Wednesday, December 19, 2007


The BAR was always my dream gun. Or it was. Back when I knew nothing and only looked at capabilities on paper, and then not looking TOO closely.

I wondered why didn’t EVERYBODY use the select fire version, before I knew better. I never understood how every pencil necked pencil pusher right on up to President Wilson didn't insist all soldiers be issue one in WWI, and never knew why they'd take away the option of firing semi-auto, as well as auto, in the WWII version. The BAR was perfect and would still be today, if we equipped our soldier. Look, it has the same size clip as an M-16, it fires REAL bullets in .30 caliber. It can fire as a machine-gun. It's accurate. It was designed by a weapons design genius. With armor piercing rounds, no regular vehicle was safe.

Even today, when I indulge in video game shoot em ups, I like to select the BAR for my virtual avatar, to wreak havoc upon the pixelated Japanazis.

Roberta X agrees with my sentiments, methinks, and mentions it in the comments here.

The only I thought that could improve it would be a 30 round magazine. AK-47 equipped commies going up against even 7.62 NATO chambered BAR equipped Muhrrican boys would wet their pants in fear.

But, I am older and wiser now. I've talked to Marines that fired it back when I still thought the BAR was the be-all, end-all gun. Their simple comment about it, other than accolades, was, "Well it IS heavy."

Heavy it is. 19 pounds empty. The M-16 weighs 8.5 pounds... LOADED. Why is it so heavy? The receiver is machined from a HUGE piece of steel. Even using CNC machining today, that would be expensive. And heavy, did I mention? If you lightened up the rifle, anyway, you'd probably end up with something that didn't fire very accurately at full auto. Now that I know better, here is what is wrong with it. Expense to machine, capacity mag, heavy. The military likes to use the smaller ammo so they can fire more times at the bad guy, so, even if I don't like it, the .30 is a non-starter on caliber choice for general issue.

Ok, so it isn't perfect. I shouldn't feel indignant that it isn't still issued as a standard primary arm in every allied army in the world. I still like it. If I win a lottery I am buying a few BARs (probably pay $20,000 and up for em.) I might buy one Tommy gun, but lots of BARs.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Grew up inside an Army Base and have wAtched soldiers refurbishing BAR's for re-issue to our Home Defense Forces. Them babies were huge and Heavy! I pitched in to help and they gave me an old steel helmet half-full of diesel fuel and a steel brush and asked me to brush the rust off BAR receivers and barrels.

They never asked me to fire one after the cleaning...damn. Loved the stories i got from old-timers though.