Small arms and support weapons
Whether they arrive by armoured vehicle or boat, British soldiers are trained to operate anywhere in the world and are supported by an armoury of powerful and versatile weaponry, from grenades to heavy machine guns - tools for the soldier's task of taking and holding ground.
SA80 individual weapon
SA80 is the designation for a revolutionary family of assault weapons. On its introduction, it proved so accurate that the Army marksmanship tests had to be redesigned.
SA80 A2 comprises the Individual Weapon (IW) and the Light Support Weapon (LSW).
These are the British Army's standard combat weapons. Made by Heckler and Koch, they fire NATO standard 5.56 x 45mm ammunition.
Both weapons have been modified in light of operational experience. A major mid-life update in 2002 resulted in the SA80A2 series - the most reliable weapons of their type in the world. This reliability is combined with accuracy, versatility and ergonomic design. It is considered a first-class weapon system and world leader in small arms.
4.98 kg (with loaded magazine and optical sight)
Heckler & Koch
Cyclic rate of fire
The SA80 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL) system consists of a Heckler & Koch AG-36 40mm grenade launcher and EO Tech holographic sight wedded to an ISTEC range drum. The UGL allows fire teams to deliver effective fragmenting munitions out to 350 metres. Advantages of the system are low recoil, ease of use, reduced ammunition weight and ability to have a chambered grenade at the ready whilst continuing to fire the SA80.
Cyclic rate of fire
5 - 7 rpm
The system is currently fielded with Practice and High Explosive ammunition natures. There are six UGLs per platoon resulting in greatly increased flexibility and weight of fire.
Longer term enhancements to the system may eventually include a fire control system, extended range ammunition and buckshot rounds for close-quarter battle.
The Glock 17 Gen 4 pistol is much lighter than its predecessor, Browning pistol, and more accurate. It also has an increased magazine capacity of 17 x 9mm rounds, compared to 13 rounds for the Browning.
L115A3 Long range 'sniper' rifle
British snipers fulfil a vital and enduring role on the battlefield, in terms of intelligence-gathering, target identification and eliminating high-value targets.
The L115A3 rifle, part of the Sniper System Improvement Programme (SSIP), is a large-calibre weapon which provides state-of-the-art telescopic day and night, all-weather sights, increasing a sniper's effective range considerably.
The first batch of SSIPs were deployed to Afghanistan in May 2008.
Designed to achieve a first-round hit at 600 metres and harassing fire out to 1,100 metres, Accuracy International's L96 sniper rifle has also been upgraded with a new x3-x12 x 50 sight and spotting scope.
Manufactured by Accuracy International, the L115A3 long range rifle fires an 8.59mm bullet which is heavier than the 7.62mm round of the L96 and less likely to be deflected over extremely long ranges.
Other elements of the Sniper System Improvement Programme include night sights, spotting scopes, laser range finders and tripods.
Soldiers from the 1st Battalion Princess Of Wales’s Royal Regiment have recently completed a preparatory training package on Sennelager training area ahead of a Sniper Operators Course.
L129A1 sharpshooter rifle
The sharpshooter rifle has improved the long-range firepower available on the front line. The rifle fires a 7.62mm round and has enhanced accuracy of engagement during longer-range firefights. This weapon is used by some of the best shots in the infantry.
More than 400 semi-automatic sharpshooter rifles were purchased for British troops as a £1.5m Urgent Operational Requirement.
The sharpshooter complements the already potent range of weapons used by our forces.
20 rounds detachable box magazine
The L16A2 81mm mortar is a Battlegroup level indirect fire weapon which is capable of providing accurate high explosive, smoke and illuminating rounds out to a maximum range of 5650m.
The mortar platoon, in mechanised and armoured infantry battalions, are mounted in and fire from armoured personnel carriers, increasing mobility and enabling rapid disengagement and movement to new fire positions.
4.2 kg HE L3682
The Combat Shotgun is a semi-automatic, tubular magazine-fed weapon cambered for the 12 gauge cartridge.
The operating system is the ARGO (Auto-Regulating Gas Operated) Twin (two gas pistons) System with a rotating bolt head and dual locking lugs. It is fitted with an EOT tech sight for use day or night and a fixed iron sight. It has a telescopic buttstock. It can be fired from the conventional fire positions, except the squatting position.
