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  • Browning M1918 BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) Light Machine Gun (LMG) / Squad Support Weapon

    Though introduced during World War 1, the M1918 found its true value in the many conflicts involving it in the post-war years including World War 2, Korea and the Vietnam War.

     Updated: 5/9/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.MilitaryFactory.com

    During World War 1 (1914-1918), the infantry-level automatic weapon was just beginning to scratch the surface of its potential. Self-loading rifles appeared as did full-automatic machine guns and semi-automatic pistol types. In an effort to provide the American infantryman with more portable firepower, John Browning devised his "Browning Automatic Rifle" ("BAR") which was adopted by the U.S. Army as the "Model 1918" - or M1918. The classic and utterly reliable design saw service in both World Wars and during some of the Cold War (1947-1991) period.

    The French Army of World War 1 had grown to appreciate the concept of automatic weapons at the infantry level and, when the Americans committed to the war in 1917, the French passed on this appreciation to its newly arriving ally. "Walking Fire" was the term given to the concept of a standard infantryman wielding a weapon firing volumes of ammunition at the enemy. As trench warfare permeated the battlefields across Europe at this time, weapons of voluminous fire was required to clear obstacles like stubborn, dug-in enemies.

    Browning went to work to develop such a weapon and settled on a gas-operated system which relied in a piston moving within a cylinder assembly. The assembly was fitted under the barrel and the open-bolt action contained in a rectangular, nearly featureless receiver. A "hump" along the top of the receiver was forced by the upwards cammed bolt lock. The extraction port was set to the right side of the receiver in the usual way. The magazine feed was found just ahead of the trigger unit and the shoulder support of the weapon constituted a traditional rifle-style butt. Wooden furniture made of this component as well as the handguard under the forward mass of the weapon. Magazines were straight in their general design and angled along their bottoms. A forward and rear iron sight allowed for some accurized fire at range.

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    Browning M1918 BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) Technical Specifications

    Service Year: 1918
    Type: Light Machine Gun (LMG) / Squad Support Weapon
    National Origin: United States
    Manufacturer(s): Colt Firearms / Winchester / Marlin Rockwell - USA / Fabrique Nationale - Belgium

    Design (Internal, Dimensions and Weights)

    Firing Action: Gas Operated Piston; Open Bolt; Selective Fire
    Available Caliber(s): .30-06 Springfield
    Ammunition Count / Feed: 20-Round Detachable Box Magazine
    Overall Length: 1,214 mm (47.80 inches)
    Barrel Length: 610 mm (24.02 inches)
    Weight (Empty): 15.98 lb (7.25 kg)
    Sighting Assist: Fixed Front and Rear (Iron)


    Muzzle Velocity: 2,820 feet/sec (860 m/sec)
    Rate-of-Fire (RoF): 500 rounds-per-minute (rpm)
    Typical Range: 1,069 feet (326 meters; 356 yards)

    Global Operators / Customers

    Argentina; Austria; Belgium; Bolivia; Brazil; Cambodia; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Egypt; El Salvador; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Nazi Germany (captured examples); West Germany; Greece; Haiti; Indonesia; Italy; Israel; Laos; Liberia; Luxembourg; Netherlands; Norway; North Vietnam (captured); Pakistan; Panama; Philippines; Poland; Spain; South Korea; South Sudan; South Vietnam; Soviet Union; Sweden; Taiwan; Thailand; Turkey; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay; Vietnam

    Model Variants

    M1918 - Debuted in 1917; base BAR variant with smooth tapered barrel system; swivel stock; sans bipod configuration.

    M1918A1 - Debuted in 1937; shoulder support plate; hinged bipod assembly; increased overall weight to 18.3 lbs; spiked bipod fittings; single-shot and full automatic firing modes.

    M1918A2 - Debuted in 1940; fitted with bipod with skid feet; mo single shot selection provided; carrying handle incorporated; adjustable rear sight aperture.

    Browning vz. 1928 - Polish-produced M1918 systems.

    IMG 28(p) - Nazi German designation for captured Polish Browning wz. 1928 systems.