10 Weapons That Backfired Horribly

1. The SA-80 Rifle

When it comes to apparently brilliant ideas that don’t work well in real life, we couldn’t forget the British. The SA-80 is their current standard rifle, officially designated L-85, and although it has evolved to be effective in combat, it didn’t start well. Fully introduced in 1987, the SA-80 boasts a “bull-pup” configuration, which means that the receiver and magazine assembly are behind the trigger and handle, allowing a shorter overall length with the same weight and barrel size. The British originally explored the idea with the EM-2 rifle in the 1950s, but these prototypes were ultimately discarded in favor of the much less radical, but awesomely reliable FN FAL.

The concept resurfaced when the Thatcher government increased defense spending in the ’80s. The bull-pup design means the weapon is not ambidextrous, only operating effectively from the right shoulder. As soon as it was adopted, there were complaints that it jammed far too easily. In fact, the reliability used to be so poor that more than 100 pieces had to be changed following its disastrous performance during the First Gulf War (most assault rifle designs have about 50 different pieces). Despite this, it still jams relatively easilyin dusty conditions.

The SA-80 is a weapon designed for a war that never happened (the aforementioned Fulda Gap breach) and which is consequently unsuited for the real wars it fights, namely peacekeeping in deserts. Let’s not even get into the decision to tell the workers assembling the rifles that they would be laid off after finishing them, which ensured an ensuing decrease in assembly quality (up to 90 percent of the rifles produced after this point had their receivers squeezed in a vice to make them fit).

Source: ListVerse

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