Browning Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR, in some ways is the first assault rifle. It was a relatively light and portable weapon, that with some models, could be fired single shot or automatically. The weapon was not crew served, needing a single infantryman. In other ways the BAR is a light machine gun. Like full machine guns, it uses rifle caliber 7.62 (30-06) ammunition and employed two infantrymen. One operated the gun while the other served as a ammunition carrier. In the theater of war, this arrangement was seldom employed for long. The death or wounding of the BAR 'shooter' promoted the ammo carrier to gunner and seldom was the ammo carrier replaced.
Two models were manufactured. The BAR M1918A1 provided selective single shot or full automatic fire. Model M1919A2 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 BAR shown is mounted its folding bipod Since the heavy bipod could easily be detached in this model, it very frequently was removed when on the move. In defensive positions, the bipod was very effective. The flash hider, which was the point of attachment for the bipod, was not usually removed. Its function is to minimize muzzle flash from the vision of the shooter, maintaining his night vision.
The Browning was tough and well made. For maintenance and repairs, the BAR could be rapidly and easily stripped and reassembled. It seldom jammed. The BAR was reliable and offered an excellent combination of rapid fire and penetrating power. The GIs took to the BAR very well.