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L98A1 Cadet Rifle

L98A1 Cadet Rifle

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L98A1 Cadet Rifle

The L98A1 Cadet Rifle is part of the SA 80 family of small arms

The Enfield 5.56mm General Purpose (GP) Cadet Rifles - L98A1 & L98A2

Other photography is by kind permission of the M.O.D. U.K. Defence Academy, taken at their Small ArmsCollection at Shrivenham.
These images too are jointly copyrighted between the M.O.D. and

The L98A1 Rifle is a full-calibre (.223" or 5.56mm), non self-loading modified version of the "Individual Weapon" L85A1 - SA80 Service rifle for Cadet and training use. The action can only be cycled manually by use of the cocking lever. Each round is loaded from the magazine in this way and there is no option for either semi-automatic or fully-automatic selective fire as is available on the L85A1. Additionally, the rifle can itself be fitted with a .22RF (rim-fire) small-bore conversion unit to permit equivalent magazine-fed, but single action, use on indoor or small-bore ranges. This training arm has been in regular use by the British Military since the late 1980s, although a replacement model commenced issue from 2009, (that is covered further down this page), the intention for which was to provide the cadet force with a semi-automatic version of the L98A1 this rifle still excluded any option for true selective, fully-automatic fire.

In the early 1980s, long before the first L98A1 was issued, or even the new L85A1 service rifle, the Royal Small Arms Factory was working on a design for a rifle to replace the Fabrique Nationale designed Self-Loading Rifle (FN-SLR), or L1A1.

Procurement rules meant that a number of different rifles had to be selected for trials, and the final decision on the new service rifle would be made only when those trials had been completed. Suitability for service depended on a plethora of both performance and cost aspects.

There were six rifles from different manufacturers chosen for trialling these were prototype 5.56mm "Cadet" weapons from, respectively, the Birmingham Small Arms Company Parker-Hale Ltd. Heckler & Cock Inter-arms a Ruger Mini 14 rifle submitted via the UK agents, Holland & Holland and finally the submission from the Royal Small Arms Factory.

Below, is a sibling of the cadet trials rifles, presently held in the Shrivenham Defence Acadamy Collection.

This rifle carries serial number "CW 003" on the upper part of the body's right-hand side, and below that,

on the lower body rail, above the magazine, is engraved "RIFLE 5.56 MM EWS CADET CW003".

An identical rifle, serial number CW 004, was used in the trials for the "Ease of Maintenance" assessment,

and serial number CW 002 was used for the "Maintenance Appraisal Report".

It will be noticed that the magazine-well fitment on this prototype training weapon is a separate fabricated section welded to the rifle body.

This should be compared with the later Pattern rifle further down this page, which is configured as the final issue rifles,

with an integral magazine-well rivetted into the body and protruding underneath, into which the magazine is fitted.

Below, is a side elevation of the 'Pattern Room' rifle with the breech block in the forward (closed) position.

This example is the original Government Pattern arm. From 1998 all in-service rifles were retro-fitted with modified cocking handles.

Whilst, below, it is shown with the rocking cocking lever pulled back, ejection port open and the breech-block to the rear.

As standard issue, the Cadet GP ( General Purpose ) rifle is fitted with iron sights,

but it can also be fitted with the 4 power SUSAT optical sight (Sight Unit, Small Arms, Trilux)

more usually seen on the full service arm - the L85A1 - SA80, for which the L98A1 was the training version.

And below, the rifle's left-hand-side.

Next, the rifle's bolt can be seen in the bolt-way through the ejection port, with the spring-loaded port cover folded down.

The bolt's multiple front locating-lugs are clearly evident, along with the firing-pin aperture.

Here can be seen the entrance to the chamber, with the recesses for the bolt's locating lugs.

Being one of the prototype rifles originally passed to the Pattern Room, it carries the serial number for rifle number 4 i.e., "UE86-A000004".

A major factor in the eventual selection of the RSAF rifle, as the trials winner, was the point observed, in one of the maintenance reports,

that the BSA and Parker-Hale rifles would each require special training of unit armourers,

whereas the RSAF rifle was anyway to be well covered by the training already necessarily associated with the introduction of the SA80 L85A1 as the new service rifle.

Indeed, many parts would be shared by both the service weapon and the cadet rifle,

making a significant saving in spares and maintenance requirements.

