The legendar y ‘Gimpy’ has equipped British personnel for more than 60 years – and conceivably could for another 60. Former firearms instructor Craig Allen profiles the venerable L7 GPMG

Ifirst got my hands on the General Purpose Machine Gun – affectionately known as ‘Gimpy’ – as a young soldier in the early 1980s. I was immediately impressed with its firepower and reliability. Simply put, it shot where it was aimed, while stoppages were rare and easily cleared with simple drills.

The Gimpy, already a longserving staple, was to feature heavily in my career. I later became an instructor and rotated through the specialist Machine Gun Platoons in the Parachute Battalions. I learned to operate the GPMG in the

Sustained Fire (SF) role and taught these skills to others. On leaving the regular army I joined the Reserves and found myself back on the gun line teaching a whole new generation. Then, mobilising for Afghanistan, I saw the Gimpy once more operate as the hard-hitting bedrock of platoon firepower.

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