The M2 Browning, also known as the M2 Machine Gun, “Ma Deuce,” or simply as the Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun, is a heavy machine gun that was designed by John Moses Browning in 1918; it was in service starting in 1933 and is still in service today in some parts of the world. It is notable for its length of service; the only firearm that has been in official use in the United States for longer is the M1911, which was also designed by Browning.
The M2 is an air-cooled, short recoil-operated, belt-fed machine gun that has occasionally been outfitted with a quick change barrel (QCG) to facilitate operation during periods of heavy, sustained fire; the platform is capable of sustaining rates of fire between 600 and 1,300 rounds per minute, depending on the variant, with an effective range of over a mile, at 2,000 yards. The operation and design of the M2 are similar to the M1919, which was also designed by John Browning, except the M2 was developed around the infamous .50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun) round, which is significantly more powerful than the .30-06 Springfield cartridge around which the M1919 and many other American arms were developed.
A variant of the M2, known as the M2HB, or M2 Heavy Barrel, was a variant with a heavier barrel that improved mass and surface area for improved cooling. These models were outfitted with a quick change barrel (QCB) to facilitate use during periods of sustained heavy fire. Given the significantly superior firepower of the M2, it has been widely used as an anti-personnel platform as well as being designated to anti-vehicle (both light and armored vehicles) and anti-aircraft roles. This platform and variants have seen service through the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and countless others. It has been carried by over 50 sovereign nations since its introduction and remains in service in the United States Armed Forces.
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