Staff Writer (Updated: 7/23/2016):
The M1918 BAR was an "in-between" weapon, not necessarily a traditional rifle but not quite every squad's machine gun system. The weapon suffered from being too clumsy to wield and fire from the shoulder in the way a bolt-action rifle would be fired. In that same vein, the weapon fired from a 20-round detachable box - making the need to reload it not an effective machine gun. The internal workings of the system were also overly complicated to produce, though this type of craftsmanship would make the M1918 virtually unbreakable in the heat of battle.
Though never a breakout weapon in the First World War, the M1918 saw extensive use with American forces in the Second World War, being utilized in the squad support role. The weapon would also become the first US-designed and produced selective-fire weapon. Indeed it was a welcomed addition to any rifle platoon that sought the suppressive fire capabilities of the portable pseudo-machine gun system.
The intial M1918 BAR was fitted with a selective fire system that allowed the user to squeeze off a single round or engage in full automatic fire. A later conversion of the system would remove the single-shot firing capability and make way for a selective full automatic fire mode that allowed the user to choose between full auto fire at 350 rounds per minute or 550 rounds per minute.
The M1918 saw massive export to armies around the globe. Ceasing activities with the United States military by 1955, the system progressed in number with other nations well into the 1970's. From there on it became a much sought after collector's piece - owing to the durability of John Browning's original design.