The SA80 L85A2, a Bull-pup rifle (meaning the grip is in front of the magazine)it is in common use throughout the British army and has proved its worth many times over. In this article i will give a basic idea of how to work the rifle and its strengths and weaknesses.
Before i continue i would like to point out the danger of firearms and their criminal nature in many countries. Also without intensive familiarization and training with a rifle you would be no match for any military personnel, the use of weapons is a last ditch means of survival. In a war zone the first priority of any civilian is escape.
The L85A2 is a highly accurate and maneuverable weapon owing to its design, it is also quite good at soaking up recoil but more on that later. It does however have a few faults, noticeably the complexity of the rifle, leading to frequent jams. It is also very heavy for a Bull-pup rifle, this is because of the counterweight in the stock required in order to balance the rifle. Also the rifle does not support ambidextrous operation, if you are left handed you will have to fire it from your right shoulder like everybody else or you will get a stream of red hot cases launched at your cheek when you fire, which would hurt.
You have come across the rifle on the floor, in a dire situation (War, Rioting etc.) and need to use it. The first thing you must do is identify the parts of the rifle. Pick it up by the pistol grip (Handle for all you civilians) with your RIGHT hand, taking care NOT to pull the trigger. Directly above the handle is the safety catch, it is a button that ensures the rifle cannot fire accidental. When pushed to the right it is safe, to the left ready to fire, PUSH IT TO RIGHT to make it safe now. Pull the rifle into your shoulder and place your left hand on the Muzzle housing (the green bit).
Next step is to remove the magazine. On the left side of the magazine housing is the release catch, depress it with your thumb and pull out the magazine with your right hand. Check if the magazine has any rounds in it (Bullets to you folk) and place it care fully on the ground. It still could however have a bullet in the firing chamber. Pull the catch on the right side of the rifle full back, this will remove the loaded round from the chamber if there is one. If there was one slot it back into the magazine. Now you need to inspect the rifle for blockages, still holding back the catch look into the firing chamber and around the magazine housing for anything that shouldn't be there, it should be just smooth black metal. if there is a blockage you will have to try and remove it, being very careful. the normal procedure for soldiers is to slap and shake the rifle repeatedly while swearing loudly about the makers. One it is clear let go of the catch, remove the safety and fire off the action, it wont fire any rounds because you didn't leave any in there did you? This is called a NSP or Normal Safety Procedure and can be performed in under ten seconds after practice. It can mean the difference between life and death in the field.
Now you need to use it don't you? Well if the situation is not life threatening i would advise against as it will just add to your problems, but in a war it might be necessary. Search the body of the previous user/area for ammunition, you are going to need some. Hopefully you find some, if not the rifle is dead weight and consider dropping it. if possible try to sort out your ammunition into whole magazines but there isn't always time. Insert your magazine into the Magazine housing until you feel and hear the click. Next pull back the handle on the right side of the rifle and release, when you release be careful not to apply forward pressure, just release the handle. If you do push forwards you will jam the rifle and have to try and clear the jam. You do not want to jam the rifle.
Next step is to put the safety catch on safe, the reason being you don't want an accidental discharge. You only remove it when in actual combat.
If you do fire aim at the chest and fire in short controlled bursts. The reason you would aim at the chest is that being in such a stressful situation your aim would be terrible and there is a natural tendency for the rifle to rise anyway during fire so you might hit their head too. You fire in short controlled bursts because of this, due to recoil the barrel drifts up and hits the sky after a few seconds. About three rounds is the best number to fire in one go. Remember to line up both the foresight AND backsight before firing, otherwise you will miss and get shot for your troubles.
Whenever possible fire from cover and try to keep moving, whenever possible while the enemy is engaged by a friend. Use your weapon as last resort to escape, if the route is blocked for example. Against untrained foes the enemy may just run, for example in a riot just use warning shots. Against military personnel however you are in for a hard fight. Just try and break off and work around them, they will murder you in a strait firefight. Cover is anything that will protect you from bullets, a car door or a sofa is NOT cover, no matter what Hollywood says.
All of this is not to be used except in a catastrophic breakdown of society and exercise careful use of the law throughout where possible, it is better to use the rifle to scare then to kill in most cases. In a War situation once again only fight if the enemy offer no other means of escape or survival, for example in the siege of Leningrad by the Germans, where the Russian civilians alongside the army held the city for a staggering four years before being relieved.
Most of all, please don't jam the rifle.