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Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB

Heavy Machine Gun (HMG)

Belgium | 1933

"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 | Last Edited: 05/30/2024 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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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.

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The physical qualities of the Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
1,654 mm
65.12 in
O/A Length
1,143 mm
45.00 in
Barrel Length
84.11 lb
38.15 kg
Recoil-Operated; Automatic Fire Only
Metal-Link Belt Fed
Iron; Optional Optics
Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB. Information presented is strictly for general reference and should not be misconstrued as useful for hardware restoration or operation.
5,900 ft
1,798.3 m | 1,966.7 yds
2,910 ft/sec
887 m/sec
Muzzle Velocity
Notable series variants as part of the Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) family line.
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.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national small arms listing.

Contractor(s): Fabrique Nationale Herstal SA - Belgium
National flag of Argentina National flag of Australia National flag of Austria National flag of Belgium National flag of Bolivia National flag of Brazil National flag of Bulgaria National flag of Cameroon National flag of Canada National flag of Chad National flag of Chile National flag of Colombia National flag of Croatia National flag of Denmark National flag of the Dominican Republic National flag of Ecuador National flag of Egypt National flag of Ethiopia National flag of France National flag of Gabon National flag of modern Germany National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Iraq National flag of Iran National flag of Ireland National flag of Israel National flag of Italy National flag of modern Jamaica National flag of modern Japan National flag of Jordan National flag of Kuwait National flag of Lebanon National flag of Lithuania National flag of Luxembourg National flag of Malaysia National flag of Mexico National flag of Morocco National flag of Myanmar National flag of the Netherlands National flag of New Zealand National flag of Nicaragua National flag of Niger National flag of Norway National flag of Oman National flag of Pakistan National flag of Peru National flag of the Philippines National flag of Portugal National flag of Qatar National flag of Romania National flag of Rwanda National flag of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia National flag of Senegal National flag of Serbia National flag of Singapore National flag of South Africa National flag of Spain National flag of Somalia National flag of Sweden National flag of Switzerland National flag of Taiwan National flag of Thailand National flag of Turkey National flag of Tunisia National flag of the United Arab Emirates National flag of the United Kingdom National flag of the United States National flag of Uruguay National flag of Venezuela National flag of Yemen National flag of Zimbabwe

[ 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 ]
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Image of the Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB

Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Fabrique Nationale FN M2HB Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) appears in the following collections:
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