configuration the charging handle was redesigned to avoid such problems. The charging handle slot is covered by the spring-loaded dust cover. The bolt and its extractor claw also were upgraded in the L85A2, to achieve more reliable extraction of the spent cases.

The trigger-hammer assembly of the L85A1 is also typical for a modern bullpup rifle, with the long link from the trigger to the hammer unit, located in the buttstock. The hammer assembly of the L85A2 was redesigned to introduce a slight delay before the hammer release when the gun is fired in the full auto. This did not affected the cyclic rate of fire but improved the reliability and stability of the weapon during the automatic fire. The fire mode selector is located at the left side of the receiver, well behind the magazine housing, and allows for single shots of full automatic modes of fire. The cross-bolt safety button is located above the trigger.

The barrel is rifled for a NATO-standard 5.56 mm ammunition, with 1:7 twist, and is fitted with a NATO-standard flash hider, which allows to launch the rifle grenades from the barrel.

The L85 is fed using NATO-standard (STANAG) magazines, similar to M16 type magazines, with the standard capacity of 30 rounds. Early L85A1 steel magazines caused a lot of troubles, as well as a magazine housing itself, which had a thin walls that could be easily dented, thus blocking the magazine way. Both magazines and its housings were upgraded in the L85A2 configuration.

The standard sighting equipment is the 4x SUSAT (Sight Unit, Small Arms, Trilux) telescope, with illuminated reticle. The SUSAT is mounted on a quick-detachable mount at the top of the receiver, and features an emergency backup open sights at tits top. The SUSAT allows for an accurate fire (mostly in single shots) out to 400-500 meters. For a second-line troops an alternative sighting system is available, that consists of the removable front post sight with high base and post protection “ears”, and a detachable carrying handle with built-in diopter rear sight.

The L85 can be fitted with the proprietary knife-type multipurpose bayonet. L85A2 rifles also can be fitted with 40mm under-barrel grenade launcher, using special handguard. Launcher is made in Germany by Heckler and Koch.

  • Caliber: .223 Rem / 5.56 mm
  • Cartridge: 5.56×45 mm NATO
  • Weight: 4.7 kg empty / 4.98 kg (with loaded magazine and optical sight)
  • Effective range: 400 m
  • In service: 1985 – present

SA-80_rifle_stripped_1996

Manufacturer

Royal Small Arms Factory, Enfield / UK.

SA80 in Action

image010

British_L85A23

UK Soldier with L85

American_soldier_with_L85_DM-SD-02-03075
US Soldier with L85

UGL

[via Modern Firearms, The British Army, & Wikipedia]

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85 Responses to “SA80 – the Most Accurate Assault Rifle”

  1. [...] L85A2 / SA80 [...]

  2. [...] Famous Guns The Best Firearms of the World document.write(“”) « SA80 – the Most Accurate Assault Rifle [...]

  3. best assault rifle the british army has ever had….

  4. I think so

  5. It might be damn accurate, but I’d bet would that the SG-550 would take it out in trials. and though British guns designers have been pretty consistently years ahead of their time, thier manufacturing kinda sucks, giving many of their weapons reliability issues. the first video on this page demonstrates that perfectly.

  6. I’ve used the SA80 (L85a2) in Iraq and it never jammed or had a blockage, the gas plug has several settings and needs to be changed for effective firing at high rates.

    This page is out of date the British Army is currently upgrading the SA80 again, new sights and hand guard.

    Check out recent footage of the Army and Marine Commandoes in Afghan.

  7. we need a bigger round like the 7.62 becase the 5.56 isnt working in afgan and only a handful of troops are fighting at once with gpmg or lsw because the sa80 doesnt have anothe range

  8. I’m surprised by the lack of a sniper in British troop formations in the Afgan front lines. I wonder whats in the pipe line for the L85A2 replacement…or start production again!?

  9. hell i don’t give a crap if they tell me the sa80 is the most accurate assult rifle, i no its complete BS being fed to us by the MOD. Any day if i was going to was in iraq or afghan id go with the H&K G3, H&K 416 or the FN SCAR-H. These weapons being a shit load more simple than the sa80 and a shit load more reliable plus there being made by some of the greatest firearms companies in the world i gotta trust them lol. the G3 and FN becauseof the knock down power of there 7.62 calibre HK 416 for its ultra high reliability.

  10. your post is the bs. a serving soldier just told you that the SA80 never jammed or had a stoppage. yet you apparentely know better than a squaddie- the best judge of equipment.

    i have no clue what you are on about with “greatest firemarms comanies” the SA80 is produced by lee enfield, and remade by HK.

    i really dont have any time for you. have you even fired this weapon?.

    miles
    the british army are equiped with the L115 sniper rifle made by accuracy international.

  11. it’s a piece of shit
    up yours with your bull-shit

  12. I’ve fired a civillian M16 and civ AUG. Not as comfortable with the bullpup. A bit easier to steady aim with long rifle I personaly think.

  13. To anti SA80: The G3 I am a bit dubious about, but of course the H&K 416 and FN SCAR-H are better guns as they were recently configured, where as the SA80 was designed in 1980. I know updates have been made but it would be very hard to upgrade them all to that standard. Although they outperform the SA80 GREATLY in reliability and range the SA80 remains the most accurate and cost effective solution for the British Armed Forces.
    From what I’ve experienced; 5 years armed forces, 3 years armed response and 3 years in weapons testing I believe that the SA80 is a good choice for our (UK) armed forces but I would like to see it replaced by a new assault rifle soon, preferably either the H&K 416, solely for the environments that we are currently fighting in and will be deployed in in the near future, or the G36c.

  14. The SAS like an H&K 417 and I see nothing wrong with the 416 for general use. The G36c is light, but short (9 inch barrel). Just don’t say Grendel.

  15. ericsson: Have you ever heard of intelligent contribution?

    and to all those naysayers of the SA80: This weapon only jams due to poor maintenance (its the same with all other weapons) the SA80 a2 is shown to be the most reliable bullpup weapon in the world. The superior accuracy more than makes up for the weight and the occasional flaws (all weapons have flaws). As for respected manufacturers making the weapon how about Enfield, Heckler & koch and British Royal Ordnance for the list. (they seem pretty respectable to me). ;D

  16. It’s not the most accurate rifle. If it is, can it shoot 0.5 MOA ? The AR-15s produced by Les Baer are guaranteed to shoot 0.5 MOA, which is a requirement for a sniper rifle !!!

