"Civil Servant" gun?


Nathaniel Firethorn
March 19, 2003, 06:23 PM
Hi, all,

Trivia question: What gun was nicknamed the "Civil Servant?"

The reason was that you can't fire it and you can't get it to work. :D

- pdmoderator

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Marko Kloos
March 19, 2003, 06:28 PM
That's the new nickname for the SA80 rifle, given to it by its British users. :D

March 19, 2003, 06:30 PM
Okay, unleash the hints.

Time period, as in 19th Century?



March 19, 2003, 06:31 PM
I think lendringser's got it already. :D

Nathaniel Firethorn
March 19, 2003, 06:32 PM
...I don't know the answer, let alone the hints!

SA80, eh?



Figures if it's true. What an ugly, awkward-looking thing.

- pdmoderator

March 19, 2003, 06:38 PM
Isn't the barrel on the wrong end ....?


El Tejon
March 19, 2003, 07:57 PM
pd, ugly, yeah, but it looks really, really cool so it must be good.:D

March 19, 2003, 08:31 PM
110 parts changed!!! How many parts does the thing have?!

March 19, 2003, 10:59 PM
No wonder they're having problems with it! They put it together wrong! :rolleyes:

March 20, 2003, 02:12 AM
owen to answer your question 109...:D they had to find a new grunt to fire it .

March 20, 2003, 10:05 AM
I bet they're wishing to have their FALs/L1A1s back.


February 28, 2003

LENGTH: 737 words


BYLINE: David Williams in Kuwait and Matthew Hickley

BRITISH frontline troops in Kuwait preparing for war against Iraq say their infamous SA80 assault rifles are still not completely reliable.

Army top brass insist a GBP 92mil-lion overhaul programme has finally ended years of glitches.

But while many of the soldiers agree the rifle has been improved, others say there have been a number of worrying failures during live-fire exercises.

An Army spokesman in Kuwait stressed last night that the problems highlighted by the men were not reflected in the overall trials of the weapon. 'It has so far proved to be far more reliable than its predecessor and the men have expressed confidence in it,' he said.

The SA80's failings in the past led to some soldiers dubbing it the Civil Servant - joking bitterly that 'you can't make it work and you can't fire it'.

While many of the problems have been put down to sand getting into the rifles in the desert, the troops point out similar problems have occurred during exercises at sea.

In one, soldiers heading for the Gulf found that nine rifles out of 24 fired over the ship's side suffered problems with the mechanism feeding bullets from the magazine into the firing chamber.

And in a live-fire exercise in the Kuwaiti desert last weekend one serviceman told how his SA80 had jammed with every fifth shot - a result, he said, of the same malfunction.

Although the troops acknowledged significant improvements after the recent upgrade, several said they still had no confidence in their standard-issue personal weapon.

'It is much better, but there are still problems for which there is no excuse,' one said.

Another said: 'The weapon has improved since it went back to Heckler and Koch (the British-owned firm in Germany that carried out the overhaul) but you still can't be sure of it, and that's the last feeling you want for your weapon.' He added: 'It is about time we faced it. This rifle is no good.

'They should scrap it and go and buy the best available off the shelf, the M16, which the Americans have.

'The fact is that after all the money the Government has spent on this, they are not going to admit failure.'

The Ministry of Defence did come close to scrapping the SA80 and buying an off-the-shelf replacement, but instead Ministers opted to spend millions redesigning and rebuilding the entire stock of 300,000.

Troops serving in the Gulf are now issued with the SA80-A2 version, with a number of key modifications.

Defence chiefs unveiled the upgraded weapon last year, insisting it had become 'a worldbeater'.

It is renowned for its accuracy but its reliability in extreme temperatures has long caused concern, and it has proved particularly prone to blockages in hot and dusty desert conditions, as troops quickly found during the 1991 Gulf War.

The rifles are said to have jammed during a firefight in Sierra Leone, endangering the lives of British troops.

A National Audit Office report last year into a huge UK military desert warfare exercise in Oman was fiercely critical of the weapon's performance.

Royal Marines who encountered the familiar blockages when using the upgraded SA80-A2 in Afghanistan recently were told it was their own fault for failing to lubricate the weapons properly.

But yesterday another serviceman dismissed suggestions that the answer was more oil to keep dust and sand at bay, pointing out that the failures had taken place well away from the desert.

He stripped down his weapon, which had been cleaned four hours earlier, to show how sand had already penetrated the mechanisms, and pointed to problems with two different magazines.

However, in London an MoD spokesman played down suggestions of failings with the SA80-A2 experienced by the Royal Marines or any other Army or RAF units in the Gulf.

'The Marines have fired thousands of rounds in the past few weeks, and no weapon defect reports have been filed,' the spokesman said.

Elite units like the SAS which have free choice of weapons have never used the SA80, and it proved a flop on the export market.

These latest concerns about the rifle will underline fears over the quality and quantity of kit provided to British troops for the forthcoming conflict.

UK soldiers have already been dubbed 'the borrowers' by their U.S. counterparts because they are constantly asking for clothing and other equipment from the Americans.

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