Armament Research Services (ARES) is a specialist technical intelligence consultancy, offering expertise and analysis to a range of government and non-government entities in the arms and munitions field. For detailed photos of the guns in this video, don’t miss the ARES companion blog post!
One of the original design intentions of the SA80 project was to replace the infantry rifle and the submachine gun with a single weapon that could fulfill both roles – hence the choice of a bullpup configuration. This would, theoretically, allow rifle ballistics and also SMG handling and maneuverability. As with most bullpup projects, however, this plan did not last. It quickly became clear that a shortened version of the L85 rifle could be made, which would be more suitable for troops who would previously have been issued submachine guns – notably aircraft and armored vehicle crews.
Today we take a look at a couple early prototypes of these carbines which did not go into production. We also examine an L22A2 carbine, which did become standard issue in 2003 for some units. This carbine includes all of the H&K A2 pattern upgrades, and was given the A2 designation despite there never being an adopted L22A1.