Often more fascinating than the weapons developed is the history of developing weapons. In almost all cases, weapons are frought with initial troubles, constantly moving mechanical targets, and perhaps most trouble – politics. While today’s politics is well outside of TFB’s purview, its always enjoyable to look back at their influence on weapons – a prominent example being the AR-15. However, we are not alone in politics having a large hand in development and adoption. It would seem the UK bequeathed that tendency upon us – the US being a former British colony and all.
Ian over at Forgotten Weapons has been on the historical trip of my dreams, spending time at the National Firearms Centre in Leeds, UK. There, he has been hands-on with the L85 or SA-80 series of weapons exploring their complex history and development choices. In the latest installment, Ian spends time reviewing the development in context of calibers and the eventual adoption of the US-sponsored 5.56mm NATO over the British 4.85x49mm cartridge.
Once past the basic concept, the UK development team moved on to the first round of prototyping. Trying to balance the needs of the general trooper while making a sufficient loading for a light machine gun, the UK team started with the home-grown 4.85x49mm – with similar performance to the 5.56.
In this installment, the weapon is starting to take shape, with the developers moving between a variety ergonomic options. For the full details, check out the video from Forgotten Weapons below: