Queen Elizabeth II firing a British L85

This old photo of Queen Elizabeth II firing a British Army L85 has been making the rounds online.

She would have been in her 70s when that photo was taken, so I will forgive her for not actually shouldering the gun.

[Hat Tip: HappyToSurvive]



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Charles222

    I was wondering what was going on. Then I noticed the swivel thingy.

    Wonder how the L85 would have faired if it had jammed when the Queen was firing it…

    • David/Sharpie

      Probably nothing, the Queen is more of a figurehead than an actual leader, as far as I know.

  • Jusuchin (Military Otaku)

    They probably forsaw that and has a master armorer find the best rifle they had and basically give it the royal treatment.

    • Moose

      Got the Royal Treatment once, worth the extra $$.

  • Scathsealgaire

    Well Charles222,

    if it had happened last century, then the soldier who maintained it would have been flogged to within an inch of his life. Unfortunately the British Army has been getting soft with its soldiers since WWII. No doubt the solder would have been put on report.

    Pity it couldn’t have been Emperor Hirohito, then the offending soldier would have had to commit ritual suicide. A far superior method of encouraging soldier to properly maintain their equipment.

    No matter what century, if that rifle had jammed it would end up being sold at auction. Touched by the queen don’t you know…

    Cheers,
    Scathsealgaire

    • Charles222

      Thanks Scath. I meant more the program itself-doesn’t seem like it would have reflected too well on the L85 as a weapon for it to jam up when the Queen is firing it. Embarassing publicity and all.

      • noob

        As a matter of fact, King James the II of Scotland was killed in battle while firing an experimental cannon called “The Lion” which exploded and blew him to bits.

        “[A]s the King stood near a piece of artillery, his thigh bone was dug in two with a piece of misframed gun that brake in shooting, by which he was stricken to the ground and died hastily.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_II_of_Scotland#Death

        King James II was a promoter of Artillery and used it in combat against the English. He had the general idea that guns were a big deal and were going to change the medieval battlefield correct. Unfortunately for him there were a few bugs in the implementation :P.

  • Bob Z Moose

    This is the most awesome thing ever. Period.

  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    Sadly, I wonder when the last time an American President had his picture taken firing a gun of any kind.

  • Ben

    Looks like she’s firing it like an uzi

  • Andrew

    Looks like it was mounted on a test rig; she does enough shooting up at Sandringham to have shouldered it without difficulty if she’d wanted.

    As for the reliability issues, it should be fine; it’s on a nice clean practice range. It was always a lovely gun there…

  • Travis Forbes

    Now this is just awesome! XD

  • Joe the lV

    Photo opt. after Bilderburg… What you don’t see is the commoners downrange. “Let them eat .223!” Is what I heard she said right before this photo was taken. New World Order Scum.

    • Rusty Ray

      Joe, you’re a prize dickhead STFU. Ray

      • Joe the lV

        I’m More of a Yankee Doodle Dandy.

    • Nicks87

      No Ray, you sir, are the moron.

      Get off your lazy @$$ and do some research.

      The Queen is first rate trash.

      • Tinkerer

        The Firearm Blog.

        Firearms, not Politics.

        There are plenty other places out there that would be just right for your ideas. This isn’t one of them.

    • W

      while joe is correct (on the queen being bilderberg scum), i think its best to talk about the picture and the L85 rather than delve into the complex socioeconomic paradigm of western civilization.

      • Joe the lV

        Understood, Thanks

    • Nicks87

      No

      Too many people are asleep.

      I’m not trying to hijack someones blog I’m just trying to inject critical thinking and new ideas to people who may not be aware of how this global tyranny pushes its agenda.

      You dont have to read my comments or respond to them. I’m not trying to force people to do anything other than think for themselves.

      • W

        nicks, i think most people on this blog have a understanding of what really goes on in the world (as demonstrated in the post about US troops in Afghanistan with poppy fields in the background). Its really a matter about respect to steve, who strives for the “firearms, not politics” mantra, and respect to those that frequent this blog because of those ideals.

        Im not disagreeing with you. Your assertion on the queen is absolutely correct. Theres just a time and place. 😉

    • Joe the lV

      I understand this is about guns I can respect that. Its also about the people shooting them. Gun culture. So that would include standing up to tyrannical elitists like a good patriot would the kind that shoots guns. Look at the florida head comments other people wrote. Ex: “Now this is just awesome! XD”. WOW! Get a history book and wake up. Otherwise your just a tool on the futile plantation but probably worse… a collaborator.

