Forgotten Weapons Plays with the Johnson LMG

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I swear, Ian gets to play with all the fun (and obscure) firearms the world has created. While I enjoy my modern doo-dads, sometimes the old designs just look fun to work with. Latest up in Ian from Forgotten Weapon’s ever expanding catalog of old guns is the Johnson LMG

Our own Alex Capps has a M1941 that he has gloriously field-stripped for all nostalgic-oriented firearms owners, and while the self-loading rifle saw some action with the Marines, it was never as popular as the Garand (as it was formally adopted). As a companion to the rifle, Johnson created a functionally similar machine gun adding in some features including a side-feeding box magazine. Like the self-loading standard rifle, the LMG is recoil operated clocking in at only 14 lbs (fantastic for its day).

The Johnson LMG was originally sold to the Dutch, delivering weapons to the the Dutch East Asian colonies until the Japanese captured the territory. Stuck with inventory, Johnson sold the weapons the US Marines, who used the weapons to generally high praise, especially the paratroopers who were able to break the weapon down.

For the full history and discussion on the rifle, check out Forgotten Weapon’s video below, including comparison to the well known Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR).



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • The_Champ

    Pretty amazing weight for a .30 cal LMG, especially in that era, and especially when compared to the BAR. In fact 14 pounds would be more than an acceptable weight for an LMG even today.

    Ian mentions they were generally well accepted by the troops. I wonder how rugged they were as far as reliability and durability.

  • gunsandrockets

    Fascinating firearm. Great little vid.

    The Johnson design seems better suited for this support role than the rifle role. The moving barrel becomes an asset instead of a flaw.

    Imagine something like this firearm scaled down for 5.56mm or 5.45mm. I like the idea of a BREN-gun type vertical feed using the 45 round magazine of the 5.45mm RPK.

  • Uniform223

    A precursor to the AR-15. From my understanding this weapon was favored by the famous joint US and Canadian 1st Special Service Force (Devil’s Brigade). I would love to get my hands on one.

    http://fssflhg.tripod.com/2e960ce0.jpg

    http://www.firstspecialserviceforce.ca/images/devils_10.jpg

  • iksnilol

    He plays with his Johnson on camera and you guys show this?

    I thought this was a family friendly blog.

  • cleophus1

    Why does it take so long for your videos to load and play?