The Army is testing its luck, as today I progressed from firing small arms (a rifle and pistol) to machine guns. I fired four different models. The first, the M2 (affectionately known as the “Mod Deuce”) fires a fifty caliber round and has been used by the US military since WWII. I felt a kinship with The Greatest Generation as I sat down behind the weapon. The rounds are so large that it is illegal to target people with this gun; I shot only 3-5 round bursts with this thing, although it can fire more than 500 rounds per minute. The range of the M2 is almost five miles, but the drill sergeants here adjust the sights so that we fire it only 1-2 miles as last year some Navy personnel got the full five miles from the gun and proceeded to inadvertently “rain lead” on other designed to take out structures. In the video with this post, you will see me attempting to fire five- sailors shooting at another range presumed to be a safe distance away.
The video in the subsequent posting shows me prone firing the 249 machine gun. The round in the 249 is the same as that shot in the M-16 rifle, but the 249 sustains a much greater rate of fire. (Hence the designation as machine gun.) The gun has a metal loop on the stock which fits atop the shooter’s shoulder to assist in stabilizing the weapon. At the end of the video you will see me trying to extract the loop from a carabineer on my flak jacket, where it hooked when I put the gun into my shoulder. I’m glad I didn’t drag the gun off the firing line with me. Also, you may notice that, after I finish firing, I put my head down before I opened the lid to the feeding tray of the gun. That precaution ensures that I will not be face-down in an explosion if a faulty round in the gun discharges as cool air rushes into the ammunition chamber.
I also fired the 240 Bravo, which is the gun found in the turret of Humvees; and the Mark 19 grenade launcher. The round for the Mark 19 is a brass cylinder the size of an eight ounce glass that explodes on impact. In the videos you will see trucks downrange, and those were our targets. I did not hit any myself, but I created a pretty good fireworks show.
I have made friends with several JAG officers (i.e. lawyers), and we all agreed that absolutely no one in the US has a constitutional right to own any of these weapons. Be careful with the volume on these videos. The most shocking aspect of close proximity to these guns is the tremendous noise they produce.