A photograph from the report illustrated the disassembled rifle.

We are able, by virtue of being granted access to the archives of the Royal Armouries, to show the

COPYRIGHTED "Ease of Maintenance Report " resulting from the 1985 trials of the final three proposals of the original six submitted rifles.

The remaining two rifles, other than the RSAF Enfield Cadet Rifle, were the BSA and Parker-Hale Prototype Cadet rifles.

The sizeable report is in the form of a flip-page PDF that may take a few moments to load.

Also manufactured was an equivalent version of the L86A1 LSW ( Light Support Weapon ). The standard LSW is fitted with a longer barrel and a bi-pod.

The non semi-automatic version was only sold on the commercial market and not adopted by the British Government for Service use.

Below, loosely describable as a training rifle, in parade ground terms at least, the DP (Drill Purpose) deactivated rifle,

the latter day equivalent to the L59A1 and A2 DP Rifles of the 1970s.

The official nomenclature for this rifle is the ' L103A1 '

Below, the rifle's left-hand-side.

Ironically, such DP rifles as illustrated above, and some skeletonised rifles as in the following section,

have usually been "deactivated" only to a militarily acceptable standard.

Some armourers' demonstration skeleton weapons have been specially manufactured as such,

and these may be acceptable as civilian specification deactivated items

those converted from live weapons are unlikely to be so.

Any firearms of the latter type acquired by civilian collectors are required to be held

under their firearms certificates, and it is not possible for them to be freely held by the general public.

Public sale is only legal for deactivated arms that have been passed through the London or Birmingham proof houses,

and issued with a certificate that confirms their deactivation to meet the currently required specification.

Whilst skeletonised weapons have usually been so heavily cut away it is highly unlikely to prove possible to resurrect them,

this is not true of some drill purpose arms, which can sometimes be returned to a live condition

by the replacement of parts, and minor modifications acheivable by capable engineers having little compunction.

L103A1 rifles held in Cadet Unit stores that were not required to meet

the levels of security necessary to hold live firearms, have proved problematic.

One such store was broken into in May 2018, and several DP SA80 rifles stolen.

These were recovered by police, but the outcome has been the withdrawal from unsuitable storage of large numbers

of the total stock of approaching ten thousand of these arms either for storage in alternative secure facilities

or consideration of their specification, or perhaps both.

A comparatively accurately reported article on the subject appeared in the Daily Telegraph of 27th. March 2019.

The above facts relating to deactivated weaponry, and the 'news' that

military "so-called Drill Purpose rifles" do not meet civilian Home Office deactivation specifications is nothing new,

these have been common knowledge with the relevant Police and Home Office sections, the M.O.D., and civilian dealers for many years.

For the training of armourers, and for armourers and instructors to train recruits in the operation of the rifle, a skeletonised model was produced.

On the right-hand side of the magazine-well, in a 4cm long x 0.8 wide recessed flat, with rounded ends, the word "SKELETON" is engraved.

The pressed stiffening rails of both the upper and lower body sections

are each engraved with "5.56 MM SKELETONISED RIFLE".

So there is no mistaking this arm for an operating weapon, even ignoring the many red-painted cut-away apertures!

Below, an image of the SA80 skeletonised rifle with its associated equipment,

including the ammunition loading clip, the bayonet, a monopod, and both the steel and plastic magazine types.

In 2009, decommissioning commenced of the L98A1 rifles and, over quite a long period,

these were slowly replaced with the updated L98A2 model.

The new rifle varies little from the original, with the major difference being the upgrading of the action to semi-automatic, or self-loading.

Thus the firer no longer needs to cycle the cocking-handle for the next shot.

However, the selective, fully-automatic fire option of the L85A2 service rifle is not available, the relevant gas system and fully-auto selector lever not being fitted.

The L98A2 is still issued with only iron sights, and the tritium element in the fore-sight of the L85A2 is deleted.

The SuSat optical sight has not normally been issued for cadet training with either of the L98A1 and L98A2 rifles.

L41A1 (Heckler & Koch) .22RF conversion kit for the L85A1/2 (SA80) Individual Weapon


As of May 2021, it has been reported in Jane's Defence Review that Heckler & Koch are converting obsolete SA80 rifles into .22LR training rifles using the SA80 A1 receivers. The L41A1 adapter units are being withdrawn, along with the 5.56mm L98A1 rifles.

