Special Report

37 American Military Guns That Fought World War 2

Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images

World War II shaped the course of human history more than any conflict in recent memory. It shaped the world order as we know it today and much of the world’s military technology. Small arms were integral to the conflict at large and the guns that American troops were outfitted with won battle after battle in their march across Europe. (These are the 18 newest guns currently in use by the U.S. military.)

A variety of small arms played different roles within the arsenal of the U.S. infantry. Rifles, pistols, shotguns and machine guns of varying calibers and capabilities were equipped to soldiers in their operations across Europe and the Pacific.

To identify American military guns that were used to fight World War II by United States forces, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed a catalog of small arms from Military Factory, an online database of military vehicles, arms and aircraft. We ordered these guns alphabetically. We included supplemental information regarding type of small arm, year introduced, manufacturer, firing action, caliber and feed.

One iconic small arm used during WWII was the Thompson submachine gun, commonly known as the “Tommy Gun.” The Thompson was a select-fire weapon that could fire in both semi-automatic and fully automatic modes, giving soldiers the ability to lay down a hail of bullets when needed. The submachine gun was chambered for .45 ACP. While it was originally developed during the Prohibition era for law enforcement, it found its place on the battlefield and in the hands of soldiers during WWII.

Another small armed used during this conflict and still to this day is the M1911 pistol, a design that had already been in service for several decades by the time the war began. Chambered in .45 ACP, it was renowned for its stopping power and reliability. The M1911 served as the sidearm for officers and non-commissioned officers, offering a potent backup in close-quarters combat. (These are the American firearms used to combat the Global War on Terror.)

Here is a look at the American-made military guns used to fight World War II:

Browning Auto-5

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Semi-automatic shotgun
  • Year introduced: 1902
  • Manufacturer: Browning Arms
  • Firing action: Semi-automatic, recoil-operated, self-loading, repeat fire
  • Caliber and feed 12-, 16- or 20-gauge; 3- or 5-round tubular magazine

Browning M1917

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Heavy machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1917
  • Manufacturer: Browning Arms / Remington Arms
  • Firing action: recoil-operated, automatic
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 250-round fabric belt

Browning M1918 BAR

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Light machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1918
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms / Winchester
  • Firing action: Gas operated piston, open bolt, selective fire
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 20-round detachable box magazine

Browning M1919

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Medium machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1919
  • Manufacturer: Rock Island Arsenal / General Motors
  • Firing action: Gas operated, belt-fed, air cooled
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield, 7.62x51mm NATO, 7.92x57mm Mauser, .303 British; 250-round fabric belt

Browning M2

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Heavy machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1921
  • Manufacturer: Saco Defense Industries
  • Firing action: automatic short recoil-operated, air-cooled
  • Caliber and feed .50 BMG, 12.7x99mm NATO; 110-round metallic link belt

Colt Browning M1895 (Potato Digger)

  • Type: Belf-fed machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1895
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms
  • Firing action: Gas operated, closed-bolt, lever-actuated
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield, 7x57mm, 6.5x52mm; 240-round fabric belt

Colt M1911

Source: Courtesy of Colt
  • Type: Semi-automatic pistol
  • Year introduced: 1911
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms
  • Firing action: Single-action, short-recoil-operated
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP; 7-round detachable box magazine

Ithaca Model 37

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Combat shotgun
  • Year introduced: 1937
  • Manufacturer: Ithaca Gun Company
  • Firing action: Manually-actuated pump-action slide, repeat fire
  • Caliber and feed 12-, 16-, 20- or 28-gauge; 4-, 5- or 8-round tubular magazine

Johnson LMG

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Squad support weapon
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: Cranston Arms Company
  • Firing action: Short recoil-operated, select fire
  • Caliber and feed 30-06; 25-round detachable box magazine

Johnson Model 1941

Source: Curiosandrelics / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Semi-automatic rifle
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: Iver Johnson
  • Firing action: Semi-automatic, short-recoil, rotating bolt
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 10-round cylindrical magazine

Lewis Gun

Source: Lewis Gun (derivated) by Balcer / BY 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/)
  • Type: Light machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1914
  • Manufacturer: Birmingham Small Arms Company
  • Firing action: Gas-operated
  • Caliber and feed .303 British, 30-06 Springfield, 7.92x57mm Mauser; 47- or 97-round detachable pan

M1 Bazooka

Source: Carl Malamud / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket launcher
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: General Electric
  • Firing action: Electrically-actuated, single-shot, reusable tube
  • Caliber and feed 60mm; Single-shot

M1 Carbine

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Semi-automatic / full-automatic carbine
  • Year introduced: 1942
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Firing action: Gas operated, short-stroke piston, semi-automatic
  • Caliber and feed 30 Carbine; 15- or 30-round detachable box magazine

M1 Garand

Source: simonov / Flickr
  • Type: Battle rifle
  • Year introduced: 1936
  • Manufacturer: Springfield Armory
  • Firing action: Self-loading, gas-action piston
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 8-round internal clip

M1 Thompson

Source: Keystone / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
  • Type: Submachine gun
  • Year introduced: 1938
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms
  • Firing action: Blow-back system
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP; 20- or 30-round box, 50-round drum

M18 RR

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Anti-tank / anti-personnel recoilless rifle
  • Year introduced: 1945
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Firing action: Recoilless
  • Caliber and feed 57x303mmR; Single-shot

