Cool Guns: Machine Guns
I am Heavy Weapons Guy. And this... is my weapon. She weighs 150 kilograms and fires $200 custom-tooled cartridges at 10,000 rounds per minute. It costs 400,000 dollars to fire this weapon...for 12 seconds.Back to Cool Guns
—The Heavy, Team Fortress 2
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The Gatling Gun
The original multi-barreled bullet-hose, designed by Richard Gatling, the Gatling Gun was mounted on carriage wheels like a Cannon and fired by hand crank, and later, by electric motor. Gatling hoped the weapon would reduce the size of armies and serve as a deterrent by showing everyone how futile war would be with such destructive firepower. He did reduce the size of the army the Gatling Gun was pointed at by a fair bit, but otherwise, the Gatling was simply added to the arsenal as the world's first Automatic weapon. Gatlings were originally replaced by single-barrel machine guns like the Maxim below, but Gatling-type weapons came back into their own when it was discovered that multiple barrels sharing the heat load could offer much much higher rates of fire and sustain them longer than any one machine gun could. Gatling's attempt to render war futile instead birthed the progenitor of some of the deadliest weapons currently used to kill regular infantry and later, scaled-up versions that could do the same to tanks. Oh and the thing's legal for anyone with a gun permit to fire. You just have to afford one first.
- Cool Action 9 times out of 10, the Gatling gun is shown as the Cranked version and every other "Gun" cranked is referencing this one.
- The Heavy's largest gun, the Brass Beast, is basically a Chainsaw-Grip BFG version of the electric Motor Gatling Gun. It packs more firepower than the more modern miniguns, but is also slower to spin up, and slows the heavy down to an even slower crawl while shooting.
- In The Outlaw Josey Wales, Josey's career as a wanted outlaw begins when, after witnessing the rest of his old Confederate unit being gunned down after being tricked into surrendering their arms, he commandeers one of the Gatling guns they used and uses it to wreak havoc on them in revenge.
- The villainous drug dealer Kanryuu Takeda from Rurouni Kenshin bought the Cranked version of the Gatling gun from the black market and puts it in deadly effect after the duel between Kenshin and Aoshi had just ended as Aoshi's fellow Oniwabanshu (Beshimi, Hyotoko, Shikiho and Hannya) gave their lves to protect Aoshi from the deadly weapon and bought Kenshin some time to approach Kanryuu /spoiler The conclusion comes with slight differences: In the anime, one of Beshimi's tourniquette darts plugs into the ammo belt thus jamming the weapon while in the manga Kanryuu just ran out of bullets. Kenshin then gives him his just desserts.
The Maxim Gun
"Whatever happens, we have got/The Maxim gun, and they have not"Literally the grand-daddy of them all, the Maxim was the first “True” machine gun that we would recognise. Developed by Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim, an American-born British inventor, whose attempts to make a fortune via invention in America early on failed until he was (allegedly) told that if he wanted to make money he should “Invent something to help those damn-fool Europeans cut their throats more efficiently”. He noticed that when a gun fired, it produced recoil, and rather than seeing this as a nuisance he realized that this could be used to force the spent cartridge out of the gun and load a new one. Over 600 times a minute in fact. At least one version allegedly had a rate of fire of 666 rounds per minute, leading to the nickname "The Devil's Paintbrush". So he made a water-cooled tripod mounted belt fed weapon and went to Europe and tried without much success to sell the idea. Then he came to Britain, where they had been having a spot of bother pacifying the natives in… well in most of the world, and they liked the gun so much they knighted him. Suddenly the rest of the world decided they wanted the gun too. The Maxim became pretty much the standard machine gun of the world during the first world war with notable exceptions of America, where they decided that they were never getting involved so they didn’t need to standardize machine guns, and France and Austria-Hungary, where they insisted on using local designs (that were usually inferior but decent, aside for the horrible Saint Etienne 1907). Italy also ended up without them (at least without many of them), but they had to adopt a more unreliable Italian design due to the Italian government failing to get the machine guns they had already paid for due to the start of World War I (note that the Italians also had another design comparable with the Maxim. Sadly, the guy who had designed the unreliable model was among the people assigned to choose the gun to replace the Maxim with, with obvious results). The British went one further with an improved version, the Vickers, which was used until the 70’s by Britain and the 90’s by other nations. This was mostly because it never broke: it could jam if the ammo fed into it was dud, and drills existed to get the duds out and the weapon firing again, but the gun itself was almost indestructible. In one 1916 test, ten guns of the 100th machine gun company fired one belt short of one million rounds in twelve hours, and only two guns encountered problems: all ten were serviceable again following basic maintenance. British soldiers did similar, impromptu "tests" just before the Vickers was finally retired, as a more fun way to dispose of the .303 ammo that no other weapon still in service used. Despite the guns having been used for decades, they held up just as well as in those early tests.
—Hilaire Belloc, commenting on the British Colonial Army in Africa.
- Anything set during the latter part of the British Empire, or any World War 1 setting for most nations. The Maxim should also appear in Russian WW2 works, and the Vickers in any work involving British or commonwealth forces for either world wars.
- In The Last Stand, Johnny Knoxville's character Lewis Dinkum has a Vickers machine gun he dubs Vicky. Sheriff Ray Owens borrows it for the defense of the town, where it sees action in the final shootout of the film.
- In The Wild Geese, the titular mercenaries use a Vickers in their final confrontation with the Simbas towards the end of the film.
- "Sweet 'n' Sour" Larry Sweeney's usual strutting routine included a spot where he would pretend he was firing one of these.
- Featured in two Sandokan novels: in Sandokan Fights Back he brings one when he goes to take back his father's realm, and in Yanez's Revenge he comes to rescue Yanez with twelve. Given his enemies were hordes of spear and knife-armed Dayaks in the first case and a badly-motivated force with few many knives and a few antiquated muskets, his enemies couldn't afford to face him in open battle.