It is understood that the configuration of the newly converted .22 rimfire rifles will be more or less as the L85A2 service weapon, and that it will effectively operate with action components similar to those previously designed for the L41A1 adapter system.

The rifle will be self-loading, and utilise the same magazine as shown in the adapter unit details above.

The nomenclature for the new rifle has yet to be announced.

Further details can be obtained by subscribing to Jane's Defence Review

to which clicking the link above will take you.

In the public domain are the documents for the award of the contract

for the modification of SA80 Light Support Weapons.

This is shown as being over a period of three years, with deliveries between September 2020

and the same date in 2023, at a cost of £425,000.

The notice is in the form of a text-searchable flip-page document that may take a few moments to load.

Double tap or click for full page display.

The remaining training versions of the SA80 to be covered here are those used for practice on indoor electronic ranges,

and for outdoor live laser exercise.

The former is the Ferranti designed and supplied

Here illustrated in a brochure.

A rifle used for this system is illustrated below, and was evidently used on 'Lane 5' of the range set-up.

Basically the rifle externally looks exactly like an L85A1 except that there is a laser pen bolted to the front of the gas block, which has a dummy plug.

There is also a large hole in the RHS handguard to allow an airline to be attached to power the pneumatic functioning. There are also slots on the body where the welds for the barrel extension have been milled away, and extra small screws have been added to secure the new internal parts.

The barrel is solid and connected to a gas cylinder assembly for the pneumatic functioning.

The safety catch and trigger operate, but the mechanism inside is quite different and has various electronic contacts, as does the change lever.

A normal magazine can be fitted but rounds cannot be fed or extracted as the pneumatic parts are in the way.

The 'bolt' and ejection cover operate, but the former is just a dummy that looks right on the outside only.

The labelling on the stock clearly gives the rifle type "SA80", what is presumably the Ferranti drawing number,

and the rifle's serial number, along with Ferranti's Stockport address in the Midlands.

A brief description of the system was afforded in the company's brochure.

The text of the brochure is copied here for clarity.

"FerrantiSMART Small Arms Trainer

The Ferranti SMART Small Arms Trainer has been described as the most advanced rifle trainer in the world and consists of up to 10 trainee positions each comprising a modified in-service rifle, a high-resolution monitor, ear defenders and a centralised instructor console. The instructor's station contains a data monitor, an exercise monitor, a keyboard, a microphone, a graphics generator and the system computer.
The weapons used with SMART are adapted service rifles fitted with a light pen, handling sensors and a recoil simulator (using compressed air). Trainees may fire from the prone. kneeling or standing. The trainees' targetry is generated by
computer graphics and displayed on a high (es-ofuni:3n monitor approximately 700rnm from the muzzle of the rille The target types involved include point of aim. zeroing, static snap and moving. Firing exercises encompass holding, aiming and firing. point of airn, grouping, zeroing. gallery range, elec­tric target range. moving target range. close quarter combat range. application of fire, annual weapon test practice and competition shooting practice The point of aim target allows both the instructor and the student to track the latter's point of aim before. during and after firing and acts as an excellent diagnostic facility. All trainee actions and per­formances are monitored by the instructor from the central console from which he initiates and controls all range practices. The instructor has access to records of points of impact, mean point of impact, grouping circles, hit/miss analysis and scores for each trainee.

Below, the disassembled rifle components, excepting the composite stock parts.

The two hoses for the compressed air supply and the multi-pin plug connector for the display etc., have of course been disconnected.
The internals are totally different from those of the live weapon, the only common ones appearing to be the trigger, magazine catch, and safety catch. The barrel is solid and there are none of the original 'pressure bearing' parts. The top cover houses a new barrel extension without any locking recesses and the guide for the cam pin has been removed. All in all it is quite a complex system which would have been expensive to produce.

With thanks to N.T. for providing this SMART information.

Further detail will appear on this page in due course.

In the meantime, view the earlier equivalent L12A1 conversion kit for the FN SLR

the No.4 Rifle and the FN-SLR Rifle and the EM2 Bulldog precursor to the current SA-80 Rifle,



The system's history dates back to the late 1940s, when an ambitious programme to develop a new cartridge and new class of rifle was launched in the United Kingdom based on combat experience drawn from World War II. Two 7mm prototypes were built in a bullpup configuration, designated the EM-1 and EM-2. When NATO adopted the 7.62x51mm rifle cartridge as the standard calibre for its service rifles, further development of these rifles was discontinued (the British Army chose to adopt the 7.62mm L1A1 SLR semi-automatic rifle, which is a licence-built version of the Belgian FN FAL).