  17. the first video shows forgien troops cross training with british wepons in the same way british troops do with dutch american etc. so given this is the first time those soilders have seen the weapon system their skills and drills arnt shit hot like they would be with their own rifles. ie stopage in the first video was caused by bad drills in particular fowarding the cocking handle rather than releasing it causing a double feed.

    nowt wrong with sa80…now at any rate.

    btw does anyone know if when fitted with a ugl you can still fix sticks?

  18. The SA80 is a good weapon and the only reason it is hated by these ‘know it all’ nerds is because it hasnt featured in the oh so many video games that the M4,M16,AK’S etc etc have. i have fired the sa80 live and it is accurate with low recoil and can lay rounds down fairly quickly.

  19. whoever said the L85 isn’t a simple gun is talking crap, im 15 and after a few months training last year can fire one accurately at range, conduct section attacks with the proper make safes and strip and clean the rifle withing 10 mintues. i could probably take one apart blindfolded now

  20. FFL Requirements on October 11th, 2009 at 1:20 am

    You never can be too careful with a subject like this people need to take notice.

  21. CCFCadetLcpl, same but i’m 14 and what cadet force u in? i know this must but a view that can easily be deemed as unimportant but in my view the manual rifle used for cadet training is extremly prone to stoppages due to bad cocking (que bad jokes and childish laughter). i’ve fired the lsw and a2 variant (which is semi automatic) and taken both of those apart. In my experience the lsw and a2 have never jammed and are very accurate

  22. To the fat 12 year old american kids who commented on something they arent even old enough to talk about… do us all a favour and go shooting deer with your daddys pop gun, as you are qquite simply obnoctios arrogant little fat kids with your burger and fries fat arse bubbling out the sides of your mums computer chair.
    Just so you know, playing computer games on your mums pc doesnt qualify you to comment on real life rifles used in real life situations. I have used this weapon in many scenario’s and numerous theatres, and you get what your given.
    Any serving lad will tell you the (adult american soldiers) what you may become in a few years when you fail high school like most of them,, most of the u.s soldiers would trade the current u.s army issue kit for ours any day, cos its shyite (including the weapon.
    So to round it all up your country is both disolusioned and ignorant.
    Now sod off and get to bed before your mum gets back from the trailor park with uncle sammy.

  23. Come on Nick, Ad Hominen? (Forgive the young brothers, for they know nothing)

    It’s a Weapon, Shoots well in the hands of someone skilled and has advantages over others weapons of it’s type, as well as downfalls.

    Politics Aside, we’ll say it’s not the most accurate, but I’m sure it’ll get the job done.

    -Peace

  24. Hy all. Im a hungarian and im interested in sa80 (a2). Could you tell me how often do you have to clean it and how long is it? Is it durable? I love this gun and i would like to know facts from soldiers who have used it

  25. Sorry.i ment how long does it take to clean it*

  26. While the L85 has been improved, I would disagree that it is “among the best” of the assault rifles of its class. Comparatively the best of 5.56mm assault rifles are the FN SCAR, G36 series, Galil, SIG rifles, and the Bofors AK5. Nothing beats the aforementioned as far as cost, reliability, rugged design, and flexibility. The L85, like the French FAMAS, immediately jumped on the bullpup bandwagon (take into consideration the L85′s predecessor was designed shortly after WWII) that began with Steyr’s AUG. Bullpups generally have inferior trigger squeezes, are the opposite of human ergonomics, and many designs have acquired reputations as unreliable (though that problem can be resolved with proactive maintenance not unlike the M16/M4 series). Also only one design i have heard of is switchable from right to left hand ejection and that is the superb Israeli Tavor (unless you count the F2000′s untested forward ejection). My point is: The British military is one of the most professional military forces on the planet and it, like the American military (who is fitterf–king around with the overrated M4/M16 series), deserves a rugged, reliable, simple, and effective individual combat weapon. Something in the lines of the FN SCAR, Remington ACR, or XM8 (im sure the legendary Enfield can design a similar equivalent for the UK like what was done with the multicam camouflage pattern).

    Note: The assertion that American kids and adults are all fat, lazy computer mongers is a wrong one. Many of them grow up in rural communities, where it is legal in most states to own and carry firearms, including semi-automatic variants of the M4/M16 and other military style weapons (the european firearms manufacturers’ most prolific market is in the United States).

    2 Note: Despite me not meriting the L85, I must merit Britain’s experimentation with true intermediate cartridges following WWII. MOD experimented with .270 size cartridges because they were smaller than .30 caliber (which had substantial recoil) and larger than handgun cartridges (which lacked effective range). Since NATO standardized the 5.56mm cartridge, the US military, as of a couple of years ago, began experimentation with .270 type cartridges (the phenomenal 6.5 grendel and 6.8 Rem SPC) because the 5.56mm lacks in performance amidst counter-insurgency operations. This proved that in the 1950′s, the Brits were years ahead of their time…so far ahead, in fact, that the US wouldn’t catch up until 2007 (despite ignoring abysmal performance reports of the 5.56mm in Vietnam!). The superior stopping power and moderate recoil of the 6.5x39mm grendel provides as a viable replacement for the 5.56mm and 7.62mm cartridges, significantly reducing logistical difficulties and increasing the effectiveness of troops on the ground.

  27. Thomas Jackson on January 5th, 2010 at 1:14 am

    Precision comes at a cost in assault rifles. Higher tolerances means greater precision and vice versa. The question is does the “best” come at a cost of a weapon that will jam at a vital moment. In Afghanistan the waunted m4 JAMNED BECAUSE OF OVERHEATING. The British Army isn’t in love with this toy.

    Reliability trumps other virtues. The AK47 is soldier proof, few other weapons have managed this. It isn’t very good over 300 yards but few soldiers engage at this range, never have.

    The HK 416, SG 550, G3 have been tried and tested. The SCAR sounds good but is undergoing field tests now with the Rangers.

