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How a L86 A2 works
The SA80 is a British family of 5.56×45mm NATO small arms, all of which are selective fire, gas-operated assault rifles. 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 first prototypes were created in 1976, with production ending in 1994. The A1 variant was significantly upgraded in the early 2000s by Heckler & Koch as the SA80A2 and remains in service as of 2018. In mid-2016 a prototype A3 variant was showcased which further improved on the weapon and is reportedly being considered to extend the out of service date beyond 2025.
The remainder of the SA80 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 Royal Small Arms Factory, the national arms development and production facility at Enfield Lock.