In 1969, the Enfield factory began work on a brand new family of weapons, chambered in a newly designed British 4.85x49mm intermediate cartridge. While the experimental weapon family was very different from the EM-2 in internal design and construction methods, its bullpup configuration with an optical sight was a clear influence on the design of what was to become the SA80. The system was to be composed of two weapons: an individual rifle, the XL64E5 rifle and a light support weapon known as the XL65E4 light machine gun.

The sheet metal construction, and the design of the bolt, bolt carrier, guide rods, gas system and the weapon's disassembly showed strong similarities to the Armalite AR-18 which was manufactured under licence from 1975 to 1983 by the Sterling Armaments Company of Dagenham, Essex, [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] and which had been tested by the UK MoD in 1966 and 1969 [ 5 ] . During the development of the SA-80 a bullpup conversion was made of an AR-18 and a Stoner 63 at Enfield. [ 6 ] [ 7 ]

Technically in the mid-1970s the 4.85x49mm round was seen as superior to the then existing version of 5.56mm M193 round in use by the US (for the M16/M16A1) and by other forces. (This was the expressed view of trials team members whilst demonstrating the XL64E5 prototype at the British Army School of Infantry at Warminster.) It should be noted that development of small-arms munitions have a long and continuous life and it was estimated by the trials specialists from Enfield that this weapon would ultimately be superior in the 4.85mm configuration. For the 4.85mm round, both propellant and projectile were at the beginning of their respective development curves. Also, weight for weight, more rounds of ammunition could be carried by an individual soldier - a considerable advantage on the battlefield. It was regarded as probable at the time that the argument for the 5.56mm standard within NATO had more to do with the economics involved. Over the lifetime of a small-arms weapon type far more money is spent on the munitions than the weapons themselves. If the 5.56mm supporters had lost the argument in favour of a British 4.85mm round, the economic impact would have been very large and political pressure undoubtedly played a part in the final decision.

In 1976, the prototypes were ready to undergo trials. However, after NATO's decision to standardise ammunition among its members, Enfield engineers re-chambered the rifles to the American 5.56x45mm M193 cartridge. The newly redesigned 5.56mm version of the XL64E5 became known as the XL70E3. The left-handed XL68 was also re-chambered in 5.56x45mm as the XL78. The 5.56mm light support weapon variant, the XL73E3, developed from the XL65E4, was noted for the full length receiver extension with the bipod under the muzzle now indicative of the type. [ 8 ]

Further development out of the initial so-called "Phase A" [ 8 ] pre-production series led to the XL85 and XL86. While the XL85E1 and XL86E1 were ultimately adopted as the L85 and L86 respectively, a number of additional test models were produced. The XL85E2 and XL86E2 were designed to an alternate build standard with 12 components different from E1 variants, including parts of the gas system, bolt, and magazine catch. Three series of variants were created for "Environmental User Trials". XL85E3 and XL86E3 variants were developed with 24 modified parts, most notably a plastic safety plunger. The E4's had 21 modified parts, no modification to the pistol grip, and an aluminium safety plunger, unlike the E3 variants. Lastly, the E5 variants had 9 modified parts in addition to those from the E3/E4 variants. [ 8 ]


After receiving feedback from users and incorporating the several design changes requested, including adapting the rifle for use with the heavier Belgian SS109 version of the 5.56x45mm round and improving reliability, the weapon system was accepted into service with the British Army in 1985 as the SA80. The SA80 family originally consisted of the L85A1 IW (Individual Weapon) and the L86A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon). The first rifle was issued on 2 October 1985 to Sergeant Gary Gavin, a 26-year-old in the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters. [ 9 ]

The SA80 family was designed and produced (until 1988) by the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock. In 1988 production of the rifle was transferred to the Royal Ordnance's Nottingham Small Arms Facility (later British Aerospace, Royal Ordnance now BAE Systems Land Systems Munitions).

