Book Review: The Green Meanie L96A1 by Steve Houghton

Following up on his 2018 “The British Sniper: A Century of Evolution”, Steve Houghton has now released a followup book on the L96A1 in particular: “The Green Meanie”. This rifles was a paradigm shift for sniping rifles, and a tremendous success for the British military. It is also a quintessentially British story, as the rifle was essentially developed by three men in a shed. Well, more accurately a garage, but the idea is the same. It is the story of two engineers (Dave Caig and Dave Walls, who were competitive shooters in their spare time) and a world-class competitive shooter named Malcolm Cooper who together developed a benchrest-accurate rifle using a chassis system instead of the traditional bedded stock. Cooper was connected to the sniper program at the Special Air Service, and the SAS adopted the trio’s rifle to replace their L42A1 Enfields. When the British Army announced a tender for a new sniper rifle for the whole service, the trio figured they could get some useful feedback on their rifle by entering the competition. Little did they realize that they would eventually win it!

Houghton’s book covers the origins of the Accuracy International PM rifle – which became the L96A1 – in excellent detail, informed largely by primary sources (Dave Walls wrote the Introduction). This includes the troubles the project had when production was contracted to a large firm, and how those problems eventually led to Accuracy International bringing production back in-house and really becoming the company they are today. Houghton also takes the rifle’s story through to the present day, covering all of the accessories and equipment that went along with it. Scopes (both the original ones and the mid-life upgrades to the system), spotting scopes, thermal and image-intensifying optics, even the clothing issued to snipers using the L96A1. The book includes numerous first-hand accounts from snipers who carried the Green Meanie in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

I would be hard-pressed to think up an aspect of this rifle that is not explained in detail in this book. Houghton has done an excellent job expanding the L96A1 section of his first book into the full-fledged story of the rifle – and it’s a story that is well worth telling!

As of this writing, the book is available only direct from the publisher (Swift & Bold Publishing):


  1. The manual “Infantry Training Volume I, Pamphlet No. 4 Sniping” of 1990 for the L96A1 in para 01376 has the effect of air humidtity on the trajectory upside down. One gets the impression that the title “Green Meanie” may show signs of wishful thinking and the level of professionality of the officers involved might not be as expected.

    I admit that getting the effect of air humidity on the trajectory totally wrong is not a UK exclusive, but can/could also be found in the manuals of the U.S. (in this case with a total out of proportion description of the size of the effect) and other NATO members.

  2. I’m interested in purchasing the following book.
    The Green Meanie L96A1 by Steve Houghton.
    Please indicate who much it would be in USD
    to be shipped to Nevada, USA

  3. The book “The Green Meanie” traces the roots, the development, and the distinguished service career of the L96A1 sniper rifle. I felt this fascinating story from the moment I began to read it. It is meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated by one of my best authors – Steve Houghton; he is indeed one of British ingenuity succeeding against all odds.

  4. The quality of the book is amazing, indeed the book contains a lot of documentary research from well-known scientists in this field. I rarely see such quality books. Now I am studying weapon mechanics at university and I used some of the material from this book for one of the sections of my dissertation. At first I found this information on the dissertation writing service resource then it seemed to me that the information was perfectly structured and collected from documentary facts. Now I have again found information about this book on your site and I can confidently recommend it, it will be very useful for those who study mechanics.

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