M240 machine gun

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M240 7.62mm Machine Gun
PEO M240B Profile.jpg
The M240 Bravo
Type General-purpose machine gun
Place of origin
Service history
In service 1977–present[2]
Used by United States Armed Forces[2]
Wars Gulf War
Iraq War
War in Afghanistan
Syrian Civil War[3]
Production history
Designer Ernest Vervier
Designed 1950s
Manufacturer Fabrique Nationale (FN)[1]
U.S. Ordnance, Inc.
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing
Produced 1977–present[2]
Variants See Variants
Weight M240B: 27.6 pounds (12.5 kg)
M240G: 25.6 pounds (11.6 kg)
M240L: 22.3 pounds (10.1 kg)
Length 49.7 in (1,263 mm)
Barrel length 24.8 in (630 mm)
Width 4.7 in (118.7 mm)
Height 10.4 in (263 mm)

Cartridge 7.62×51mm NATO[4]
Action Gas-operated, open bolt[4]
Rate of fire
  • M240
    Gas Setting 1: 750 RPM
    Gas Setting 2: 850 RPM
    Gas Setting 3: 950 RPM
  • M240G
    Gas Setting 1:
    650-750 RPM
    Gas Setting 2:
    750-850 RPM
    Gas Setting 3:
    850-950 RPM
  • M240B, M240L, and M240H: 550-650 RPM
  • M240C and M240D:
    650-950 RPM
  • Barrett 240LW and Barrett 240 LWS:
    550-600 RPM
Muzzle velocity 2,800 ft/s (853 m/s)[1]
Effective firing range
Maximum firing range 4,074 yd (3,725 m)[1]
Feed system Non-disintegrating DM1 or disintegrating M13 linked belt
Sights Folding leaf sight with aperture and notch, front blade

The M240, officially the M240 7.62mm Machine Gun, is the US military designation for the FN MAG (Mitrailleuse d'Appui Général,[5] meaning general-purpose machine gun), a family of belt-fed, gas-operated medium machine guns that chambers the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.[1]

The M240 has been used by the United States Armed Forces since the late-1970s. It is used extensively by infantry, most often rifle companies as well as ground vehicles, watercraft and aircraft. Despite being heavier than comparable weapons, it is highly regarded for reliability and its standardization among NATO members is a major advantage.

All variants are fed from disintegrating belts, and are capable of firing most types of 7.62 mm (.308) NATO ammunition. M240 variants can use non-disintegrating belts (following replacement of a few easily swappable parts). There are significant differences in weight and some features among some versions which restrict interchangeability of parts. The M240s used by the US military are currently manufactured by FN Manufacturing, a US-based branch of FN Herstal.[1]

The M240B and M240G (see Variants section) are usually fired from an integrated bipod, a vehicular mount, an M192 tripod that is mostly used by the U.S. Army; and the M122 tripod (a slightly updated M2 tripod) that is mostly used by the U.S. Marine Corps.


M240 coaxial machine gun aboard an M1 Abrams tank.

Manufactured by Fabrique Nationale, the FN MAG was chosen by the U.S. military for different roles after large world-wide searches and competitions. The MAG is a belt-fed, gas-operated, air-cooled, crew-served, fixed headspace weapon. Its versatility is demonstrated by its ability to be mounted on the M122A1 tripod, a bipod, on vehicles, or on aircraft.

It was first adopted by the U.S. Army in 1977, as a coaxial tank gun, and slowly adopted for more applications in the 1980s and 1990s. The M240 and M240E1 were adopted for use on vehicles. This led to further adoption in more uses, especially for the Army and Marine infantry. While possessing many of the same basic characteristics as its predecessor, the durability of the MAG system results in superior reliability when compared to the M60. The MAG actually has a more complex gas system than the M60, but gives better reliability combined with lower maintenance requirements, though this comes at greater manufacturing cost and weight.

Compared to other machine guns, its rating of 26,000 mean rounds between failure (MRBF) is quite high for its weight—in the 1970s when it was first adopted it achieved about 7,000 MRBF. It is not as reliable as some very heavy older designs, but it is quite reliable for its mass.

Early History: testing and adoption

The US adoption of the MAG has its origins in the late 1960s/early 1970s as a project to procure a new coaxially mounted 7.62 mm machine gun for tanks to replace the M73 and M219 machine guns then being used. It would go on to be deployed in this role in the 1980s, but was additionally adopted for infantry and other uses. It was deployed in these new roles in the 1990s and 2000s (decade).

As mentioned, during the 1970s the Army was looking for new 7.62 mm machine guns for vehicle/AFV mounts. The 1950s-era M73 had been rather troubled, and the derivative M73E1/M219 was not much of an improvement. A number of designs of the period from various countries were considered; the final two candidates were the M60E2 and the FN MAG. They underwent comprehensive testing alongside the older M219 for comparison.

