The procedures and methods used in Army machine gun marksmanship are based on the concept that soldiers must be skilled gunners who can effectively apply their firing skills in combat. The basic firing skills and exercises outlined in this manual must be a part of every unit's machine gun training program. The soldiers' proficiency depends on proper training and application of basic gunnery fundamental, which are taught in a progressive program to prepare gunners for combat.


Training strategy is the overall concept for integrating resources into a program to train individual and collective skills needed to perform a unit's wartime mission.

a. Training strategies for marksmanship are implemented in TRADOC institutions (NCOES, basic and advanced officer's courses) and in units. The overall training strategy is multifaceted and is inclusive of the specific strategies used in institution and unit programs. Also included are the supporting strategies that use resources such as publications, ranges, ammunition, training aids, devices, simulators, and simulations. These strategies focus on developing critical soldier skills, and on leader skills that are required for the intended outcome.

b. Two primary components compose the training strategies: initial training and sustainment training. Both may include individual and collective skills. Initial training is critical because a task that is taught correctly and learned well is retained longer. Well-trained skills can be more quickly regained and sustained if an interim of nonuse occurs. The more difficult and complex the task, the harder it is to sustain the skill. Personnel turnover is a main factor in decay of collective skills, since the loss of critical team members requires retraining to regain proficiency. If a long period elapses between initial and sustainment training sessions or training doctrine is altered, retraining maybe required.

c. The training strategy for caliber .50 MG marksmanship begins in selected resident training and continues in the unit. An example of this overall process is illustrated in Figure 1-1 and provides a concept of the flow of unit sustainment training. The soldiers graduating from selected resident training courses have been trained to maintain their MGs and to hit a variety of targets. They have learned range determination, target detection, application of marksmanship fundamentals, and other skills needed to engage a target. Task training during these courses may lead to qualification.

d. Training continues in units on the basic skills taught in combat arms. Additional skills, such as suppressive fire and supporting fire, are trained and then integrated into collective training exercises, which include platoon and squad live-fire STXs. (A unit-marksmanship training program is explained in Chapter 5.) The strategy for sustaining the basic marksmanship skills taught in combat arms is periodic preliminary instruction, followed by qualification range firing. However, a unit must set up a year-round program to sustain skills. Key elements include training of trainers and refresher training of nonfiring skills.

e. Additional skills trained in the unit include techniques for employment, suppressive fires, night fire, MOPP firing, and moving targets. Related soldier skills of camouflage, cover and concealment, maneuver, and preparation and selection of a fighting position are addressed in STP 21-24-SMCT, which must be integrated into tactical training.

f. In the unit, individual and leader proficiency of marksmanship tasks are integrated into collective training to include squad, section, and platoon drills and STXs. The collective tasks in these exercises, and how they are planned and conducted, are in the MTP and battle drill books for each organization. Based on the type organization, collective tasks are evaluated to standard and discussed during leader and trainer after-action reviews. Objective evaluations of both individual and unit proficiency provide readiness indicators and future training requirements.

g. A critical step in the Army's overall marksmanship training strategy is to train the trainers and leaders first. Leader courses and unit publications develop officer and NCO proficiencies necessary to plan and conduct marksmanship training and to evaluate the effectiveness of unit marksmanship programs. Training support materials are provided by the proponent schools to include field manuals, training aids, devices, simulators, and programs that are doctrinal foundations and guidance for training the force.

h. Once the soldier understands the weapon and has demonstrated skill in zeroing, additional live-fire training and a target acquisition exercise at various ranges are conducted. Target types and scenarios of increasing difficulty must be mastered to develop proficiency.

i. Initial individual training culminates in the soldier's proficiency assessment, which is conducted on a transition/record fire range. This evaluation also provides an overview of unit proficiency and training effectiveness.

j. Unit training programs maintain the soldiers' proficiency level. The ultimate goal of a unit marksmanship program is to maintain well-trained gunners so a unit can survive and win on the battlefield. The trainer must realize that qualification is not an end, but a step toward reaching this combat requirement. (See Figure 1-1.)


The Browning machine gun caliber .50 HB, M2 (Figure 1-2) is a belt-fed, recoil-operated, air-cooled, crew-served machine gun. The gun is capable of single shot, as well as automatic fire, and operates on the short recoil principle.

a. The machine gun is capable of being fed from either the right or left by repositioning certain parts. The weapon has nonfixed headspace that must be set. Timing must also be adjusted to cause the gun to fire slightly out of battery to prevent damage to moving parts. The force for recoil operation is furnished by expanding powder gases, which are controlled by various springs, cams, and levers. Maximum surface of the barrel and receiver are exposed to permit air cooling. Perforations in the barrel support allow air to circulate around the breach end of the barrel and help in cooling the parts. A heavy barrel is used to retard early overheating.

b. The gun has a leaf-type rear sight (Figure 1-3), graduated in both yards and roils. The scale ranges from 100 to 2,600 in yards, and from 0 to 62 in mils. The windage knob-permits deflection changes to right or left of center. The front sight is a fixed blade type with cover (Figure 1-4).

c. Table 1-1 provides the general data on the caliber .50 MG.


The major components of the caliber .50 MG and their purposes are shown in Figure 1-5 and Table 1-2.


The two principal ground mounts used with the caliber .50 machine gun are the tripod mount, M3, and the antiaircraft mount, M63. The tripod mount, M3, is a ground mount designed for use against ground targets. The antiaircraft mount, M63, is a ground mount principally designed for use against aerial targets. Its use against ground targets is limited because the mount tends to be unstable when the gun is fired at low angles.

a. Tripod Mount, M3. The M3 mount is the standard ground mount of the caliber .50 machine gun (Figure 1-6). It is a folding tripod with three, telescopic, tubular legs connected at the tripod head. Each leg ends in a metal shoe that can be stamped into the ground for greater stability. The two trail legs are joined together by the traversing bar. The traversing bar serves as a support for the traversing and elevating mechanism, which in turn supports the rear of the gun. The tripod head furnishes a front support for the mounted gun that is further supported by the short front leg. When the tripod is emplaced on flat terrain with all extensions closed, the adjustable front leg should form an angle of about 60 degrees with the ground. This places the gun on a low mount about 12 inches above the ground. To raise the tripod farther off the ground, extend the telescopic front and trail legs enough to keep the tripod level and maintain the stability of the mount.

b. Antiaircraft Mount, M63. The antiaircraft mount (Figure 1-7) is a four-legged, low silhouette, portable mount used for antiaircraft fire. Table 1-3 lists the general data pertaining to the M63.


The following paragraph explains the functions of the traversing and elevating mechanism and pintle used in the mounting of the machine gun when used in the ground configuration.

a. Traversing and Elevating Mechanism. The T&E mechanism (Figure 1-8) is used to engage preselected target areas at night or during limited visibility conditions. Record direction and elevation readings from the traversing bar and T&E mechanism. Record all readings in mils.

b. Pintle. The gun is connected to the tripod mount, M3, by a pintle (Figure 1-9). This pintle is semipermanently attached to the machine gun by a pintle bolt through the front mounting hole in the receiver. The tapered stem of the pintle seats in the tripod head. It is held secure by a pintle lock and spring. To release the pintle, raise the pintle lock, releasing the cam. The weight of the pintle and traversing and elevating mechanism are considered as part of the total weight of the tripod mount, M3 (44 pounds).


The four principal vehicular mounts used with the caliber .50 machine gun are the truck mount, M36; the pedestal truck mount, M31C and M24A2; the commander's cupola, M113 armored personnel carrier; and the MK64 gun cradle.

a. Truck Mount, M36. This mount consists of a cradle with a roller carriage on a circular track (Figure 1-10). The cradle can be rotated in the pintle sleeve of the carriage and can be adjusted for elevation. The carriage is guided on the track by rollers. The track is secured to the vehicle by supports.

b. Pedestal Truck Mount, M31C. Pedestal mounts are component assemblies designed for installation on the 1/4-ton vehicles to support a machine gun mount. They are composed of a pintle socket, pintle clamping screw column, and braces (Figure 1-11).

c. Armored Vehicle Cupola Mount. A caliber .50 machine gun and mount are installed in the gun support on the commander's cupola of an M113 armored personnel carrier. The machine gun can be traversed 360 degrees, elevated 53 degrees, and depressed 21 degrees maximum (Figure 1-12).

d. MK64 Gun Cradle Mount. This vehicle mount was primarily designed for the M2. However, because of its versatility, the MK64 will accept the MK 19 also (using the M2 mounting adapter assembly). The MK64 can be mounted on the following vehicles--M151 series, M966 HMMWV armament carrier, and the M113 series (Figure 1-13).


This paragraph describes the ammunition used in caliber .50 machine guns (Figure 1-14). Soldiers should be able to recognize the types of ammunition available and know how to care for it. The caliber .50 cartridge consists of a cartridge case, primer, propelling charge, and the bullet. See TM 9-1300-200. The term bullet refers only to the small-arms projectile. There are eight types of ammunition issued for use in the caliber .50 machine gun. The tips of the various rounds are color-coded to indicate their type. The ammunition is linked with the M2 or M9 metallic links for use in the machine gun (Figure 1-15).

a. Classification. The eight types of ammunition are used for the following purposes.

b. Ballistic Data. The approximate maximum range and average muzzle velocity of some of the different types of caliber .50 ammunition authorized for use in the machine gun are noted in Table 1-4.

c. Care, Handling, and Preservation. Exercise care to prevent ammunition boxes from becoming broken or damaged. If they do, repair them immediately. Transfer all original markings to the new parts of the box. Do not open ammunition boxes until the ammunition is to be used. Ammunition removed from the airtight container, particularly in damp climates, is likely to corrode. Protect the ammunition from mud, sand, and water. If the ammunition gets wet or dirty, wipe it off at once with a clean, dry cloth. Wipe off light corrosion as soon as it is discovered. Turn in heavily corroded cartridges. Do not expose ammunition to the direct rays of the sun. If the powder is hot, excessive pressure may be developed when the weapon is fired. Do not oil or grease ammunition. Dust and other abrasives that collect on greasy ammunition are injurious to the operating parts of the gun. Moreover, oiled cartridges produce excessive chamber pressure. Do not fire dented cartridges, cartridges with loose bullets, or otherwise defective rounds.

d. Storage. Small-arms ammunition is not an explosive hazard, but under poor storage conditions it may become a fire hazard. Store ammunition of all classes away from radiators, hot water pipes, and other sources of heat. Whenever possible, store ammunition under cover. If it is necessary to leave ammunition in the open, keep it at least 6 inches off the ground and covered with a double thickness of tarpaulin. Place the tarpaulin so that it gives maximum protection and allows free circulation of air. Dig suitable trenches to prevent water from flowing under the ammunition pile.

e. Miscellaneous Data. Table 1-5 lists the maximum penetration in inches for an armor-piercing cartridge fired from the 45-inch barrel (muzzle velocity, 2,935 feet per second), which in some cases may enhance the leader's selection of targets to engage.

Table 1-6 lists the maximum penetration in inches for a ball cartridge fired from the 45-inch barrel (muzzle velocity, 2,935 feet per second):

f. Precautions. Observe the general precautions concerning the firing and handling of ammunition in the field, as prescribed in TM 9-1300-206. Precautions that apply particularly to small-arms ammunition are: