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Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB

Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)

The FN M2HB 0.50 caliber machine gun is a variant of the US Browning M2HB, designed to suit European production practices.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Edited: 10/19/2017
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Year: 1933
Manufacturer(s): Fabrique Nationale Herstal SA - Belgium
Roles: Fire Support/Suppression/Defense; Vehicle Mount;
Action: Recoil-Operated; Automatic Fire Only
Caliber(s): 12.7x99mm
Sights: Iron; Optional Optics
Overall Length: 1,654 mm (65.12 in)
Barrel Length: 1,143 mm (45.00 in)
Weight (Unloaded): 84.11 lb (38.15 kg)
Muzzle Velocity: 2,910 feet-per-second (887 meters-per-second)
Rate-of-Fire: 550 rounds-per-minute
Effective Range: 5,900 ft (1,798 m; 1,967 yd)
Operators: Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Benin; Bolivia; Brazil; Bulgaria; Burkina Faso; Burundi; Cameroon; Canada; Chad; Chile; Colombia; Iraq; Ivory Coast; Croatia; Democratic Republic of Congo; Denmark; Djibouti; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Egypt; El Salvador; Ethiopia; France; Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Germany; Greece; Guatemala; Honduras; India; Indonesia; Iran; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Jamaica; Japan; Jordan; Kuwait; Lebanon; Liberia; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Madagascar; Malaysia; Mauritania; Mexico; Morocco; Myanmar; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Niger; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Philippines; Portugal; Qatar; Romania; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Singapore; Somalia; South Africa; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Taiwan; Thailand; Togo; Tonga; Tunisia; Turkey; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay; Venezuela; Yemen; Zimbabwe
Like other John Browning gun designs, his famous Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun ended up produced in Europe (Belgium) under the Fabrique Nationale (FN) brand label as well. This was the M2HB ("Heavy Barrel") form and was essentially faithful to the original American offering same for slight alterations in its manufacture to suit European production practices. Largely, however, the FN M2HB retained both the form and function of its American-originated counterpart- it remained a heavy support weapon capable of engaging light armored vehicles. Its applications included static defense on a tripod, on vehicle pintle mounts (or as a coaxial installation), on watercraft, and on assault helicopters. FN engineers also developed a "lightweight" version of the heavy gun for use by airborne elements.

The M2HB supplies a useful 485 to 635 rounds-per-minute cyclic rate-of-fire (RoF) through a full-automatic-mode-only design. Upgrade kits for older M2 weapons were also made available and these allowed support of newer heavy duty barrels, a breech lock system, and barrel extension kit. There was also an "anti-cook-off" attachment for the lightweight airborne models. The M3 Tripod added an additional 43.98lbs (19.95kg) of weight to the complete weapons system when fielded as a static defensive suppression weapon. A standard operating crew was at least two to help handle the ammunition belt and its feeding.

The FN M2HB has gone on to see expanded use throughout the world which allowed the Browning design to broadened its worldwide reach - a design with origins in the post-World War 1 years. Nevertheless, the weapon continues to serve in a frontline role as there have proven no suitable replacement options since its inception. It has become a most reliable and proven battlefield performer, making up the heavy weapons section of most Western militaries since the Cold War decades. Soviet allies of the period utilized a Soviet-based 12.7mm alternative.

The M2 represents the original Browning variant. The M2A1 is an adoption of 2010 based on the developmental M2E2 and includes support for a Quick-Change Barrel (QCB), optional carrying handle, and new muzzle flash suppressor.

Variants / Models

• M2 HB - Base Heavy Support Machine Gun Model
• M2 HB-QCB - Quick Change Barrel
• M2 HB Coaxial - Coaxial Armored Vehicle mounted gun with electrically-fired solenoid capability; sans conventional sights for obvious reasons.
• M3M - High-rate automatic fire pintle-mount model based on the lighter-weight M3P; full-automatic fire of 950-1,100 rounds per minute capability; spade grips with basic trigger button.
• M3P - Lightweight M2 variant for airborne use; cyclic rate of 950-1,100 rounds per minute; solenoid fired; light barrel.
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