Two main criteria analyzed were mean rounds between stoppages (MRBS, jams that can be cleared within minutes) and mean rounds between failures (MRBF, such as a part breaking). The results for the evaluated machine guns were the following:

Type Rounds fired MRBS MRBF
FN MAG 58 50,000 2962 6442
M60E2 50,000 846 1669
M219 19,000 215 1090
Minimum specified 850 2675
Minimum desired 1750 5500

The test applies only to the 1970s-era versions tested. The MAG itself underwent some improvements and the M60E2 was a specialized coaxial variant that differed from some of the other types. The qualities of the M60 variants vary considerably, such as between the M60E4 and the M60C. That aside, for these types the clear winner was the MAG, which was designated as the M240 in 1977 after the Army competition. It went on to replace many older types for the vehicle/coaxial role in the 1980s. The M240 proved popular enough that it was adapted by the infantry later on, spawning the M240B and M240G. The USMC adopted the M240G for this role in 1991, where it not only replaced the rather worn M60s used by the (marine) infantry, but also the M60E3 that the Marines had started using in the 1980s. In the late 1990s, the Army adopted the M240B for the infantry role – they had considered the M60E4, which (though lighter and cheaper) did not offer commonality with the vehicle-borne M240, other NATO FN MAG users (such as Britain), or the USMC.

The various versions of the M240 have not yet entirely replaced all the M60 versions, though they have for most main applications and roles. The M60 is still, in some cases, used by the Navy.


A Marine inserts an ammunition belt into the feed tray of the M240G.

Loading the M240 can be done either with the bolt forward or to the rear. If the bolt is to remain forward, the operator will then load the rounds into the feeding block (feed tray cover closed); or will open the feed tray cover, load the rounds onto the feeding tray, then close the feed tray cover. The charging handle will then be pulled to the rear, which locks the bolt to the rear. The weapon is then placed on safe and the charging handle is then placed back to the forward position (this is spring-loaded on the tank-mounted variation). The weapon is now ready for operation. The weapon fires from the open bolt position, meaning that the bolt is held to the rear and only moves forward as it is firing a round. The firing pin is static and the bolt moves around the firing pin, circumventing any need for a hammer. A sear is used to time the internal mechanisms of the weapon to provide a consistent rate of fire, ensuring proper function and accuracy. However, firing from an open bolt also provides the possibility of an accidental discharge due to a bolt override. This happens when there is enough force for the bolt to jump over the sear and fire without the trigger being pulled. The safety on the weapon cannot stop this from happening. The safest way to protect against this is to leave the bolt forward on the weapon until the operator is ready to fire the weapon; then charge the weapon and fire.

An M1 Abrams tank with the tank commander's .50-caliber M2 Browning machine gun on the right side of the tank, and the ammunition loader's M240 on the left side of the tank.

Clearing the weapon is performed by ensuring that the bolt is locked to the rear and the weapon is on safe. The top cover is then lifted, the remaining belt (if any) is swept out of the feed tray, the feed tray is lifted to visually inspect the chamber and the face of the bolt. Any links or brass casings are removed. The weapon is now clear. In the extremely unlikely event that a live round is on the bolt face, it is knocked loose with a cleaning rod or another rigid object. If there is a live round lodged in the barrel, the operator must immediately decide if the barrel is hot enough that there is a chance of it cooking off. If there is, he will immediately move his face away from the opening of the weapon; and aiming the gun is a direction that is perceived to take the least amount of damage and/or casualties should the event of a cook-off occur. He should then wait for the barrel to cool off before attempting to remove it. He can also attempt to extract the round by closing the cover, taking the weapon off of safe, and pulling the trigger. This will likely causing the weapon to fire, so care should be made in ensuring that the weapon is first pointed in a safe direction.

The rate of fire may be controlled by three different settings. The first setting allows the weapon to cycle at 750 rounds per minute. The two remaining settings increases the rate of fire by 100 rounds per minute (the second setting being 850 rounds per minute, and the third setting being 950 rounds per minute). These settings are changed by dismounting the barrel, removing the gas regulator collar and turning the gas regulator to allow more or less gas to move through the weapon system. It is generally performed only when necessary to return the gun to operation after fouling has caused sluggish operation and there is no time to properly clean the weapon.

The barrels can be exchanged rapidly, thanks to a barrel release button located on the left side of the weapon. The weapon is cleared first and then the button is held down, while the barrel's carrying handle is moved from the right side of the weapon to the center, unlocking it from the receiver. At this point, the button is released and the barrel is then pulled free of the receiver and placed to the side. The new barrel is inserted into the receiver and then the carrying handle is shifted to the right, locking it into place. Headspace is set by counting the clicks as the barrel is locked down and should be between two and seven clicks.

