Our favorite Brit service member turned Canuck service member, who usually talks tanks and planes and stuff, is talking about the L85A1 and A2 that he legitimately used.
And… he liked it.
Now the original had its issues, many many issues, BUT after H&K tightened it back up to a working project… it was, a working project. Essentially an AR-18, which literally everyone is building around now including the M5. So, is the modern L85A3 a mistake? Probably not, it could still use some changes to the controls especially, but probably not a mistake.
Why I am sharing this is Matsimus points out the space advantages that bullpups give in both room clearing and a vehicle, which he deployed inside. He’s also giving the point of view of a soldier, just a regular soldier and not a multi-platform expert shooter, and how well being handed and drilled on a service rifle was. This point of view can be felt on the M4 also, our domestic bias for the M4 is strong and we attribute things to the basic M4 that are actually only features on well tuned up models with good ammunition. But we still love our M4’s even our M16’s, just because we do.
He describes the same problems (in reverse) going from the L85 to the C7A2 as most people describe, and disliking, going from AR’s to bullpups. They really are two different ergonomic animals. From a service rifle user, a normalized user perspective, seeing that he was handed and told to use both platforms in the same fashion (as in not getting a choice) the perspective feels grounded in that what does it really mean when this rifle is what you get.
So no, I won’t be recommending the L85A3 to anyone as a premier 21st century service rifle without peer. I don’t think many folks out there are going to disagree with me either. But I am of the opinion on this day in 2022 that if I were to pick up or be handed an L85 I’d make it work. Just like an AK, or an AR that wasn’t kitted my way, or a G3 or FAL. It works as long as I work and it beats a sharp stick, the better I work with it the better it works.
So shelve the internet lore next to the many grains of salt and until I get to work with one I’ll reserve final judgement. Kind of like VHS-2 now that we’re thinking about it.