Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks


Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle

Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) / Sniper Rifle [ 2011 ]

The L129A1 Sharpshooter Rifle was adopted by the British Ministry of Defense to replace the Accuracy International L96 series for Designated Marksmen.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/20/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The L129A1 is categorized as a "Designated Marksman Rifle" (DMR) which places it between an assault rifle and a dedicated sniper rifle. As such, the designated marksman himself offers up, to an extent, the inherent benefits of both types of warfighters - able to supply self-loading, repeating fire to the enemy at ranges that go beyond that of the standard assault rifle. The designated marksmen is, however, not trained in the finer points of a sniper element and, instead, carries battlefield skills more akin to the regular fighting soldier. The United States developed their "designated marksman" component through its unfolding experiences in the Afghanistan and Iraq theater and was able to properly develop complementary weaponry through its well-established programs and facilities for use by the Army and Marine. When the British Army attempted to follow suit, it realized that it lacked the proper weaponry for the role - their smaller-caliber standard-issue L85 assault rifles were not up to the task particularly when attempting to counter enemies at distance armed with light machine guns - or the proper in-house facilities to make the proper weapon a reality. It was, therefore, decided that a new weapon system chambered for the larger 7.62mm cartridge be acquired, a weapon that also exhibited several other qualities the MoD required including ease of maintenance, ease of operation requiring only basic gunnery training, a compact profile for transportation or scouting sorties and - of course - repeat accuracy against human-sized targets at range.

The MoD set about creating an internal sharpshooter program to which Lewis Machine & Tool submitted a modified form of their excellent 7.62mm LM308MWS rifle. After an extensive evaluation process, the L129A1 was selected for further consideration as it managed to hit "on target" in successive shots which bode extremely well for the product. Additionally, LMT harbored its own certified manufacturing facilities which certainly helped its proposal. The LM308MWS was pitted against top contenders in the German Heckler & Koch HK417 and the Belgian Fabrique-National SCAR-17. The end result saw the LM308 accepted as the newest British Army firearm to come along in decades - designated in the British Army inventory as the "L129A1" and modified for the rigors of combat.

Outwardly, the L129A1 is of a most conventional layout. Construction utilizes heavy duty metal components as well as lightweight, corrosion-resistant polymers. The receiver contains all of the required internal functions as well as external firing selectors along both sides (near the pistol grip) for true ambidextrous use. There are two modes of fire - "safety" and "semi-automatic" denoted by a red and white decal at the selector position. The charging handle and ejection port are set to the right side of the receiver, favoring right-handed shooters but also keeping the ejecting cartridges well away of the firer's face. The firing operation involves the tried-and-true direct gas impingement system common to other firearms of this class. The pistol grip and trigger unit follow a very traditional M16-like appearance with the grip being well-angled to the rear and ergonomically designed for a firm hold. The 20-round straight detachable, spring-loaded magazine feeds just ahead of the trigger unit. There is a shrouded forend for a second-hand hold and this is ribbed for sure grip. The long running receiver and forend area is home to a Picatinny rail system to which optics of several types can be affixed (with backup sights provided for by Knight's Armament Company). The standard-issue scope for the British Army concerning the L129A1 is the Trijicon 6x48mm ACOG with a BDC reticle. Additionally, accessory rails are present along the forend sides and underside, the latter allowing the installation of a basic forward grip for improved support. The SOPMOD-style stock is supported by a tubular base and extends to a fully-molded shoulder support - the stock being adjustable to six preset positions. The 16-inch stainless steel, free-floating barrel protrudes from the vented forend shroud and is capped by a muzzle compensator/flash suppressor adapter. Of note is that the barrel is fully removable "in-the-field" and can be changed as needed. The LMT is delivered in a hard foam-padded case that includes the rifle itself, eight magazines (manufactured by Knight's Armament Company) and a cleaning kit.

The British Ministry of Defense (MoD) has selected the L129A1 to replace its Accuracy International L96 series of bolt-action rifles in use by its designated marksmen. While a quality rifle in its own right, the system does not fit properly into the rather defined role of the DMR. As of this writing (2012), the MoD has ordered (and presumably already received) some 440 L129A1 systems.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

United Kingdom national flag graphic
United Kingdom


Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) / Sniper Rifle

Lewis Machine and Tool - USA
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Accuracy / Precision
Long-range accuracy / precision capable; suitable for sniping, particularly when equipped with sighting aids.


gas-operated; rotating bolt

Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x51mm NATO

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x51mm / .308 Winchester rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

20-round detachable box magazine
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
2,624 ft
(800 m | 875 yd)

L129A1 - Base Series Designation.
LW308MWS - Commercial Market Form that the L129A1 is based on.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing all American military medals and ribbons.

www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-