A variant of an Assault Rifle designed to augment the firepower of a rifle section. See also SAW.
The current LSW in the British forces is the SA80 L86A1 Light Support Weapon. The bigger brother of the good old SA80 Rifle. Includes an extended barrel with support, bipod, modified butt to include a shoulder rest and a second pistol grip. Always fitted with a SUSAT. Has an effective range of up to 800m and an anti-aircraft capability. It replaced the Bren LMG.
A mystery in the first place as to why this could be designated a "Support Weapon" when really it only came with 30 round STANAG mags as issued to the rest of the Armed Forces, although it would always have been an interesting concept to have seen what it would have been like under the stresses of one of those posh 100-round Beta-C Magazines for that highly desired sustained fire effect, if the working parts would last we may have had a winner?
It was always seen as a halfway house between a rifle and a machine gun. It is designed to be fired in bursts for suppressing the enemy, yet remains magazine fed. Think of it as a sort of low powered sniper rifle... although why would you want one?
The LSW has all but been replaced by the far superior (and belt-fed) FN Minimi LMG. Nowadays it's supposedly used in the DMR Role ... in a secton packing sharpshooter rifles. To compensate for this the clever people at the MOD decided to scale down the 'effective range' of the SA80 to 400m - hey presto, now we actually need this thing!.
Not to be confused with this LSW.
See also IAR.