M1918A2 BAR

Private Reiben with a BAR

Originally designed by John Browning in 1917 (model M1918A1) and used in World War I, the fully-automatic, air-cooled M1918A2 Browning Automatic Rifle was introduced in 1940 and featured two automatic fire modes; slow operated at 300 to 450 rounds per minute, and fast operated at 500 to 650 rounds per minute.

The BAR was a popular weapon because of its firepower, but its drawbacks included its lack of a quick-change barrel, frequent jamming, small magazine, and its significant weight.

Rangers were issued the BAR on December 9th, 1943. In order to save weight, Rangers did not carry the BAR's bipod. All Rangers were trained to use the BAR, even though very few of them would carry one into combat.

In regular Army units one BAR was issued to each squad, although this was later changed to two BARs per squad. Due to the importance of its extra firepower, the BAR was most often given to the squad's most reliable soldier. A BAR gunner normally had an assistant who would carry extra ammunition.

First employed in World War I, the BAR continued to serve the U.S. Army up to the Korean War in the 1950's, and was eventually replaced by the M14E2 rifle (and later the M60 machine gun). Approximately 52,000 BARs were produced by six different contractors.


The BAR, carried by Private Reiben, is a prominent and distinctive weapon in Saving Private Ryan. The acronym BAR is pronounced "bee-ay-are" and never as "bar." Reiben does not have an assistant. 15 BAR's were used in the making of the movie.


Caliber: .30
Muzzle Velocity: 2800 feet per second
Capacity: 20-round magazine
Weight: 19.4 lbs.
Length: 47.8 in.
Rate of Fire: 550 rounds per minute
Effective Range: 600 yards