In Call of Duty and Call of Duty: United Offensive, the BAR is generally hard to find, but is very powerful, capable of killing with one hit at any range. Because of this and its easy to use iron sights, it is a fairly effective long range weapon. It also has a relatively high magazine capacity of twenty. It has fairly high recoil, but its already somewhat low rate of fire allows for very easy tap-firing. As it is already fairly hard to find, ammunition can get to be very scarce throughout the campaign. It has fast-auto and slow-auto firing modes; when found it is normally on the latter firing mode.
The BAR is issued to the Americans in multiplayer, it is fairly powerful, capable of killing an enemy with one shot to the head or two to the chest, or two to the head and three to the chest at maximum range in Call of Duty: United Offensive. Its primary flaw is the small magazine, which is not as large as the comparable MP-44, therefore may force the player to reload more often.
"The Browning automatic rifle is a squad support weapon, used to lay down accurate suppression fire at enemy positions. It is most effective when used while prone."
— Manual description
The BAR returns in Call of Duty: Finest Hour and has the same sights as the M1 Garand, and will down an enemy in two-five shots, depending on the range. It is available in all of the American missions except for "Come Out Fighting", and ammunition is plentiful.
The BAR is a fairly rare weapon, but is quite powerful and much easier to find than in the original Call of Duty, as almost every American mission has at least two soldiers using this weapon at a time. An enemy can be killed with just one hit at close range, or with a headshot at any range, but requires two shots to kill at maximum distance with anything but a headshot. Its magazine size is still small, and ammunition is not always readily available.
In multiplayer, it is issued to the American team. It is not as powerful as the earlier version, taking two rounds to the chest to kill, or one shot to the head. Its recoil can throw a user's aim off, so tap or burst firing is a useful tactic. It can take on bolt-action users at long-range with tap-firing, and even submachine gun users at close range by going full-auto, although its magazine size is fairly small, meaning it may need to be reloaded fairly soon after beginning a firefight.
In Call of Duty 2: Big Red One, the BAR is a rare weapon. It first appears in Counterattack as an available weapon in some areas of the mission. It does not appear again until Crucifix Hill, where it is given as a starting weapon for this mission. The BAR is most useful at medium to long ranges firing single shots or short bursts. It has some visual recoil, but no actual recoil. It is recommended that the player fires in short bursts to conserve ammunition, since it only takes a few shots to kill an enemy.
The BAR appears in Call of Duty 3in the levels "The Island" and "Chambois". It has a very slow rate of fire, high accuracy and high penetrative power. The player should fire in single shots as this is accurate and saves a lot of ammo with no cost to power. Typically, two - three hits are needed to kill, but with proper aim, a single round to the head will kill an enemy.
The BAR appears in multiplayer mode and is only obtainable for the AlliedHeavy Assault class. It is moderately accurate, but has a very slow rate of fire. It's magazine size of 20 .30-06 rounds is outclassed by the Axis's MP44, which has 30 rounds per magazine, but the BAR has more damage per shot than the MP44. The BAR's reload is about on par with the MP44, but is still longer than the MP40's and the Thompson's.
The BAR appears throughout the Pacific Campaign and is the players starting weapon in "Hard Landing." Like in Call of Duty 3, it's a powerful and versatile weapon, killing in one hit to the torso, but ammo is scarce as few of the Marines use it in levels other than "Hard Landing", "Breaking Point" or "Relentless." It can also be found in some of the trenches in "Burn 'em Out."
The BAR is unlocked at level 4, and is the second weapon unlocked in Call of Duty: World at War. It hits hard with high random recoil, and high power. When fired it is loud and intimidating, but has a low fire rate and a relatively small 20 round magazine. Even with a slow rate of fire, a magazine runs out fast considering it only has 20 rounds. The BAR will kill in 3 hits at any range, and with Stopping Power it can kill in 2 hits at close-mid range, although it may take one or two more shots to kill depending on whether the target has Juggernaut and/or Second Chance. It can also be fitted with a bipod that, when mounted, completely eliminates recoil. Double Tap can be used to help boost the low rate of fire, but at the expense of the already high recoil being increased further. With Double Tap equipped, firing single shots is harder and the sporadic recoil becomes even more unmanageable.
Considering that the BAR has high recoil, the general strategy is either to burst fire or quickly fire single shots despite also having a fast view kick recovery. Semi-automatic shots with the bipod equipped allows for very steady shots, rivaling that of bolt-action rifles. The open sights, solid first shots, medium ammo capacity and alongside the rather attractive fully automatic fire capability makes the BAR an especially effective weapon. However, fully-automatic fire usually ends up being inaccurate and is better off at close-mid range (whenever accuracy is less of an issue). The BAR is the only Machine Gun to have the movement speed multiplier of a rifle while aiming down the sights.
The BAR, even with the ability to one hit kill, is ill-advised in Hardcore game modes due to the very low rate of fire and high recoil. It is usually outclassed by most other weapons, including single shot rifles in rare circumstances.
