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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The SA80 is a lighter, more accurate and more versatile weapon than the SLR. The lower recoil energy of the SA80 derived from its smaller cartridge makes it easier to maintain or reacquire a target during shooting than with the SLR. The average user therefore finds the weapon easier to handle and use. The SA80's SUSAT optical sight, issued to all infantry users, provides 4x magnification of a target, increasing further the accuracy and consistency of the weapon.
The length of the SA80 is 785mm, some 350mm shorter than the SLR. The compact configuration of the SA80 allows it to be handled in and out of vehicles (such as armoured personnel carriers) much more easily, allowing the weapon to be brought into action more quickly and effectively. It also makes the SA80 easier to operate when moving in confined spaces such as in urban or jungle areas. The unique SA80 sling allows the weapon to be carried in a number of configurations, which allows greater flexibility than with the SLR both to carry the weapon and to complete other tasks such as digging.
The SA80 magazine holds 30 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition compared to the 20 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition carried within the SLR magazine. This increases the amount of ammunition that a dismounted section can carry, increasing its flexibility.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The relevant legislation is Article 28 of the EC Treaty, which prohibits quantitative restrictions on imports and all measures having equivalent effect between member states.
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