There are hundreds of different types of machine guns, all with different purposes. Fortunately, most machine guns are easy to shoot and simple to understand. Many people still don't know what classifies a machine gun, the proper way to handle one or even how they work.
A machine gun is any gun that fires ammunition rapidly without multiple trigger pulls. The first successful machine gun was developed in the 1940s and was highly desired when it came to warfare. Some modern pistols will come with a semi-auto and auto settings which make them, essentially, machine guns.
Machine guns are very efficient because they use the force of firing the last bullet to eject the cartridge and load another.
- To load the gun, pull the bolt assembly backward by grabbing the cocking mechanism. This puts the bolt assembly in position for the hammer and allows a cartridge to be loaded into the chamber.
- What happens next is all in just a split second. When the trigger is pulled the hammer comes down against the bolt assembly which is forced forward on the cartridge and ignites the gun powder.
- The bullet is released from the chamber, the bolt comes back and a hook ejects the old cartridge. After the old cartridge is ejected, a new cartridge from the magazine or belt is loaded into the chamber and the bolt slides forward to fire again.
- If the trigger is held down this chain will repeat until the magazine is empty or the trigger is released, then the bolt assembly will remain in the reward position.
It's always important to be safe when firing any gun so having the proper gear is required. Safety glasses are very helpful when multiple weapons are being fired. When the old cartridges are ejected, if the weapon is right handed, they will come out the right side and can hit anyone within a few feet. When these cartridges are ejected they're very hot and if they come into contact with eyes or bare skin, serious damage can be done.
Machine guns will eject several cartridges every few seconds, so it is important to have safety glasses available. Another important piece of safety gear is ear protection. There's a small explosion going on inside the machine gun as the bullet leaves the barrel at a speed no slower 1200 feet per second. It gets very loud to say the least and it can leave the unprotected operator deaf for several minutes.
Machine guns are great for warfare; they lay down fast suppressive fire which keeps the enemy hidden for as long as the machine gun is being fired. They are also great for recreation, but not good for home defense. Machine guns are notorious for over penetration, which can harm occupants in the next room regardless of whether they were intended targets. It is also difficult to be precise with a machine gun, making them much better for a sprawl of fire rather than target practice.
Finally, machine guns tend to be on the heavy side with even heavier ammunition. This makes them best for heavy infantry or strictly recreational purposes.