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Brits to Field New ‘Sharpshooter’ Rifle

According to Janes Defence Weekly, the British Army is adopting a new a semi-automatic 7.62 mm x 51 mm ‘sharpshooter’ rifle offered by Law Enforcement International (LEI) and manufactured in the US by Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT). The Stoner-style L129A1 features LMT’s Monolithic Rail Platform (MRP) technology with a one piece upper receiver and Mil-Std 1913 railed fore end. The L129A1 fires from a 20 round magazine. Additionally, it incorporates a retractable stock and 16” black stainless barrel. One of the key features of the MRP is the ability to rapidly change out barrels rather than the entire upper receiver. For some reason, many punters on various internet forums have misconstrued this feature to imply that the barrels would have to be changed in the field every 100 rounds. This information is incorrect.

L129A1

The design was selected over the H&K 417 and FN’s SCAR, both currently in service with Special Operations Forces as well as a weapon proposed by Sabre Defence. The $2.5 Million deal will supply 440 of the new weapons starting early this year in order to satisfy an Urgent Operational Requirement for troops fighting in Afghanistan. Currently, the only organic weapon for UK forces capable of reliable engagement beyond 500 meters is the L7A1 7.62 mm General-Purpose Machine Gun.

The L129A1 will replace the aging bolt action Accuracy International L96 in the Sharpshooter role. In the British Army certain troops are provided with specialist training and designated as Sharpshooters. They do not fulfill the role of Snipers but rather provide enhanced lethality and accuracy to the small unit leader.

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