In 2001 the British Army and law enforcement units in the UK began to be issued with new riot guns, the L104A1, made by Heckler and Koch. Unlike earlier weapons of this type, the L104A1 had a rifled barrel that combined with a redesigned round gave more consistent and accurate firepower. The new case was a few millimetres shorter than earlier rounds, and the plastic baton itself was slightly rounder to improve range. Previously I have covered the L3A1 round from the early 1970s here, this more up to date round is clearly a logical descendent of that earlier design:
The casing is actually painted black now, rather than being chemically blackened, and the calibre has changed from 1″ to 37mm, but the design is similar. On the base is the primer, with a small dimple where the round was actually fired:
The round’s designation is stencilled onto the outside in white together with its date of manufacture- July 2003:
The only other markings on the case are three small letter ‘B’s on the rear:
The L21A1 round only lasted in service for a very short time. The Defence Scientific Advisory Committee tested the round and concluded that whilst it had similar kinetic impact energies to its predecessors, it could be slightly more dangerous if it struck someone in the head. A replacement round, the L60A1 Impact Round was introduced to replace it in June 2005. Despite its limited years of production, quantities produced were quite impressive. In 2004/05 a German company provided the British Army with 267,276 L21A1 rounds.