  28. as a serving soldier i can leave only one comment……………. leave it to the professionals to debate wether the SA.80 (to give it its public name!!!!!!) is good enough!!!! all ARM-CHAIR GENERALS stand-down……and buy a life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. OK, my tuppence worth…:

    Is the SA80 reliable now? Yes

    Is it accurate? Very

    Does it have all the bells and whistles now? Yes, Laser/Light module, Picatinny rails, Forward gangster grip, bipod, ACOG sight with CQB red-dot.

    Would I have one again, given the choice? No.

    This is why: Its now a good weapon, but its too heavy and cumbersome. I work in EOD and Iv got enough to carry as it is on top of everything I need to survive.

    Secondly, having served in places and with people we don’t talk about (attached, im no walter mitty) , an M4/C8 etc type weapon is just easier to get along with. It has a change lever and saftey catch where you want it and its much easier to reload than the upside-down weapons. The accuracy thing is a bit of a red herring as anyone thats been in the real poo will know that we dont tend to do the whole breathing-trigger pressure-squeeze-follow through type shooting and more point and shoot with controlled single shots to win the firefight. I used to pick on a baddie, shoot at him until he fell, then shoot him again, then pick another. Watch any youtube stuff in afghan and see if you can spot anyone who would do the SASC proud…

    To be clear, Im not an SA80 naysayer, i just would prefer a lighter, more ergonomic weapon with the magazine in the right place.

    One fact that cannot be ignored is this: Anyone who has the choice NOT to use the SA80 in British Forces, chooses not to.

  30. the most accurate assault rifle ? Prove it ‘cuz i havent seen any statistics or range reports yet. The Sig 55x, FN Scar, Tavor, Arx-160 are all more accurate and better than this piece of $%#%. British soldiers even say they prefer the canadian C7-C8 series (m16 “clone”).

  31. yeah question for you pete

    HOW WOULD YOU KNOW IF THE WEAPONS YOU HAVE STATED, ARE MORE ACCURATE THAN THE SA80, IF YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT IT’S ACCURACY, IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN ANY REPORTS OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT

    thought i’d like to share that

  32. Look at the first video, that guys drill’s on the rifle are crap. Not one forward assist, bashes the magazine at the bottom, asking for a stoppage, and clearing that blockage is miles easier if you press the holding open device.

  33. better than thou on April 16th, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    One thing i dont understand is this : Why oh why, do you little kids who watch dvds and videos on youtube about soldiers think you’re qualified to comment on ANYTHING to do with what we real soldiers do? Just because your gay-assed little computer games dont have an SA80 in them doesnt make it automaticaly the worst weapon in the word, on the contrary actually.

    While im not the biggest fan of the SA80 by a long shot, its a fucking good weapon that does its job! and thats all that matters. And unless you take the weapon to an operational theatre where people are shooting at you, and your shooting back, youll never know anything about it, aside from what you can read on wikipedia. but spouting that shit off in forums makes you look like the little kid you are.

    And I will say this, for those who love the C8, although the weapon has been beautifly designed, with all the controls in the right place, it leaves alot to be desired when it comes to accuracy and range, two areas where the SA80 happens to excel.

  34. King's Royal Hussar on April 21st, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    As a serving soldier, I believe that over half of you are talking shit. Looking down the list I see alot of posts commenting on weapons such as the FN Scar and the Tr21. However, earth calling to all you CoD players…the SCAR is still in testing and has not seen battle yet, and until it does we will not know how it will handle. The M16 looked fantastic and in tests was simple to maintain, as soon as it hit the ground in Vietnam all sorts of jamming and breach problems occurred. So to sit on your wheelie office chairs, the xbox probably on standby, and dictate to the world which rifle is better than which is fucking ridiculous.

    The L85A1 had its problems, however these have been rectified with the A2, I have noticed the difference myself, though being a Cavalry soldier, I don’t do as much with them as the infantry, however I do enough to leave a comment. The other thing I will point out is that the G36 and the SCAR came way after the SA80, it is expensive to change arms as soon as a new one comes out, and why oh why would we take the G36K and not the G36? Why do we want a carbine, tank crews get carbines, I get a carbine! The infantry want something that can reach out and hit something and kill/ seriously wound it. And all this shit about the G3…come off it, its old and out of date, the British Army is bringing in a new squad based, single fire rifle that will be used in the same way that the Dragunov was used in the Russian forces (it wasn’t intended as a snipers rifle but as a weapon that would increase the effective range of a squad to beyond 600 yards) So the G3 is not needed.

    And to AntiSA80 when your in the Army you essentially get what your given, this isn’t woolworths, there isn’t a pick and mix, some people get the option for a GPMG but the Army doesn’t give a shit if today you fancy using the SCAR but tomorrow you would like to try out the G36 guess what they’re still going to issue you with what they have which is an SA80 in most cases. Get off CoD and at least read a book on this or join a Cadet force. You like the German weapons because they are made by good companies??? Well the SA80 was made by Enfield, a world renowned arms company and tweaked by your favourite HK, so do your research you ignorant little fuck.

    Thank you and good day

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  36. Thors Hammer on May 7th, 2010 at 4:37 am

    in my 11 years of service in the US Army i have trained on a lot of different weapons. i personally like the l85a2 its a good weapon. my only issue with it is ergonomics, having to move my hand from the front grip to drop a spent mag then reach into my ammo pouch for a replacement, then load and return to the ready position takes to long. in a cqc situation or when some one is shooting at you it seems like forever. with my m4 i could change mags in a fraction of the time.
    the new top dogs in the assalt rifle class are the robinson XCR, the bushmaster ACR, and the fn scar.
    i own a robinson XCR, 18″ barrel in the 6.8 rem spc. cal(way better than the shitty 5.56) i would have given my left nut to take this gun with me to iraq or afganistan. it is an infantrymen’s wet dream. :) way better than anything i was issued or got to train with.
    as for the most accurate assalt rifle in use by a military in todays wars i would have to go with the old m14. 800m effective range 7.62x51nato great stopping power but if your not socom you cant have one. sorry legs

  37. I agree with the EOD guy above, since H&K improved it, it does now work reliably and they are accurate (hardly surprising given the thickness of the barrel), however the SA80 is heavier than the L1A1 SLR it replaced and it’s poorly balanced with all the weight to the rear. I used to hate and despise the SLR during FIBUA exercises, it was too bloody long plus they were all worn out in my unit. The SA80 is nice and short but it’s just too butt heavy for my liking and too heavy overall. There were plenty of other rifles around when it was adopted that were lighter and still shorter than the SLR. I’ve used the French FA MAS G2 and that is a much better bullpup rifle overall imv (I’m not a big fan of the AUG but overall it is better as well). I notice the Jamaican Defence Forces have ditched the SA80 and gone to the M16A2 and also UK Special Forces don’t use it either, they use the Diemaco L119A1 SFW.