- The Russian PM-1910 variant was apparently awesome enough to inspire someone in the Red Army to write a song, "Two Maxims." The song is about a gunner named Maxim and his machine gun and their exploits against the Nazis in World War Two.
Browning Automatic Rifle
Proof that even John Moses Browning's failures could still be incredibly successful, the BAR was originally designed as a "walking fire" gun, a WW1 concept for an automatic weapon that could be fired from the hip by a soldier crossing no man's land to support his comrades. However, the BAR ended up a bit ahead of its time. Chambered for the same .30-06 ammunition as standard-issue rifles, the weapon was too cumbersome and unwieldy for its intended application. (It would only be when "intermediate" cartridges appeared decades later for assault rifles that the original idea behind the BAR became feasible.) Being twice the weight of an M1 Garand and in post-1918 models almost thrice the weight of usual bolt-action rifles in .30-06; it was instead employed as a light machine gun, used to give the infantry squad additional firepower and range. Despite being widely adopted, it had a number of flaws as a support weapon; in particular, it lacked any facility for changing barrels quicklynote or accepting a belt feed, instead only able to use 20-round box magazines. On top of that it was too light a weapon to use in this role - controlling it while firing fully automatic was pretty difficult. This effectively made it a very heavy battle rifle rather than a true light machine gun. In spite of these shortcomings, it continued in service with the US military right into the Vietnam war, eventually being replaced by the M60; the US National Guard continued to use it into the 70s, and some countries continued to use the BAR all the way into the 1990s. The modern FN MAG/M240 is also based in part on the BAR's action, except flipped upside down and adapted to belt-feed using an MG42-derived top plate.
- Anything set during World War 2 and featuring the US military is likely to include the BAR being hefted by a squad's automatic rifleman. In videogames, it's typically the period equivalent of a BFG.
- It's also popular as a BFG in crime stories set in the first half of the twentieth century: Truth in Television, as a number of gangs famously used the weapon, most notoriously Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde, who used a shortened version stolen from a National Guard armory and found it was capable of shooting right through police cars. He was killed using a variant of the same weapon, the Colt Monitor.
- The Colt Monitor had been a BAR with the barrel shortened to 18 inches, with no bipod, a small pistol grip, lightened to 6kg, and supposed to fire .30-06 in full automatic mode. The fact that firing .30-06 from the shoulder in full automatic with no way to help support a 6kg gun is a pretty bad idea in regards to anything resembling accuracy may be the reason only a handful were made.
- Some Marine units in WW2 found that Clyde Barrow's modification was a pretty good idea for jungle combat too, and made their own such alterations.
- Reiben is the designated BAR man of the squad in Saving Private Ryan
- Mooks in The Rundown.
- Weapon of Choice for Creepy Twins Hansel and Gretel in Black Lagoon, though one must wonder how they're exactly able to fire it on full auto and stay on their feet.
- Featured in L.A. Noire, most prominently in the case "Manifest Destiny."
- World at War: In the mission "Hard Landing", your character starts with a BAR as his primary weapon, but you'll likely quickly run out of ammo for it and have to switch to something else.
- Same for the original game's "Alps Chateau" mission. It's a rather useful weapon for the level, but you will run out of ammo eventually, as you're the only Allied soldier in the entire game who is ever given one.
- Appears in Fallout: New Vegas: Dead Money as the Model D version chambered for .308 rounds.
- Added in the Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber, with the recruitable mercenary Gus spawning with one. Like in real life, it's best used as a sort of heavy rifle rather than an LMG.
Lahti-Saloranta M 26
A light machine gun fed by magazine designed by Aimo Lahti and Arvo Saloranta (their only cooperative effort, as the men did not get along well) in 1926 for the Finnish Army, it was an example of Gone Horribly Right, having the same qualities as the BAR and same limits of practical use. It was accurate like a rifle, had almost same ergonomics as a rifle due to a cleverly designed stock and grips, and looked cool as hell, yet it had only a 20-round magazine with no way to use belt feed. A 75-round drum mag was also developed, but never used in combat. Also, it took a long time to change the barrel, had a complex action which was an enormous pain to clean and would also jam within a very short time if not cleaned, and spare magazines were heavy steel and hard to carry. The Finns needed a machine gun and got instead a very complicated rifle. While it was a highly accurate rifle, the Finnish soldiers' nickname for the M26 says it all: kootut virheet (assorted mistakes). It didn't help that Saloranta, when put in charge of the production of M26, made several unauthorized changes to the design that were intended to improve reliability but in practice did the opposite, so the weapon the Finnish Army got wasn't actually the one they'd chosen to adopt. This also exacerbated the existing feud between Saloranta and Lahti.
Degtyarev DP- 28
The light machine gun of choice for the Red Army in World War II. Just like the BAR and M26 above, it more or less is a machine-rifle. It has a distinct round horizontal-mounted pan (ie flat drum) magazine owing to the need to reliably fire the standard Russian 7.62x54R cartridge, giving it a very distinct look (and a significantly higher magazine capacity than box-fed machine guns, at 47 rounds). It also has exceptional reliability and a high tolerance for dirt, in tests it fired even after being buried in sand and mud. It fired more slowly than competing designs, but the reduced rate of fire eliminated the need for a changeable barrel. The Soviets built it in plenty of versions and issued it to infantry troops as well as fitting it to tanks, aircraft, even the sidecars of motorcycles. Many were captured by Finland during World War II (nearly 10,000 captured, compared to the 3,400 M26 machine guns they built themselves), enough that they simply stopped making the M26 and used the DP as their primary machine gun for the duration of the war and beyond. There are still some of them in service that were fired as recently as the 2011 Libyan Civil War and the 2001-present Afghanistan War. After WWII, the Soviets issued a conversion kit to enable the Degtyarev to be converted to a belt-feed; the resulting RP-46 is a relatively rare sight and not particularly well-known. Nevertheless, it served as the standard light machine gun of the Red Army until replaced by the RPD.
