It was derived from the earlier Browning M1917 which was water cooled. The Browning M1919 had the 30-06 Springfield cartridge and it had a rate of fire of around 400 rounds per minute. It had either a 125 or 250 round belt that was fed into the left side of the gun and without the tripod or ammunition, the M1919 weighed about fourteen kilograms. The length of the M1919 was about 103.8 centimetres, while the effective range while mounted was about 1,371.6 metres to 1,005.8 metres. The first Browning M1919 was intended to provide the same kind of firepower that the M1917 could produce, but in a more portable weapon.
- M1919A1: first variant of the M1919 series, fundamentally a modified version of the M1919 for use on tanks. It made its debut in 1936 and among the changes made there was a modified receiver.
- M1919A2: a lightweight variant with a shorter barrel for use by cavalry.
- M1919A3: a prototype version for infantry use. Not put into production, but its development led to the M1919A4.
- M1919A4: a variant designed to be used for a great number of purposes, from aircraft to tanks to infantry. Its distinctive feature is its holed barrel that allows air to cool the system. The M1919A4 was also capable of being mounted on a tripod where it was well suited to fight against enemy infantry units. The most common version of the M1919.
- M1919A5: a modification of the M1919 that was specifically designed for usage in armored vehicles.
- M1919A6: a variant that could be fitted with a bipod, featured a shoulder stock and a handle.
The Browning M1919 was used in basically every theater of World War II and was even used up to the start of the Vietnam War. Some of the theaters it operated in included the Western Front and the Pacific Theater. The M1919A4 was used especially on US vehicles including the M3 Stuart and was by far one of the most used variants. Infantry in the European Theater and the Pacific Theater oftentimes required it for support when under fire. Sometimes, it could even be used as a deployable machine gun with only one operator who fires and loads the machine gun utilizing its special top handle.