The L129A1 is the current British Designated Marksman Rifle. It was introduced as a result of the extended range engagements troops were facing in Afghanistan. LMT won the contract for the DMRs and imported them through Law Enforcement International LTD. The first 440 weapons were fielded in May of 2010 after the initial procurement request was announced in 2009. The weapon was well received by deployed forces, as they now had a portable weapon that could engage targets beyond 500 Meters. Previously, the only solutions capable of engaging at these ranges were the GPMG and L115A3 Sniper Rifle, neither of which were well suited to dismounted patrols in Afghanistan.
The L129A1 is based on the LMT MWS rifle. The upper is monolithic with a full length top rail, allowing for the mounting of inline night vision systems. The 16″ LMT barrel features a 1:11.25 twist rate optimal for both L2A2 Ball and the 155gr L42A3 Precision Ammunition. It is crowned with a Surefire FA762K Flash Hider, although the suppressor is only issued on the Sniper Support Weapon variant of the L129A1.
The rifle comes with an LMT SOPMOD Stock in FDE, FDE Ergo Pistol Grip, LMT Rail Covers as well as a folding Ergo/CAA Front Grip. The LMT 2 Stage Match trigger is an excellent precision trigger for a rifle in the DMR role. Other common furniture items are the Magpul AFG, and Tango Down Vertical Grip. The Magpul PRS stock is a very rare item on the DMR variant but more commonly seen on the SSW. As far as magazines go, the “official” issue is Magpul Pmags; however, metal Knights Armament Magazines have also been seen in service. The issued bipod is the Harris BRM 6-9″ on either an ARMS or, rarely, a Larue bipod mount. A very odd accessory that has been seen is the Istec SA80 bayonet adapter. This device is a picatinny mounted faux SA80 barrel and bayonet lug that allows the use of the SA80 bayonet on the L129A1. Blue Force Gear and VTAC slings have been seen in use with the DMR.
The optics package has little to no variation among the DMR variant of the rifle. The issued kit includes a Trijicon 6×48 ACOG with 7.62×51 BDC Reticle topped by an RM01 Red Dot Sight with Knights Armament micro back up iron sights. The Larue Tactical and ARMS acog mounts have both been seen on the L129A1. The PVS27 MUNS is the issued inline night vision system used on the rifle for night fighting capability.
The L129A1 will continue to serve as the primary DMR for the UK’s military forces for he forseeable future. In an upcoming post we will look at the Sniper Support Weapon variant of the L129A1. References have been included below.
Law Enforcement International LTD: http://l129a1.com/
LMT L129A1 Reference Rifle: https://lmtdefense.com/product/lm308ssr/
Armament Research Services L129A1 Overview: https://armamentresearch.com/british-l129a1-sharpshooter-rifle/