U.S. B.A.R. versus British Bren gun

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by 17thfabn, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    The U.S. B.A.R. and British B.R.E.N gun were the standard squad automatic weapons of U.S. and Commonwealth forces.

    Generally the B.R.E.N is said to be superior to the B.A.R.

    In many ways both weapons were comparable. I some times wonder if the superiority the B.R.E.N. is credited with is due to so many of the World War II weapons books being written by British Authors.

    B.A.R. versus B.R.E.N
    19 pounds 23 pounds advantage B.A.R.
    Magazine 20 rounds 30 rounds advantage B.R.E.N.
    No quick change barrel quick change barrel advantage B.R.E.N.
    30.06 round slightly more powerful than .303 advantage B.A.R.

    I see both weapons as being on par with each other, with some superiority in some areas, but neither dominating the other.
  2. RJay

    RJay Active Member

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    The Bren was a light machine gun, the BAR was an automatic rifle?
  3. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    By name...but as 17th stated in the first post, both of them were the standard issue squad automatic weapon (not sure if that's exactly what the British termed that position).

    As for which one is better. I haven't had any experience with a Bren and only a short bit of range time with a BAR. 19 pounds plus ammo would be a pig to lug around day in and day out, but it was dang fun to pull the trigger on! Fun even if I was bruised up pretty good afterwards (but nothing like lighting off an M14!)

    I never did quite understand the mag sticking out the top of the receiver concept though, although that would make prone shooting a lot easier.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2009
  4. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    While I love the BAR, I'd go with the Bren.
    30 rounds vs 20
    And the ability to keep my precious head closer to the ground. ;) :D



    Art
  5. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I have only a little experience with the BREN, (range time only) and none with the BAR, having said that, it has to be the BREN.

    The BREN is a true LMG, and does the job of a LMG well. The BAR while a great gun, tries to be both a rifle and a LMG. To heavy for a rifle, not the qualities to be an effective LMG, in particular mag capacity and quick barrel changing.

    To make a point, how about the BAR vs the Garand?
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2009
  6. Yes, when it didn't jam, a tendency for which the BREN was well noted. For a light machine gun of that era, there were only two choices really: the Browning air-cooled M1919 .30 and the German MG42. Of course, the BREN was a magazine fed weapon like the BAR, so those two were really in a class by themselves.
  7. kutaho

    kutaho New Member

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    My Grandfather was involved in 'D' day.
    he told me one time of diving in a bomb crater, and there was a dead soldier there with a bar with the side damaged from the mortar that killed the soldier.
    He had lost his piece in the panic of trying not to die.
    Long story short, he fired that BAR all day till the line moved up to his position.
    Grandpa swears by the B.A.R.
  8. 17thfabn

    17thfabn New Member

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    I don't see the BREN gun as being in a different class than the B.A.R. They both filled the same role at squad level, as a base of fire weapon. The BREN has a marginaly better mag capacity at 30, really 28 rounds. I've always read they loaded only 28 in the mags or they would tend to jam up.

    The B.A.R. is NOTthe weapon you would want for sustained fire. It was used to fire two or three mags as the squad advanced then move and start firing again. But this is the same role the BREN gun would have been used for at squad level.

    For true sustained fire you need a belt fed machine gun. And for old school sustained fire you need a water cooled machine gun such as the Browning M1917, or British Vickers.
  9. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    My ole man sure melted a few BARs dwon while island hopping.

    I thought a Bren was a 9mm sub-MG
  10. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    That's the WW2 STEN gun, 9mm SMG. The EN in both cases is for Enfoeld where they were made.

    Re the original question, as I said I have very little experiance on one and none of the other, so don't really know.
  11. Rocket J Squirl

    Rocket J Squirl New Member

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    Ya think they would be smart enough not to name two things the same. We rodent brained critters have enough problems with jsut the food-mating-sleep concept
  12. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    the bren design is less complicated so i would think it would be a better weapon
  13. Maximilian II

    Maximilian II New Member

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    Both the Bren and B.A.R. were evolutionary steps toward the Aquad Automatic Weapons of today. Full sized MG's were too big and not portable enough, and both of these were a bit lacking in performance compared to "real" machineguns.
    Overall, assuming we're talking about the originally intended military application, I'd say the Bren would have a slight advantage.
    But in my heart I'd rather have a B.A.R. Somehow I can't get past Clyde Barrow cutting them down to a minimalist "Whippet Gun" (his term) and producing a short range firearm with the .30-06 power and fire rate of a machinegun while also giving Tommy Gun (Thompson) maneuverability. Concealable under a long coat. Nice.
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