Encyclopedia - Browning Automatic Rifle
Deployed in the final year of World War I, the Browning Automatic Rifle (or BAR) was effectively a form of light machine gun.
Designed by John Moses Browning the weapon was first deployed in combat use by American forces in 1918; it was to see much further service during World War II.
Widely regarded for its reliability under trench conditions - an environment which caused problems for many other similar weapons - the M1918 (as it was designated) was air cooled, gas operated and magazine fed, using 0.30-inch ammunition.
It was loaded via a 20-round detachable box magazine (which could be rapidly changed in theory in 2-4 seconds; 6-8 seconds in practice). The BAR weighed a little over 8kg and had a cyclic firing rate of 550 rounds per minute at 600 yards. It could be used in either semi- or fully-automatic mode.
Causing a sensation when it was introduced the BAR was lighter than the Lewis Gun and its magazine could be changed far faster than either the Lewis or French Chauchat Gun. It could be pointed and fired like a rifle by just one man.
A 'Tracer' was a phosphorescent machine-gun bullet which glowed in flight, indicating course as an aid to artillery.
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