The L86 LSW 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 fire selector on the left side behind the magazine housing, enabling either semi-automatic or automatic fire.
"Designed to provide fire support to smaller groups of infantry, this British SA80 family rifle comes equipped with an extended barrel giving great effective range. While originally intended to act as a light machine gun, it has seen a shift towards marksman duties due to its great performance at longer distances. While it has limited sustained fire capabilities due to not being belt fed, the reliable accuracy makes it a great force multiplier for any squad."
— 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. It's worth noting the L86A2 is the only magazine-fed light machinegun which gains the additional bonus of reduced vertical recoil from the foregrip.
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.
The L86A2 has an unused aftgrip behind the magazine.