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BRITISH ARMY RIFLE FN L1A1, 1960's
The origin of this weapon relates to the FN FAL rifle. During the 1950's the British tested the FAL and adopted it with various modifications naming it the L1A1.
It entered service in the late 1950's and replaced the Lee Enfield No4 Rifle then in use. Later the wooden stocks started to crack and were replaced with reinforced plastic. For the Trilux sights see Item A1145 in the Optics section.
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- Although derived from the FN FAL rifle, the L1A1 was not made by FN. The important difference being that the FN product was produced to metric dimensions while the L1A1, principally made by RSAF Enfield, BSA in Birmingham, and Lithgow in Australia, was built to Imperial (inch) standards.
In fact, the British army only adopted the L1A1 because of the intansigence of the US army who were determined to force the adoption of what became the standard NATO 7.62 x 51mm calibre ammunition. This "full power" cartridge (ballistically the same as the US 1906 cartridge meant for long-distance combat) meant that firing fully automatic with a rifle light enough for soldiers to carry comfortably was not possible.
Immediately after WW2, the British had designed an advanced assault rifle drawing on German and Soviet designs and using a so-called "intermediate" calibre of .280in. Known as the EM2 (Enfield Model No.2) it was to have been adopted as the Rifle No.9 but post-war Britain was in no position to persuade the US to adopt either the rifle or the calibre as a NATO standard, and ultimately Winston Churchill took the decision to abandon the project. That left Britain with nothing to replace their .303 bolt-action rifles so a build-under-licence arrangement was agreed with FN. Ironically, after forcing NATO to adopt the 7.62mm round, the US unilaterally abandoned it in favour of the .223 Winchester (5.56mm) when it suited them in Viet Nam.
.......... Andy Jackson, Sanderstead, Surrey, 7th of August 2012
- A solid & real soldier proof rifle, over many years of experience I never once had a stoppage or other malfunction. Long, relatively heavy but for me very accurate & user friendly. It's shape just felt right when you held it, nicely contoured, no square edges. The change to the L85 series (SA80) was disheartening as I found it uncomfortable & very unreliable. I hear the A2 upgrades have solved this, I do hope so.
.......... Ian Roberts, Itchen Abbas, Winchester, UK, 17th of January 2012
- The last British infantry issued firearm to allow left or right shoulder firing. The Trilux made this a very useful rifle . It had its problems at the start like the SA80 . Quick to strip clean and very reliable I enjoyed using it Number 19 . We did gripe a little at the choice of automatic being take from us . After firing an Argentinian Fal I grudgingly think they made the right choice ..
.......... Dave Pomfret, Bury, England, 29th of December 2010