In Nacht Der Untoten, it is available upstairs, for 1800 points; in Shi No Numa and Der Riese, the BAR appears in the Mystery Box for 950 points. In Verrückt, it costs 1800 points, or 2500 with a Bipod. Double Tap Root Beer is very effective with it, as the significant increase in rate of fire can make the difference in a life-or death situation. Speed Cola is also nice to compensate for its low magazine capacity. Still, medium damage, low rate of fire, and small magazine stop this weapon from being effective against Zombies past round ten.
When upgraded, using the Pack-A-Punch machine in Der Riese, it becomes "The Widow Maker". When upgraded, it has a higher rate of fire, higher damage, higher reserve ammo and a larger magazine. However, even with the upgrade, ammunition supplies can become problematic in later rounds, which makes some players skip upgrading the BAR altogether in favor of other weapons.
The BAR appears in the Nintendo DS version of World at War as the only portable machine gun available for use. Unlike the console versions, the BAR has a higher rate of fire, slightly less bullet damage, different irons sights, and more recoil. The iron sights are not as precise; it is often considered obstructive.
In the campaign, the BAR is first used in "Into the Darkness" as a starting weapon, then is featured in "Castle Approach" and "Storm the Walls" as a starting weapon as well. Its modest rate of fire and damage make it a good weapon, though it is recommended to burst fire at long range. If there is an ammo shortage, one should swap it out for a Type 100, as ammunition for it cannot be found anywhere other than ammunition boxes.
In multiplayer, the BAR is available for use once again, though exclusive to the USMC faction. Given its qualities, it is better using it for close ranges. Due to its small magazine, just 20 rounds, it is best not to spray n' pray with it, and use the iron sights for more precise, accurate shots. Just like all other automatic weapons featured in game, it only has upwards recoil, so aiming downwards while firing will effectively counter the recoil.
The BAR can be found in the Mystery Box, or off the wall in some levels. Unlike the console version, there is no bipod variant. Compared to its Call of Duty: World at War counterpart, the Call of Duty: ZombiesBAR has much more power, boasting a one hit kill ability on zombies until round 10. All of the deployable versions have been replaced with the regular one for the regular price.
In Call of Duty: World at War: Final Fronts, it is aesthetically similar to its Call of Duty 2 variant. It only appears in the mission "Ettelbruck". It has a 20 round magazine with 400 rounds to carry. Ammo is quite scarce because it only appears in one mission and very few soldiers are seen carrying the BAR and they do not get killed at any point but because the BAR has quite good stopping power. It is advised to aim down your sights and go for headshots. It is better swapping the Thompson for the MP40 than the BAR, as the Thompson uses more ammo and is less accurate. It will always kill in one bullet to the head, and sometimes it will kill in one shot to the torso and a couple more to the limbs.
The BAR returns in the revised Call of Duty: World at War zombie maps available for the Prestige Edition and Hardened Edition (or from the Rezurrection map pack) for Call of Duty: Black Ops and is available off the wall. It is virtually identical to its counterpart in the previous game, except that it cannot be obtained from the mystery box, but rather only from its outline on the wall. Because it does not appear on the wall in Der Riese, the Pack-A-Punched BAR cannot be obtained in Call of Duty: Black Ops. The standard BAR is available in Nacht der Untoten and Shi No Numa, whereas the one with a Bipod is available in Verrückt. It is also held slightly differently then the World at War version. The BAR also appears to have much less sporadic recoil.
Contrary to what the in-game description states, the BAR has very low recoil, and is among the lowest-recoil weapons in the game. It also boasts high damage, netting three-shot kills up close and dropping off to a four-shot kill past about twenty meters. The high damage is accompanied by a high rate of fire, second highest in its class, bested only by the M1941. These three strengths allow the BAR to have a fast time-to-kill in relation to other assault rifles such as the STG44 and the FG 42. However, the BAR's main weakness is its low magazine capacity of 20 rounds, which, due to the high rate of fire, runs dry rather quickly. As such, accuracy is key to using the BAR effectively, as spraying and missing shots can result in the player running out of ammo mid-gunfight.
Although the BAR has a small magazine capacity, playing aggressive and rushing objectives is probably the best way to use the BAR effectively. This allows the player to take advantage of the fast time-to-kill up close, and with sufficient accuracy, one can even take on multiple enemies before their magazine runs dry. The BAR can be used at longer ranges, but at longer ranges, missing shots is more likely, and the magazine size becomes a problem.
As far as attachments go, optical attachments are preferred by some players, while others are perfectly fine with the BAR's iron sights: although rather large, the iron sights are not unduly obstructive and can be used to great effect at both close and long ranges. The Quickdraw Grip, as on most weapons, is a solid and dependable choice, and boosts handling at close quarters. Similarly, Steady Aim is also recommended to allow the player to shoot from the hip at close quarters. Finally, the Extended Mag has the potential of drastically improving the BAR's handling, but is not unlocked until Weapon Level 10, which can be a problem for new players.
In the November 9th, 2017 update, the BAR was nerfed to have a decreased fire rate and increased hipfire spread. In the November 29th, 2017 update, the BAR was nerfed to have increased recoil.