    The one thing no-one ever mentions is the Meccano holes in the receiver that let all sorts of shit in around the barrel, I hate that. And the newer recessed magazine release is too difficult to use and the “improved” trigger that came out in the late 80s is too wide.

  38. guys has anyone tried the ARX-160 , i did and i assume is far better than the SA80 and the sig 550 put together

  39. I have to agree with a few statements made in here:
    If you’re experience and knowledge of the weapons mentioned here are purely based on wikipedia and CoD; Shut up, you ignorant little twat and go to bed before mummy founds out your up past your bed time.

    Now to the 5.56 ammo issue:
    Yes, when trying to engage targets past 600 meters it’s not very effective, yes, when using a short barrel the stopping power is questionable. But, when using a barrel no shorter than 16.5 inches(419mm) it does yaw upon entering a targets body, and stopping power increases. At ranges over 600 meters, an infantry squad is typically going to use a gpmg, or a 7.62 marksman weapon to engage those ak-weilding rag heads.
    Im not saying I would protest if my particular armed forces where to switch to 6.8 or 6.5 mm round, but due to NATO, that’s not gonna happen any time soon.
    And alot of promesing developments is being made to 5.56 platform.
    A heavier 77grain 5.56 round was introduced a few years back, capable of making acurate shots at 700 meters. The USMC is currently testing the M855A1 round which hace been proved to outperform the NATO 7.62 Ball against certain types of targets, and the french has developed a revolutionary round for they’re future standard infantry weapon with a maximum range of up to 1300 meters(early testing and protype stage).
    The french round is apparantly capable of being fired through a 5.56 platform. Not sure if you would need a whole lot of modification on exsisting 5.56 weapons to fire it or not though.
    All im saying is, be patient and see what happens during the next few years with the newly designed 5.56′es before wrting it off as an obsolete round.

    I serve in the Norwegian armed forces and use 16.5 inch HK416, wich I’m very pleased with reliabilty and performance-wise.

    PS: please exuse any bad grammar, it’s been a while since high school and english grammar classes ;)

  40. sa80 seems to be a decent gun now….and it only took 30 years to get that way………IMO. the brits should have stuck with the SLR….they could have just modified it to fit their needs in whatever conflict they were in..could have saved alot of monkey and man hours doveloping a weapon that wouldnt be “battle ready” for several decades. FN stopped making FALs and their parts?? dident ROF make these things under license? couldent they still be making SLR parts if they had wanted to? anyways i have an IMBEL made FAL and it shoots like a dream….easy to feildstrip, reliable as an AK, accurate out to (and if your good, past) 800 yards and has stopping power dudes with SA80s could only dream of. the SLR is actually more suited to the type of combat now ongoing in afghanistan…..huge open spaces and engagements at ranges that the sa80 is rather ineffective at…

  41. errrr “money and man hours” but i guess “monkey” would fit to some degree to as they spent decades “monkeying” with the sa80 to turn it into a viable combat weapon……

  42. better than thou on July 27th, 2010 at 5:41 am

    @john….. do you have any idea what your talking about?????? you say that, “the SLR is actually more suited to the type of combat now ongoing in afghanistan…..huge open spaces and engagements at ranges that the sa80 is rather ineffective at” do your homework before you make a fool of yourself, over 3 QUARTERS (75% for all you dumb shits) of all contacts in Afghanistan last year were between the ranges of 50-80 meters, a range well within the effective range of the SA80, i think you will find. And the reason why the Armys shoting policy has changed to put a greater emphisis on Close Range Marksmanship…..go on….. i fucking DARE someone to argue with me on this……

  43. I dont really know much about sa80, but g-3 is more powerfull, reliable and prettty accurate…

    AK RULEZ!!!

  44. i’ve served on operations with the SA80. i love the bullpup configuration. i dont have a bad thing to say about the weapon.

  45. I favor the bullpup for it’s short size. I know the SA80 has had it’s short comings – having to be redesigned a few times over the years. The M16/AR family of rifles have been redesigned thousands of times to make them more reliable (and are still a bear to maintain). The AK family of rifles have under gone maybe 5 major redesigns and some of those were the way it was manufactured (quicker/cheaper pressed sheet metal vice milling).

    If it does the job and brings the soldier back home – there is nothing wrong with the rifle.

    The current generation of rifles do not fit into the same class of AR/AK/SA weapons as time and advancements have been made.

  46. My main beef with the SA80 is just how much of a monster it is to clean. Standard cleaning kit = stay in bergen, cotton buds, baby wipes and nail varnish remover are the future!

  47. the army is supposed to be replacing the sa80 with a gun known as the sa58 which is an updated more modern FN FAL which is brilliant!!!
    it would have better stopping power and is more accurate than an m16 and sa80 put together.
    it was a mistake with the sa80 in the first place

  48. Hello, this is unquestionably a reallygreat article. In principle I’d wish to jot down like this as well – taking time and real energy to create a great write-up… but what can I say… I procrastinate alot and never appear to acquire anything done. Thank You

  49. Im a army cadet and i have fired then a1 sa80 and a2 and there good weapons iv also fire plenty of other weapons and the sa80 beats them all sooo, stop dissing the the sa80 there noting wrong with it.

    yes i hated the A1 because it was a peice of crap but the A2 is far better and reliable. stop dissing this rifle…… Fire it then complain there something wrong with it, :D