M1917 Enfield

Source: Armémuseum (The Swedish Army Museum) / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Bolt-action service rifle
  • Year introduced: 1917
  • Manufacturer: Winchester / Remington
  • Firing action: Manually-actuated bolt-action system
  • Caliber and feed 7.62x63mm, 30-06 Springfield; 6-round magazine

M1A1 Flamethrower

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia
  • Type: Portable infantry flamethrower
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Firing action: Electrical ignition flame jet
  • Caliber and feed 4.7-gallon Nitrogen fuel canister; 5-flamethrows possible

M2 Carbine

Source: Joe Mabel / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Select-fire automatic carbine
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: General Motors
  • Firing action: Selective-fire, gas-operated, short-stroke piston
  • Caliber and feed 30 Carbine; 15- or 30-round detachable box magazine

M2-2 / M9A1-7

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Portable infantry flamethrower
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Firing action: Rotary cartridge ignition flame jet
  • Caliber and feed 4.7-gallon Nitrogen fuel container; 7-flamethrows possible

M20 RR

Source: File:M20 75 mm RR.jpg by Rhk111 / BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)
  • Type: Anti-tank / anti-personnel recoilless rifle
  • Year introduced: 1945
  • Manufacturer: State Factories
  • Firing action: Recoilless
  • Caliber and feed 75mm; Single-shot

M3 (Grease Gun)

Source: Willard / iStock via Getty Images
  • Type: Submachine gun
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: Ithaca Gun Company
  • Firing action: Open bolt, blowback
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP, 9x19mm Parabellum; 30-round detachable box magazine

M3 Carbine

Source: Curiosandrelics / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Sniper carbine rifle
  • Year introduced: 1944
  • Manufacturer: General Motors
  • Firing action: Selective-fire, gas-operated, short-stroke piston
  • Caliber and feed 30 Carbine; 15- or 30-round detachable box magazine

M720

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Semi-automatic shotgun
  • Year introduced: 1935
  • Manufacturer: Savage Arms
  • Firing action: Semi-automatic
  • Caliber and feed 12-gauge; 5-round tubular magazine

M9 Bazooka

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Shoulder-fired rocket launcher
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: Conduction Corporation
  • Firing action: Magneto trigger
  • Caliber and feed 60mm; Single-shot

Marlin M2 Hyde

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Submachine gun
  • Year introduced: 1943
  • Manufacturer: Marlin Firearms
  • Firing action: Blowback
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP; 20- or 30-round detachable box magazine

Marlin Model 1894

Source: Courtesy of Marlin Firearms
  • Type: Carbine rifle
  • Year introduced: 1894
  • Manufacturer: Marlin Firearms
  • Firing action: Manually-actuated lever-action system
  • Caliber and feed 32-20 Win, .38 Spc, .357 Mag, .44 Spc, .44 Mag; 6-, 9- or 10-round tubular magazine

Marlin Model 1914

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Belt-fed machine gun
  • Year introduced: 1914
  • Manufacturer: Marlin Firearms
  • Firing action: Gas-operated closed bolt, lever actuated
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield, 7.62x54mm; 240-round fabric belt

Model 10

Source: Olegvolk / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Six-shot revolver
  • Year introduced: 1899
  • Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
  • Firing action: Single-action, double-action, revolving cylinder
  • Caliber and feed .38 Long Colt, .38 Special; 6-round cylinder

Model 1898

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Six-shot revolver
  • Year introduced: 1989
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms
  • Firing action: Rotating cylinder, double-action
  • Caliber and feed .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .44 Special, .38 Special; Six-shot rotating cylinder

Model 1903

Source: FN Model 1903 002 (cropped) by Swedish Army Museum / BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
  • Type: Semi-automatic pistol
  • Year introduced: 1903
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms
  • Firing action: Single-action, blowback
  • Caliber and feed .32 ACP; 8-round detachable box magazine

Model 1917

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Service revolver
  • Year introduced: 1917
  • Manufacturer: Colt Firearms / Smith & Wesson
  • Firing action: Double-action, rotating cylinder
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP; Six-shot rotating cylinder

Reising Model 50

Source: Curiosandrelics / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Submachine gun
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: Harrington and Richardson
  • Firing action: Delayed blowback, closed-bolt
  • Caliber and feed .45 ACP, .30 Carbine; 12- or 20-round detachable box magazine

Remington Model 10

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Pump-action slide shotgun
  • Year introduced: 1908
  • Manufacturer: Remington Arms
  • Firing action: Manually-actuated pump-action slide
  • Caliber and feed 12-gauge; 5-round tubular magazine

Remington Model 11

Source: Courtesy of Remington
  • Type: Self-loading shotgun
  • Year introduced: 1905
  • Manufacturer: Remington Arms
  • Firing action: Recoil-operated, auto-loading, semi-automatic
  • Caliber and feed 12-, 16- or 20-gauge; 5-round tubular magazine

Remington Model 1903

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Sniper rifle
  • Year introduced: 1941
  • Manufacturer: Remington Arms
  • Firing action: Manually-actuated bolt-action system
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 5-round stripper clip

Winchester Model 70

Source: Michael E. Cumpston / Wikimedia Commons
  • Type: Bolt-action sniper rifle
  • Year introduced: 1936
  • Manufacturer: Winchester
  • Firing action: Manually actuated bolt-action system
  • Caliber and feed 30-06 Springfield; 3-, 4- or 5-round capacity

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