EM-1 Manual

EM-1 rifle
If Flash Gordon were a Squaddie...

After World War II, the British began serious development of a replacement for the Sten and Enfield. A selfloading rifle was an obvious necessity, and they British took a lesson from German arms development and looked towards an intermediate caliber and a bullpup style design. The two initial prototype designs were the EM-1 and EM-2 – two rifles similar in appearance, but quite different in design.

The EM-1 was a gas operated, roller locked design clearly inspired by the German work on the Gerat 06 and similar rifles. It used 20-round magazines, and fired the .280 British cartridge, which pushed a 139gr bullet at approximately 2500fps – a better automatic rifle cartridge than the 7.62×51.

During testing, the EM-2 was chosen as the better of the two rifles (we will cover the EM-2 in more detail later), and the EM-1 was not developed further. However, it was in trials long enough for a manual to be written on its use and operation – and that’s what I have for you today. Published in 1950, this manual has some excellent diagrams of the EM-1’s bolt and trigger mechanisms, plus tidbits on proper use of the sling, bayonet, grenade launcher, and more. As a bonus, the last couple pages tacked on after publication show several other experimental designs, including the .280 version of the eventual L1A1.

(1950) Provisional Notes for users of Rifle, Automatic, .280-in, E.M.1 (English)

You can download it here, and also find it archived on the Original Manuals page in the Vault.


  1. It is a shame that this rifle wasn’t further developed, It looks absolutely futuristic! I wonder if someone could build a working semi-auto external replica?

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