British L85 Rifle otherwise known as the SA80 has been given a rough time in its time and its time to start standing up for this great service rifle for what it REALLY is. The truth about this rifle is shrouded by a past that it never seems to shake off and I want to try explain why I think this firearm performs great.
The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56×45mm NATO small arms. It is a selective fire, gas-operated assault rifle. Mechanically, it has been derived from the Armalite AR-18, which had been manufactured under licence in the UK by Sterling Armaments Company. The first prototypes were tried in 1976, and production ended in 1994. It is due to remain in service until 2025.
The L85 rifle variant of the SA80 family has been the standard issue service rifle of the British Armed Forces since 1987, replacing the L1A1 variant of the FN FAL. The A1 variant was upgraded in the early 2000s by Heckler & Koch as the SA80A2 and remains in service as of 2016. In mid-2016 a prototype A3 variant was showcased which further improved on the weapon and is reportedly being considered to extend the out of service date beyond 2025. The remainder of the family comprises the L86 Light Support Weapon, the short-barrelled L22 carbine and the L98 Cadet rifle.
The SA80 was the last in a long line of British weapons (including the Lee–Enfield family) to come from the Royal Small Arms Factory, the national arms development and production facility at Enfield Lock.
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British L85 SA80 Rifle