Today’s photo features a mysterious suppressed British L85/SA80. It appears to be using a Surefire SOCOM suppressor, we can see Surefire’s ‘Fast-Attach’ mounting system at the rear, which would require Surefire’s proprietary muzzle device. The photo surfaced on twitter earlier this week and originates from a post on the Army Rumour Service forums dating from 2008. Sadly, the post offers no context for the photos.
At a glance the rifle pictured about looks like just a suppressed L85A2, but on closer inspection all is not as it seems. Here’s a British Ministry of Defence photo of a L85A2, as issued:
What makes the rifle pictured even more intriguing is that while it appears to be an L85A2 it actually differs significantly. The L85A2 is currently fielded with an ELCAN SpecterOS 4x with a Shield CQS red dot sight mounted on top. The rifle pictured above has the earlier SUSAT optic and what appears to be an earlier Shield mini sight. The suppressed rifle’s forend also differs from the Daniel Defense one used as standard on the upgraded A2.
One potential explanation for the photo is that it dates back to the British Army’s rifle upgrade experiments for the Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) upgrades made to the L85 during operations in Afghanistan.