Military issue equipment: 1985


December 16, 2003, 08:20 AM
Just idle curiosity here.

In the year 1985, what small arms did various nations use?

I know the US was only beginning to get the M249 SAW (or did it come even later), and I don't believe that the SAW SAW much widespread issue until like 1994.

I don't know if the US had acquired any MAG-58 (M240) machine guns yet.

The M9 Beretta had just come into service. The M3A1 Grease Gun and M1911A1 pistol both soldiered on, and the MP5 was being used by special forces.

In Canada, I believe they still had the C1A1 FAL, as well as the C2A2 heavy barrel variant. Their machine gun was the MAG-58, if I'm not mistaken. Were they getting C7s (M16s) yet in 1985? Hi-Power as the sidearm.

The British had the L1A1, of course. I don't know if the L85 was coming online yet, but early versions probably were (unfortunately). Did the British use the L2A2 heavy barrel FAL? They were still using the 7.62mm BREN Gun as well, I believe (what was its proper designation?) What would've been the primary British sniper's rifle during this period? The Brits, of course, were using the MAG-58 as well. I believe the Hi-Power was the standard pistol, and the SAS was using the Sig P226.

The French were just getting the FA MAS F1, I believe, and still had large quantities of MAS 49/59 rifles, MAT-49 SMGs, and whatever machine gun in 7.5mm French they used (I can't recall). Did the French ever switch to 7.62 NATO? When?

The Germans had the G3 and the MG3. What was their sidearm?

The Soviets had a mish-mash of the previous forty years of firearms development; depending on where you were, you'd find brand-new AK-74s and RPK-74s, to old AKMs/RPKs, to even older SKS-45s and RPD-46s. Communist countries are notorious packrats; they never threw anything away. Hell, you could probably still find Burp Guns in service somewhere. Makarov PM was standard pistol, but the Tokarev was probably there in large quantities. PK was the standard machine gun. What was the Russian 12,7mm MG of this period? What about that monsterous 14,5mm?

That's all for now. Thanks! (I was four years old in 1985, so I don't really remember....)

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Marko Kloos
December 16, 2003, 08:41 AM
The Germans had the G3 and the MG3. What was their sidearm?

General issue handgun was the Walther P-1, the alloy-framed variant of the P-38. Some military police units were issued the H&K P7 PSP.

The general issue SMG for the German Army at the time was (and still is) the MP2A1/A2, a.k.a. the Uzi.

December 16, 2003, 09:28 AM
The general issue SMG for the German Army at the time was (and still is) the MP2A1/A2, a.k.a. the Uzi.

How ironic. You'd just assume it was the MP5, wouldn't you? I did. Huh.

December 16, 2003, 10:21 AM
Yeah, I did to. Hmphhh..

The standard issue Brit sniper rifle was (is?) an L42a1. It's a SMLE no. 4 in .308, with provisions for adding a scope.

Dave R
December 16, 2003, 10:26 AM
MMMmmmm. They never surplused any of those .308 SMLE's, did they?

December 16, 2003, 10:38 AM
I Thought the Brits used a Parker-Hale .308 by then.

Oh and I recall one of the things Andy McNabb mentioned (take it with a grain of salt) was that for the Falklands War the FAL was still in service and during his time in N. Ireland he was using an Armalite. The FAL wasn't available with a short barrel and the few they had were captured Argentine guns. There was some discussion about the neewd for a short barreled 308 FA "Car gun" in N. Ireland. I got the impression McNabb used an Armalite for his entire career in SAS. He packed a BHP.

Yeah ironic but The UZI was/is the SMG of the German army. All of the famous HK line was in production, except the USP. (G3, Mp 5, P9s, etc)

The m-3 grease gun was still standard equpiment issued to tankers. The Bradly was new.

The only action the French saw was bombing a Greenpeace boat, they didn't need a rifle for that. The 9mm MAB pistol was still in service.

The AK 74 was in pretty widespread use in Russia's "hot zones", particularly Afghanistan. Their "allies" were still using the AK 47, their enemies used both. Cartridge collectors were paying $5 a round for Makarov ammo.

December 16, 2003, 10:56 AM
re: the M240. Since the Army uses it as both the coax and loader's MG on the M1 Abrams, it was in service by 85. The M-60 was still the main squad machine gun.

December 16, 2003, 01:29 PM
Echo23TC: That's right, I forgot that the M240 was the coax on the Abrams.

Anyone know when the first ground versions (M240B) started to appear? What about the first SAWs (Minimi, to our European members :D )?

I think the French still use the MAB pistol.

$5.00 a pop for 9mm Makarov?? WOW, things have changed since the Iron Curtain fell, haven't they?