      • Joe the lV

        Sorry… “Fluoride Head”…My Bad

      • Cameron

        Talk about not getting the hint. Nobody cares how important you think your political views are. Firearms, Not Politics is that simple.

  • 6677

    Someone else might be able to prove me wroong but looks to be an a2 so not so likely to fail as everyone seems to think. a2 is meant to be very reliable provided it doesnt get too much sand etc in it

  • Charles222

    @noob: huh, cool.

  • John Doe

    If the queen can fire it, I wonder when American citizens can

    *hint* *hint* sell a civilian version in America

    • 6677

      Theres the P85 semi auto version sold as an 80% complete kit, I saw someone mentioning a few of the L98A1 variants somehow making their way onto the US civilian market although I don’t believe that personally, would have thought it would conflict with import laws. For those unaware the L98A1 has the gas system removed so it functions as straight pull bolt action, these were issued to cadet groups for rifle training, a few are available on the UK civilian gun market but they are extremely rare, the L98A2 is semi auto and should be able to be sold in the US.

  • Guardsman

    This picture was taken circa 1986 when the L85 was officially introduced into UK military service, so is the A1 version. You can verify this in the picture as the A2 has a larger, more visible charging handle that protrudes above the receiver. The weapon is mounted on a standard bench rest. The soldiers surrounding the Queen are from the Small Arms School Corps (SASC).

    BTW, if you want a civil version of this weapon to be exported to the USA, you need to contact Heckler & Koch, Germany who were responsible for the upgrade and who are now its exclusive manufacturers. Better still, contact HK Defense USA and ask them to import it.

    As an ex-British Army soldier serving at the time of the L85’s introduction, i have to say that it was the most appalling service rifle I operated: unreliable mechanism, too many parts, inferior manufacturing quality and poor ergonomics. The Lee-Enfiled .303, the L1A1 SLR (FN FAL), the M16A1, the AUG Steyr and the Soviet AKM were all better. H&K did an incredible job to make it as good as it should have been when introduced. It is reliable and accurate now. However, the only accolade that can be fairly attached to this weapon is the title: the world’s heaviest assault rifle. Sorry, but there it is.

    • Tuulos

      I had to do a little research on that and even Scar-H with long barrel is lighter than L85A2 without optical sight. The only heavier assault rifle I could find were some versions of HK33.

  • Lance

    Teaching all to shoot is a good virtue.

  • Nicks87

    Some of you actually think this is cool?!

    Do some research! The Queen of England is most definately scum of the earth.

    The British royal family have been leeching off of the middle class for hundreds of years. They are the biggest welfare recipients in the world.

    What has the monarchy done to help the people of England?

    Absolutely Nothing!

    AND THEY SUPPORT GUN CONTROL!!!!

    I cant believe how stupid some of you supposed “pro-gun people” are.

    • Tinkerer

      The Firearm Blog.

      Firearms, not Politics.

    • 6677

      Many will find that offensive, not just in britain as she is the monarch of several countries aswell. How would you like it if someone started slating off your leaders???

      This is supposed to be guns, guns, a few more guns. No politics, just a place for us to come together and discuss what we enjoy.

      Antigun laws are another debate not to be held here, same for monarchies. Go find somewhere else to vent your frustration

      • BrowningBottoms

        That’s simple. U.S. Americans don’t have leaders. We have public servants.

        “Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?’ Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth? If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!” -Samuel Adams

    • Nicks87

      Sorry but politics and Firearms go hand-in-hand. I’m sure Steve will delete my comments if he finds them inappropriate (which he has every right to do).

      6677,

      These are the same leaders that want to take our firearms and are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people. People like you that turn a blind eye to tyranny and tell others to do the same are just as responsible for our loss of freedom as the tyrants themselves.

      I apologize for not groveling and bowing to criminal filth that are working to take our guns but I want my kids to be able to enjoy firearms ownership as well.

      • Tinkerer

        Is it too hard to see the name of this blog? Firearms, Not Politics. Period.

      • Cymond

        No one’s asking you to grovel or bow, just to choose a better place to b**ch (or ‘fight the good fight’). Do you spout off about royal politics at book club? the dinner table? places of worship? There is a right time and a wrong time, a right place and a wrong place. TFB is the wrong time and place.

        As another person posted, fireams are a very political subject. The internet is full of places dicussing politics and firearm controversies. There are thousands of blogs discussing politics and gun-politics. Go there. TFB is the only non-political firearm blog that I know of. TFB is a place to escape the constant bickering over politics and enjoy our passion in peace. Let’s keep it that way.

