Cool Guns/Machine Guns

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Browning Automatic Rifle
Proof that even John Moses Browning's failures could still be incredibly successful, the BAR was originally designed as a "walking fire" gun, a WW 1 concept for an automatic weapon that could be fired from the hip by a soldier crossing no man's land to support his comrades. In the event, the BAR was vastly too heavy for such an application (due to it using the full-power .30-06 cartridge; it would be decades later before "intermediate" cartridges appeared and made this concept workable in the form of the assault rifle), being twice the weight of an M1 Garand; it was instead employed as a light machine gun, used to give the infantry squad additional firepower and range. Despite being widely adopted, it had a number of flaws as a support weapon; in particular, it lacked any facility for changing barrels quickly or accepting a belt feed, instead only able to use 20-round magazines. On top of that it it was too light a weapon to use in this role - controlling it while firing fully automatic was relatively difficult. This effectively made it a very heavy battle rifle rather than a true light machine gun. In spite of these shortcomings, it continued in service with the US military right into the Vietnam war, eventually being replaced by the M60; the US National Guard continued to use it into the 70s, and some countries continued to use the BAR all the way into the 1990s. The modern FN MAG/M240 is also based in part on the BAR's action, except flipped upside down and adapted to belt-feed.

  • Anything set during World War 2 and featuring the US military is likely to include the BAR being hefted by a squad's automatic rifleman. In videogames, it's typically the period equivalent of a BFG.
  • It's also popular as a BFG in crime stories set in the first half of the twentieth century: Truth in Television, as a number of gangs famously used the weapon, most notoriously Clyde Barrow of Bonnie and Clyde, who used a shortened version stolen from a National Guard armory and found it was capable of shooting right through police cars. He was killed using a variant of the same weapon, the Colt Monitor.
  • Reiben is the designated BAR man of the squad in Saving Private Ryan
  • Mooks in The Rundown
  • Weapon of Choice for Creepy Twins Hansel and Gretel in Black Lagoon, though one must wonder how they're exactly able to fire it on full auto and stay on their feet.
  • Featured in L.A. Noire, most prominently in the case "Manifest Destiny."

At the beginning of the Second World War, the Germans were mostly equipped with the MG34. While a truly excellent machine gun in its own right, the MG34 was really too good; it was labour-intensive, expensive, and took a long time to manufacture. This resulted in a total redesign being ordered with mass production as the primary goal, and the end product is widely regarded as one of the best machine guns ever designed. The MG42 made extensive use of pressed and stamped steel parts to cut down on cost and production times, and used a recoil operated, roller-locked mechanism augmented by a gas recoil booster which increased both reliability and rate of fire; the resulting weapon was distinctly more rugged than the rather finicky MG34. The MG42 remains one of the fastest-firing single-barrel weapons to not require external power, able to fire 7.92mm Mauser rounds at an average of 1,200 RPM. A true general-purpose machine gun, it could be used in the light machine gun role with a 50-round drum magazine and bipod, or the medium role with a tripod and belt feed. Its main drawbacks stemmed from the gigantic rate of fire; it was incredibly loud, barrel changes were frequent, though taking only 3-7 seconds thanks to a superbly designed quick-change barrel, and ammunition consumption was very high even when all efforts were made to conserve it. The huge rate of fire also made the gun's report extremely distinctive, describes as a buzzing or tearing sound rather than distinct individual shots, leading to nicknames like "Hitler's Buzzsaw" among troops. The MG42 was the basis of Germany's later machine guns following the war, from the MG1 to the modern MG3, and along with the FG42 was also the basis of the American M60. The MG3 is so similar (and externally almost identical) to the MG42 that they have interchangable parts.

  • Every World War II game, movie, or otherwise, features this gun.
  • The MG3 shows up as an unlockable weapon in the Battlefield: Bad Company games.
  • The BFG used by the Special Unit in Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade.
  • Alphard tries to shoot down Liang Qi's chopper with a door mounted MG3 from her own helicopter in Canaan
  • The Helghast machine gun in Killzone is basically an MG42 with the barrel shroud rotated 90 degrees anticlockwise.
  • The M56 Smart Gun in Aliens was an MG42 mated to a steadicam harness, with additional parts from a motorcycle.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Il Teatrino. Rico fires the MG3 version from the hip.
  • The Bunker (2001). Its ammunition apparently cost the makers of this war/horror movie a pound a round, so it wasn't fired often.
  • Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle features a nameless Mongolian who dual-wields an MG42 together with a PKM machine gun from the hip.
  • A character in a Nick Knatterton comic has an MG42 mounted on her bed.
  • An MG42 is used in Mafia II by Vito Scaletta twice. The first time during Operation Husky, before later using one to ambush a heavily guarded target during a hit.
  • Available in 7.62 High Caliber as the MG3, with the accompanying high rate of fire and fitted with a 50 round drum and bipod.

