Photographs: BESAL

We were recently lucky enough to examine a 3rd Pattern BESAL light machine gun dating from c.1942.  You can check out our full-length article on the BESAL here and our video here.

Below are a some photographs I took of the BESAL showing some of the details of its design as well as its stamped and spot welded constriction:

Left-side profile of the BESAL, note the shape of the butt is very similar to that of the earlier Lewis Gun
BESAL with magazine removed, the weapon appears to use a standard MkII Bren non-adjustable bipod
Like the Bren, the BESAL has a universal magazine adaptor to allow it to feed from both box and drum Bren magazines

Some close ups of the BESAL

Top-down view of the BESAL note the offset sights
Rivet reinforcement of the bolt’s locking recess in the top of the receiver
Right side – The butt-retention pin can be seen just below the rear sight assembly, this pin is captive and once pulled allows the butt to come off, the bolt and pistol grip can then be removed from the weapon
Close up of the BESAL’s barrel removal catch – rotate to the rear to remove the barrel
BESAL’s spring-loaded magazine dust cover closed, note the magazine catch on the left
A shot from behind the BESAL showing the rear sight and the enclosed front sight, both off set to the left


Our thanks to the collection that holds the BESAL, whom wish to remain anonymous, which was kind enough to allow us access to their impressive array of small arms.

All photographs taken by Matthew Moss. Please do not reproduce these images without permission or credit. © The Armourer’s Bench 2018.

5 thoughts on “Photographs: BESAL

  1. Wonderful photos, the first color pictures I’ve seen of this model. After years of seeing only B&W photos or sketches, I’m delighted! Thanks for your willingness to share this with everyone.

    In the future, if at all possible, would you be able to take photographs of the firearm while disassembled? Individual parts photos, especially with a clearly marked steel ruler for scale, would make for a much easier time of recreating odd/unusual firearms.

    Once again, thank you!


    1. Thanks for the kind words! It was a real treat to get to examine it. We fully intended to take some close ups while disassembled but time got away from us! We’re still learning so we will try to improve our photo game. If we get a chance in the future we will revisit the BESAL for some disassembled photographs (with scale)! – Matt


      1. That sounds like a plan to me! I wish you and Vic the best in this venture, preserving history and sharing once-lost knowledge with everyone.

        As an idea, building a simple light-box to diffuse a bright light can be done inexpensively, and this would also help with video clarity.

        If you’re lacking a modern high-res camera, Canon itself runs refurbished items on special sales a few times a year, direct from their website.


      2. Thank you! We have considered a light box but travel and getting it into collections it would be tricky. We have some other ideas and are intending to improve our photo quality though. We aren’t lacking when it comes to kit but I do need to save up and get myself a copy of Photoshop for editing!


  2. Brilliant! I’m also delighted by the first ever color images I’ve ever seen of the Besal. I also wish you and Vic all the best with the new endeavors! I’ve always had a very hard time trying to photograph the markings on rifles and so on.

    You and Vic will have to do a book–maybe an “e-book”–on the BESAL, the skeleton-stock modified Lewis gun, the skeleton-stock Sten Mk.I and Mk.I*, and the prototype simplified rifle derived from a P14 with skeletonized stock! It would seem that prototypes had been readied for all the light arms the UK forces might require… In the case of the Sten, this led to the Mk.II and III and V ultimately, while the other prototypes were simply shelved. Just a thought… Thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s