Born in the middle of the 19th century, John Browning grew up in Ogden, UT and from birth it seemed like he had a love for guns. The USPTO has him credited with 128 different gun patents and he got to work at an early age, making his first firearm at the age of 13. Browning’s first patent was awarded to him when he was 24 and he never looked back from there.
John Browning is known for making some significant improvements to many gun designs. Here is a look at some of his most successful inventions.
1. The M1911 Pistol
The 1911 design that Browning created is still used today and is one of the primary designs that most major gun manufacturers put out on the market. The M1911 is a single action firearm that is magazine-fed and has semi-automatic functioning. Unlike other firearms at the time, this recoil operated pistol was very reliable and was the standard issue firearm that was issued to US armed forces for over 70 years and is still carried by some forces. Browning’s design has been widely copied, but that’s because it is one of the best short recoil designs ever made.
2. The .50 Caliber Machine Gun
The M2, which is sometimes called the Browning Machine Gun, is a heavy gun that was developed by Browning near the end of the first world war. The .50 caliber design provides a much more powerful cartridge and that means better stopping power for specific wartime applications, including low flying aircraft and lightly armored vehicles. This machine gun has been in production longer than any other machine gun and it is still used for vehicle armament today by the US military.
3. The Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Before Browning got his hands on a shotgun to improve the design, the shooter had to manually chamber another round for it to be able to fire. With Browning’s design, the shotgun can fire a cartridge after every trigger squeeze without having the chamber the next round. It uses the force of the gas that is created by the propellant burning to cycle the action, push the shot out of the barrel, and then load the next round. There are many examples of semi-automatic shotguns today, but that’s all because of the work of John Browning. The Auto-5 remained in production until 1998.
4. The Automatic Rifle
The Browning Automatic Rife was specifically designed to be carried by advancing infantry and it could be slung over the shoulder and fired from the hip. This “walking fire” design was thought to be necessary for successful combat in trench situations found in World War I, put in practicality this gun was used as a light machine gun and was often fired from a bipod stand, especially in later models. It saw some action in the First World War, but became standard issue in 1938. It was eventually phased out about a decade later.
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