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General purpose machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

The L7A1 and its derivatives saw action during various military conflicts

Country of origin United Kingdom
Entered service 1961
Caliber 7.62 x 51 mm NATO
Weight (empty) 10.9 kg
Length 1 232 mm
Barrel length 560 mm
Muzzle velocity 840 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 750 - 1 000 rpm
Practical rate of fire 200 rpm
Magazine capacity Belt-fed
Sighting range 1 800 m
Range of effective fire 800 m
Range of effective fire (mounted on a tripod) 1 100 m


   The L7A1 is a UK-built version of the Belgian FN MAG. It was adopted in 1961. Its improved versions are still produced. This weapon saw action during various military conflicts. During the 1982 Falklands War, it has even been used by both sides.

   The original FN MAG is one of the most widespread and effective machine guns in the world, and is still being mass-produced around the world more than 50 years after its introduction into service. It is also used by the US military as the M240.

   The L7A1 is used against enemy troops, soft-skin and lightly armored vehicles. It can be fired from tripods and vehicle mounts. This general purpose machine gun is used on armored vehicles, helicopters and watercraft.

   The L7 machine gun has several design attributes of the World War II-era German MG-42, including its trigger mechanisms, quick-change barrel, and spring-loaded dust cover. But much of the weapon was derived from the basic design formula of the venerable Browning Model 1918 BAR. In fact most of the Belgian FN MAG was created by simply inverting the BAR's receiver, so it could be belt-fed from above rather than magazine-fed from below.

   The L7A1 is gas-operated weapon. Barrel is above and the gas regulator. This machine gun fires from an open bolt.

   It is a selective fire weapon, but does not have a single shot capability. The fire selector switches between a rate of fire of 750 rpm, 850 rpm, or 1 000 rpm. However the firing rate is adjusted only when fouling causes sluggish operation of the weapon and there is no time to clean the weapon properly.

   A safety is integral to the design, which disables the sear when set to "safe", but it can only be safed when the weapon is cocked.

   Ammunition is fed into the upper left side of the weapon by a belt. The L7A1 accepts linked belts with disintegrating or non-disintegrating links. These belts are typically 50 to 250 rounds in length and stored in boxes. The 50-round belts are the most widely-used, and can be linked end-to-end. On the L7A2 model a 50-round belt box can be attached to the weapon itself.

   The L7A1 is bulkier and heavier than many modern machine guns. However it proved to be a very reliable weapon. Several sources report that the FN MAG is the most reliable machine gun in the world. For example, during testing in the 1990s, it was able to fire an astonishing 26 000 rounds between failures. This reliability was further confirmed in a 2013 torture test of the American M240B, after which there was no loss of accuracy, despite the weapon firing a total of 15 000 rounds at its cyclical rate of fire. By the end of that 2013 test, it had fired more than 32 000 rounds without ill effect. The barrel is rated for 800 rounds fired before replacement, but the L7A1 can exceed this requirement. According to some sources this weapon have been able to fire 8 000 rounds out of individual barrels before requiring a replacement, even when the barrels were heated until they glowed red hot. Barrels with advanced lining materials have even longer life ratings, with Stellite-lined barrels claimed to last for 15 000 rounds.

   Most of the components of the L7A1 are interchangeable with the Belgiam FN MAG and its derivatives, such as the American M240.

   This weapon has quick-change barrels. A carrying handle is attached directly to the top of the barrel. It allows the crew to quickly remove an expended barrel while it is still hot, with no need for insulated gloves to handle it.

   The L7A1 has composite buttstock, foregrip and pistol grip. Early versions of the original FN MAG had wooden furniture, while newer models also employ composite materials.

   A folding bipod is standard equipment, allowing this machine gun to be fired from a stable position while resting on the ground or a raised object (such as a wall or a boulder).

   The sight is a folding leaf type, with an aperture and notch in the rear, and a simple blade in the front. The rear sight is adjustable for sighting range, from 200 m to 1 800 m.

   Maximum effective range of the L7A1 is 800 m when fired from a bipod and 1 100 m when fired from a tripod.

   The British L7 machine gun is available in a number of versions.

   Price of this weapon is around US $9 500.




   L7A1 is a baseline version, used by the infantry;

   L7A2 has improved feed mechanism and provision for 50-round belt box;

   L8A1 is a coaxial version of the L7A1, intended for mounting inside tanks and armored vehicles. It has no buttstock and is fitted with a sloenoid trigger mechanism. This weapon has a folding pistol grip for emergency use;

   L8A2 is a coaxial version with improved feed mechanism;

   L19A1 is an infantry version of the M7A1, fitted with a heavy barrel;

   L20A1 is a version, designed to be mounted on helicopters in gun pods and external mountings. Mechanically it is similar to the L7A1;

   L20A2 is a improved version of the L20A1 with improved feed mechanism;

   L37A1 is a variant designed for mounting on armored vehicles. This weapon consists of L8A1 breech, and L7A1 barrel;

   L37A2 improved version of the L37A1 with improved feed mechanism;

   L43A1 is a coaxial version of the L7A1, used as a ranging gun on a Scorpion light tank;

   L44A1 is a variant of the L20A1, a helicopter-mounted version, used by the Royal Navy;

   L112A1 is a variant of the L7A2, mounted on Lynx helicopter.


L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

L7A1 machine gun

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