Caliber(s): 7.62mm NATO (.308Win)
Operation: gas operated semi-automatic
Barrel: 406 mm / 16"
Weight: 4,5 kg
Length: 900 – 990 mm
Feed Mechanism: 20 rounds detachable box magazine
The L129A1 Sharpshooter / Sniper rifle was born fromthe urgent requirements that came from the British forces deployed toAfghanistan. This requirement was based on the tactics employed bytheir opponents, who prefer to fire at convoys and foot patrols fromstand-off ranges (usually 500 meters or more), using 7,62mm rifles andmachine guns. The standard issue 5,56mm weapons (L85A2 rifle, L86A2 LSW, FN Minimi LMG), whichare used by British troops, are mostly ineffective at these ranges,,and a call was made for a semi-automatic rifle, chambered for 7,62x51NATO ammunition, which is capable to engage individual targets atranges of up to 800 meters. These rifles are intended for use on thesquad and platoon levels, to support small units operating 'on foot'and away from fire support bases and armored vehicles. Basically, it'sthe same concept which during the last 50 years was employed by Soviet and is still employed byRussian army, which issues 7,62x54R SVD marksmen / sharpshooter riflesto every infantry squad.
The new weapon, which is now officially issued to British troops asL129A1 Sharpshooter rifle, was selected through competitive trials,which included four 7,62mm semi-automatic weapons – HK 417 from Germany, FN SCAR-H Mk.17 fromBelgium, Sabre Defense XR-10 from US/UK and LMT LW308MWS (also known as LM7) from USA. Thelatter weapon, built in USA by Lewis Machine & Tool Co and distributed in UK by LEI Ltd, won thecompetition. Initial order was for some 440 rifles, and many of theseweapons are already in use by British army in Afghanistan.
The L129A1 Sharpshooter / Sniper rifle is a gasoperated, semi-automatic weapon. It is based on the famous Stoner AR-10 rifle,anduses similar direct impingement gas action, rotary bolt locking andoverall design. The upper receiver is made integral with monolitic railplatform forend, which surrounds free-floating barrel made of stainlesssteel. Front of the barrel is fitted with Surefire flash hider /suppressor adapter. The lower receiver is fitted with ambidextrouscontrols (safety and magazine release). Rifle is equipped with LMT'sSOPMOD adjustable telescoping buttstock. Feed is from 20-round Knight'smagazines.Standard issue sight for L129A1 rifle is the Trijicon ACOG 6x48telescope with ballistic drop compensating reticle for 7,62NATOammunition. Additional folding back-up iron sights are provided. Allsighting equipment is installed using standard Picatinny railinterface. Available information suggests that the L129A1 rifle candeliver MOA accuracy with standard ball ammo, and under fieldconditions it is capable of routinely hitting man-size target at rangesof up to 800 meters (assuming that the shooter is up to the task aswell). According to the mission profile, rifle can be equipped with anumber of accessories, such as folding bipod, quick-detachable soundmoderator (silencer) or a 40mm M203 underbarrel grenade launcher.