british special forces

SAS Weapons - G3 Assault Rifle

The Regiment had used full-sized G3 assault rifles in the field with great success in Northern Ireland when dealing with cars with armed IRA men onboard. These ambushes, however had been sprung from on foot. The Regiment's experience in Northern Ireland highlighted the need for a compact, automatic assault rifle chambered in 7.62mmx51mm, especially for use when operating in vehicles. The 9mm HK MP5 or 5.56mm M16s used elsewhere by the SAS were far from ideal for the task. For a brief period following the Falklands conflict, SAS vehicle teams used captured Argentine Paratrooper's FALs - weapons identical to the standard British SLR but with folding stocks, shorter barrels and an automatic fire mode.

It wasn't long before the Regiment took possession of the Heckler & Koch G3KA4 assault rifle, a cut down version of the venerable G3. Chambered in 7.62x51mm, fed from 20 round magazines, with collapsing stocks and automatic fire capability, the G3 KA4 became a favourite for not just the SAS but was also carried in vehicles driven by 14 Company undercover surveillance operators.

For short-range sniping, the SAS armoury includes the G3 SG1. The SG1 variant is a standard G3 with the addition of a special barrel, bipod, ergonomic butt-stock, trigger-group and sniper scope.

A further G3 variant, the highly compact MC51, is rumoured to have been used by UKSF. Nearly half as short as the full-size G3, the MC51 combines firepower and ergonomics. How effective a 7.52mm weapon with such a short barrel would be in combat is unclear and it's not believed that the British-built MC51 was ever used in anger. A version with an integrated suppressor was reportedly used for a short time by the SBS.

The Regiment used the G3 in its ambush of an IRA active service unit at Loughgall, in 1987. G3s are often given to SAS counter terrorist teams when guarding the perimeter of a terrorist stronghold.

full size G3 G3 KA4
Full-sized G3 assault rifle G3 KA4 - shorter barrel and collapsible stock
G3 SG1 sniper rifle MC51
G3SG1 sniper rifle
(bipod is folded up under barrel)

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