  50. I prefer classic rifles over bullpup configuration..my choice is russian AEk 972

  51. My experiences as a cadet have told me that the sa80 is quite easy to clean and is reliable when clean. (this will apply to all weapons) alex gilmour im in agreement with you. I had only ONE problem cleaning the weapon (i fucked up the flanellete folding and it got stuck in the barrel, i got it out by wraping the cord around a tree. :) However ONE of the reasons why the A1 was so unreliable was because of the man making it the following is a quote from the guardian newspaper website “Even as the SA80 production lines started up, the workers at Enfield began to sense that their jobs hung by a thread. In April 1987, the newly privatised British Aerospace bought the company for £190m. Just four months later, BAe announced that it was shutting Enfield down, with the loss of 1,200 jobs, and moving production of the rifle to Nottingham.” here is the link http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/oct/10/military.jamesmeek. It doesnt really help laying off your workers when you want them to build new rifles as they wont give a toss about the weapon’s quality. Also the design of the inner workings was copied from the Sterling AR18 (M4/M16 to you cod players) it was copied incorrectly which contributed to the amount of failures. The A2 solved those problems (i know because we got the A2s about 4 months before i left cadets). I suppose that it is a bit heavy but it is heavy so the recoil is supposedly lower (please give opinions as i dont know the comparable recoil for m4, g36 etc). Things need to be improved with the weapon (lever safety catch for example like on the m4). Ok enough of the essay i am writing and i will boil it down to this. The A2 in my opinion is a good gun, reliable, accurate (though i am shit at shooting: only a 4 inch grouping at 100 yards prone, how embarrising!). It needs improvements sure but no gun is perfect. (Essay over, hooray!!!!!!!)

  52. I am 14 and in the cadets and this very day i have been fireing the sa80 it is not the best gun in its class but it is getting slated by people that have never fired it I agree tht a 7.62 version of it would be better and extend the range of it but the people who say its hard and complicated to take apart and clean are talkng bull i had to do tht to 3 sa80′s today and it took me 30 mins it is very accurate very low recoil becasue of its bullpup design but even in semi automatic it can lay down substancail accurate firepower

  53. @alex gilmour .. Just for the record I am Left handed, how can I fire the rifle without getting an earful of shell casings? (or learning to fire right handed.)

    Now I reiterate the point that anyone in the British Army who can choose NOT to us the SA80 DO NOT use the SA80.

  54. Do you no that the SA80 has a sister in the UK army cadet force called the L98 CR (L98 Cadet Rifle)or the (cadet general purpose) L98 Cadet Rifle may refer to the following weapons used by the Combined Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps/Marine Cadet Detatchment, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps in the United Kingdom:
    L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle, introduced in 1987; phased out in 2009.
    L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle, entered service in 2009. Dew to the upgrade of the SA80 to the SA80A2

  55. RMP thats Royal Military Police 4 you how have problems a tour of afgan will change yor mind when all you got is an SA80A2

  56. When i was in iraq and the shit hit the fan the rifle i had in my hands worked well and did its job keeping me alive and the F***er shootin at me well got hit by alot of us with SA80A2′s and strange the danish guys had all kinda of trouble with sand in theirs and so did the Yanks,the best rifle at the time it goes off is the one in your hands wich you trained to use most guys aint the SAS and we got what we were given.
    And when you put that UGL on f**k it heavy looks awesome but after tabin around on patrol you really want a pistol!!

  57. I was inthe Brit Army when it changed to the SA80, and could never see why it did. At that time there were three rifles in the world that have proved themselves in every climate and combat condition These were the AR15, AK47 & SLR. The SA80 was inferior to all three.

    I was in Oman (Dhofar) where we were armed with the FN FAL (Original version of the SLR)and they NEVER failed to fire. They were more accurate than most of those firing them, and they had the punch at longer ranges – somthing that our troops in Afghanistan are finding they need. Yes, I know they are over sixty years old now, but they are STILL better than the SA80, a rifle built for political reasons, not military ones.

  58. I have to agree with ‘Old Timer’, I’m ex British Army and just out after a three year stint, so I have only ever used the SA80 whilst I was in service! I have trained with the M4 Carb, AK47 and the HK’s and I have to say the SA80 is shit!! Sorry to say it BAE sytems but give me the Ak47!!

    I would not want to go into combat in flip flops, but the Taliban did get something right!

    The SA80 was built for political reasons not with the soldier in mind! It’s a pain to strip when you are cold, wet, wearing gloves or in pitch black!

    I am just as accurate with half a dozen other weapons..so being able to shoot straight is not the issue!! Just scrap the bullpup design and give me a 7.62mm round! Anyway, less of my ranting …and bring our boys back home!!

  59. How does the latest version of the venerable AK47 compare with the latest version of the SA80? Does anyone have any REAL combat experience of both weapons?

  60. Well, the pathfinders and SFSG and the SAS, SBS ect choose other more reliable assault rifles , why is the rest of the British army forced to use a substandard peice of kit … oh another interesting bit of info, the Falkland Islands Defence Force, guess what assault rifle they chose to protect their Islands.. the Steyr AUG, NOT the SA80A2.. says a lot.

  61. I am ex British Army, 10 years with the SA80 and i only ever had 1 misfire and 2 jams in 10 years thats not bad. Plus on accurasy, 300m with metal sights (not SUSAT) i can and have on numerous occasions put a full 30round mag in a 6inch grouping. Lets see another Assault Rifle do that at 300m with iron sights, it just won’t happen. I wasn’t a fan of the A1 but hte A2 is good, small, light and reliable, i don’t think any nation uses a smaller, lighter or more accurate assualt rilfe currently.

  62. a reply to THURINGEN: you say the first video shows how the sa80s unreliable but in that vid its the a1 not a2 so its gunna be more unreliable bcuz of no hk upgrades. and anyway, those norwegian troops didnt know wut they were doing (didnt take care with cocking/forward assist etc)

    ps just so u know im not a fat american kid im 14 from NI and in cadets

  63. When I used this weapon out in ganners it was fine, I had no problems with it what so ever! When I first passed out of basic training I really struggle to grasp the weapon. although once you are flown into a warzone serving with other members of nato with different weapon and your on the ranges zeroing your weapon off you always try others weapons, your not really ment to but we do! It was then clear to me why we use this weapons the gun itself is a solid piece of kit! The yanks love it and the M4 family are very similar, solid pieces of kit and all the parts are interchangeable with the weapons of that family. Us brits love the gun and we kick as with it and the yanks think its the next best thing next to there Carbine’s

  64. too many armchair soldiers spouting crap on this site! and americans who think there is nothing better than what their country produces.
    As a SERVING BRITISH COMBAT INFANTRYMAN with 6 years of ops under my belt, who has used pretty much all NATO and western bloc/ russian weapons, the SA80A2 has one problem now and one problem only, i weighs far more than any of the other mentioned weapons.
    BUT, if i was taking part in a bayonet charge (which by the way, british soldiers still do unlike any other country apparently) i would take my weapon any day.
    The thing is guys, give a British soldier ANY weapon and he’ll still be better than any meat head US Marine or some average joe US infantryman and most of their so called Special forces. Sorry i i annoy anybody, it’s just a fact!

