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Enfield L7

General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)

United Kingdom | 1963

"The L7 series of general purpose machine guns is based on the FN MAG system, though with some modifications for British use."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 07/28/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The L7 GPMG (General Purpose Machine Gun) - sometimes called 'Gimpy' or 'Jimpy') was the hugely successful Belgian FN MAG (detailed elsewhere on this site) in British Army service. Largely faithful to the original design, the L7 incorporated only minor changes (this accomplished by the Royal Small Arms Factory - Enfield Lock) to better suit British production standards. The British Army adopted the L7 as its standard GPMG for light infantry support duties in 1963 after trials in 1956 between the Belgian weapon and the American M60 GPMG. Some dozen variants of the line then followed with improved feeds and differing in battlefield roles.

The L7 retained its proven gas-operated, open bolt design and was a "true machine gun" in that it fed from an ammunition belt. It was chambered for the ubiquitous 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge and could produce suppression firepower up to 1,000 rounds-per-minute. Muzzle velocity was rated at 2,755 feet-per-second and range was out to 1,800 meters (sighting aided by iron sights - folding rear leaf and notched front blade).

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Original models were the L7A1 and there were followed by the L7A2 with improved feed and support of a 50-round belt-box ammunition supply. The L8A1 was a vehicle (namely tank such as the Chieftain MBT) machine gun lacking the shoulder stock and fitting with a fume evacuator / extractor and gas regulator to better operate in confined spaces. The pistol grip was also made to fold away. The L8A2 was its improved-feed version.

An optional heavy-duty tripod assembly could be affixed to the weapon to have it operate as a standard defensive machine gun.

Additional marks included the L19A1 as a heavy-barreled model and the L20A1 as a "podded" machine gun (for use as fixed weapons on attack aircraft / helicopters). The L20A2 was its improved-feed version. The L37A1 was installed on Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) pintle mounts and had a traditional pistol grip while also having the capability to be dismounted for use as a squad level support weapon. The improved-feed model was the L37A2. The L43A1 was a ranging machine gun and used on the "Scorpion Light Tank" series (detailed elsewhere on this site) and the L44A1 was a version taken on by the British Royal Navy for use aboard warships and assault craft. The Westland "Lynx" transport helicopter was fitted with a pintle-mounted version of the L7 designated as the L112A1.

While originally produced for the British Army by Royal Ordnance, the L7 is now manufactured by the German concern of Heckler & Koch.

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The physical qualities of the Enfield L7. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,232 mm
48.50 in
O/A Length
630 mm
24.80 in
Barrel Length
24.03 lb
10.90 kg
Gas-Operated; Tipping-Bolt; Full-Automatic Fire
7.62x51mm NATO
250-round metal-link belt
Folding Leaf Rear w Aperture and Notch; Front Blade
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Enfield L7. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
2,624 ft
799.8 m | 874.7 yds
2,756 ft/sec
840 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Enfield L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) family line.
L7 GPMG - Base Series Designation
L7A1 - Original production models
L7A2 - Improved feed; support for 50-round belt-box
L8A1 - Vehicle-mounted (tank) coaxial machine gun; sans buttstock; fume extractor; solenoid trigger; folding pistol grip.
L8A2 - Improved feed version of L8A1
L19A1 - Heavy-duty barrel version
L20A1 - Remote-fire gun pod machine gun for aircraft.
L20A2 - Improved feed version of L20A1
L37A1 - Vehicle-mounted (AFV) variant; L8A1 breech system mated with L7 barrel; pistol grip equipped.
L37A2 - Improved feed version of L37A1
L43A1 - Ranging (tracer) machine gun for Scorpion Light Tank series.
L44A1 - British Royal Navy variant based on the L20A1.
L112A1 - Helicopter pintle-mounted variant based on L7A2 model.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Enfield L7. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Royal Arms Factory / Royal Ordnance - UK / Heckler and Koch - Germany
National flag of the United Kingdom

[ United Kingdom ]
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Image of the Enfield L7
Image from the United States Department of Defense imagery database.

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Enfield L7 General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) appears in the following collections:
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