The SA80 assault rifle has had a turbulent history with the British armed forces. It was the last weapon to come from the arms production base at Enfield Stock, and was seen as the world's most advanced firearm at the time. At first, this is exactly how it seems, and the army website boasts that it was so accurate that marksmanship tests needed to change. However, under the surface, things were less impressive. The operating mechanism jammed, and it was declared an incredible failure - a fact which was sadly proclaimed throughout the British media. After this poor start, the guns were modified to become far more reliable; Heckler & Koch were asked to help with the new adaptations, and exposed many flaws in the design. The Ministry of Defence have supplied these weapons to British Army soldiers serving in most UK-related conflicts since their 1985 arrival. The .223 Remington / 5.56x45mm cartridge is adopted of course as it's a NATO country weapon.

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.223 Remington

The .223 Remington was initially developed in the mid-sixties for the Armalite AR-15, which later became the US military's M16 rifle. It is just about identical to the 5.56x45mm NATO military cartridge, and only boffins with measuring equipment could really tell them apart. Or you could just look at the headstamp...... Military adoption has made this a hugely prevalent cartridge in both armed forces across the world and domestic markets due to its devastating performance and lightweight allowing higher capacity magazines and rates of fire. Some in the military feel...

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Modern Warfare

In recent decades, warfare has changed dramatically to suit the most recent technologies and tactics. But despite advances in technology and the ongoing arms race one  fact remains - guns are still the defacto means of arming soldiers, and that doesn't look set to change any time in the near future. Many firearms and cartridges can trace their lineage back over a hundred years which just goes to show that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Different countries will always have different views on how to arm their troops...

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