The M60 was introduced in 1957 as a replacement for the venerable Browning Automatic Rifle as a squad automatic weapon. Drawing on the designs of the MG42 and FG42, the designers produced a 23-pound belt-fed general purpose machine gun chambered in 7.62mm NATO. The result is widely regarded as an rather poor weapon; the M60 is prone to jamming, has some alarming tendencies to fall apart or fail to stop firing when the trigger is released, features a terribly designed barrel change system (the entire gas piston, barrel, bipod and front sight having to be detached, and without the use of any kind of handle), and is just as heavy as the BAR, itself regarded as quite a hefty weapon. The weight earned it the nicknames "pig" and "hog" in Vietnam, and attempts to reduce the weapon's weight resulted in the even less well-received M60E3 version. Despite this, the weapon's brawny appearance and easy availability made it hugely popular in 80s and 90s action movies, with the depiction in Rambo particularly iconic.

  • Cool Action: Firing the M60 one-handed is practically a trope of its own; gun in one hand, three-foot belt of infinite ammo in the other, the Action Hero walks slowly through the enemy base, firing in the general direction of men who respond by falling over in increasingly exaggerated ways. Expect lots of closeups of the action ejecting brass, casings hitting the ground, and slow motion shooting. Bonus cool points if the shooter is bellowing incoherently at the top of his lungs. Often, the M60 will get more screentime in such a sequence than any of the villains.
  • Both Stallone (as Rambo) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (in Commando) played one-handed shooting completely straight. Charlie Sheen parodied it in Hot Shots Part Deux with scenes where he was buried up to his waist in ejected brass, and later one where Mooks who died went down a set of playground slides.
  • Almost any Vietnam War movie features the M60. You could also expect to see this used in action films until the '90s.
  • The M60 is still seen in some modern warfare movies such as Black Hawk Down, alongside the M240.
  • Jack Black's character is handed an M60 in Tropic Thunder. Black wasn't exactly pleased when told about the M60's nickname ("Pig") and that he was a natural with it.
  • Red Dawn. Modified ones are used to simulate the Soviet DshK. One giveaway is that the ammo belt is feeding from the wrong side.
  • "The Passing" DLC for Left 4 Dead 2 adds the M60 as a special weapon. It cannot be reloaded - once it's out of ammo, it gets discarded. One of the later "Mutations" gives the entire team these with infinite ammo.
  • Naturally featured in Battlefield Vietnam. Pre-Nerf, it was an absolute terror, being more powerful and accurate than the M16 with a 100 round magazine and it came with the same class as the only decent Anti-Tank weapon, meaning there was no real reason to take any other class except if you wanted to be a good sport. Post-Nerf, one needs to be prone if you want to hit anything and it no longer comes with the rocket launcher.
  • Available in 7.62 High Calibre. If you're standing or kneeling, it can only be fired "from the hip", and you must be laying down to aim it properly.

FN Minimi / M249
Light machine gun that was developed for the U.S. Army as a squad assault weapon, to replace the M60. The M249 was developed from the FN Herstal Minimi light machine gun and fires the 5.56mm NATO round whose lighter weight allowed gunners to carry more ammo.

M2 Browning Machine Gun
One of the many weapons on this page passed down directly from God via John Browning, the M2 entered service just after WWI and has been the US military's principal heavy support weapon ever since. Essentially a scaled-up version of the Browning designed M1919 (Even the legendary .50 BMG round is a scaled-up .30-06). Using the .50 Browning Machine Gun round, this 84-pound recoil-operated weapon, known affectionately as "Ma Deuce" during World War II, has been adopted by virtually every Western armed force and can be seen on everything from infantry tripod mounts right up to armoured vehicles, warships and aircraft. The M2 has a rate of fire of 450-575 rounds per minute and sports a distinctive perforated sleeve over the lower barrel as an aid to air cooling; aircraft mounted versions exist with far higher rates of fire, the fastest being the mechanically or electrically boosted AN/M3 which could fire 1,200 rounds per minute. The weapon has an effective range of 1.2 miles when fired from the M3 tripod, and can put shots down over four miles away. During the Vietnam War, a Marine sniper by the name of Carlos Hathcock famously mounted a scope on one and used it for long-range sniper shots, leading to the development of anti-materiel sniper rifles chambered in .50BMG. Efforts are currently underway to develop a replacement with decreased weight and recoil, as the M2 is not exactly portable; following the cancellation of the high-tech XM312, the XM806 is the current candidate, claiming 50% weight reduction with 60% less recoil. Despite this, the M2 is likely to remain a common sight for the foreseeable future.

