John Browning designed the BAR to provide an automatic rifle for use during World War I, and it arrived in time to see service in that war.
The M1918A2, adopted by the Army in 1940, saw extensive service during World War II and Korea. The BAR used .30-06 cal. cartridges in 20-round magazines. The BAR provided an effective rate of fire of 550 spm, and proved to be a very reliable weapon during adverse operating conditions.
M1918 (1917) was selective to fire either semi- or fully-automatic. The M1918 did not have the shoulder support plate or bipod that was characteristic of later models. The M1918 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture battle sight with aperture rear sight.
M1918A1 (1937) was selective to fire either semi- or fully-automatic. It had a shoulder support plate hinged to the buttstock and a spike type bipod. The M1918A1 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture battle sight with aperture rear sight.
M1918A2 (1940) was fully-automatic, but selective at either Slow (300-450 spm) or Fast (500-650 spm) rates of fire. The M1918A2 was originally issued with a spike based removable stock rest which fitted in a hole in the buttstock. It had a shorter hinged shoulder support plate and a skid type bipod. Later modifications included a plastic buttstock and the addition of a carrying handle. The M1918A2 had a blade front sight and a leaf with aperture rear sight adjustable for windage.
Information on this page courtesy of U.S. Army TACOM-Rock Island.
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