        To the rest of TFB: sorry for the troll food.

    • Nicks87

      Tinkerbell,

      Why do you feel the need to chastise me?

      Nobody is forcing you to read my comments. Give me a thumbs down and move on.

      Sorry but I dont agree with people who feel that it’s their job to control other human beings.

      • Tinkerer

        Then you don’t agree with yourself, since you preach on how certain people shouldn’t act.

      • Cameron

        Nicks, if you don’t have the manners to act like someone else wants in their house (Firearms, not Politics) then you’re the one trying to be controlling. There are plenty of places on the Internet where you can be all political and people can tell you how smart you are. This blog is for FIREARMS.

    • Numan

      The True Cost of the Royal Family Explained

    • Madeleine Goddard

      I had to smile at your suggestion that the Queen supports gun control. Given the Royal Family’s famous preference for shooting, fishing, hunting and the Queen’s personal track record of blasting pheasants and other game, your view is perhaps a little inaccurate. And while I personally am quite indifferent to the monarchy (no-one would invent it if it did not already exist) I cannot quite understand your intense personal dislike of the Queen.

      American readers would probably be insulted if foreigners started seriously disparaging the presidency in such an emotional way (and quite rightly too), so why do you think it is it OK to take this blog in a different direction and start attacking foreign heads of state? The Queen has no real power – she is a figurehead who does what she is told by Parliament. It would be much more understandable and correct to criticize the many low calibre politicians who have ruined shooting and gun sports in the UK, as well as virtually destroying the gun industry.

      Oh and could I point out that she actually saw active service as an officer in the ATS (= WAC) during World War II. How many other modern national heads of state are veterans, let alone veterans of WWII? So why shouldn’t she be firing the SA-80 on a visit to the Army? Please could we just stick to firearms, which is surely an interest we all share together?

      • Cannuck

        No you gotta save the disparaging the presidency in an emotional and irrational way for yourselves.

  • Madeleine Goddard

    The story goes that the British Army actually recommended rejection of the L85A1 because of its many problems, but this was refused by Mrs Thatcher’s government because they were in the process of selling Royal Ordnance (including the Enfield factory) to BAE and the company demanded a production order as part of the deal. The three major problems I found using L85 were the balance (very butt heavy), the stripping (fiddly and far too many small pins and springs to be lost in the field) and feed/ejection failures (you never knew whether the damn thing would work, despite handling it with kid gloves). The SLR was far superior and even now I would take one (assuming an optical sight like SUIT) in preference to the A2 version.

    I had a chance to handle the earlier XL70 prototype (4.85mm) from which the L85 was derived and this was miles better in terms of ergonomics and reliability, so I guess the change in calibre may also have played a role. Personally I would not bother spending your dollars on an A1 unless you are creating a gallery of horror weapons. The A2 might be worth a look – certainly it is a very accurate weapon and H&K have done an excellent job.

    • Uberyeti

      I’m no soldier, but in the Cadets I used the L98A2 which is for all intents and purposes identical to the L85A2 except that it’s semi-automatic only.

      I found it to be a fine rifle. The balance is odd, and in some ways I preferred the longer and heavier L86A2 (LSW) which we were also issued for its balance, even if it was cumbersome. You get used to it after a while, and while it’s very different from the conventional rifles I’ve shot it does point well and balance easily in only the right hand.

      The SUSAT scopes that were used until recently were, to pardon my French, a crock of poo. They had the inexplicable ability to collect dirt on the ~inside~ of the lenses, and the monolith type post sight inside obscured a good chunk of your view while providing an imprecise point of aim.

      I’ve done competition shooting with the L98A1 (bolt action version) and the L98A2 (semi-auto) and enjoyed it all. Sure, if I were to pick any rifle to shoot I’d probably go for a FAL or G3 – I’ve never fired one, but I am a fan of the way 7.62 NATO shoots and I have handled a few FALs. I like their balance too, and I imagine they shoot well.

      The L85A2 is a fine weapon now that H&K rebuilt it from the monstrosity Enfield produced, and it does not deserve the bad rap it gets. I found it to be reliable, if heavy, and I would gladly use one if it was what I was issued to fight with. Perhaps for recreational shooting where length and calibre were less important, I would not choose it though.

    • Andy P

      Having used the L85A1 in training i have to say it was awful!

      Using the L85A2 on ops i have to say HK did an amazing job, i would want to carry anything else in 5.56!

      God save the Queen!

