|Weapon Type||Primary Weapon|
|Weapon Class||Light Machine Gun|
|Rank Prerequisites||Rank 43|
|Damage||35 -> 25|
|Range||90 max -> 160 min|
|Magazine Size||30, 31|
|Fire Modes||Auto & Semi|
|Rate of Fire||610 RPM|
The L86A1 LSW ("Light Support Weapon") is a magazine-fed automatic weapon originally intended to provide fire support at a fire-team level. It has a longer barrel than the L85A1 rifle, a bipod, shoulder strap and rear pistol grip, together with a shorter handguard. The extended barrel provides an increased muzzle velocity and further stabilizes the bullet, giving a greater effective range. The weapon is otherwise identical to the L85 version on which it is based, and the same 30-round magazine and sighting systems are reused here. Like the L85 rifle, it has a fire mode selector on the left side of the magazine housing, enabling either single shots or fully-automatic fire.
The L86A1 was plagued by the same problems as its base version, the L85A1 rifle. In fact, the L86A1 was more suitable as a semi-automatic para-sniper rifle rather than an LSW/LMG, due to the poor reliability in full automatic fire, relatively small (by machine guns standards) magazine capacity and the lack of quick-detachable barrels. Current British troops prefer the much heavier and belt-fed 7.62x51mm L7A1 GPMG (a license-built copy of Belgian FN MAG general purpose machine gun), and at the present time, the existing stocks of L86A1 are complemented with the 5.56x45mm FN Minimi belt-fed LMG in the short-barreled Para configuration. The L86A1 will be used mostly as a longer-range aimed fire weapons, while the suppressive fire functions will be conducted using more effective FN Minimi. All L86A1s were later upgraded to A2 versions, at the same time all L85s became the A2 version. Many units of British army use the L86 as a Designated Marksman Rifle.
The L86 LSW is a high damage LMG, dealing a three-shot-kill (3SK) at close ranges and a 4SK at medium to long ranges, comparable to the SKS. Like the other SA80 variants, the L86 LSW suffers from higher recoil in fully-automatic fire and can be hard to control. The rate of fire (RoF) of this LMG is lower than its Assault Class and Carbine versions, but it's still slightly higher than the M60. Like the other LMGs, the L86 LSW provides a good suppression effect. The magazine capacity is the smallest in-class, with a 30-round magazine. However, the L86 LSW does have a large ammunition reserve of 210 rounds. Even with a low capacity magazine, the L86 LSW has a low mobility but its reload is fairly quick compared to other LMGs. It also is able to switch between semi-automatic and fully-automatic fire.
Usage & Tactics
The L86 LSW is quite odd to use. The camera recoil in full-auto is moderately high, requiring a set of attachments prioritizing Aim Stability, for example, Stubby Grip, to increase accuracy whilst firing in full-auto. Recoil per shot, however, is quite low, meaning that it is more optimal to tap-fire or to fire no longer than bursts of 3-4 rounds at long ranges. However, if one can control the recoil, the L86 becomes extremely efficient, whether as a squad support weapon or as a one-man-army weapon. A good attachment for the L86 is the Muzzle Brake, given the vertical recoil. If a user is extremely precise, it is possible to achieve up to 4 or 5 kills per magazine, and the higher damage output allows a user to peek out of cover and kill an opponent with relative ease.
Due to its higher recoil and instability, using it in full-auto at medium range will yield mixed results, as the L86 is still hard to control with recoil-reducing attachments. However, the high damage combined with the moderate RoF results in a fairly low time-to-kill (TTK), rivaling the TTK of the M60 excluding headshots. This does allow the user to compete at close ranges as long as they remain accurate with their shot placement. The L86 is though outclassed in close-quarters-combat (CQC), with other high damage LMGs having the ability to two-shot-headshot and other LMGs having a much higher RoF, larger magazine sizes and overall less recoil.
The L86 can be used very effectively as a DMR when switching it to semi-auto mode. With the ability to 4SK at longer ranges, the L86 is just as deadly as the DMRs. The L86 LSW also has an extremely high muzzle velocity that rivals some Sniper Rifles, making it far better at longer-ranged combat than any other LMG. With the right attachments, mainly ones geared to aimed accuracy, the L86 becomes an effective long ranged weapon. Its high ammunition reserve also means players don't have to stress too much about running out of ammunition. More seasoned veterans will usually burst at longer ranges instead of firing semi-auto, as this can result in an even lower TTK than one could achieve with tap-firing alone and it also helps suppress the enemy better. The L86 is also very good at suppression and penetration, which balances out small magazine size. Thankfully, it has a quicker reload time than other LMGs.
The L86 LSW is confirmed by one of the developers of Phantom Forces that they want it to be used as a DMR while remaining its role of an LMG; it's also for rebalancing purposes. This explains the odd characteristics of the L86 LSW. One of the recommended playstyles of this gun is as a sentry; holing up in a building to lay fire down on the enemies below. It also excels at counter sniping; on Crane Site it can easily shoot down snipers from any of the rooftop locations.
The L86 is a fairly versatile LMG and can be used at a wide variety of ranges. It excels at long-ranged combat, rivaling both DMRs and Sniper Rifles with its high damage, high muzzle velocity and good tap-fire accuracy. However, its let down by its slower RoF, minuscule magazine size for an LMG and worse recoil whilst firing full-auto. In the most part, it should be treated as a DMR with a larger magazine size, full-auto capabilities but a slower mobility speed.
Pros & Cons
- High damage: 3SK in CQC, further extended with torso shots, 4SK at longer ranges and 3SK at any range with headshots.
- Very good muzzle velocity and bullet drop, muzzle velocity is the same as most sniper rifles.
- Higher mobility when compared to other LMGs like M60 and MG36.
- Very low recoil per-shot.
- High ammunition reserve.
- High suppression.
- Good reload speed for an LMG.
- High vertical recoil in stock form whilst firing full-auto.
- High TTK in close quarters due to not having a 2-Shot-Headshot ability like other guns of a similar fire rate such as SCAR-H and UMP45.
- Lowest magazine size of all the LMGs.
- Similar to the M60, the L86 LSW is incorrectly categorized as a Light Machine Gun in-game. In real life, it is categorized as a Light Support Weapon, as the name implies.
- In real life, the LSW, like all SA80 weapons, is usually equipped with the SUSAT optic in service to make it more effective at range.
- In real life, the LSW has a fire rate of 700 RPM. The lower in-game fire rate of 610 RPM was probably applied for balance reasons.
- The L86 LSW inflicts more damage than other SA80 weapons, probably due to its longer barrel and hence increased velocity.
- Despite being named an L86A1, the in-game model is an L86A2, because of its differently-shaped charging handles.
- The L86 has both the fastest reload and the smallest magazine size of all the Light Machine Guns.
- The L86 like most other LMG's in-game has an unusable bipod.
- The L86 has a grip behind the magazine, which is visually similar to the Vertical Grip.
- In real life, this is most likely for extra stability when firing, however, in-game it has no effect.
- Similarly to the L22 and L85A2, it has an unused bolt lock.