The L86 is a magazine-fed automatic weapon originally intended to provide fire support at a fireteam level. It has a longer barrel than the L85 rifle, on which it is based, and a bipod, shoulder trap 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, and the same 30-round magazines and sighting systems are used. Like the L85 rifle, it has a rate-of-fire selector on the left side behind the magazine housing, enabling either single shots or automatic fire.
— Battlelog description
The L86A2 makes its debut in the Battlefield franchise with the Close Quarters expansion pack for Battlefield 3. The L86A2 is a magazine-fed light machinegun, comparable to the M27 IAR and RPK-74M. Like those weapons, the L86A2 possesses 45+1 magazines by default, with all of the attachments available to those weapons, and has the same unlock progression (contrasted to the belt-fed light machineguns, where the unlocks are gained in a slightly different order). With Extended Mags, it has a 60+1 round mag. It is aesthetically very similar to its cousin that was added to the game in Back to Karkand, but with a much different barrel and a slightly different reloading animation. Additionally, the L86A2's bipod has no unfolding animation, with the bipod already deployed. It is more of a mobile machine gun like the M27 IAR and it goes well with a Holographic Sight, Foregrip, and Heavy Barrel where it will maintain incredible accuracy even at long ranges. On a side note however, equipping the L86A2 with a heavy barrel decreases it's hipfire accuracy to being the worst amongst the magazine-fed LMG's and even slightly worse than the beltfed LMG's without a barrel modification.
To obtain the L86A2, players must complete the "No Shortage" assignment. The reqiurements for this assignment are:
- 20 Squad Resupplies
- 20 kills with light machine guns
The L86A2 was initially called L86A1 after what the gun was modeled on but it was changed to L86A2 sometime after the trailers.