1010mm (extended buttstock) / 886mm (closed buttstock)
Solid shot: 130m / buckshot: 40m
12 gauge (18.4mm)
General purpose machine gun
The L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) is a 7.62 x 51mm belt-fed general purpose machine gun which can be used as a light weapon and in a sustained fire (SF) role.
In the SF role, mounted on a tripod and fitted with the C2 optical sight, it is fired by a two-man team who are grouped in a specialist Machine Gun Platoon to provide battalion-level fire support. In SF mode, the GPMG, with a two-man crew, lays down 750 rounds-per-minute at ranges up to 1800 metres.
The GPMG can be carried by foot soldiers and employed as a light machine gun (LMG), although it has largely been replaced by the lighter 5.56 x 45mm Minimi in this role, in most regiments. A fold-out bipod is used to support the GPMG in the LMG role.
Versions of the GPMG are mounted on most Army vehicles and some helicopters.
13.85 kg (gun plus 50-round belt)
1230mm (light role)
100-round disintegrating link belt
800m light role, 1800m SF role
Cyclic rate of fire
750 rounds per minute
Manroy Engineering (UK)
Members of 6 Rifles demonstrate the L7A2 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG). An essential addition to any infantry battalion.
In service since the 1960s the GPMG is frequently utilised in the Support Fire role, mounted on a tripod. It is also mounted on most Army vehicles and some helicopters.
Grenade machine gun
The Heckler & Koch 40mm Grenade Machine Gun (GMG) provides unrivalled infantry suppression combining the best characteristics of the heavy machine guns or light mortars usually employed in this role.
Conventional rifle ammunition provides no fragmentation effect and is largely not effective enough against advancing armoured infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks. On the other hand, mortars have the disadvantage of a relatively low rate of fire.
The GMG combines the advantages of both of these two types of weapons delivering high flexibility and firepower combined with the fragmentation effect of mortar ammunition.
The GMG is usually mounted on WMIK (weapons mount installation kit) Land Rovers but can also be used from ground-based tripods.
540 x 53mm cartridge
32 round disintegrated belt
Heckler & Koch
Heavy machine gun
The powerful L1A1 12.7mm (.50) Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) is an updated version of the Browning M2 Fifty-cal - recognised as one of the finest heavy machine guns ever developed.
The HMG provides integral close-range support from a ground-mount tripod or fitted to a Land Rover using the Weapon Mount Installation Kit (WMIK) and a variety of sighting systems. The performance of the HMG has recently been enhanced with a new 'soft mount', to limit recoil and improve accuracy, and a quick-change barrel.
The HMG provides the commander with added capability at greater ranges (1500-2000m) when support from armoured vehicles is not available.
50-round disintegrated belt
Cyclic rate of fire
485 - 635 rounds per minute
Manroy Engineering (UK)
Guided weapons features: the Javelin anti-tank weapon, which is primarily designed to destroy tanks and light-armoured vehicles, and the Next-generation light anti-tank weapon (NLAW) a short-range, easy to use missile that strikes tanks from above.
Javelin, the medium range anti-tank guided weapon replacement for Milan, is an enhanced version of the American weapon proven on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan by US forces.
Although designed primarily to destroy tanks and light armoured vehicles, Javelin will also provide a potent, all-weather, day or night capability against fixed defences, such as bunkers and buildings.
The integrated sight allows the operator to acquire the target, lock-on, fire and 'forget'. This means that as soon as the missile is launched, the firer can acquire another target or move position. Javelin has a maximum range of 2500m, and overfly and direct attack modes of operation.
Javelin is a crew-served weapon operated by a firer and a controller/observer. The controller/observer commands the weapon and assists with loading, identifying targets and battlefield damage assessment.
Javelin Joint Venture
The Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) is the first, non-expert, short-range, anti-tank missile that rapidly knocks out any main battle tank in just one shot by striking it from above.
NLAW utilises predicted line of sight guidance and has overfly top and direct attack modes, and it is easy to use, making it a valuable tank destroyer for light forces that operate dismounted in all environments, including built up areas.
It also has night vision capability and is designed for all climate conditions and environments.
Optical sight 2.5x magnification
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment fire the Next-generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW), the all-weather tank-busting missile.
Designed to be fired by non-experts, it complements the heavier Javelin missile carried by specialist anti-tank platoons, and is a significant addition to the infantry's firepower against tanks, armoured vehicles and bunkers.