- Carried by many Soviet soldiers in Enemy at the Gates.
- Seen in many WW2-set video games that involve the Eastern Front, such as Battlefield 1942, Call of Duty: United Offensive, Finest Hour and World at War, and Red Orchestra: Ostfront 41-45.
- Added in the Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber, though said mod also makes 7.62x54mm ammo much less common due to removing the surplus of Obrez Mosins from the low-level spawn list.
- Both the DP-28 and the rarer belt-fed RP-46 are available in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon with the Island Thunder expansion.
At the beginning of the Second World War, the Germans were mostly equipped with the MG34. While a truly excellent machine gun in its own right, the MG34 was really too good; it was labour-intensive, expensive, and took a long time to manufacture. The MG34 also proved to be less rugged than expected, due to the very tight design tolerances. This resulted in a total redesign being ordered with mass production as the primary goal, and the end product is widely regarded as one of the best machine guns ever designed. The MG42 made extensive use of pressed and stamped steel parts to cut down on cost and production times, and used a recoil operated, roller-locked mechanism augmented by a gas recoil booster which increased both reliability and rate of fire; the resulting weapon was distinctly more rugged than the rather finicky MG34. The MG42 remains one of the fastest-firing single-barrel weapons to not require external power, able to fire 7.92mm Mauser rounds at an average of 1,200 RPM. A true general-purpose machine gun, it could be used in the light machine gun role with a 50-round drum magazine and bipod, or the medium role with a tripod and belt feed. Its main drawbacks stemmed from the gigantic rate of fire; it was incredibly loud, barrel changes were frequent, though taking only 3-7 seconds thanks to a superbly designed quick-change barrel, and ammunition consumption was very high even when all efforts were made to conserve it. The huge rate of fire also made the gun's report extremely distinctive, described by troops who faced it as a buzzing or tearing sound rather than distinct individual shots, leading to nicknames like "Hitler's Buzzsaw". This had its advantages, as the noise was quite terrifying. The MG42 was the basis of Germany's later machine guns following the war, from the MG1 to the modern MG3note , and along with the FG42 was also the basis of the American M60. The US also attempted to make a .30-06 version of the MG42 for testing, but neglected to redesign the receiver to account for that round being 6 millimeters longer than the 7.92mm Mauser and didn't realize this was why the .30-06 conversion wouldn't cycle. The MG3 is so similar (and externally almost identical) to the MG42 that they have many interchangeable parts.
- Every World War II game, movie, or otherwise, features this gun.
- The MG3 shows up as an unlockable weapon in the Battlefield: Bad Company games.
- The BFG used by the Special Unit in Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.
- Alphard tries to shoot down Liang Qi's chopper with a door mounted MG3 from her own helicopter in Canaan
- The Helghast machine gun in Killzone is basically an MG42 with the barrel shroud rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.
- The M56 Smart Gun in Aliens was an MG42 mated to a steadicam harness, with additional parts from a motorcycle.
- Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino. Rico fires the MG3 version from the hip.
- The Bunker (2001). Its ammunition apparently cost the makers of this war/horror movie a pound a round, so it wasn't fired often.
- Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle features a nameless Mongolian who dual-wields an MG42 together with a PKM machine gun from the hip.
- A character in a Nick Knatterton comic has an MG42 mounted on her bed.
- An MG42 is used in Mafia II by Vito Scaletta twice. The first time during Operation Husky, before later using one to ambush a heavily guarded target during a hit.
- Available in 7.62 High Caliber as the MG3, with the accompanying high rate of fire and fitted with a 50 round drum and bipod.
- Appears in PAYDAY 2, as the Buzzsaw 42. Its absurdly high fire rate is preserved rather well ingame.
- The CETME Ameli, a Spanish clone downsized for 5.56mm rounds, shows up as just the "Ameli" in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
- The MG3 is the primary weapon of the Support specialist Dieter Munz in Ghost Recon.
- Far Cry 4 features a stockless MG42, modified with a side-grip and a rail atop the feed tray if the player attaches a sight to it, as the final LMG unlocked. There's also a Signature version, named after the real weapon's "Buzzsaw" nickname, unlocked for deactivating every radio tower in the game; it features a massive 400-round belt, a reflex sight, and accuracy and damage boosted to the point that anything that even gets in front of you will die.
- One of the most powerful weapons your MSF R&D can research in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker.
The M60 was introduced in 1957 as a replacement for the venerable Browning Automatic Rifle as a squad automatic weapon. Drawing on the designs of the MG42 and FG42, the designers produced a 23-pound belt-fed general purpose machine gun chambered in 7.62mm NATO. The result is widely regarded as an rather poor weapon; the M60 is prone to jamming, has some alarming tendencies to fall apartnote or fail to stop firing when the trigger is released, features a terribly designed barrel change system (the entire gas piston, barrel, bipod and front sight having to be detached, and without the use of any kind of handle; instead an asbestos-lined glove was issued), and is just as heavy as the BAR, itself regarded as quite a hefty weapon. The M60 is also notable for being the only weapon for which the US Army designated the receiver (the main body of the gun, containing the moving parts) as a replaceable part; with every other gun a broken receiver meant the rest would be stripped for spare parts. The weight earned it the nicknames "pig" and "hog" in Vietnam, and attempts to reduce the weapon's weight resulted in the even less well-received M60E3 version. In 2000, the M60E4 was released, by which time advances in technology and manufacturing techniques allowed for noticeable improvements in both weight and reliability (rather than having to sacrifice one to improve the other as with the E3), but by then the weapon had mostly been phased out by the US military in favor of the M240 (a license-produced version of the FN MAG).note In 2014, a further improved version, the M60E6, was released, and subsequently adopted by the Danish Army as their new standard GPMG, replacing the Rheinmetall MG3, so it seems that the M60's military career may not be over quite yet. Despite its troubled history, the weapon's brawny appearance and easy availability made it hugely popular in 80s and 90s action movies, with the depiction in Rambo particularly iconic.