  • Tweak
  • Tweak
  • Nadnerbus

    I can only assume that she is humming along in her head, “Back up in your ass with the resurrection…”

  • Aida

    No matter how much you chant “Firearms, not Politics.” it doesn’t matter as long as there are political speculation in many of the blog posts.

    That’s just my 2c

  • bob

    Whats the offense if some choose to include politics in the posts they make? What gives some posters the right to say that other posters can’t make a political opinion or to go as far as suggesting censorship. Firearms and politics go hand in hand, that’s the reality on the ground otherwise those who are anti-gun, end up making all the decisions on your behalf and your fundamental human right to self-defense and gun ownership as most Americans believe (including this one) end up being regulated into extinction.

    Ignore the politics and you end-up in a situation in which your nations government decides that civilian firearms ownership is a threat. Ignore the politics and you end-up with no right to self-defense, concealed carry, limited hunting.

    The reason why U.S. civilian gun-laws are the way they are, is because in the majority of states we hold our elected politicians accountable when it concerns guns and the right to self-defense, they are elected to serve us, and we won’t be bullied into forfeiting our rights to self-defense.

    Had it not been for a brave few gun activists in DC suing Washington DC (DC vs. Heller) for its handgun ban a few years back we would not have the U.S. Supreme Court etching into stone that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an Americans right to gunownership and self-defense, that’s politics, if you don’t like it, don’t complain when your gun rights are gone because you couldn’t take the politics, you will never get any results by being a bystander and your rights will get trampled on if you do, whatever you believe in make your voice heard, when it comes to guns vote for pro-gun politicians, support pro-gun businesses, guard the bill of rights against those who would alter it at the expense of your fundamental rights.

    • Tinkerer

      Because “Firearms not politics” is the motto of this blog.

      Because we want unadulterated discussion about firearms.

      Because politics -and religion, btw- are just irrational imposition of ideas, and nothing good comes out of it. Ever

      Because this blog is private property, not a government-owned site.

      Because here on the Internet, not everyone is a citizen of this or that country, or supporters of this or that belief.

      Those who want to discuss their personal brand of beliefs, have countless places to do so with like-minded people, somewhere else. Trying to come here and shove their beliefs down other people’s throaths is disrespectful and unneeded.

    • W

      What part of “firearms, not politics” do you chuckleheads not understand?

      Nobody is trying to censor anybody. It is a uncontracted agreement that this blog try its damndest not to venture into politics because firearms + politics makes up for a bad digital day composed of pitiless slap matches and asshattery. The political type of behavior is the reason why so many avoid AR15.com (and others) like the plague. Thefirearmblog is one of the few civil places where one can appreciate the mechanics and science behind firearms.

      If you want to have a political discussion about firearms, go to a political blog or start your own firearms + politics blog. Its that simple.

      “Had it not been for a brave few gun activists in DC suing Washington DC (DC vs. Heller) for its handgun ban a few years back we would not have the U.S. Supreme Court etching into stone that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an Americans right to gunownership and self-defense,”

      Americans have technically always had a right to gun ownership and self defense, state regulations aside, and DC versus Heller ruled in favor of the INDIVIDUAL right to gun ownership for lawful purposes, that it was not a collective right limited to the militia. DC versus Heller also was not a ruling on self defense laws.

      “that’s politics, if you don’t like it, don’t complain when your gun rights are gone because you couldn’t take the politics,”

      If this is the point you are making, it is a rather stupid one. I have yet to see somebody here that would be apathetic to the loss of gun rights. This blog is not a place to discuss politics, it is a place to discuss firearms and the science behind it.

      “you will never get any results by being a bystander and your rights will get trampled on if you do, whatever you believe in make your voice heard, when it comes to guns vote for pro-gun politicians, support pro-gun businesses, guard the bill of rights against those who would alter it at the expense of your fundamental rights.”

      Firearms, not politics. Enough Said. Most people with a working brain are not single issue voters. I support the 2nd amendment, though do not vote solely on the 2nd amendment given the gravity of the other issues (such a example, George Bush Jr).

      • A6Nature

        @ W You act like your the self apointed moderator of this blog with an expert opinion on everything and your lengthy responses to other posters always contain condescending undertones when their entitled to their opinions as much as we constantly have to put up with you mile long ones which is fine being that this is a blog which by its nature is opinion. I’ll kindly remind you that you don’t serve in any official role. If Steve chooses that their should be no politics what so ever that is his right being that he calls the shots here. Who regulates the “firearms not politics” is Steve anyone’s else should stick to being posters instead of acting like self apointed deputy sheriffs enforcing laws without official roles.

