Bren Gun Sling

When first introduced in 1937 the Bren gun did not have a dedicated sling. Instead two special blackened metal spring clips were issued for use with the existing Lee Enfield Rifle sling:imageThese metal clips could then be attached to the machine gun, with the sling threaded between. Unfortunately this was quickly proved to be inadequate as the Lee Enfield Sling was only 46” wide, which made it impossible to fire the weapon with the sling over the shoulder. It was also only 1 ¼” wide which meant there was a limited amount of bearing surface on the users shoulder making it uncomfortable. As an interim measure the sling was lengthened in 1944 by cutting it and riveting in an extra piece of sling to extend it by a foot. This was clearly only a temporary expedient so in November of 1944 a new sling dedicated for use with the Bren gun was introduced:imageThis sling was made form new with a length of 58 inches and the strap has the same rolled edge as the old rifle sling, but is a little chunkier. The existing sling loops could still be fitted, the sling being folded back on itself at each end to secure them:imageThe brass fittings on the end of the sling were produced in both brass and a blackened finish, as seen here:imageWhilst officially adopted in November of 1944 there is some evidence that longer slings were available earlier in the war, with Canadian made examples being seen and reports of some snipers choosing the longer sling of the Bren gun over the standard Lee Enfield sling as it allowed them to get a better grip on their No4T rifle.

Here we see an Australian Bren gunner who has used his sling to hold the Bren gun at his hip, allowing him to walk and fire at the same time:CaptureThe weight of the Bren gun was high, but the sling allowed the soldier to carry the weapon across a variety of terrains, even for acrobatic stunts like this Canadian soldier scaling a wall on an assault course:bren01

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