A machine gun is a very powerful weapon. It gives the advantage to the side to surprise the enemy in a war. Machine guns are generally rapid firing guns, which fires a lot of rounds of ammunition in few minutes according to their size and specifications. These guns are usually heavier and longer than assault rifles and automatic rifles. That is why these guns need to be installed on the ground and assembled before firing. Machine Guns have a long-barrel auto-loading firearm, which enables the operator to direct fire at the enemy. As a result, other side find it very difficult to move forward.
Modern Machine Gun: Highly Advanced Weapon
Modern Machine Guns are highly advanced military firearms. Machine Gun has an advantage to provide, which other rifles do not have. It continues to fire as long as the trigger is down unlike semi-automatic guns where trigger needs to be pulled again after every round of fire. Another advantage to the operator is that he can destroy a tank, low flying aircraft or any other armoured vehicle with the help of machine gun. Some machine guns can fire continuously for hours, as they possess special cooling systems unlike other guns, which overheats on excessive firing.
Operating Mechanism Of Machine Gun
How does the machine gun works? How does the operator handles such a big and heavy gun? We will try to know the mechanism of its working.
- First, the operator pulls the bolt assembly rearward either electrically or manually. It is done by the way of cocking lever to the point bolt carrier engages a sear, which stays at the position and moves after the trigger is activated.
- Secondly, the operator loads fresh rounds into chamber and locking bolt.
- Then, the firing round hits the primer. As a result, primer ignites the powder when bolt reaches locked position.
- After that, person unlocks and removes the spent case from the chamber and eject it out of the weapon.
- Next round is loaded.
- Operator keeps on firing by repeating the cycle. Releasing the trigger resets the trigger mechanism and hence firing stops.
Design Of This Weapon
Different machine guns have different mechanisms of working. Most modern machine guns are of locking type and they use the principle of gas-operated reloading. In this method, the gun taps off some propellant gas from the fired cartridge by using mechanical pressure to unlock the bolt and cycle the action. There are some modern weapons called as Gatling guns, which uses an external weapon to provide power source to move the mechanism through firing sequence. Several barrels are used, which have associated chambers in the guns. A system of cams and rotating carousel is used that load, cock and fire the mechanism as it rotates in sequence.
Rotary designs are used because these are less prone to jamming. However, these guns are heavier, expensive, and hence used with only large rounds like 20mm or even more. But, it has a disadvantage also. Heavy mechanism leads to its immobility. Due to this, these machine guns are difficult to mount on a vehicle.
Interface Of Modern Machine Guns
Modern machine guns use a very common interface of pistol grip and trigger. However, hand crank was used in earlier manual machine guns. On the other hand, for externally powered machine guns, like mini guns, there is a different interface, which is used. An electronic button is present to trigger the machine gun. The trigger is mounted on a joystick that is operated by the user.
A butt stock attached interface is often present in the light machine guns. Spade grips are used for machine guns that are to be mounted on a vehicle for better stability during firing. On a moving vehicle, operator needs to be extremely skilled to utilize the gun in the most efficient way. Moving vehicle makes the gun and operator unstable. That is why modern guns use scopes and other aiming devices to aim accurately at the target. Earlier, instead of scopes, iron sights were used. Those were more basic and did not involve any use of optics.
How the mounting of machine gun is done?
When it comes to mounting of machine guns on a vehicle, it can be done in many ways. One way is to use bipod, which is integrated with the weapon. Light machine guns and medium machine guns often use this. Another way to mount the gun is to use tripod. Generally, tripods are beneficial for heavy guns. Therefore, Medium or heavy machine guns utilize those. For ships and aircrafts, there is a different technique. A pintle mount is the best mounting device for the purpose. It is a steel post that is connected to the frame or body.