- Cool Action: Firing the M60 one-handed is practically a trope of its own; gun in one hand, three-foot belt of infinite ammo in the other, the Action Hero walks slowly through the enemy base, firing in the general direction of men who respond by falling over in increasingly exaggerated ways. Expect lots of closeups of the action ejecting brass, casings hitting the ground, and slow motion shooting. Bonus cool points if the shooter is bellowing incoherently at the top of his lungs. Often, the M60 will get more screentime in such a sequence than any of the villains. Or the hero's face, for that matter.
- Both Sylvester Stallone (as Rambo) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (in Commando) played one-handed shooting completely straight. Charlie Sheen parodied it in Hot Shots! Part Deux with scenes where he was buried up to his waist in ejected brass, and later one where mooks who died went down a set of playground slides.
- Almost any movie set in The Vietnam War features the M60. You could also expect to see this used in action films until the '90s.
- The M60 is still seen in some modern warfare movies such as Black Hawk Down, alongside the M240.
- Jack Black's character is handed an M60 in Tropic Thunder. Black wasn't exactly pleased when told about the M60's nickname ("Pig") and that he was a natural with it.
- Red Dawn (1984). Modified ones are used to simulate the Soviet DshK. One giveaway is that the ammo belt is feeding from the wrong side (the DshK, like most Soviet belt-fed machine guns, feeds from the right side).
- "The Passing" DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 adds the M60 as a special weapon. It cannot be reloaded - once it's out of ammo, it gets discarded. One of the later "Mutations" gives the entire team these with infinite ammo.
- Naturally featured in Battlefield: Vietnam. Pre-Nerf, it was an absolute terror, being more powerful and accurate than the M16 with a 100 round magazine and it came with the same class as the only decent Anti-Tank weapon, meaning there was no real reason to take any other class except if you wanted to be a good sport. Post-Nerf, one needs to be prone if you want to hit anything and it no longer comes with the rocket launcher.
- Battlefield: Bad Company 2 features it in both the vanilla game and its own Vietnam expansion. It's Sweetwater's new Weapon of Choice in the singleplayer campaign; one notable instance has him beat a Russian soldier across the head with it and throw him over a railing without breaking stride after dismounting from a helicopter.
- Available in 7.62 High Calibre. If you're standing or kneeling, it can only be fired "from the hip", and you must be laying down to aim it properly.
- The flash-forward scenes in the fifth season of Breaking Bad show Walt purchasing an M60. He rigs it up in his car's trunk to pop out and fire continuously.
- Fallout: New Vegas has a gun simply called the Light Machine Gun, chambered in 5.56mm—notable for being the only vanilla gun using that cartridge to fire on full auto. It's actually a hybrid; the forward half from the foregrip onwards is iconic of the M60. The rear half from box magazine on back is M249, as noted below.
- Most Call of Duty games from Call of Duty 4 to Black Ops II feature the M60E3, always either referred to as the improved E4 version (Modern Warfare) or the original M60 (Black Ops).
- Available in Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear and Raven Shield.
- The only weapon to appear with its real name Perfect Dark Zero. Oddly, the usual belt-box is replaced by a belt of only 7 rounds that somehow lasts for 80 shots without decreasing in length.
- Appears in the first 3 Hitman games, most notably used by Pablo in Hitman: Codename 47. It's huge magazine capacity coupled with it's power makes it great for going on rampages with.
FN Minimi/M 249
Light machine gun that was developed for the U.S. Army as a squad assault weapon, to replace the M60. The M249 was developed from the FN Herstal Minimi (short for Mini Mitrailleuse; or Mini Machine Gun) light machine gun and fires the 5.56mm NATO round whose lighter weight allowed gunners to carry more ammo. A lot more ammo. The standard feed mechanism is a 200-round belt, with a plastic container for the belt clipped to the bottom of the gun (thus allowing the gunner to operate independently of a loader), and in a pinch it can also use standard NATO 30-round assault rifle magazinesnote . The SOCOM Mk 46 variant has also been developed into a slightly larger 7.62x51 version, the Mk 48, to finally replace the M60E4. The Mk 48 is actually lighter with a 100-round belt than an M60 is with no ammo at all, and it's a more reliable gun to boot. Like its big brother, the FN MAG, the Minimi family was designed by Ernest Vervier.
- The M249 gets its spotlight in modern warfare movies such as Black Hawk Down.
- The Minimi is used and refered to by name in I Did Not Want To Die.
- Battlefield: Bad Company and Battlefield 2.
- The M249 was the only available machinegun in Counter-Strike before Global Offensive introduced the Negev, but is pretty useless for its price due to poor accuracy.
- Some away teams in Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis have the Paratrooper configuration of the M249.
- Gabriel Shear (John Travolta) keeps one of these in the boot of his TVR Tuscan Speed 6.
- Battlestar Galactica. Kendra Shaw uses one in Razor when storming the Hybrid's vessel.
- Used by Ty Lok and later Tequila himself in Stranglehold.
- Appears in Black.
- Another part of Homura Akemi's dakka-rich arsenal from Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- Available in 7.62 High Caliber in several variants: the original Minimi, the Minimi Para (with a telescoping stock and short barrel), the SPW (a Para with rails for mounting optics), and the Mk 46 Mod 0 (covered in accessory rails). The Blue Sun mod, of course, adds some more variation.
- Available in Call of Duty 4, both as an infantry weapon and a mounted gun. Modern Warfare 3 features the Mk 46* , this time solely as an infantry weapon, and Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has the Mk 48 in the same role.
- Fallout: New Vegas and its hybrid LMG, mentioned above under M60, has the receiver, magazine, stock, and pistol grip portions of an M249.
