The Lee–Enfield is a bolt-action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle that served as the main firearm used by the military forces of the British Empire and Commonwealth during the first half of the 20th century. It was the British Army‘s standard rifle from its official adoption in 1895 until 1957. The WWI versions are often referred to as the “SMLE,” which is short for the common “Short Magazine Lee-Enfield” variant.
The iconic Lee–Enfield rifle, the SMLE Mk III
, was introduced on 26 January 1907, along with a Pattern 1907 (P’07) sword bayonet
and featured a simplified rear sight arrangement and a fixed, rather than a bolt-head-mounted sliding, charger guide. The design of the handguards and the magazine were also improved, and the chamber was adapted to fire the new Mk VII High Velocity spitzer
.303 ammunition. Many early model rifles, of Magazine Lee–Enfield (MLE), Magazine Lee–Metford (MLM), and SMLE type, were upgraded to the Mk III standard. These are designated Mk IV Cond., with various asterisks denoting subtypes.