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L85A2

Assault rifle

L85A2

The L85A2 is currently a standard-issue infantry weapon with the British Forces

 
 
Country of origin United Kingdom
Entered service 2000
Caliber 5.56x45 mm
Weight (empty) ~ 4.1 kg
Weight (empty with grenade launcher) ~ 5.6 kg
Length 780 mm
Barrel length 518 mm
Muzzle velocity 900 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 650 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range ?
Range of effective fire 500 m

 

   The L85A2 is an upgraded variant of the original L85A1 assault rifle, that was adopted by the British Army back in 1984 as a standard infantry weapon. The original L85A1 assault rifle had some reliability and performance issues. In general it was quite unreliable and troublesome to maintain. So the British MoD launched an upgrade program to address these shortcomings. The upgrade program was completed by the German Heckler & Koch company. Between 2000 and 2002 about 200 000 rifles were upgraded to the L85A2 standard. Currently the L85A2 is the standard service rifle of the British Forces.

   The L85A2 is a gas operated, selective fire rifle with bullpup layout. The main advantage of the bullpup layout is the overall compactness of the weapon. Internally this weapon is generally similar to the US Armalite AR-18. This assault rifle is chambered for the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm round. A total of 110 parts were modified by the Heckler & Koch. The upgraded L85A2 is recognized as reliable and accurate weapon.

   A fire mode selector is located well behind the magazine, on the left side of the receiver. It has settings for "semi-auto" and "full-auto". A separate safety button is located above the trigger. Though the L85A2 is not ambidextrous. Extraction is only to the right side. Charging handle of the original L85A1 had a tendency to reflect ejected cases back into the action, thus causing stoppages. On the L85A2 the charging handle, as well as the bolt and its extractor claw were redesigned in order to improve ejection and avoid stoppages.

   The L85A2 is fed from 30 round box-shaped magazines. These are the standard NATO STANAG magazines, similar to the US M16-type magazines. The original magazines of the L85A1 were not very robust and caused lots of troubles. Both the magazines and magazine well were upgraded on the L85A2 to avoid feeding problems. Now there are three types of magazines used with these weapons. One of them are polymer magazines with a clear round counting window, developed by Magpul. These were purchased as an urgent operational requirement for operations in Afghanistan. Also there are two other magazine types, both of steel construction.

   This assault rifle has a dovetailed rail for various scopes, red dot and night vision sights. This weapon comes as standard with a scope, which is mounted on a quick-detachable mount. It can use a SUSAT scope with 4x magnification, that came as standard with the original L85A1, though other sights are often used. This assault rifle has got iron sights, but these are used only in case of emergency. Effective range of the L85A2 is around 500 meters, using the scope. There is an alternative sighting system for these rifles, employed by the second-line troops. These rifles are fitted with detachable carrying handle, with a built-in iron sights.

   Also there are quad Picatinny-type accessory rails on the foregrip for various add-ons. It is often fitted with vertical grips, tactical flashlights, laser pointers, and other accessories.

   This assault rifle is compatible with German HK AG36 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher. It was adopted by the British Forces as the L123A2. It comes with a special foregrip. When the grenade launcher is installed it adds 1.5 kg to the weapon weight, but interestingly though, it improves overall balance of the weapon. This assault rifle is also capable of launching riffle grenades, but only it the underbarrel grenade launcher is not installed. A slotted flash suppressor also serves as a mounting base for the bayonet. Since 2007 some selected units received L85A2 assault rifles, fitted with a standard Picatinny-type scope rail and vortex-type flash hider, which can be used to shoot-through barbed wire.

 

Variants

 

   L86A2 light machine gun is and upgraded variant of the original L86A1. Upgrades were also performed by the Heckler & Koch company and are similar to that of the L85A2 assault rifle.

   L98A2 is a manually operated rifle with its gas system removed. It is an upgraded variant of the L98A1 rifle. It is fired as a repeater rifle. This weapon is used to train army cadets. It has got simple iron sights, integrated into a detachable carrying handle.

   L22A2 compact assault rifle. This weapon is smaller and has a shorter barrel. It is an upgraded version of the L22A1 fitted with a Picatinny-type rail on the foregrip. It was reportedly adopted in 2003-2004. It is issued to vehicle drivers, pilots, artillery and tank crews outside of their vehicle for emergency action.

   L85A3 assault rifle is a further upgrade of the L85A2. Its prototype was first publicly revealed in 2016. It is a proposed upgrade for existing L85A2 rifles. The main goal was to extend service life of this weapon until 2025 and beyond. This weapon has got a redesigned upper receiver with a full-length Picatinny type scope rail. Also it has got a new foregrip with accessory rails.

 
L85A2 vs L85A1

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