5.56 x 45 mm
~ 6.6 kg
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
~ 775 rpm
Practical rate of fire
80 - 100 rpm
Range of effective fire
600 - 1 000 m
The L86 is a
British light machine gun. It is officially referred as Light
Support Weapon (LSW). It was designed to provides support at a
has been developed by Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield.
Development began in the late 1960s. The project was known as the
SA80 (or Small Arms for 1980s). This project included development of
two weapons - automatic infantry rifle (which later became the
and light machine gun (L86A1). First prototypes were trialed in
1976. These new weapons were adopted by the British Army in
1984-1985. Production of the L86A1 stopped in 1994. Some sources
suggest that 30 000 of these light machine guns were produced for
the British armed forces. It became the standard service light
machine gun. This weapon has been exported to Jamaica, and possibly
has longer barrel and greater effective range than the L85A1 assault
rifle. It is also fitted with a bipod an rear grip. Otherwise these
weapons are identical and use the same ammunition. A number of parts
has a bullpup layout. It was an uncommon feature at the time of its
introduction. Main advantage of such layout is the overall
compactness of the weapon.
design of this weapon it is generally similar to the US
Armalite AR-18 assault rifle. his light machine gun is chambered for
the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. There is a fire mode
selector for "semi-auto" and "full-auto" modes.
A separate safety button is located above the trigger. It is worth
mentioning that the L85A1 is not ambidextrous.
The L86A1 is
a magazine-fed weapon. It uses the same 30-round magazines as the
L85A1 assault rifle.
These are the standard NATO STANAG magazines, similar to the US
M16 type magazines.
The standard sighting equipment of the L86A1 is the SUSAT scope with
4x magnification. In the British service this scope is referred as
Lightweight Day Sight. Other day scopes can be also fitted.
The scope is mounted on a quick-detachable mount. Also there are
iron sights for emergency firing. Effective range of the L86A1 is
around 600 meters, using the scope. Maximum range of effective fire
is 1 000 m.
A passive night vision scope can be used in place of the SUSAT.
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 diopter rear sight.
machine gun has a bipod. There is also an additional vertical grip
at the rear. It is used to improve stability of the weapon during
machine gun is capable of launching riffle grenades.
L86A1 light machine gun was plagued with many problems. It was quite
unreliable and troublesome to maintain. An upgrade program was
launched to eliminate shortcomings of this weapon.
upgraded version, developed by the German Heckler & Koch company.
Upgrade program was completed between 2000 and 2002. A number of
light machine guns were upgraded to the L86A2 standard and many
shortcoming were fixed. The L86A2 light machine gun has similar
upgrades as the L85A2 assault rifle. The upgraded L86A2 is
recognized as reliable and accurate weapon.