  65. Make no mistake, I am not a serving Military Professional, or a Falklands vet. I am 14 years of age, and joining a cadet force next Friday.

    In preparation, I have done my research.

    I know, for instance, that the Mk. 6(/Mk. 6a) helmet is not made out of Kevlar, as so many believe. It is Ballistic Nylon. The UK military intends to swap it out for the improved Mk. 7 variant. However, unlike the US military, they intend to do this all at the same time, as opposed to gradually, because, as you will see, the UK has a lot less variety in terms of equipment. This allows for more interchangeability. The UK also, therefore, has a much more regimented force. And the death toll in Afghanistan for the UK forces is around 400, as opposed to around 1800 in the US. That’s got to show something about their combat doctrines.

    Anyway, onto the point. The M16 is a greatly over-rated weapon. The M4A1 carbine counters many of these problems by being Fully Automatic, and shortened, as well as having the SOP-MOD modular weapon system, which kicks ass.

    However, the L85A2 is Bull-pup, allowing a longer barrel length, with a shorter overall length. Who gives a **** about ergonomics in the battlefield. Would you rather some crappy peashooter that’s 1 metre long, but with a 50cm barrel length, that “feels nice” to hold, or would you rather a sturdy, reliable rifle, with brilliant (Sight Unit Small Arms Trilux) optics, that’s 78cm long, with a 52cm barrel length, but with an “inconvenient” reload (By the way, if you’re reloading, it doesn’t matter if it’s nice or not. You should be behind cover anyway, unless you’re retarded). Hell, the SA80 has a longer barrel than the M16!

  66. Oy, as far as standard issue rifles go its one of the most accurate. In its earlier stages Britain had to re-evaluate their accuracy standards as it proved to be too accurate to classify as an assault rifle. Its bullpup design, though heavier, puts all the weight against your shoulder, as well as keeping the weapon shorter overall which makes your job in urban environments much easier as you don’t have a spear (like the m16) colliding with walls and door frames because of its ungainly length. You can keep the weapon up and ready to fire if needed. I do prefer larger calibur weapons like 7.62′s and the innovative 6.8mm due tot he greater stopping power and effective range, but if accuracy is what you are looking for in a compact package the L85/SA-80 is the way to go.

    My opinion of the weapon is much like the AR-15 series, the design is sound, but the round is my biggest complaint. I don’t want a weapon that fires farther than it can kill. The 5.56 loses much velocity a longer ranges and can have difficulty penetrating heavy clothing while at the same time suffering from over-penetration at close range. Shooting twice to take down one man is silly, a .45 calibur side arm and a 7.62 x 51mm rifle would be my personal preference.

    p.s. What big c stated is true, the standard forces of the British army are held to higher marksmanship standards than just about any U.S. troops.

  67. Falklands,Ask an argy the diffrence between 5.56 & 7.62 u might have trouble finding anyone who survived 7.62.

  68. remi…

    [...]SA80 – the Most Accurate Assault Rifle | Famous Guns[...]…

  69. SA80, I’m sure it’s a formidable weapon system, but for the life of me I can’t get used to the bull pup configuration, taking your eyes off your target while changing a rear magazine fed weapon, I don’t think so. For the record I served 8 years in the United States Infantry and one as a combat engineer. If your an idiot and don’t preform proper matainance on your weapon it will fail, I don’t care who you are or what your issued. If you take care of your weapon it will take care of you. Keep in mind the M16 weapons platform was designed in the early 1950′s by the late and grate Eugene Stoner. It was far ahead of it is time and since long has been perfected as early as the M16A1. No disrespect but may I remind my British brothers that the SA80′s internal design is a direct copy of the American AR18, another brain child of Mr Stoner, just a scaled down version (originally the AR 16 7.62x51mm). Your welcome chaps. :)

  70. i never tried the SA80 but being a relic of the cold war the one thing that comes to mind is how is the SA80 used with a bayonet being bayonet training was mandatory in the USMC while i was in bootcamp and looking at the SA80 i cannot concive of how it would be held since with the M-16 we had one had at the base of the buttstock and the other by the slip rings that held the handgaurds on . but being at the time they used the bayonet training to make us more aggressive in my opinion. im curious about the SA80 since there is so much conflicted things being saied here and over the web. as for reliability i used the M-16A1 and the A2 variant and loved the A2 being im left handed i had to use a special clip devloped for the A1 to prevent hot brass from hitting my face. the A2s brass deflector was a Godsend for me and ive noticed in what little ive read about the SA80 its not left handed frendly like the M-16A. with the A2 on 3 round bursts i roughly guess ( my memory of how many magazines i had at the time is forgotten with time) i had run about 10 30 round magazines and had a round cook off and it damaged my rifles chamber (this was my fault being 20 of us had 1500 rounds to get rid of and i wanted to see what it could do if i really had to put rounds downrange and the gass tube that cycles the bolt was glowing red hot) sadly i got a used rifle barrel off a damaged rifle as a replacement from the guys working in the armory so even in the 90s when the M-16 was improved over its early problems there was things that arose after the improvements so i see every rifle has its problems you just gotta learn the limits of what your weapon can and cannot do.

  71. The SA80 is not a real weapon, it was hastily cobbled together to boost the share price of Royal Ordinance when it was privitized, it was put into front line service without basic testing, thats just corruption. It was an unauthorized copy of an Armalite AR18, ( the first prototype is made out of one, i’ve seen it )and so was full of faults that had already been solved by Armalite, and it’s licenced manufacturers ( sterling uk ). So it’s not really fair to compare it with properly designed and competently manufactured weapons.

    When you have a rifle with the fire selector ON THE BUTT, you know something has gone very wrong !