In 1994 production was officially completed. More than 350,000 L85A1 rifles and L86A1 light machine guns had been manufactured for the United Kingdom. They are also in use with the Jamaica Defence Force. [ 10 ]


After receiving feedback from users and incorporating the several design changes requested, including adapting the rifle for use with the heavier Belgian SS109 version of the 5.56×45mm round and improving reliability, the weapon system was accepted into service with the British Army in 1985 as the SA80. The SA80 family originally consisted of the L85A1 IW (Individual Weapon) and the L86A1 LSW (Light Support Weapon). The first rifle was issued on 2 October 1985 to Sergeant Gary Gavin, a 26-year-old in the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters.

The SA80 family was designed and produced (until 1988) by the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield Lock. In 1988, production of the rifle was transferred to the Royal Ordnance‘s Nottingham Small Arms Facility (later British Aerospace, Royal Ordnance now BAE Systems Land & Armaments).

In 1994, production was officially completed. More than 350,000 L85A1 rifles and L86A1 light machine guns had been manufactured for the United Kingdom. They are also in use with the Jamaica Defence Force and the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

Chambered in .22 LR, this bolt action target rifle from Savage Arms will replace the L98A2 which is a rim fire variant of the SA80 for Army cadets. The bolt has been removed on the rifle in the photo. It will take the name of No. 9.

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 6th, 2016 at 11:00 and is filed under International, IWA, weapons. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

17 Responses to “IWA – New British Army Cadet Rifle from Savage Arms”

Erm…The L98A2 Cadet GP Rifle, to give it is full Sunday name, is a variation in the SA80 system that is 5.56mm like the L85A2 but unlike it it doesn’t have the automatic option.

This is replacing the No8 .22 cadet rifle which is what the army cadets use as a stage between air rifles and the L98A2…

BTW, by Army Cadets I’m referring to members of a military sponsored youth organisation, the Army Cadet Force although members of the CCF, Combined Cadet Force will also be getting the No.9.

ACF age range is 12-18years of age.

It’s a bit cheeky of Savage Arms to call it the new training rifle of the U.K., should be British, Army when it’s for cadet forces

I was going to say! The L98A2 is certainly not rimfire. Funny that they would call this Rifle, No.9:we don’t use that nomenclature any more, & there is already a Rifle, No.9 (two in fact).

You know the cadet world, because it makes no sense it makes sense, I’m sure I read a back brief that said something alongside the line of as it will no doubt be referred to as the No.9 that’s what we’ll call it….

And their Parker-Hale antecedents and derivatives

The L81A1 rifle stemmed from Parker-Hale's 1200 TX target rifle, built on a Mauser 98 action.

However, the L81A1, also known as the Parker-Hale Model 83, was not introduced until 1983.

Advertised in Alfred. J. Parker's 1970 catalogue, the first mark of 1200TX is shown below.

In common with the L81A1 rifle, the 1200TX had an integral five-round magazine.

The configuration was similar to that employed originally on the Pattern '14 or Enfield Rifle No.3.

Sadly, whilst the 1200TX enjoyed a good reputation in the civilian target shooting world, after its introduction in 1983 the L81A1 proved to have serious faults.

For reasons never fully publicly explained, ten years on the actions used proved weak, with fracturing taking place on top of this, the barrels had shown a propensity for bulging.

The rifle was necessarily withdrawn, and a replacement took some time to make its way to the Cadet Units who lost their L81A1s.

The L81A2 did not appear until 1999, and, in the meantime, units used the L98A1 GP Cadet Rifle, that had been introduced in 1987,

and was the straight-pull version of the services Individual Weapon, the L85A1, more widely known as the SA80, that was taken into service in 1985.

The problematic L85A1 was superceded by the L85A2 in 2001, after modifications to the design had been made by Heckler & Koch.

Back in 1970, the 1200TX rifle naturally appeared in Parker-Hale's own catalogue.

In their 1973 catalogue they also included a useful parts list and 'exploded' drawing of the three series of rifle including that of the 1200 model.

Also, in 1970, came the Parker-Hale T4 target rifle. A model built on the Lee-Enfield No.4 rifle action in its 7.62mm NATo calibre form.

The barrel markings are shown below.


The Lee-Enfield No.4 rifle heritage of the T4 is thorougly evident in the following four images.

The Monte-Carlo stocking gives an almost sporting rifle appearance.

The squared-off 7.62mm cartridge magazine is clearly shown above.

These magazines have become quite rare, and originals are much sought-after,

commanding prices that are a significant proportion of the current value of a complete rifle.

