Richard Ryan of FullMag presents what is perhaps the most popular and well-known machine gun in history – the M2, this time in handheld form. He picks it up and begins firing to demonstrate. The gun is exactly the same, except that it has a handle behind the barrel that allows a user to pick it up and fire it from waist or hip-height by pushing a trigger on the butt.
Richard says this one has a little more recoil than the M82 that he’s used to shoulder-firing. The M2 weighs 80 pounds. He sets it down as it’s obviously heavy, remarking that he needs to go to the gym.
Nicknamed “Ma Deuce” by soldiers, the M2, also called the Browning .50 Caliber Machine Gun, was designed by John Browning towards the end of World War I. This model shares many similarities with Browning’s earlier M1919 machine gun, but the M2 uses much larger, more powerful .50 BMG cartridges. BMG ammunition takes its name from the same, as it stands for Browning Machine Gun.
The M2 has proven itself effective throughout the years against all manners of light attacks: infantry, unarmored or lightly armored vehicles or sea crafts, low-flying aircraft and light fortifications. It has been in production longer than any other machine gun in history, and has been used in almost all major wars, including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War and the Syrian Civil War.
In the United States military, the M2 has been used extensively as a weapon mounted on vehicles and on aircraft, from the 1930s until the present. It is the primary heavy machine gun of NATO countries, and has served the longest in the US military, with the exception of the .45 ACP M1911 pistol. It it currently manufactured by various gunsmiths around the world, particularly General Dynamics and US Ordnance in the USA.