    According to the government there has never been anything wrong with it, however the £92 MILLION pound contract to Heckler and Kock involved a complete re engineering and replacement of most of the working parts !

    You cannot polish a turd gentlemen.

  72. Having used L85a2s for years i love it accurate, reliable, small enough to fit in a scimitar turret use of bayonet and has a full automatic function.
    I have worked with USMC in afghanistan and did a weapon swap for 10 minutes ona range
    M4 is a miniture m16 and neither rifle that this squad had full auto
    Both M4 and M16 fired repitition or 3 round burst they loved the L85 A2 (SA80)
    P.s. call of duty cannot be taken seriously as most of the weapons fire the same calibre round 5.56mm yet have completely different statistics
    The L86a2 Lsw has never and will never have a drum magazine

  73. I will start off by saying I have no knowledge of the SA80 what so ever. I would love to try one out (probly have to be airsoft, better than nothing) but i have a problem with so many of you saying the M16/M4 series is unreliabe and crap. That weapon has been in every theater of war since its inception. I personally put more than 300 rounds of blanks, on a beach, mags stuck in the sand for quick access on a training exercise with not 1 failure, and it wasn’t a well maintained rifle to begin with. Keep it clean it’ll go bang everytime. Also to compare accuracy between an M4 carbine and SA80 really isnt fair as the SA80 has a longer barrel, better comparison would be an M16. I believe the US Marines need to qualify at 600m to pass boot. My issue with the SA80 would be ergonomics, just doesn’t look universally friendly to me like other weapons. Would I buy 1? Damn skippy, without hesitation if I could get a semi only one here in the US. Butt ugly IMHO but as a confirmed gun nut who cares?

  74. the USMC bootcamp range i shot on was the only range in the USMC that was measured out in meters instead of yards ( i am takeing this from a 22 year old memory so if im wrong im sorry but im just going by old memorys) the max range is 500m on edson field and 500 yards on eery other range i think edson range was measured out when the US was trying to convert to the metric standard but it did not stick even our fuel went from gallons to lieters then back to gallons. at the 500 yd (M) line we shot prone at the 200 and 300 we had to do a standing, kneeling sitting and prone shots plus a rapid fire at a dog target. i did shoot at army ranges at scholfield barracks and the army just uses the 100 yd range with smaller targets for distance shooting i dont think it helped with really learning the effects of windage and eleation but i was a cadet at the time and just geting my hands on a M-16 was a thrill its just we used the older A1 models and they were a pain to use compared to my experence with the A2 i never got to use the M-4 being they just introduced the A2 when i was in the USMC but i myself would prefer a longer barrel for accuracy at a distance even if i had to cope with the weapon being longer thats the one thing the SA80 has over the 16 is you can get in a amtrack and you dont have to deal with the extra length im not bagging on any 1 rifle every one has its good and bad points i just liked my rifle i was issued. i tend to try and make my own opinion on things but being i cant get ahold of a SA80 i gotta rely on the words of what im reading and try and gleen out whats what and try and form sort of a opinion on things

  75. Just looking at some of the video’s and noticing that the ejector for the spent cartridges is only on the right side beside the marksman’s cheek. Just a thought, I’m pretty sure that would make it difficult to fire from the left should around cover without getting an empty cartridge in the face. Unless you were to lean out from cover, but that would only result in making yourself a bigger target. It’s just a thought. The SA80 has come a long way regardless. I just don’t find that all the quirks and flaws have quite been worked out yet. None the less it seems as though the ejector is the only technical flaw with the gun. If fixed it could make the SA80 that much more versatile and useful.

  76. Ah, the SA-80. That’s the rifle that was designed by the ignorant, built by the incompetent, and issued to the unfortunate. The rifle called the ‘civil servant’, because it doesn’t work and you can’t fire it. The M16\M4 family runs rings around it in terms of reliability and accuracy. Sorry chaps.

  77. I worked with some Royal Marines on one of my deployments to Iraq. They said they hated the SA-80 and preferred the M4. Here is a thread with some input from an American who was temporarily assigned to the Royal Marines, http://m4carbine.net/showthread.php?t=92848

  78. A member of this forum who acquired a copy of my book “A Moment In Time – A Look At The British Army”, took task with me regarding my entry on the L85A2 (SA80 means “Small Arms Family for the 1980′s). In particular telling me of Greg’s message 17th JAN.
    Being one who was involved with the hot/dry, hot/wet trials here in Australia late 1975-early 76 with the 4.85mm Individual Weapon and Light Support Weapon, I am capable of making informed comment.
    The prototype weapons (hand made of course)were made to the highest standards. They performed superbly in every single trial, which were of extreme standards. Problems were identified, rectifications being planned. The engineers who designed the weapon, can only be described as totally dedicated and extremely competent and inovative engineers, with support from the equal highly skilled specialists of the Small Arms School Corps. The 4.85mm round was very good, but, not a killing round, the intention by the political masters being to wound the Soviet hordes invading West Germany, so the many casualties would clog up their logistics system. But, in close combat, urban/jungle the kinetic energy of a three round burst would kill.
    RAW Steve. The Last Enfield. SA-80 The Reluctant Rifle. Collector Grade Publications, Coburg, Ontario, Canada, 2003.
    Gives a good description of the woes of the weapon system, although his description of the politics and financial aspects is very limited and he has no knowledge of the participants, it also completed in 2002 so is nine years away from operational use. And these woes can be firmly placed upon the British Civil Service, politicians who followed their advice. Poor quality ammunition, the dramatic decrease manufacturing standards from a workforce being laidoff, poor quality components made by the cheapest quote, all contributed.
    The H&K rebuild was not some brilliant German inovation, it was basically the rebuild to the standard laid down by the weapons designers and developers.
    The L85A2 has been in combat use in Iraq/Afgan since 2001,and those baggyarse infantrymen who carry it upon a two way rifle range, make none of the silly and stupid comments made here. Having a great deal to do with the Royal Marines, the comments made re the weapon are incorrect, and probably refer to wanting of a smaller weapon (the RM SBS uses the DEMACO (now Colt Canada) C8 Carbine, that have been extensively rebuilt.) Having fired some 300 rounds on the range at Brisbane in 2010, from a standard A2. Left out in direct sunlight (@ 40 degree Cent)lying on thick dust, for two hours. It fired perfectly, incrediabily accurate, the problems of balance solved by the new foregrip and attachments. It feels right, it looks right and in the words of every actual user from recents operations, it is right.
    Such as the G36, HK417, have not worked well in the talcum powder dust of AFGHAN, whilst the Austrian Army, which took the SG550 to Chad with the European Community peacekeeping force had equal problems.
    You will never get a rifle that everyone likes (like boots, field webbing or Camouflage)but a weapon that does what it is intended for, killing or wounding the enemy in battle in constant manner the L85A2 does the job. But, the 5.56mm ammunition is another story.