Fitted with an accessory rail, to which a hand-stop and sling-swivel can be added,

affords the rifle a workable target rifle configuration.

It was not unusual for these rifle to be fitted with the robust and accurate A.G./ A.J. Parker or Parker-Hale target sights,

such as the Model No.5 and Twin Zero 4/47 target sights the latter on this example.

Their famous Matchmaker tunnel fore-sight was a common fitment at the muzzle end.

The T4 was still available in the 1973 catalogue.

A more elaborate, and commercialy directed, 1970 alternative to the T4 was Parker-Hale's "Excel" rifle.

This model had a specially bedded selected barrel, and was fitted with the Twin Zero 4/47 rear-sight as standard.

As was the Parker-Hale "Sniper" rifle, the M84, a follow-on model from the M82

which latter model had formed the basis for the L81A2 rifle that superceded the failed L81A1.

An anonymous critique of the L81A2 rifle has recently appeared online.

Whilst we do not usually quote such pieces, and the gist of this one is clear,

it does provide a colourful and sarcastic history of the rifles which is perhaps not entirely irrelevant.

The L81A2 was actually a modified and shortened version of the Parker-Hale M82 rifle.

" A long, long time ago, the MoD decided to adopt a target rifle for cadet use, to replace the No.4 and SMLE for competition shooting in the Cadet forces.

This in itself is not terrible, but was pandering rather to the Bisley school of thought.

They adopted, in around 1981[sic], an up-rated Mauser. At the time, this was also not too terrible, although a little out-dated the action being almost identical to Mauser's 1898 pattern.

This rifle was supplied by Parker-Hale, and it was called the L81A1. This in itself, at the time, was also not too terrible.

And then, in 1994 (IIRC), some problems appeared - some faulty metallurgy led to a receiver cracking. This is a bad thing - a very very bad thing. And a totally unavoidable thing, and not a problem reported in the original 1898 Mauser.

So they were all withdrawn, and Cadet target shooting continued with the L98A1 Cadet GP rifle.

The Bisley school of thought did not like this, all sights other than ring-sights being an abomination before Century range, and anything other than 7.62mm being unthinkable.

At about this time, it appeared that our friends Parker-Hale were going to the dogs (where have we heard this before?)

So, some bright spark at the MoD decided that Parker-Hale would "re-engineer" the rifles to be "safer".

After about 6 years (IIRC), the new, all-singing all-dancing L81A2 appeared. It contained the following, excellent features:

* The barrel was too short (26") for serious long-range shooting

* Since Cadets are alledgedly small, the stock is too short for many of them approaching full-size. The butt could be lengthened with spacers, but not necessarily enough for many of the aforementioned large cadets.

* The rifle was poorly parkerised, and rusted at the slightest hint of moisture

* The bedding was made from some dodgy compound, which also rusts at the slightest hint of water

* The receiver walls were many times thicker than required

* The sights were badly designed and had to be precisely torqued - this torquing is lost under repeated recoil and can lead to a need for re-zeroing. The windage scale cannot be read from the prone position.

* The bolts were re-cycled from the old L81s and are thus of an out-of-date design, leading to a lock-time which is significantly longer than other modern designs

* Since 10% of people are left-handed, the stock was ambidexterous, thereby making it equally bad for both.

* The cheek comb was too low for the job

* The rifle could only be taken out its bedding for drying (necessary after a wet shoot) by Parker-Hale (now ABRO, since PH folded), and not at the units (not even by the armourers or adult staff - this is an exceptionally easy thing to do - I taught 16 year olds to do it)

* Cost around £1800 (so I have been told) per unit once one more recall (alledgedly to sort out the sights - but nothing had changed & they were still just as crap) had been factored in

A civilian version called the "elite" with a more sensible length barrel, better, non-ambidexterous stock, but still with the same action and sights was marketted by PH at around £1000 - I do not know of anybody who has bought one, especially as you could buy a 2nd hand Swing or Musgrave which will shoot far better for far less money.

