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Machine Gun Terminology – LMG, MMG, SAW, LSW, HMG, GPMG

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Today we will look at the various different categories of machine guns – what makes them, why they exist, and what their place in military history is. Specifically…

Automatic Rifle: Shoulder or hip fired, limited magazine capacity, minimal sustained fire capacity. Examples: M1918 BAR, Chauchat.

LMG: Magazine fed, rifle caliber, bipod fired. Examples: Bren, Madsen, Lewis.

HMG: Belt fed, usually water cooled, minimal portability, fired from tripod only. Examples: Maxim, Vickers, Hotchkiss 1914. Evolved into guns of caliber 12.7mm – 20mm, like the M2 and DShK.

MMG: Air cooled, tripod fired only, belt fed. Examples: Browning 1919A4, SG-43.

GPMG: Bipod or tripod fired, belt fed, rifle caliber, quick-change barrel. Examples: MG42, PKM, M240.

SAW/LSW: Intermediate caliber, magazine fed, bipod fired. Examples: L86A1, FN Minimi, RPK.

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