Type Assuult Rifle
Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Feed system 30-round detachable STANAG magazine
The SA80 (Small Arms for the 1980s) is a British family of 5.56mm small arms. It is a selective fire, gas-operated assault rifle. SA80 prototypes were trialed in 1976 and production was completed in 1994.
The L85 rifle variant of the SA80 family has been the standard issue service rifle of the British Armed Forces since 1987, replacing the L1A1 variant of the FN FAL. The improved L85A2 remains in service today. The remainder of the family comprises the L86 Light Support Weapon, the short-barrelled L22 carbine and the L98 Cadet rifle.
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. Its bullpup configuration stems from a late-1940s programme at Royal Small Arms Factory Enfield to design a new service rifle known as the EM-2, which though similar in outline, was an entirely different weapon. The EM-2 was an advanced bullpup configuration rifle, which despite good performance and being officially adopted by the British Army in 1951, never entered service.