Firearms / Machine guns / Bren

Bren

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Light support weapon

  • ORIGIN
    United Kingdom

  • NICKNAMES
    -

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1930's

  • DESIGNER
    Enfield

  • PRODUCTION
    1935 - 1971

  • PRODUCERS
    Australia - Lithgow
    Canada - John Inglis
    India - Ishapore
    United Kingdom - Enfield

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good reliability
    Good accuracy
    Heavy
    Limited magazine size

Introduction

The Bren is a light support weapon of UK origin and is an icon of British forces in World War 2. . The Bren, most of the time called the Bren gun, was adopted by the British forces in 1935 to increase the firepower of the rifle section. The name Bren comes from the Brno and Enfield. With the former being the Czech place of origin of the original design and the latter being the place of origin of the Bren. The Bren was widely used during World War 2 and subsequent conflicts. The Bren was a weapon that was liked by its users and its long service life is a testament to its quality.

Design

The design of the Bren is based on the Czechoslovak ZB-26 and is a gas operated weapon with a tilting bolt. The Bren differs in a lot of small details, with the most visual being the curved magazine instead of a straight one. A quick change barrel is fitted in order to replace the barrel during prolonged fire. When after World War 2 the UK adopted the 7.62x51mm NATO round the Bren was rechambered and known as the L4. The L4 differs in using a new barrel with slotted flash hider and magazines and some minor other changes. The rimless 7.62x51mm round resulted in a new straight 30 round magazine. The Bren was also used a lot on pintle mounts on all kinds of armored vehicles, most notably the Bren Carrier, but it was not used as a coaxial weapon.

Firepower

The original Bren fired the British .303 round from a 30 round magazine. The converted models fire the 7.62x51mm NATO round from a 30 round magazine, but can also use 20 and 30 round FAL magazines as used by most Commonwealth forces. The cyclic rate of fire is a modest 500 rounds per minute. The actual rate of fire is much lower due to frequent magazine changes. The maximum effective range is 600 meters.

Users

The main user of the Bren has been the UK. The Bren was adopted by most Commonwealth nations and additionally the Bren was successful on the export market. In the UK the Bren was supplemented with the MAG after World War 2, but it remained in use right up till the end of the Cold War. Currently it has been replaced by 5.56mm weapon systems. The Bren continues to be used throughout the world, although in ever more limited numbers and usually with reserve forces.

Variants

Bren Mk 1

The original Bren guns used during World War 2 were chambered in the .303 caliber and used curved magazines. The Mk I is the original British model and the Mk II is a more simplified model mainly produced in Canada. The Mk III and Mk IV are conversion of the Mk I and Mk II with a shorter barrel for those units requiring a more compact model.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber.303 British
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, tilting bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire500 rpm
Barrel length635 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity744 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.156 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight10.04 kg empty, 11.29 kg loaded
SightsIron sights, tangent leaf rearsight, 200 to 2.000 yard gradations, 788 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeLight support weapon
Caliber.303 British
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, tilting bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire540 rpm
Barrel length635 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.156 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight10.52 kg empty, 11.77 kg loaded
SightsIron sights, tangent leaf rearsight, 200 to 1.800 yard gradations, 782 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeLight support weapon
Caliber.303 British
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, tilting bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire480 rpm
Barrel length565 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.090 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight8.76 kg empty, 10.01 kg loaded
SightsIron sights, tangent leaf rearsight, 200 to 2.000 yard gradations, 694 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeLight support weapon
Caliber.303 British
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, tilting bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire520 rpm
Barrel length565 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 254 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.090 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight8.68 kg empty, 9.93 kg loaded
SightsIron sights, tangent leaf rearsight, 200 to 1.800 yard gradations, 694 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

Bren L4

The Bren L4 is a conversion to the 7.62x51mm NATO round adopted after World War 2. The barrel, magazine assembly and magazines differ from the original .303 models. The L4A1 and L4A2 are conversions of the Mk III, with the former having a Mk I bipod and the latter a lighter bipod. The L4A3 is a converted Mk II. The L4A4, L4A5 and L4A6 are similar to the L4A2, L4A3 and L4A1 respectively, but fitted with a chrome barrel. The L4A9 is fitted with a L7 dovetail.

TypeLight support weapon
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine30 rounds
OperationGas operated, tilting bolt
Fire selector0-1-F
Rate of fire500 rpm
Barrel length536 mm
Rifling?
Muzzle velocity823 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.133 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight9.53 kg empty, 10.71 kg loaded
SightsIron sights, tangent leaf rearsight, 200 to 2.000 yard gradations, 743 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

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