During prolonged firing, care must be taken to not allow exposed skin to come in contact with the weapon. The barrels can become hot enough to inflict second-degree burns instantly without becoming visibly different. These hot barrels glow brightly to anyone using any sort of optics sensitive to infrared radiation, such as night vision devices.


The manufacturer's name for the weapon is the MAG 58. The M240 adheres to FN MAG-58 specifications, allowing parts to be interchanged with other standard MAG-58s.[2] This has significant advantages in training, logistics support, tactical versatility, and joint operations. For example, a US unit with attached British troops could supply replacement parts for the L7s, and vice versa.[2]


A Marine performs a maintenance on a mounted M240 pintle-mounted machine gun on an LAV.

This was adopted in 1977 by the Army to replace the M73 and M219 7.62mm machine guns, the Marines adopted the M240 and M240E1 for use on vehicles like the LAV-25.

U.S. Navy SEALs continue to use the "CAR-60" version (M60E3) of the M60 machine gun due to its lighter weight and slower rate of fire, which allows a move effective duration of fire with allowable levels of ammunition carried.[citation needed]

The rate of fire of the M240 may be controlled by three different settings.

  • The first setting allows the weapon to have a fire rate of 750 rounds per minute.
  • The second setting allows the weapon to have a fire rate of 850 rounds per minute.
  • The third setting allows the weapon to have a fire rate of 950 rounds per minute.


The M240C is a variation on the original coaxial (installed alongside the main weapon) M240, but with a right-handed feed for use on the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle and LAV as the coaxial machine gun. It is fed from the left on the M1 Abrams and other M1 variant (M1A1, M1A2, M1A2 SEP) tanks. The M240C uses a charging cable instead of a charging handle, has a cut-off pistol grip and has a special paddle assembly that allows the trigger to be actuated by means of a solenoid. Since the machine gun is not meant to be handled during use, the barrel is fully exposed and must be handled with asbestos mittens during barrel changes.

M240D and M240E1

M240E1 variant on a LAV-25.

The M240D has two possible configurations: aircraft and egress (ground). The aircraft configured M240D has a front and rear sight and a trigger group which accommodates the spade grip device. The ground configuration involves the installation of an Egress Package or "infantry modification kit", which is designed to provide downed aircrew personnel with increased firepower. The M240D is an upgrade of the M240E1, primarily in the addition of an optical rail on the receiver cover. The M240E1 is also fitted with spade grips for flexible use.

M240H (M240E5)

An improvement of the M240D, the M240H features a rail-equipped feed cover, an improved flash suppressor, and has been configured so that it can be more quickly converted to infantry standard using an Egress Kit. The M240H is 41.2 inches (1,050 mm) long with a 23.6-inch (600 mm) barrel, and weighs 26.3 pounds (11.9 kg) empty.


Marines with a tripod-mounted M240G.

The M240G allows for commonality throughout the Marine Corps whether the weapon is used in an infantry, vehicular, or airborne role. The M240G is the ground version of the original M240 or M240E1, 7.62 mm medium class weapon designed as a coaxial/pintle-mounted machine gun for tanks and LAVs. The M240G can be modified for ground use by the installation of an "infantry modification kit" (a flash suppressor, front sight, carrying handle for the barrel, a buttstock, infantry length pistol grip, bipod, and rear sight assembly). The M240G lacks a front heat guard, and as such is a few pounds lighter than the M240B, weighing in at 25.6 pounds (11.6 kg). The M240G has three gas settings, allowing this weapon to fire between 650 to 950 rounds per minute. On gas setting one the weapon will fire 650–750 rounds per minute, on gas setting two the weapon will fire 750–850 rounds per minute, and on gas setting three the weapon will fire 850–950 rounds per minute. The size of the gas port increases resulting in greater energy being delivered to the action. Use at high settings induces added stresses on the action and results in a shorter service life of the weapon. It gives the operator an ability to adjust the gas bleed to the action. This also allows the weapon to continue firing when very dirty from sustained use in combat conditions when it may be otherwise rendered inoperable due to an extremely dirty and dry action.

M240B (M240E4)

A M240B in use by a U.S. Army soldier.

The M240B is the standard infantry medium machine gun of the U.S. Marine Corps. The US Navy and Coast Guard likewise utilize the weapon system. It is also still used by some Army units. It comes configured for ground combat with a buttstock and bipod, though it can also be mounted on tripod, ground vehicles, aircraft, aboard ships and small boats. It is almost always referred to as an "M240 Bravo" or even just "240" verbally.[6] The M60E4 (Mk 43 as designated by the U.S. Navy) was pitted against the (then called) M240E4 in Army trials during the 1990s for a new infantry medium machine gun, in a competition to replace the decades-old M60s. The M240E4 won, and was then classified as the M240B. This led to 1,000 existing M240s being sent to FN for an overhaul and a special kit that modified them for use on ground (such as a stock, a rail, etc.). This led to procurement contracts in the late 1990s for the all-new M240B. However, a new feature was added, a hydraulic buffer system to reduce the felt recoil as incorporated in the M60.[citation needed] While the M240B had been more reliable in the tests, it was a few pounds heavier than the M60E4, which led to the development of the lighter M240L machine gun. The Army M240 converted to the M240B configuration should not be confused with the large numbers of M240/E1 converted to the M240G configuration for the Marine Corps.