- When the military come to Aya's rescue in Parasite Eve 2, a few soldiers are seen using M249s when they take out almost 50 Golems at once. If you are on the True Ending path of the game, Aya can buy one of these from the requisitions officer right after this scene.
- Used by Batou in the second Ghost in the Shell movie to deal with some Yakuza thugs.
- The M249 Para appears in PAYDAY 2, as the KSP (a reference to the Swedish military's designation for it, "Kulspruta 90"). Attaching the Solid Stock and Railed Foregrip turns it into the Mk 46.
- Relatively common in Rainbow Six, starting with an M249 E2 in Rogue Spear: Urban Operations. The two Vegas games make the odd decision to feature both the Mk 46 and the SPW, but then give them the exact same stats and nearly the exact same model (only the handguard is different).
- Appears in Half-Life: Opposing Force as a useable weapon. Ammo for it is fairly rare for an automatic weapon, and it's presented as having enough recoil to push Shepard back with sustained firing.
See Avtomat Kalashnikova.
M 2 Browning Machine Gun
One of the many weapons on this page passed down directly from God via John Browning, the M2 entered service just after WWI and has been the US military's principal heavy support weapon ever since. This .50 caliber 84-pound recoil-operated weapon, known affectionately as "Ma Deuce" during World War II, has been adopted by virtually every Western armed force and can be seen on everything from infantry tripod mounts right up to armoured vehicles, warships and aircraft. It is essentially a scaled-up version of the M1919 machinegun, another Browning design that used smaller caliber .30-06 rounds. The M2 has a rate of fire of 450-575 rounds per minute and sports a distinctive perforated sleeve over the lower barrel as an aid to air cooling; aircraft mounted versions exist with far higher rates of fire, the fastest being the mechanically or electrically boosted AN/M3 which could fire 1,200 rounds per minute. The weapon has an effective range of 1.2 miles when fired from the M3 tripod, and can put shots down over four miles away. During the Vietnam War, a Marine sniper by the name of Carlos Hathcock famously mounted a scope on one◊ and used it for long-range sniper shots, leading to the later development of anti-materiel sniper rifles chambered in the same caliber. Efforts have been underway to develop a replacement with decreased weight and recoil, as the M2 is not exactly portable; candidates included the high-tech XM312 and the XM806, but both have been cancelled. As such, the M2 is likely to remain a common sight for the foreseeable future.
- Cool Action: Jumping behind one (typically mounted on a vehicle of some sort) and pulling back on the bolt with a massive CHACK-CHLACK. Firing it with at least an angry grimace on your face, usually a full-on scream which gets drowned out by the massive report. May involve pulling out or ignoring the last guy who used it. Likely involves the utter obliteration of the guy or building you are firing at.
- Seen in anything set after the First World War showing a Western armoured vehicle, ship, or fixed infantry position. Sci-fi movies sometimes use the M2 fitted with a military blank firing adaptor (a triangular fitting with a hemisphere muzzle and three tubes running the length of the barrel) as a futuristic weapon or ersatz gatling gun. The M2 is also often seen in movies dressed up as a hard-to-come-by Soviet heavy machine gun like the DshK.
- Every military game ever made that has armoured vehicles in it that don't suffer from Crippling Overspecialization. It's also a standard "big gun" in fixed positions; it's often made a lot weaker and less accurate for balance purposes. A superhumanly strong character might use an M2 like a rifle, and in this case usually grips it by the barrel; this is not a good idea, as it gets hot.
- In Fallout Tactics, this shows up being used as a handheld machine gun used by Super Mutants. You can use it as well if you have incredible strength, Powered Armor, or a Mecha-Mook.
- Roadblock from G.I. Joe would swing one of these. A little lampshading is found on his bio-card, suggesting that the kind of guy who can use this as a personal weapon is someone who probably doesn't need a weapon to kill you. The action figure actually gives him a Browning M1919 instead, simply to allow him to stand up without tipping over. After all, unlike the character, the plastic figure doesn't have Super Strength.
- Some of the fluff from Car Wars suggests that the M2 is still alive and well even in 2040s America; in-universe, someone used a combination of this and Loophole Abuse to win a demolition derby, setting up the Vehicular Combat genre among the people.
- Doo-doot, doo-doot, doo-doot doo-doot, doo-doot. This is the gun mounted on the convicts' Jeep in Dead Rising. If you manage to defeat them, you can take it and go zombie-hunting.
- Pops up in Far Cry 2, delightfully sidestepping the generic "stationary bullethose" depiction, having the properly slow RPM count and terrifying damage output.
- Will and the Sons Of Guns crew assemble a "virgin" (unbuilt) M2 kit and mount it on top of the War Wagon (Will's modified Ford Bronco).
- Rambo IV accurately depicts the body-shredding ability of an M2 during a massive battle sequence toward the end of the film.
- Half-Life and its fan-made Source remake Black Mesa feature them as the Marines' go-to fixed gun, and (at least in the latter) it is powerful - a short burst can and will gib any human, Vortigaunt and Alien Trooper you hit it with. Strangely, however, it's more similar to the .30 cal M1919 when it comes to size and rate of fire (it's both considerably smaller and faster-firing than the M2, capping off at about 600 RPM).
- Feathered Heart gives us the griffons' perspective of their first encounter with one of these when Gilda's squad and the US Marines they were escorting was forced into a "Hold the Line" situation by the Cloven of The Sun. They're not on the business end of it, but that doesn't make it any less awe-inspiring: Cloven Elder Rams are heavily armored shock troops the size of vehicles, and known for being ridiculously hard to take out by the griffons; the M2 shreds them in a matter of seconds. Fortrakt, her subordinate and close friend, sums it up:
Fortrakt: I want one of those.
- It even appears in Warhammer 40,000. The Stubber or Heavy Stubber machine gun is basically an M2. In the grim darkness of the future, there is still John Browning.
A collaborative effort between legendary Soviet gun designers Vasily Degtyaryov (who designed the PTRD anti-tank rifle and DP-28 machine gun) and Gegorgi Shpagin (designer of the PPSh-41), the Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny is the Soviet equivalent to the M2 Browning, firing a 12.7x108mm round that has a slightly larger case and higher velocity than the American .50 BMG. Introduced in 1938, the DShK was the heavy machine gun used by the Soviets in nearly identical roles to the M2 during World War II and onwards, such as an anti-aircraft weapon for tanks and trucks. It was also used in an iconic two-wheeled trolley equipped with a metal shield for heavy infantry support. In the 1970’s, it was largely replaced with the NSV and then later the Kord HMG’s. However, like many Soviet-era Russian weapons it was imported by a number of client states and produced under license, still seeing use in many of them. It has also been popular with insurgent forces, such as the Viet Cong and Provisional IRA. Russian troops nicknamed it "Dushka" (“Sweetie” or Dearest”) due to the similarity in pronunciation.
- Used in many films that depicts Soviet or Soviet-allied forces, either a prop version of the real thing or a dressed up M2 or other large machine gun.
- Used by John Rambo in both Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rambo III, captured and turned against Soviet forces in both films. Rambo II has a mocked-up M2, Rambo III has an interesting version: the DShK used by Rambo to shoot down the Hind is actually a DShK, captured by the IDF in the Arab-Israeli Conflict. But later on, when production was relocated, it became an M2 mockup.
- The 1988 movie The Beast averts this, because whilst shot in Israel (with a Soviet tank, no less) the DShK is just a mocked up M2. Captured Soviet-made tanks were often refitted by the IDF with the M2.
- The invading Soviets in Red Dawn (1984) have M60s mocked up as the DShK mounted on their vehicles.
- R.U.F rebels mounted them on pickup-trucks in Blood Diamond, and so did the Somalis in Black Hawk Down.
- The soldiers of Hotel Moscow use one mounted on a truck in Black Lagoon.
- Comes up twice in Shell Shock. The first time, they are mentioned in passing. The second time, the gun is used to massacre POW's. Kalash93 loves his Soviet military hardware.
- Appears every so often in Metro 2033 and Metro: Last Light, where it's only seen as a mounted weapon, and for good reason, between extremely limited ammo and severe overheat. However, anything on the business end of the barrel is not long for this world or the next.
The RPD is the world's first SAW, or Squad Automatic Weapon. It fires an intermediate caliber 7.62x39 round, the same as fired by the SKS, AK-47, AKM and many other such fine weapons. Developed near the end of World War 2 by Vasily Degtyaryov, and accepted into Soviet service in 1944. It saw limited use in the last days of WW2, though it has gone on to serve with distinction throughout the world.
- Appears in Modern Warfare 1 and 2; it's gained some infamy as the weapon of choice for hackers, due to low full-auto recoil combined with the hundred-round belt. Black Ops II lets you use it in the 1980's missions, where, due to just reusing the MW2 model, it has an anachronistic Picatinny rail above the feed tray.
- The RPD is used extensively in stories by Kalash93.
- Available in 7.62 High Caliber as one of the earliest machine guns available.
- Shows up in the twelth chapter of Max Payne 3 with an incorrect 75-round magazine. The gold version gives it the correct 100-round capacity.
The standard light machine gun of the British Empire and Commonwealth nations in World War II, and remained in limited use all the way into the early 1990s and was kept in reserve until 2006. Easily recognized by its distinctive top-mounted removable box magazine, the Bren was adapted from the less common Czechoslovak ZB vz. 26, with the main alteration being chambering it to the standard .303 British round. The name "Bren" is a contraction of "Brno" (where the Czechoslovak original was developed) and "Enfield" (where the British version was adapted). It's clear that the designers had paid attention to the BAR's shortcomings in the squad support role, as they made sure to include a quick-change barrel. While it was still magazine-fed instead of belt-fed, it used larger 30-round magazines and the top-mounted magazines were much quicker to change, especially when firing prone. After WW2, the Bren was redesigned to use the 7.62 NATO round, and this version could use the same magazines as the FN FAL.
- Every World War II movie involving a British or Canadian force of at least squad size will have at least one of these present.
- One mook in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels carries one on the raid of the drug den. Turns out to not only be Awesome, yet Impractical (and this is lampshaded) but its user gets Hoist by His Own Petard when he leaves it unattended.
- Appears in the various Call of Duty games set in World War II, since the various games have British-focused missions and the Bren gun is easily recognizable due to its top-loading magazine. World at War features its Japanese cousin, the Type 99 automatic rifle.
- Referenced in the refrain by Noel Coward in his song "Could You Please Oblige Us With A Bren Gun," managing to be both patriotic yet satirical of the notoriously underfunded quartermaster corps. It's quite a catchy tune besides.
The MAG (Mitrailleuse d'Appui Général; French for General-Purpose Machine Gun) general purpose machine gun which has seen usage in too many countries to list here. Generally regarded as the general purpose machine gun, it can be used for infantry support (though it's very heavy for this role, being 3 pounds heavier than the already hefty M60) or mounted on tanks, APCs and ships. One unusual aspect of its design is that the safety can only be engaged when the weapon is cocked. Hollywood tends to gloss over this one in favour of the M60 or M249 mainly due to the fact that the US uses the MAG (as the M240) mainly in the vehicle mounted role. As noted above, it's partially derived from the BAR with a trigger and feed mechanism based on the MG42. The MAG's designer Ernest Vervier was the protege of FAL and Hi-Power designer Dieudonné Saive, who in turn was a protege of John Moses Browning. Despite its incredibly widespread use, in fiction you'll usually only see it on top of a tank.
- Cool Action: Once the belt is loaded, the user slaps down on the loading gate, karate chop style. This is a recommended way to load the weapon.
- Used in Rambo: First Blood Part II mounted on Soviet vehicles, even though it really shouldn't be.
- Turns up in Battle: Los Angeles mounted on vehicles all over the place.
- The first light machine gun available in the multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2. Strangely, despite firing a bigger bullet than the others, it is statistically the weakest LMG in the game simply because it's the first and fastest-firing one available.
- In Battlefield 3 is available as support class unlock in multiplayer. While not usable in single player, it can be seen in the hands of Montes. Also one of the options for coaxial machine guns for US M1A2 tanks, LAV-25 IFV, and M1128 tank destroyer. Strangely absent in the normal light vehicle mounted role, most US vehicles have the M2 Browning mounted instead.
- Added in the Blue Sun mod for 7.62 High Caliber as a sort of big brother to the Minimi.
- Used to perform the eponymous Waltz with Bashir, a Crazy Awesome Israeli soldier wildly firing one into the streets of Beirut under a massive portrait of Lebanese president Bashir Gemayel.
- Trench Mauser and Yin Yang fire one each from a helicopter during their Big Damn Heroes moment at the climax of The Expendables 3.
- The Island Thunder expansion for Ghost Recon adds the M 240 G, a variant used by the US Marine Corps, as an option for support gunners.
- Added to PAYDAY 2 for the 2015 "Crimefest"; owing to being the bigger brother of the M249, it is given its similar Swedish military designation, "KSP58".
General Electric M134 Electric Gatling "Minigun"
The weapon that inspired a trope in and of itself, the M134 is a belt fed, electrically-driven air-cooled six barrel machine gun firing the 7.62x54mm NATO round at a staggering 2,000 to 8,000 RPM. Despite what Hollywood might like to think, the M134 is exclusively a crew-serviced weapon, typically mounted on helicopters but can also be mounted on boats and other land vehicles. The action of the M134 is driven by an electrical motor and spins the six closed-bolt barrels in a circular housing. As the barrels rotate, one fires its round while two others are in stages of shell extraction and the rest are being loaded. This allows the gun to have its insane firing rate without running into the overheating problems a single barrel would encounter. Oddly enough, the high firing rate also makes the gun extremely accurate, which makes it especially good at suppressing a target or just tearing it to pieces. The M134 is an offshoot of the rotating barrel cannons the U.S Air Force had for its fighter aircraft. During The Vietnam War, transport helicopters encountered stiff resistance from North Vietnamese Army soldiers firing machine guns and RPG's from the dense jungles. Helicopter crew-serviced weapons, which at the time consisted of single-barreled weapons such as the M60, could not put down the volume of fire required to suppress enemy positions without overheating or jamming and leaving their vehicles even more vulnerable. General Electric designers then took the rotating barrel cannon designs and scaled them down to serve as crew-serviced weapons. The resultant weapon was called the M134 and the men who used them quickly took to calling it a minigun, since it was a miniature version of those rotating cannons. Since then, the M134 has been a staple of U.S Military service, deployed on transport helicopters, attack helicopters, fixed-wing gunships and brown-water navy boats. The U.S Air Force uses their own versions of the M134, the GAU-2/A and the GAU-17/A, distinguishable by a barrel shroud on the front of the barrels. A similar weapon was developed by the Soviet Union, the GShG-7.62 for the Mi-24 helicopter gunship and sees use today in helicopter hard point-mounted gunpods. Naturally, the M134 is just too damn cool not to show up in a great many films and video games. Of course, they like to take certain liberties with how it is portrayed. While it shows up plenty of times bolted to a helicopter or SUV, they also put it in the hands of their heroes as a hand-held weapon. Doing this in real life would require you to lug a backpack the size of a VW Bug full of heavy bullets and a couple of car batteries around and would knock you on your ass with a quick burst. Those don't belong here, check out the Rare Guns page for examples there.
- Cool Action: "Spooling", the term often times used when the barrels of the minigun begin to spin. Although in reality a minigun requires very little if no build up to fire, in fiction they often take a second or two to "warm up", often accompanied by a building whine and lots of metallic clicking and clacking noises. Cut to the protagonists or antagonists putting on their best Oh Crap! face. Note that the larger weapons that the Minigun was based on, such as the M61 Vulcan 20mm cannon, do take a few seconds to spin up, which can cause problems when used against fast moving targets (such as fighter planes or, in the case of Anti-Air applications, anti-ship missiles). In practice, this just means the first few shots are slower than the following ones.
- In Iron Man 2, one of War Machine's many, many weapons is a shoulder-mounted GAU-17/A. While super-strong Powered Armor can certainly support the weight with no problem, Rhodey seems to have an implausibly large store of ammo for it. Justin Hammer also shows off a Vietnam-era M134 when he's showing what weapons he's going to put into the War Machine armor.
- Batman uses a specially modified M134 to perform a forensic examination on a few pistol bullets used by the Joker in The Dark Knight.
- Mounted on several of the competition vehicles in Death Race.
- Shows up as a robotic sentry gun in Alone in the Dark (2005) during the climatic fight with the dreaded CGI Demons.
- In addition to the more famous handheld one seen later in the film, the post-apocalyptic opening of Terminator 2: Judgment Day shows a Tech-Com soldier firing one from the back of a pickup and a short-barreled one is seen on a mount next to Future!John Connor.
- One with almost adorably-small barrels is fired on a mount in a van in Last Action Hero and another can be seen mounted on a helicopter.
- An M134 stands in for a YakB 12.7mm gun in the film's faux Hind-D in Rambo III.
- One of the very first film appearances of the minigun is in an AC-47 "Puff The Magic Dragon" in The Green Berets.
- They show up plenty of times in the Battlefield series, mostly mounted on transport and attack helicopters.
