I don’t know about you, but I try to give any movie I watch in the theaters at least 30 minutes to see if it will get good. Case in point – John Wick – which if you don’t stay through at least 20 looks to be an incoherent mess. Now, over a half hour into the history of the SA-80, one can see how thoroughly a mess that rifle was, guided by expert Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons.
To continue the metaphor, the British should have walked out on this movie at this point.
Into the XL models, Ian guides us through the consistently poor decision making on behalf of RSAF Enfield and the continued choices to throw good money after bad, good time after bad, and an utter refusal to drop the platform. Further, they don’t just keep moving towards full adoption, they make the weapon worse.
As the case when any project starts to go over budgets, the Royal Armory started to go through full cost-reduction model on the platform. The choices, including a reduction in material quality, usage of mandated materials not appropriate for the application, and not solving obvious grouping issues just kept making the long-term problem worse.
To cap it off, the British opted to change the testing standards when the weapon failed to measure up to the test. Sound familiar?
To hear the trainwreck as it happened, check out Part 3 of the history on the SA-80 from Forgotten Weapons: