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The M2 Machine Gun or Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun, is a heavy machine gun designed towards the end of World War I by John Browning. It is very similar in design to Browning's earlier M1919 Browning machine gun, which was chambered for the .30-06 cartridge. The M2 uses the much larger and much more powerful .50 BMG cartridge, which was developed alongside and takes its name from the gun itself (BMG standing for Browning Machine Gun). The M2 has been referred to as "Ma Deuce", as a GI phonetic slang or "the fifty" in reference to its caliber. The design has had many specific designations; the official designation for the current infantry type is Browning Machine Gun, Cal. .50, M2, HB, Flexible. It is effective against infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles and boats, light fortifications and low-flying aircraft. The M2 has had the longest continuous service for a machine gun in the world.
The Browning .50 caliber machine gun has been used extensively as a vehicle weapon and for aircraft armament by the United States from the 1920s to the present. It was heavily used during World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and during the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan in the 2000s and 2010s. It is the primary heavy machine gun of NATO countries, and has been used by many other countries. The M2 has been in use longer than any other small arm in U.S. inventory except the .45 ACP M1911 pistol, also designed by John Browning.
The current M2HB is manufactured in the United States by General Dynamics and U.S. Ordnance for use by the United States government, and for U.S. Foreign Allies via FMS sales. FN Herstal has manufactured the M2 machine gun since the 1930s. U.S. Ordnance developed their M2 Quick Change Barrel system after years of manufacturing machine guns for the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. allies.
|Weight||38 kg (83.78 lb)
58 kg (127.87 lb) with tripod and T&E
|Length||1,656 mm (65.2 in)|
|Barrel length||1,143 mm (45.0 in)|
|Cartridge||.50 BMG (12.7×99mm NATO)|
|Rate of fire||485–635 rounds/min (M2HB)
750–850 rounds/min (AN/M2)
1,200 rounds/min (AN/M3)
|Muzzle velocity||2,910 ft/s (890 m/s) for M33 ball|
|Effective range||1,800 m (2,000 yd)
|Maximum range||6,800 m (7,400 yd)|
|Feed system||Belt-fed (M2 or M9 links)|
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