  • Cool Action: Jumping behind one (typically mounted on a vehicle of some sort) and pulling back on the bolt. CHACK-CHLACK. Firing it with at least an angry grimace on your face, usually a full-on scream which gets drowned out by the massive report. May involve pulling out or ignoring the last guy who used it. Likely involves the utter obliteration of the guy or building you are firing at.
  • Seen in anything set after the First World War showing a Western armoured vehicle, ship, or fixed infantry postion. Sci-fi movies sometimes use the M2 fitted with a military blank firing adaptor (a triangular fitting with a hemisphere muzzle and three tubes running the length of the barrel) as a futuristic weapon or ersatz gatling gun. The M2 is also often seen in movies dressed up as a hard-to-come-by Soviet heavy machine gun like the DshK.
  • Every military game ever made that has armoured vehicles in it that don't suffer from Crippling Overspecialization. It's also a standard "big gun" in fixed positions; it's often made a lot weaker and less accurate for balance purposes. A superhumanly strong character might use an M2 like a rifle, and in this case usually grips it by the barrel; this is not a good idea, as it gets hot.
  • In Fallout Tactics, this shows up being used as a handheld machine gun used by Super Mutants. You can use it as well if you have incredible strength or Powered Armor.
  • Roadblock from G.I. Joe would swing one of these. A little lampshading is found on his bio-card, suggesting that the kind of guy who can use this as a personal weapon is someone who probably doesn't NEED a machinegun to kill you.
  • Some of the fluff from Car Wars suggests that the M2 is still alive and well even in 2040s America; in-universe, someone used a combination of this and Loophole Abuse to win a demolition derby, setting up the Vehicular Combat genre among the people.
  • Doo-doot, doo-doot, doo-doot doo-doot, doo-doot. This is the gun mounted on the convicts' Jeep in Dead Rising. If you manage to defeat them, you can take it and go zombie-hunting.
  • Pops up in Far Cry 2, delightfully sidestepping the generic "stationary bullethose" depiction, having the properly slow RPM count and terrifying damage output.
  • Will and the Sons of Guns crew assemble a "virgin" (unbuilt) M2 kit and mount it on top of the War Wagon (Will's modified Ford Bronco).
  • The latest Rambo film accurately depicts the body-shredding ability of an M2 during a massive battle sequence toward the end of the film.

DShK 1938
A collaborative effort between legendary Soviet gun designers Vasily Degtyaryov (who designed the PTRD anti-tank rifle and DP-28 machine gun) and Gegorgi Shpagin (designer of the PPSh-41), the Degtyaryova-Shpagina Krupnokaliberny is the Soviet equivalent to the M2 Browning. Introduced in 1938, the DShK was the heavy machine gun used by the Soviets in nearly identical roles to the M2 during World War II and onwards, such as an anti-aircraft weapon for tanks and trucks. It was also used in an iconic two-wheeled trolley equipped with a metal shield for heavy infantry support. In the 1970’s, it was largely replaced with the NSV and then later the Kord HMG’s. However, like many Soviet-era Russian weapons it was imported by a number of client states and produced under license, still seeing use in many of them. It has also been popular with insurgent forces, such as the Viet Cong and Provisional IRA. Russian troops nicknamed it "Dushka" (“Sweetie” or “Dearest”) due to the similarity in pronunciation.

  • Used in many films that depicts Soviet or Soviet-allied forces, either a prop version of the real thing or a dressed up M2 or other large machine gun.
  • Used by John Rambo in both Rambo II and III, captured and turned against Soviet forces in both films.
  • The invading Soviets in Red Dawn have DShK’s mounted on their vehicles.
  • R.U.F rebels mounted them on pickup-trucks in Blood Diamond, and so did the Somalis in Black Hawk Down.
  • The soldiers of Hotel Moscow use one mounted on a truck in Black Lagoon.

Bren Gun
The standard light machine gun of the British Empire and Commonwealth nations in World War II, and remained in limited use all the way into the early 1990s and was kept in reserve until 2006. Easily recognized by its distinctive top-mounted removable box magazine, the Bren was adapted from the less common Czechoslovak ZB vz. 26, with the main alteration being chambering it to the standard .303 British round. The name "Bren" is a contraction of "Brno" (where the Czechoslovak original was developed) and "Enfield" (where the British version was adapted). It's clear that the designers had paid attention to the BAR's shortcomings in the squad support role, as they made sure to include a quick-change barrel. While it was still magazine-fed instead of belt-fed, it used larger 30-round magazines and the top-mounted magazines were much quicker to change, especially when firing prone. After WW 2, the Bren was redesigned to use the 7.62 NATO round, and this version could use the same magazines as the FN FAL.

A general purpose machine gun which has seen usage in too many countries to list here. Generally regarded as the general purpose machine gun, it can be used for infantry support (though it's very heavy for this role) or mounted on tanks, APCs and ships. One unusual aspect of its design is that the safety can only be engaged when the weapon is cocked. Hollywood tends to gloss over this one in favour of the M60 or M249 mainly due to the fact that the US uses the MAG (or M240 if you really want to be pedantic) mainly in the vehicle mounted role.

  • Used in Rambo: First Blood Part II mounted on Soviet vehicles, even though it really shouldn't be.
  • Turns up in Battle: Los Angeles mounted on vehicles all over the place.
  • The first light machine gun available in the multiplayer of Modern Warfare 2. Strangely, despite firing a bigger bullet than the others, it is statistically the weakest LMG in the game.