- GAU-17/A miniguns are mounted on UH-60 Blackhawk and AH-6 Little Birds in 'Black Hawk Down. One of the scenes in the movie features U.S Army Rangers trying to take cover from the large amount of spent shell casings raining down on them from one of these.
- A black version with a Chainsaw Grip and a huge cylindrical magazine mounted on the side is the Heavy's stock primary weapon in Team Fortress 2.
- Appears in PAYDAY 2 as the Vulcan Minigun. True to form, its rate of fire is truly absurd, giving it a huge damage output, but it has abysmal accuracy, the police don't carry ammo for it (necessitating the use of ammo bags), and it has a few issues with concealment.
The Lewis Gun
The Lewis Gun was a light machine gun — possibly the first LMG — designed in the USA by US Army Colonel Isaac Newton Lewis (hence the name "Lewis Gun.") but it was passed over for adoption by US forces during World War I in favor of the utterly terrible Chauchat. Frustrated, Lewis resigned and went to Belgium, and later, the UK, where the armies of both nations adopted it and the British Army agreed to manufacture it in 1914. (In 1917, the US Marines and Navy also finally adopted the design as well.) It's easily recognized by the drum Magazine on top and the massive, tubular barrel shroud that cooled the gun via air. The magazine held 47 rounds of .303 Lee-Enfield rifle ammunition when issued to infantry soldiers or, 97 rounds when fitted to the planes of the Royal Flying Corps. The gun was quite light — light enough to be carried by one man — and reliable. It fired fast, and although it was a bit hard to reload (due to the drum magazine), the British Army loved it enough for it not only to be used throughout the entire first World War, but by all three services in World War II, along with the Home Guard (alongside the Bren Gun) and wouldn't be retired for good until after the Korean War. Both variants show up in media - the Infantry version◊, which has the large air cooling shroud and a 47-round pan magazine, and an aircraft one◊, which has a 97-round pan magazine and no air cooling shroud, exposing the barrel. Infantry Version:
- Name any WWI book or movie, and chances are they'll mention or show this gun. If you see any WWI flyboy movie, they'll have one of these equipped.
- The T-21 repeating blaster in Star Wars is made from a Lewis Gun with a handful of sci-fi embellishments (surprisingly few actually, as the Lewis looks quite cool as is) and the magazine removed.
- In Richard III, the 1995 version features Ian Mc Kellen grabbing one and trying to shoot down one of Prince Harry's planes with it.
- Used quite memorably in Passchendaele.
- Gangster Squad: Used by one of Cohen's thugs to attack the Squad's car.
- In Young Indiana Jones, the episode "The Phantom Train of Doom" has Indy using the gun from atop a hot air balloon.
- Used by Rourke in Atlantis The Lost Empire.
- One of the weapons in Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land.
- Appears in Wings, in the hands of a WWI Cadet American Airman.
- Used by Rick and Ardeth in The Mummy (1999), to shoot Imhotep's massive sandstorm face.
- Seen in Flyboys.
- A Japanese copy, the Type 92◊, is seen in Pearl Harbor.
- The Lewis Guns bring down Kong in King Kong (2005).
- Snoopy mentions them at times as being the weapons of his Sopwith Camel. He also owns an actual one◊.
PK machine gun
The PK is a general-purpose machine gun developed early in The Sixties by Mikhail Kalashnikov, more famous for the AK, after a switch in Soviet tactical doctrine saw the RP-46 mentioned elsewhere on this page declared obsolete. As with most of Kalashnikov's post-war designs, the PK is heavily based on the AK's action, flipped upside-down and modified into an open-bolt weapon that accepts belted ammo. The design has multiple variants for different roles, including the tripod-mounted PKS and the PKT for use in tanks. The original has also been updated twice, first into the better-known, lighter and simpler-to-manufacture PKM at the tail end of the 60s, and then in 2001 into the PKP "Pecheneg". The PK and its variants are notable among belt-fed weapons for feeding from the right side and ejecting to the left, rather than the other way around; in video games, however, despite the usual conception that brass ejecting across the player's view is more "dynamic", PKs will almost invariably have their model flipped.
- The 2012 remake of Red Dawn has one of the North Korean soldiers defending the local police department-turned-KPA base with a mounted PK.
- Briefly shows up wielded by one of the citizens of Paradise in Postal during the trailer-park shootout.
- A British soldier in Children of Men can briefly be seen wielding an unloaded PKM.
- Shows up in Battlefield 2 and its realism mod Project Reality in both PKM and PKT forms. In the default game the former is an unlock for the Support class, well-liked for high accuracy and power, while the latter is coaxially mounted alongside the main cannon of the Middle Eastern Coalition's tanks.
- Essentially the BFG of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games, though its heavy weight prohibits sprinting, it can't be aimed, upgrading it costs a fortune, and it uses one of the rarest and most expensive ammo types in the game, even more than the 9x39mm. To make up for these shortcomings, it makes for Instant Death Radius when you're firing, which extends to medium range when you go in a low crouch - mutants become minced meat. Strangely enough, when reloading, Scar and Degtyarev never flip the lid open; they simply link the new belt to the side of the weapon and rack the bolt.
- Available in Far Cry 2 as the first hand-held machine gun available for purchase. As above, since the game is all about flipping the guns' models, the PKM is flipped to feed from the left like the M249. Far Cry 3 and 4 also both feature the PKM, now properly feeding from the right and fitted with a Blackheart International SOPMOD kit to facilitate modifications.
- Shows up in the third Uncharted as the "PAK-80".
- Available in Grand Theft Auto V as the "MG".
- The PKP is available in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, as above incorrectly shown to feed its belt from the left side. In the campaign, Captain Price uses one for storming the hotel Makarov and the last of his Inner Circle are hiding out at.
- The PKM is one of the standard machine guns for the
TalibanOpFor in the 2010 Medal of Honor. Warfighter switches it out for the PKP.
- The PKP is available in Ghost Recon: Phantoms, under its Russian military index name "6P41".