I knew I’d seen this story somewhere before. Now I get to share it with you:
Starting this month, the U.S. Department of Defense has begun modifying (for $5,700 each) 6,000 M2HB 12.7mm (.50 caliber) machine-guns. The upgrade converts existing weapons to the M2A1 standard and allows for quick barrel changes. Each barrel weighs 10.9 kg/24 pounds. There is also a mounting rail for scopes and a flash suppressor and fixed headspace (which makes the weapons easier to use). Earlier this year, the Department of Defense also bought 8,000 more M2 machine-gun barrels (for $850 each). This M2A1 version is the latest upgrade for the M2 so far. Another 5,080 new M2A1 weapons will be manufactured.
Ignore all the claptrap after that about the LW50 and that stuff. We posted a while ago on the XM806. It’s a niche weapon. The M2 is where it is at, and the quickchange barrel and optical sight mounts address the most serious shortcomings of the weapon. The article blathers on about the low rate of fire of the various attempts to replace the M2. But the problem is, whenever the Army looks at a lightweight .50cal machine gun, it is flying in the face of physics. A lighter gun HAS to have a lower rate of fire. If not, you will have a gun that quickly shakes itself to pieces, and has poor accuracy.