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Automatic Rifle

"Enfield" L85A1


The "Enfield" L85A1 Automatic Rifle

Caliber 5.56
Cartridge type 5.56 x 45 mm (.223 Rem)
Dimensions and weight 
Total weight (with loaded magazine and sight) ~ 5 000 g
Total weight (without magazine and sight) 3 800 g
Overall length   785 mm 
Barrel length 518 mm 
Fire characteristics
Bullet initial speed 940 m/s
Rate of fire 650 - 700 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity  30 rounds
Sighting range 600 m
   The "Enfield" L85A1 is the main Great Britain army automatic rifle.

   The first "bullpup" design rifles appeared in 1950-ties although only in 1974 British began to design their new "bullpup" design automatic rifle to replace out-dated L1A1 Rifles (British made FN FAL). Since 1980 the "Enfield" L85A1 is serially produced. 

   "Bullpup" design features decreased rifle's length comparing with other ordinary automatic rifles. Furthermore it became more comfortable to use not only in the battlefield, but in a limited space areas such as armored personnel carriers as well.The "Enfield" L85A1 Automatic Rifle

   It's automatic works on the gas returning principle. Rifle executes single and automatic fire. Safety lock is made as a button. It is located above the trigger guard. Reloading handle is positioned from the right side. This feature is considered as disadvantage, because rear modern "bullpup" design rifle has no ambidextrous use ability. Cartridge-case extraction opening is covered by plate when inactive to prevent dirt from getting in. Gas chamber has three adjustable positions for normal shooting, for shooting in impure conditions (widely opened) and firing rifle grenades (closed).

   The L85A1 is made from a stamped steel. There is also used welding assembling rifle. Some parts are made from extra tight nylon.

   Weapon is fed from the standard NATO (STANAG) 30 round magazines similar to the M16 Automatic Rifle.The "Enfield" L85A1 Automatic Rifle

   The "Enfield" L85A1 has a main "SUSAT" L9A1 optical sight (Sight Unit, Small Arms, Trilux). It is designed especially for 5.56 x 45 mm chambered firearms. This sight is produced since 1985 and recommended itself well during the operation "Desert Storm". It has 4x magnification and 10 degrees sighting angle. Sight is mounted on a quickly-detachable mount. It's dimensions are 145 x 60 x 60 mm and it has weight in 470 g. Furthermore the L85A1 is compatible with a night vision sights. Furthermore there is ability to use opened sight in extreme situation. Some rifles intended for second-line troops are completed with opened sights only built in the carrying handles.

   Automatic rifle is fitted with a multipurpose knife-bayonet. Unfortunately it has one disadvantage. Firing with attached knife-bayonet it heats and becomes troublesome in dismantling. 

   Later the "Enfield" Automatic Rifle was improved in 1997 after constant troops complaints on this rifle. The main problems were troublesome maintenance and low reliability. This improved variant was named L85A2. Improvement works were made during 2000 - 2002 when 200 000 of exThe "Enfield" L85A2 Automatic Rifle was used by British troops during Afghanistan campaign in 2002isting 320 000 L85A1 Automatic Rifles were improved. Unfortunately improved model features the same disadvantages. 

   There were designed later versions of the "Enfield" L85A1 Automatic Rifle:

   - The L85A1IW Assault Rifle

   - The L86A1 Light Machine Gun.

   These both variants have a great number of interchangeable parts and mechanisms with the base model.

   - The L98A1 is a manually operated rifle with a gas system removed and a larger cocking handle attached. It is used to train army cadets for basic rifle handling and shooting skills.

   The future of the "Enfield" L85 Automatic Rifle remains unclear. It is most probably, that by the year 2006 it will be replaced by the "Heckler & Koch" G36 Automatic Rifle.


   Compact dimensions. Ability to fire rifle grenades screwed on the muzzle break. Compatible with NATO standards. Weapon is completed with optical sight as standard.


   Low reliability and troublesome maintenance. Weapon requires usual cleaning. Heavy weight and bad balance makes rifle poorly controllable during automatic fire. Bayonet heats what complicates it's dismantling. Unreliable cartridge-case extraction. Uncomfortable magazine replacement.

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