(On the other hand, how much did a Norinco AK clone cost you back in '85?)

What's this Parker Hale sniper rifle Brits have?

December 16, 2003, 01:35 PM
According to the Army website, the M240B entered Army service in 1997. Rangers were using the M-240G at some point a few years before that, but I'm not sure exactly when.

December 16, 2003, 01:39 PM
Do they still produce M60 machine guns? 'Cause every one I've seen looked like it was thirty years old and about worn out.

(Of course, the M60 wears out faster than your average machine gun, I'm told. Guys in my unit that were active duty say the M240 is ten times the machine gun the M60 is. Hell, the rest of NATO was using the MAG-58; I'm thinking we should've just swallowed our pride and used it to.)

I know the Army didn't acquire the M240s until recently, but what about the Marines? I think they started getting them some years earlier.

Just read an old early 80s article by Kokalis (sp?) about the SAW. Wow, talk about gushing. I think "most reliable weapon ever in US service" might be a BIT of a stretch. Especially if you're going to try to use that ridiculous M16 magazine well.

He also went on about how making a 7.62mm weapon as light as a SAW would be impossible. That's not true at all; the SAW was originally intended to be a 7.62mm weapon, as FN designed it, and that has come full circle now as a 7.62mm version is now in production.

(He also said that SS109 "easily outperforms" 7.62x51mm ball, and that SS109 would penetrate a helmet at 1100 meters, something I'd have to see to believe. But then, the man's entitled to his opinion, of course.)

December 16, 2003, 02:01 PM
M240's were also used on the M60 series tanks in the early '80s.
The M240's we used on the M60A3 had a short handgrip, almost no handgrip, and a solenoid was made on the coax mount to depress the trigger.

December 16, 2003, 02:49 PM
You're talking about the M240C-which is currently still in use as the coax MG on the M2/M3 Bradley series and M1 Abrams, plus on the Marines' amtrac (AAVP7?).

SAW entered service in 1987. And if it's the most reliable weapon ever in US service, I'll eat an M1903.

December 16, 2003, 02:55 PM
Woolworth's used to sell AK underfolders for $250, the hard part was finding ammo for them.

(That was while I was in college, shortly thereafter the Stockton schoolyard shooting took place, and the first cry to ban the AK was raised, Woolworth's stopped selling them.)

December 17, 2003, 02:36 AM
I am curious as to exactly when the UK and the Commonwealth began the switch to 5.56mm weapons.

December 17, 2003, 03:09 AM
SAW / Minimi was in common use in the Marines from at least '87.
I shot and cleaned enough of them to be sure of that.

December 17, 2003, 03:21 AM
Don't know about 85, but when I got joined the Army in 87 our most modern equipment was a Kevlar helmet! :D Our boots were standard issue old style without the speed lace.

In the 24th ID (FT Stewart GA) an Artillery line unit had the following.

M203 Grenade Launchers, we still had some M79s in the Arms room.
M1911 .45 Auto
M60 MG
M2 HB .50 cal for the crew served on our M109 Howitzers.

TVS5 and TVS7 Night Scopes

Our maintainence guys still had the old .45 "Grease Guns"! :D

In 88 we changed out our Jeeps for Hummers and our Commo folks got rid of their Gamma Goat for a Hummer.

Good Shooting

December 17, 2003, 09:35 AM
Nightcrawler, Kokalis has been known to change his opinion-see his switch on the AUG. The SAW is pretty good, for what it is. I never liked baby belt feds and always humped the Pig when I could.

In 1987 we had
M-9 bayonets
The first Humvees (last Jeeps gone 1988)
We were getting the M-252 81mm mortars and the new 60mm mortars during the same time frame.

In 1985 it was the same except for the SAWs and M-9 bayos. That was the 101st, BTW.

The 101st used 1911's through GW1 (I was out by then), and got M-16A2's in 1989.

I broke my '60 once, and got a brand new rebuild from war stocks. Sweet!
The M-60 I carried in Korea always ran well, but as we were in artillery range of North Korea we were a little more concerned about having a working weapon, and always got great support from our armorers and their support network.

My .45 in Korea was an unmodified 1911, not a 1911A1! Still shto expert with it.

December 17, 2003, 01:09 PM
"...Their machine gun was the MAG-58, if I'm not mistaken..." Nope. We still used the .30 Browning MG in 1985. The C7 was just being made(the da of one of my guys sold Diemaco all the new machinery) and slowly being issued to the Regs, but the Reserves didn't see it until long after 1985.

December 17, 2003, 02:22 PM
The Browning 1919 you guys was 7.62mm NATO, or .30-06?