After having spent so much money, they could have had, off the shelf, Musgraves, or possibly even RPAs (this is what the Royal Canadian Army Cadets recently bought) for that kind of money, and they would have worked 1st time with no issues and would have been exactly the same rifles as the International level shooters use. "

In the United Kingdom an example of a drill purpose rifle was the L59A1 Drill Rifle, which was used mainly by the Army Cadet Force. The rifles are clearly labelled with a white band around the stock and the butt of the rifle with the letters DP written in bold black script. In addition, it may be stamped 'DP' above the serial number on the receiver. The rifle was used as a teaching aide. A drill purpose version of the L98A1 Cadet GP Rifle is available, the L103 Cadet Drill Purpose rifle.

In America, exhibition rifle drill has become more popular, due to teams such as the United States Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and New Guard America. Ώ] The Most popular weapons used in America are the M1903A3 Springfield, M1 Garand, and the M14.

Currently, there are three main weapons designed exclusively for military exhibition drill. These are the DrillAmerica replica M-1 rifle offered by Glendale Inc ΐ] the Parris Manufacturing Company and Daisy replica M1903A3 Springfield drill rifle, created at the request of the United States Navy and the Mark-1 facsimile rifle, a light-weight replica weapon modeled after an M1903A3 w/ pistol grip stock.

SA80 History: L98A1 Cadet Manually-Operated Rifle

Armament Research Services (ARES) is a specialist technical intelligence consultancy, offering expertise and analysis to a range of government and non-government entities in the arms and munitions field. For detailed photos of the guns in this video, don’t miss the ARES companion blog post:

The Army Cadet Force is a British quasi-military organization that acts general as a precursor to military enlistment. With the adoption of the L85A1 as the British service rifle, a manually operated copy was also developed for use by Cadets. Designated the L98A1, this rifle was built without a gas system, and had a specialized charging handle to provide more leveraged extraction than the standard bolt handle.

This L98A1 was phased out of use in 2009, being replaced with the L98A2, which is essentially an L85A2 without fully automatic capability.

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L98A1 Cadet Rifle - History

Royal Gurkhas on exercise with L85A1 Rifle and L86A1 LSW variants

Soldier of the 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment aiming an L85A1 fitted with a L3A1 Bayonet

Soldier of the 1st Battalion, The Staffordshire Regiment in the process of reloading an L85A1 fitted with a L3A1 Bayonet

L85A1 fitted with a L3A1 Bayonet alongside an M249 SAW

Royal Marine looking over an L85A1

US Marine firing an British soldier's L85A1

Royal Marine with an L85A1 fitted with a blank firing attachment

Royal Marine aiming an L85A1 fitted with a blank firing attachment

Royal Military Policeman with an L85A1 fitted with iron sights

Danish serviceman with an British serviceman's L85A1 fitted with iron sights

Royal Marines with L85A1s fitted with iron sights

Gunner of 20 (Commando) Battery with an L85A1 fitted with iron sights and a blank firing attachment

Guardsman of the 1st Battalion, The Irish Guards with an L85A2 during Operation Telic

Paratrooper of the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment with an L85A2 during Operation Telic

Soldier of the 2nd Battalion (Green Howards), The Yorkshire Regiment with an L85A2

Grenadier Guardsmen on ceremonial duties with L85A2s fitted with handguard and optical sight covers

Soldiers of the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters on guard duty at Windsor Castle with L85A2s in the Slope Arms position

Soldier of the Royal Regiment of Scotland on guard duty at Edinburgh Castle with an L85A2 in the Stand Easy position

Dutch Marine aiming a Royal Marine's L85A2

Guardsmen of the 1st Battalion, Welsh Guards with L85A2s fitted with blank firing attachments

RAF Regiment airmen with L85A2s fitted with blank firing attachments the airman at right has a version of the polymer handguard that was introduced in limited numbers during the A2 upgrade programme

Army Reserve recruits with L85A2s fitted with iron sights

Soldier of 73 Engineer Regiment with an L85A2 fitted with iron sights and a blank firing attachment

L85A2 with 2009 upgrade suite (Railed handguard replacing the polymer handguards for most operational tasks, Grip Pod, and Eclan Lightweight Day Sight (LDS))

L85A2s with both polymer handguards and railed handguards both rifles fitted with a railed handguard have Grip Pods

Royal Marine aiming an L85A2 fitted with a railed handguard

Royal Marine aiming an L85A2 fitted with iron sights and a railed handguard

Royal Marine with an L85A2 fitted with iron sights, a railed handguard, a Grip Pod, and a blank firing attachment

Gunner of the 2620 Auxillary Squadron RAF Regiment with an L85A2 fitted with a railed handguard and a Grip Pod