      • W

        “@ W You act like your the self apointed moderator of this blog”

        Not remotely. But myself and others can read. “Firearms, not politics”. Is everybody perfect? no, especially myself when it comes to venturing into conspiracy fact, geopolitics, and economics.

        “with an expert opinion on everything and your lengthy responses to other posters always contain condescending undertones when their entitled to their opinions as much as we constantly have to put up with you mile long ones which is fine being that this is a blog which by its nature is opinion.”

        I spent most of my life in the United States Army where small arms, both US and foreign, were my specialty. If you dont like what I have to say, then move on. Ill keep posting.

        And Im quite a literal person. A condescending tone is never my intent, though it is impossible to tell because of typed electrons on a computer screen. If it hurts feelings, just remember they’re typed electrons; I do not intend to harm you with them.

        And there is no character limit (that I know of) on posting. If you dont like lengthy posts, then simply don’t read them. Pretty simple solution.

        “I’ll kindly remind you that you don’t serve in any official role.”

        And Ill kindly remind you that Im aware of that and neither are you. My position is the letters on the very top left of the screen.

        “If Steve chooses that their should be no politics what so ever that is his right being that he calls the shots here. Who regulates the “firearms not politics” is Steve anyone’s else should stick to being posters instead of acting like self apointed deputy sheriffs enforcing laws without official roles.”

        You obviously missed my other posts on here in a attempt to bridge the political vs non political people on here and form a compromise. My comment above was in response of somebody complaining about the seemingly lack of political substance.

        Your response to my comment above is baseless.

    • 6677

      Actually some of the posts (not in this thread) I have personally been offended by. If I went along and wrote a post basically saying death to america with some actual intent put into it you would probably want to hunt me down and kill me because I would have offended your country (DISCLAIMER: this is based on the assumption that you are american, I do not support the opinion death to american either)

      So yes it is possible to offend others on this blog through political opinions. We are here to share an interest in something we love, firearms. Not the politics of ownership or anything else.

      And btw it isn’t the queens choice that we don’t have firearms or the rest of the royal family. Its the governments choice in the aftermath of a few massacres involving legally (at the time) obtained firearms. Do I support their decision in this matter? No. Can I blame the queen for it? No. Is this the right place for further discussion on the matter? No.
      As for the thousands killed comments, Invasion of grenada, not thousands killed but US invasion on soil where she is monarch, nice one. /politics

  • Charles222

    W-I’ll admit I didn’t look at your link, but I’m guessing that includes DHS, the FBI, and DOE, plus the intel community and the rest of the alphabet soup? I wouldn’t really consider that as part of “the military” because they’d get funded even if the DOD just didn’t exist.

    I’ll admit to being curious about the just-announced restructure of the British Army-they’re dropping to 80,000 soldiers, but plan to maintain a decent budget, apparently. SOCOM runs on what, 7 bil a year or so, and has a foreign impact that makes the rest of the US military look borderline irrelevant with less than 10% of the force structure of the other services.

    • 6677

      Budget is also being cut which is the main reason for reducing the number of troops I believe. However funding per troop will still be higher so the budget could be better used and will hopefully increase a single troops combat ability. Much more discussion will break the firearms not politics thing though but I think it might aswell be said politics will break the whole increased combat ability.

      • Charles222

        Ehh, I think we’re past the point of no return with the no-politics things in this one, myself. :p

    • W

      Charles, that is correct. All aspects of “defense-related expenditures” equate to approximately 1-1.4 trillion dollars, which includes the DHS, FBI, and others. I also fear I posted a antiquated link, which was published in 2007. Here’s a better link, which covers all aspects of spending, to include defense-related (total federal spending is approximately 3 trillion) http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2012-BUD/pdf/BUDGET-2012-BUD-29.pdf (warning PDF)

      Total DOD spending (military) is 707 billion give or take.

      • Charles222

        Yep. Which is a 75% increase since the end of the cold war, where we had nearly twice as many service members. :p

  • Mike Knox

    Prince Charles really does have big ears doesn’t he?

  • Rangefinder

    I think it is admirable for leaders (servants) to identify with those they lead (serve). Even if it is not natural for them, it is a appropriate.

  • Netforce

    A jolly good show, Your Majesty.

  • Good thing they fixed the gun on the table so the Queen wont get hurt when she pulled the trigger.

    • Andrew

      Well, given that she’s famously keen on blasting the Scottish Highlands full of 00 buck, I don’t imagine a heavy, recoil-absorbing 5.56mm rifle would present her much difficulty…

  • Wonder why they didn’t give her eyes & ears?

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