Enfield L-85 Assault Rifle This weapon was initially conceived during the British Government’s Small Arms 80 competition to design a new weapon to replace the L-1A1 version of the FN FAL then used by the British Army. (The weapon is thus often called the SA-80.) It became one of the first bullpup-design weapons to be used by any army in large numbers. The L-85A1’s predecessors were initially designed to use a 6.25x43mm cartridge, then a 4.85x49mm round, but this was changed to the NATO standard 5.56x45mm round. Also known as the IW (Individual Weapon), the L-85A1 Assault rifle is made from mostly steel using modern machining and pressing processes, and was also one of the first weapons designed using a CAD program.
|Enfield L85 Carbine Assault Rifle|
The Enfield L-85 weapon can be issued with a conventional sight in a carrying handle; however, combat arms and special operations troops are normally issued the L-85A1 Assault rifle with a robust 4x sight known as the SUSAT (Small Unit Small Arms Trilux) L-9A1. This sight allows for better range and more precise sighting. The SUSAT’s base can also accommodate other NATO-standard optical equipment. The standard barrel length is 21.4 inches. The IW is simple to strip and clean and that is good, since it is very finicky about dirt failing in dirty environments with distressing regularity. In addition, the L-85A1 Assault rifle tends to just sort of fall apart, without provocation, and tends to jam even more if it is not fed with Royal Ordnance-made ammunition.
|L85A1 Assault Rifle|
The L-85A1Assault rifle uses standard US/NATO magazines; it can use the 100-round CMag and the 90-round MWG, though the MWG makes the weapon very clumsy. The L-85 Rifle includes a special gas bleed cutoff setting for the firing of rifle grenades. The bayonet designed for the L-85 Assault Rifle is unusual; the handle is hollow, and the handle fits around the barrel with the rifle firing down the axis of the bayonet when it is mounted. (In practice, this has resulted in the handle in some cases getting too hot to handle when a lot of shooting is done while the bayonet is mounted; a solution has yet to be found to this problem.)
As stated above, the SUSAT is not issued to all troops; rear-area troops, in particular, have L-85s with a carrying handle attached in place of the SUSAT. These versions are for the most part identical to standard L-85s, but subtract $200 from the price and 0.4 kg from the weight.
|L85A2 Assault Rifle|
The SUSAT is also used on the L-86 LSW, and modified forms are used on some L-1A1Assaulrt Rifle and L-7A1 (MAG) machineguns. The L-85A2 Assault Rifle addresses the faults of the L-85A1; the weapon does not fall apart spontaneocusly, like the L-85A1Rifle, and is said to have acquired a reputation for reliability, as well as being more tolerant of ammunition of other makes. I say “said to” because reviews are mixed on the L-85A2 Assault Rifle; some say that it is utterly reliable, while others claim it is just as much a dog, reliability-wise, as the L-85A1. Only time will tell. Apart from addressing these problems, it is basically the same weapon as the L-85A1 and is not given a line in the tables below.
|L1A1 Assault Rifle|
The L-85 Carbine Assault Rifle is a short-barreled version of the L-85 assault rifle, roughly equivalent in performance and purpose to the US M-4 Carbine. The L-85 Carbine Assault Rifle also has a foregrip to help control the greater barrel climb. It can still fire rifle grenades. This weapon is largely unknown; production stopped in 1994 when the problems with the standard L-85A1 rifle came to light, and production was not picked up again until 2001. At any rate, only very small numbers of the weapon were produced, primarily for British special operations troops, with two barrel lengths. Normal issue does not include the SUSAT, but the SUSAT can be fitted to the L-85 Carbine.