  79. As an additt, the following is a link that may be of interest :
    http://www.quarry.nildram.co.uk/The%20Next%20Generation.htm

    Its author Mr Williams has written much over the years, and the article links to some articles of his.

    His comments re the L7 GPMG is of interest, the so called “Super Minimi” in 7.62mm was hailed as the answer to the weight problem with the L7, unfortunately the lightweight construction of the weapon means that after a protracted contact in which a couple of thousand rounds fired, the weapon has to be rebuilt by a armourer. The USN SEAL Teams and the UKSF enthusiastically adopted the weapon, but, it would appear that British arms manufacturer Manroy new variant using ultra-lightweight materials for bipod, butt, pistol grip, handle, dropping the weight by 2.4Kg is a more effective solution.

  80. Carrying handle? Wrong!

    Rear sight, should only be carried like a handbag by raging homoes

  81. Ive read a years worth of comments on this forum,heck theres alot of people that comment with no experience.Im not a soldier,ive never fought,i have the hugest respect for all those that do and have.On the likes of the assault rifle issue they are the guys that know.Talking to several who have served and used the SA 80,the worst complaint i hear is the position of the magazine makes for slow reload.Anyway on the calibre issue,i just want to make comment,i have experience with the 7.62mm(.308) and 5.56mm ( .223 ) Yes thats a lot of bullet in the 7.62,it has major knock down power,the 5.56 is a real lightweight of a bullet an lacks punch…there is a solution and its been around for decades in the civilian market,its sat right in the middle.Its the.243(6mm)Its flatter and faster than the 7.62mm, it has way more punch than the 5.56mm and is highly accurate.Just example i can and do get less than 1/4inch groups at 100yrds,less than 1/2inch group at 200 yrds and the ft/lbs per sq is still right up there as it heads out to 500/600 yrds.It has best of both and will punch stuff out to 600….700yrds and more if really needed ,which is moving into the 7.62 long range territory,and one thing that is often forgot is wind drift and i think it tolerates this better than either of the others.Just check out the ballistic charts for all the details if you have a mind to,but b4 anyone says anything i know ive used all 3 and owed weapons in 7.62mm (.308) and 6mm(.243 )across 26yrs of firearms involvement .Im just saying that maybe sometimes these guys that develop stuff need to stand back and look whats already out there.Anyway just an opinion on calibres which is a little bit off topic,im sure someone will critise.Come home safe the guys out there.And those of you that aint out there, put your money where your mouth is and support Help For Heroes.

  82. hey zach the reason the US has taken 4x more casaulties then the UK is because we have 20x more G.I.’s fighting there! Our combat drills and doctrine are constantly evolving based on the threats we see on the horizon & who were engaged with at the present.

    The majority of the jams experienced by the M-4 rifle were caused by defectvepoor quality magazines. This was caused by the 1994 Assault weapons ban in the US, which also banned “high capacity magazines”. This caused many firearms companies to stop manufacturing them. The few that did produced poor quality ones. Heavier bullets are extending the lethal range of the rifle.

  83. Who started the rubbish about we now need to change to 6mm ?

    If you think a 5.56 is not lethal go downrange and prove it !

    The SA80 was just one of many British procurement balls ups, our gov is pretty good at that, ( google Nimrod aircraft if you want a laugh) they just ordered 2 aircraft carriers, then changed their mind, scrapped all the aircraft to save money, and now there won’t be any planes on the ships for 10 years !

    The SA80 was a dogs dinner, of incompetent design, and political interfearance, it was only allowed into service by faking the acceptance tests. They tried to make a cheap AR18 copy, but it ended up costing 3 times as much per unit, and 92 million on top of that to a German company to make it work.

    The big fat lie they always trotted out was “it’s more accurate than anything else” conveniently overlooking it’s got a 4 X magnification sight !

    I used one as a paratrooper by the way.

  84. Wish there was a thumbs up or a plus one so I could give G.A.Mackinlay something for a comment that was actually helpful, informative, and not filled with rage and spittle.

    To the author of the original post, could you provide a link to the test or group that did the test? I would like to read the results for myself, as well as being able to upload them, as this information on the L85A2 will be immensely helpful for an article I have to write.
    Thanks.

  85. I have used both the A1 and A2 varients of this weapon system as i am currently serving with a british infanty battalion. I found that though very accurate the faults highlighted with the a1 were genuine they were:-
    stoppages being caused by the empty case hitting the cocking handle and rebounding back into the bolt
    firing pin tip breaking off
    and frequent gas stoppages
    I have to say during training shouts of stoppage where all to frequent and the first time i fired the now seldomly used lsw varient of the a1 on automatic the firing pin broke after 2 3 round bursts. Since the A2 has been brought in I have only had 1 stoppage in 3 operational tours and more ranges and exercises than i can count and that was due to faulty ammo (the casing tore preventing the extractor being able to grip it). The critism of the weight is a fair one esp with the new kit ie grenade launcers laser light module (llm) and forward grips etc however these are being offset with things like polymer mags and relplacing the susat with acog or similar. my most recent tour (last year) i had A2 fitted with the acog, polymer mags, foregrip and llm and thought that the weight was not excessive esp considering other weapons being carried within the patrol. The ergonomic complaints are the price u pay for the bull pup design im afraid and made up for by making the weapon much more usable in confined spaces and more “pointable” in a cq marksmanship setting. The only problem really is being unable to fire left handed not just for the leftys but in a cq enviroment it would sometimes be usefull. To conclude the a1 had problems as i here did the original m16 now H&K have done an amazing job the A2 is receiving great reviews on operations in dry dusty enviroments and in the greenzone where it is frequently wet.