||Air cooled, gas operated,
magazine fed, shoulder type
||selective fire (fully and semi-automatic)
||853.4 mps (2800 fps)
||20-round detachable box magazine
(1) Bandoleer (BAR belt): 12 magazines
(2) Magazine changeable in 2-4 seconds
(but averaged 6-8 seconds in combat)
||8.33 kg (18.5 lbs)
||119.4 cm (47 in.)
|Rate of fire
||550 rounds per minute
||550m (600 yds)
||(1) Ball M2; 150 gr bullet, 50 gr charge
(2) Tracer M25, M1: for designating targets and signalling
(3) Armor piercing M2 (black tip); 165gr/53gr
(4) Armor piercing incendiary: for lightly armored flammable targets
The initial M1918A1 version of the Browning Automatic Rifle
(BAR) was first used in combat by American soldiers during World
War I, and many saw service in World War II. The BAR received
high praise for its reliability under adverse conditions.
In 1940, the model M1918A2 was adopted. Unlike earlier models,
it could only be fired in two automatic modes--slow (300 to 450
rpm) or fast (500 to 650 rpm)--but not in semiautomatic mode.
Both versions were widely used in the second world war. The USMC
preferred the semiautomatic mode in some tactical situations,
and modified most of the M1918A2 guns to include that capability.
A buffer spring in the butt greatly reduced recoil, to the advantage
both of firing accuracy and shooter endurance.
The M1918A2 also mounted its folding bipod (2.38 pounds!) on a
special flash hider near the end of the barrel. Since the bipod
could easily be detached in this model, it very frequently was!
but not often in defensive positions, where it was very effective.
The flash hider, which was the point of attachment for the bipod,
was not usually removed. Hiding the flash from enemy troops when
firing on them isn't the purpose of the hider, all automatic weapons
are easily visible when fired at night. It blocks the muzzle flash
from the vision of the shooter, maintaining his night vision.
The Army infantry squad of nine men was tactically organized around
a single BAR. The Marine squad of thirteen men was organized around
three fire-teams, each organized around a BAR. The much greater
fire power of a Marine platoon with its nine BARs over the Army
platoon with its four BARs was a great combat advantage.
The BAR was a popular weapon in WWII and Korea, because it was
very reliable and offered an excellent combination of rapid fire
and penetrating power. The BAR's only serious drawbacks were its
lack of a quick-change barrel (to reduce the chance of overheating),
and its weight (BAR, with bipod and a loaded bandoleer, came to
about 40 pounds).
In Korea, the much greater range and penetrating power of the
BAR and the .30 caliber air cooled machine gun, firing rifle ammunition,
usually more than offset the light weight and rapid fire capability
of the variety of submachine guns the North Koreans and Chinese
used, including their burp guns modeled on Soviet weapons such
as the Shpagin PPSh41 , which fired pistol ammunition.