Country of origin
7.62x51 mm NATO
~ 11.8 kg
1 263 mm
Cyclic rate of fire
750 - 950 rpm
Practical rate of fire
Range of effective fire
Range of effective fire (mounted on a tripod)
1 100 m
The M240 is
a US-built version of the Belgian
that is one of the most widespread and effective General Purpose
Machine Guns (GPMGs) in the world. Since its introduction in 1957
the FN MAG has dominated the market for Western Block machine guns.
It was proposed for the US military. However it was originally
rejected in favor of the US-made
Ironically 2 decades after the M60 was adopted, it was replaced by a
US-built version of the MAG, designated as the M240. It was adopted
by the US Army in 1977 and replaced the M73 and M219 machine guns.
The M240 has also been adopted by the US Navy, Marine Corps and
Coast Guard. It is also
used by the Spanish Army. This weapon
is manufactured in the USA by a local division of the Fabrique Nationale. Production of the M240
still continues and improved and updated variants continue to
emerge. This weapon was used
during various military conflicts, including the recent wars in Iraq
The M240 is
used by the infantry, and may be mounted as a fixed weapon on tripods, vehicle
mounts, helicopters and
The M240 has
several design attributes of the World War II-era German MG-42,
including its trigger mechanisms, quick-change barrel, and
spring-loaded dust cover. But much of the weapon was derived from
the basic design formula of the venerable Browning Model 1918 BAR.
In fact most of the Belgian FN MAG was created by simply inverting
the BAR's receiver, so it could be belt-fed from above rather than
magazine-fed from below.
The M240 is gas-operated
weapon. Barrel is above and the gas regulator. This machine gun fires from an open
It is a selective fire weapon, but does not have a single shot
capability. The fire selector switches between a rate of fire of 750 rpm,
850 rpm, or
950 rpm. However the firing rate is adjusted only when fouling
causes sluggish operation of the weapon and there is no time to
clean the weapon properly.
safety is integral to the
design, which disables the sear when set to "safe", but it can only
be safed when the weapon is cocked.
Ammunition is fed into the upper left side of the weapon by a
belt. The M240 accepts linked belts with disintegrating or
non-disintegrating links. These belts are typically 50 to 250 rounds
in length, typically in boxes or pouches. Sometimes these are
attached to the weapon itself. The 50-round belts are the most
widely-used, and can be linked end-to-end.
The M240 is
bulkier and heavier than contemporary machine guns. However it
proved to be a very reliable weapon. Several sources report that the
MAG is the most reliable machine gun in the world. For example, during testing in the 1990s,
it was able to fire an astonishing 26 000 rounds between failures.
This reliability was further confirmed in a 2013 torture test of the
M240B, after which there was no loss of accuracy, despite the weapon
firing a total of 15 000 rounds at its cyclical rate of fire. By the
end of that 2013 test, it had fired more than 32 000 rounds without
ill effect. The barrel is rated for 800 rounds fired before
replacement, but the M240 has frequently exceeded this requirement.
According to some sources this weapon
have been able to fire 8 000 rounds out of individual barrels before
requiring a replacement, even when the barrels were heated until
they glowed red hot. Barrels with advanced lining materials have
even longer life ratings, with Stellite-lined barrels claimed to
last for 15 000 rounds.
Most of the
components of the M240 are interchangeable with the Belgian FN MAG
and its derivatives, such as the British
has quick-change barrels. A carrying handle is attached directly to the top of the barrel.
allows the crew to quickly remove an expended barrel while it is still
hot, with no need for insulated gloves to handle it.
The M240 has
composite buttstock, foregrip and pistol grip. Early versions of the
original FN MAG had wooden furniture, while newer models also employ
A folding bipod is standard equipment, allowing the
M240 to be
fired from a stable position while resting on the ground or a raised
object (such as a wall or a boulder).
The sight is a folding leaf type, with an aperture and notch
in the rear, and a simple blade in the front. The rear sight is
adjustable for sighting range, from 200 m to 800 m. Newer variants
have a Picatinny-type scope rail and accept optics.
effective range of the M240 is 800 m when fired from a bipod and 1
100 m when fired from a tripod.
the years the US M240 machine guns have been improved and upgraded
by installing various upgrade kits.
this weapon is approximately US $9 500.
M240B is an
improved version, used by some US Army units. It is the
standard infantry general purpose machine gun, used by the US Marine
Corps (M60E4). It is also used by the US Navy (Mk.43) and Coast Guard.
This weapon has a hydraulic buffer system, which reduces the felt
recoil. Similar system was used on the
machine gun. This weapon has only one gas setting, reducing the fire
rate to 650-750 rounds per minute. This feature increases reduces
the stress on the mechanism and increases service life of the
weapon. A side effect to that is that the M240B will not fire when
extremely fouled. Currently in the US Army service
the M240B is being replaced by a lighter M240L.
M240C is a
coaxial machine gun. Its trigger was replaced by the electric
solenoid. It is used on the
Bradley fighting vehicles,
armored vehicles and all
Abrams series main battle tanks.
M240D is a
pintle-mounted version. It is an upgrade of the M240E1. Pistol grip and buttstock were replaced by
the spade grips. There is also an egress package this weapon. It
allows the aircrew to remove this machine gun from the downed
helicopter and use it as an infantry weapon.
M240E1 is a
US Marine Corps version, used on vehicles, like the
developed for the US Marine Corps. It is a version of the M240E1,
designed for coaxial use on tanks and armored vehicles. It can is
also used on vehicle pintle mounts. The M240G has 3 gas settings. It
allows the machine gun to be fired between 650 and 950 rounds per
minute. This feature allows the shooter to adjust the gas bleed of
the action and continue firing when the weapon is very fouled from
sustained shooting. It has a Picatinny-type rail system. This weapon
can be modified for ground use by installing a special kit. The US
Marine Corps converted a large number of older M240 and M240E1
machine guns to the M240G standard.
M240H is an
improved version of the M240D, fitted with a Picatinny-type scope
rail on a feed cover. Also it has improved flash suppressor.
M240L is a
lighter version of the M240B. It was developed following a weight
reduction program. Formerly this weapon was known as M240E6. The
M240L is 2.5 kg lighter than the M240B. That's a whooping 18%
reduction in weight. The M240L incorporates lightweight titanium
parts and different manufacturing methods for fabrication of major
components. The US Army began replacing its M240B machine guns with
the M240L. However Marine Corps have not adopted this weapon yet due
to its high price.
M240P is a
compact version of the M240L, with a shorter barrel and collapsible