Royal Marine aiming an L85A2 fitted with an Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG), a railed handguard, and a Grip Pod

Soldier of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Anglian Regiment firing an L85A2 fitted with an ACOG, a railed handguard, and a Grip Pod

Sandhurst cadet firing an L85A2 fitted with a railed handguard, a Grip Pod, and a L3A1 Bayonet

British soldier with an L85A2 fitted with an Eclan Lightweight Day Sight (LDS), a railed handguard, a Grip Pod, and a Laser Light Module (LLM)

Royal Marine with an L85A2 fitted with an Eclan LDS, a railed handguard, a Laser Light Module (LLM), and a blank firing attachment

Grenadier Guardsman with an L85A2 fitted with an Eclan LDS, a railed handguard, a Grip Pod, a Laser Light Module (LLM), and a blank firing attachment

British serviceman with an L85A2 fitted with an L123 UGL

Soldier of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers aiming an L85A2 fitted with an L123 Underslung Grenade Launcher (UGL)

Royal Marine aiming an L85A2 fitted with an L123 UGL during Operation Herrick

Airman of 15 Squadron RAF Regiment aiming an L85A2 fitted with an L123 UGL (including EOTech holographic sight) and a blank firing attachment

Soldier of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers aiming an L85A2 fitted with an ACOG and an L123 UGL

L85A2 fitted with an Eclan LDS and an L123 UGL (including EOTech holographic sight and Wilcox Rapid Acquisition Aiming Module)

Soldier with the 4th Mechanised Brigade firing an L85A2 fitted with an Eclan LDS and an L123 UGL (including EOTech holographic sight)

Household Cavalry soldier with an L85A3 fitted with an Eclan Lightweight Day Sight (LDS), a new railed handguard replacing the earlier model and the polymer handguards, a Grip Pod, and a Laser Light Module (LLM)

American soldiers from the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment with L85A3s fitted with Eclan Lightweight Day Sights, and blank firing attachments while on a joint exercise with British paratroopers AN/PEQ-15 aiming lasers replace the Laser Light Module (LLM) that would normally be fitted


L98A2 Cadet General Purpose Rifle 5.56MMx45
TypeCadet training rifle
Place of origin United Kingdom
Service history
In service2009–present
Used byUnited Kingdom Cadets (CCF, SCC/MCD, ACF, ATC)
Production history
DesignerHeckler & Koch
ManufacturerBAE Systems
Weight4.9 KG
Length785 mm
Barrel length495 mm
Cartridge5.56 x 45 mm NATO
Caliber5.56 mm
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Muzzle velocity940 m/s
Effective range300 m (individual) 500 m (section)
Maximum range500 m
Feed system30-round detachable STANAG magazines
SightsIron Sights

The L98A2 has now replaced the L98A1 [ 1 ] . The new rifle is very similar to the L85A1 except that the weapon is only capable of semi-automatic single shots, not fully automatic fire. Modifications by the German defence manufacturing company Heckler and Koch [citation needed] have been made to the trigger mechanism, including removing the change lever thus fixing the interceptor sear in its working position, to prevent full auto fire or unauthorised modifications to enable such.

Main Differences

The main differnces with the L98A2 rifle compared to the L98A1 are the gas parts. These parts allow the weapon to be fired Semi-Automatically, rather than single fire with the A1. Another noticeable difference is the cocking handle and the way the rifle is cocked, with the A1 the cocking handle was attached to the Bolt Carrying Assembly via an extension piece, whereas the A2's have a smaller cocking handle attached directly to the BCA which is designed specifically to be cocked with the left hand rather than the right.


Before using the weapon with either blank or ball ammunition, cadets receive training in the safe use of the weapon and are taught Normal Safety Precautions (NSPs). These weapon drills are assessed through weapon handling tests (WHTs) carried out as part of regular training or at the discretion of range staff.

The A2 requires the fitting of a Blank Magazine designed specifically for Blank rounds with a lip at the top of the mag to ensure that no live round can be placed into that mag. These mags are yellow.

The A2 also uses a Blank Firing Attatchment (BFA) which clips on to the flash eliminator, another Heckler and Koch Modification. This reduces the effective range of a blank round from 50m to 5m and allows the weapon to use the gas parts to automatically cock.

Watch the video: L98A2 Shooting Promotion (August 2022).