Canada now uses the MAG-58. I believe they call it the C6. The C7 is the M16, the C8 is the CAR-15 variant, the C9 is the SAW.


December 18, 2003, 01:52 PM
I see nobody is taking on the Russian heavy machine guns question, so I will try.

The standard 12.7 MG was (and is, as far as I know) designated "NSVT", the 14.5 one - "KPVT". My memories are from about 5 years later then your period (1985), but I'm sure both MGs were in service for a long time already.
According to a friend who served at about the same time, the 12.7 MG dating from WWII ("DShK") was still in use in some "non-frontline" units. The same guy confirms lots of Tokarev pistols ("TT") being stored, if not issued, at the same unit.


February 29, 2004, 01:45 PM

Interesting that Canada was using the 1919 still in 1985. What was its designation? (C-??) Was it just the A4 variant, or did you guys actually have a 7.62mm version of the M1919A6, with the buttstock and bipod?

The C1A1 and C2A2 FAL-type rifles had stripper-clip top covers, correct? How commonly issued were optics? Was Canada using the ELCAN scope back then, or did they have the SUIT/Trilux/whatever that the British had?

The Hi-Power as the pistol, yes? Do you happen to know it's official designation? The British called it something like the L9A1.

Did Canada ever get the Sterling? What about the Enfield 7.62mm sniper rifle?


Jeff White
February 29, 2004, 02:13 PM
Nightcrawler asked;
Did Canada ever get the Sterling? What about the Enfield 7.62mm sniper rifle?

I don't know about the Enfield 7.62 sniper rifle, but the Princess Pats had the Sterling during BRIMFROST 83. Used crimped 9mm blanks for them too. I'll go through my albums and see if I can find a pic to post.


February 29, 2004, 02:21 PM
I found a GREAT website detailing the weapons used by the Canadian military.

Check it out: CANUCK Home Page: (

And it seems they did indeed have the Sterling, known as the C1 Submachine Gun.

Anyways, if the SAW was "common" by 1987, they must've been getting to some units in 85 or so. Probably the older, early version, though:

The one I'm issued is the newer-looking one, with the funky buttstock and upper handguard. It's also got the rail on the tray cover for mounting optics.

February 29, 2004, 02:47 PM
Did one year of ROTC in '82, enlisted in "86-89. In 86, Issues for 7thID(L) were as follows:

M16A2 for infantry, M16A1 for REMF's.
M1911A1 (with the odd M1911 still found)
M10 pistol for aviation (Both the M1911 (A1) and M10 S&W's were replaced with the M9 9mm in Feb. '87 division-wide)
M3Ax for M88 Recovery Vehicle crews, the closest we had to armor.
M21 at @1 per company in the infantry.
M60 per unit TOE
The M249 was not issued until mid'86, whichever Bde. was on RDF at the time got them, I can't recall who it was. The balance of the Div. got them over '86 to mid '87.
The only M240's on post belonged to the Brit and Anzac Redlegs training ours on the new Light Gun, replacing the M102 series. They had FAL's (L1A1?) IIRC.
M203. I did see some M79's in at Depot Maint. when I stopped there, so some one still used them.
Our LRSD(Long Range Surveillance Det.) had a line on just about what ever they needed for a specific mission. The ATMU on post kept ,(and played with:D ) most of these.
There were some M2's, mostly ring mounts on Deuces and the brand spanking new Hummers. The Gamma Goats were still being traded in for Hummers when I left. Our BN reactivated a chemical company, and they were issued Jeeps, not enough Hummers to go around. About half the M60's they got in from Anniston (not Jennifer:( ) had the gas plugs in backwards, I had to fix them, because their Armorer didn't know how.:eek:
That was a fun sight-in range!:rolleyes: I twisted more wire that day than a barbed wire factory!
I had the privelige of attending an Enemy Weapons Familiarization Course, and was one of the few who even knew of the AK-74 before the class, and thoroughly enjoyed the Range session.:D :evil:

February 29, 2004, 04:33 PM
Now HERE'S an obscure question. Anybody got any info on what the Australian SASR was using in the 80s?

Interesting note: In much of the world, they refer to the M16 as the "Armalite".

March 1, 2004, 02:49 AM
The standard issue Brit sniper rifle was (is?) an L42a1. It's a SMLE no. 4 in .308, with provisions for adding a scope.

i Beleive by 85-86 the transition to the parker-hale and accuracy international types, which were a quantum leap beyound the L42a1, had begun.

adn i THINK a few examples of the L42a1 DID make it over here to the states, but they are out of reach as they are few in number, and therefore cost you as much as a NIB civvy version of an M-40A3 or M-24.

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