SA80 L85A1 5.56mm assault rifle

This item is HIRE ONLY for use by a recognised Film, TV, Commercials or Theatre production company.




 The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980’s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. SA80 prototypes were trialed in 1976 and entered service in October 1985 replacing the L1A1 FN FAL.

The SA80 was the last in a long line of British weapons (including the Lee Enfield family) to come from the national arms development and production facility at Enfield Lock.

The SA80 gained an initial poor reputation amongst British Soldiers and Royal Marines as being unreliable and fragile, a fact picked up by the UK media and members of the House of Lords. The writer and former soldier Andy McNab, said in his book ‘Bravo Two Zero’ that the British Army procured a “Rolls-Royce in the SA80, albeit a prototype Rolls-Royce”.

Immediately after the first Gulf war 1990 the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) commissioned the LANDSET Report into the effectiveness of the L85A1 which criticised the acceptance of the weapon into service and identified in excess of 50 faults. Some of the rifle’s problems were corrected as a result but complaints over reliability in service continued.

Heckler+Koch was contracted to upgrade the SA80 family of weapons in 2000. Two hundred thousand SA80s were re-manufactured producing the A2 variant. Changes focused primarily on improving reliability. The MOD said that L85A1 was “modified in light of operational experience… to become the most reliable weapons of their type in the world”.

Army trials indicated extremely good reliability over a range of climates for various operational scenarios. The improved L85A2 remains in service today.

Helpful Info

Regarding dates and period correctness, this item is appropriate for the British Forces from 1985 to the present day.

Foxtrot example shown here is an L85A1 assault rifle, chambered in 5.56mm, fitted with SUSAT (Sight Unit Small Arms, Trilux) 4 x magnification Tritrium light source sight. It has polymer olive drab furniture and metal parts are in black Suncorite finish.