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On the SA80/L85

Every so often on firearms forums I see people talk about how great the L85/SA80 is, and how much of a shame it is that no one sells them in the United States.  They then proceed to claim that if someone were to offer a semi-auto version, they could make a fortune off all the guaranteed sales.


To put it bluntly, they are wrong.  When I was in the Corps, I got to cross train with the Royal Marines.  They got to try out our M16A2s, and we tried their SA80s.  We have the better rifle.  Most of the appeal of  of the SA80 is due to our not being able to buy one.  Other then that, it is crude, heavy, bulky.  The SA80 is around 11 pounds unloaded with SUSAT optic.  While it balances well when shouldered, that is still plenty of extra weight to carry.  This rifle isn’t all that good looking too, the design is rude and crude.  Mag changes are slow and awkward, more so then other bullpups.  If these were to be sold in the U.S., some people would buy them for fun or collection, but most would turn it down due to its weight, poor appearance and controls, and the higher cost of a less common rifle.

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