A Seabee fires an M240B mounted atop a Humvee.

In the Marine Corps, the M240G is the predecessor of the M240B.[citation needed] The main differences between the two machine-gun variations is the picatinny rail system, hydraulic buffer inside of the butt stock to reduce the amount of recoil felt by the gunner, and the number of gas settings on the gas regulator plug. The M240G has three gas settings, allowing the machine gun to have a fire rate between 650–950 rounds per minute depending on the setting selected, whereas the M240B only has one setting, restricting the fire rate between 550–650 rounds per minute. The smaller gas port used on the M240B slows down the rate of fire, which increases the longevity of the machine-gun by reducing stresses on the action. A side effect is a weapon that will not fire when extremely dirty as the energy on the piston is reduced. The Marine Corps relies on fire discipline amongst its machine gunners to not set it to the largest port unless required.

The M240B is being tested with a new adjustable buttstock that may replace the current stock of the M240B.[7] The lighter M240L has started to replace the M240B in U.S. Army service.[8] The Marine Corps is observing the progress of the M240L, but feels it is too expensive for adoption. The Corps is instead looking to upgrade the M240 barrel through several ways, including carbon fiber coatings, new alloys, or ceramic liners, to lighten and strengthen the barrel. The goal would be a barrel that would not need to be changed, would weigh the same, but decrease heat retention, lessen warping, and eliminate cook-offs. They are also interested in incorporating a suppressor into the barrel, rather than having to attach one, to reduce the sound of shots and make it difficult to determine where the gunner is located.[9]

Feedback on the M240B

An FN MAG (on the left) being compared to an IMI Negev (on the right).

The M240B is a successful and well-regarded weapon system that has proven itself in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, serving as a powerful supplement to the lighter 5.56 mm–based M249, M16, and M4. Its 7.62 mm round provides good penetration and stopping power, a characteristic that is especially appreciated in the urban environments where many Iraqi engagements took place. Overall, the M240B's combat record must be considered superior to the problematic M60 that it has entirely replaced in US service. An April 2002 presentation by the Natick Soldier Center reported on lessons learned from M240B use in Afghanistan:

  • 17% reported engaging the enemy with their M240B;
  • 42% reported problems getting spare parts in Afghanistan (barrels, springs, small roll pins, T&E (transversing & elevation) pin, heat shields, sear pins, spare barrel bag, cleaning materials);
  • 1 soldier reported a double feed in combat; This was probably a failure to extract and not a double feed.
  • 50% reported that they need better ways to carry ammunition (ammo bag, etc.);
  • 82% thought their M240B was reliable;
  • 60% thought it needed to be easier to carry, and to set up.
  • Suggestions: improved sling; lighter, more durable tripod; more durable heat shield.

On 15 May 2003, an "Operation Iraqi Freedom PEO Soldier Lessons Learned" report by LTC Jim Smith, U.S. Army, was published. The report made the following comments on the M240B:

Soldiers have great confidence in this weapon. Again, the vast majority of comments were positive. Most negative comments were relative to the AG's load. Soldiers recommended fabricating the tripod out of a lighter material. The AG bag is not integrated into the remainder of the MOLLE and, therefore, is not easily carried. Additionally, the nylon bag melts when it comes in contact with a hot barrel. Other suggestions included adding collapsible bipod legs like the squad automatic weapon (SAW), wiring down the heat shields and an ammunition carrying system to carry 300–400 linked rounds.[10]

In May 2006, there was a presentation by the US Army Infantry Center reported these conclusions on the M240B:

  • Soldier ratings consistently highly positive
  • Great rate of fire and target effects
  • Good durability

These comments were based on a survey of 3,300 soldiers from eight divisions of the U.S. Army (active, Guard, and reserve).


Weight reduced short-barreled M240L, the newest variant in service.

The M240L (M240B Weight Reduction Program, formerly the M240E6), reduces the weight of the existing M240B by 5.5 pounds (2.5 kg).[11] To achieve 18% weight savings, the M240L incorporates titanium construction and alternative manufacturing methods for fabricating major components. The resulting improvements reduced the soldier's combat load while allowing easier handling and movement of the weapon. The M240L may replace the M240B in U.S. Army service.[8] It was type classified in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.[12][13]

Titanium was used to make the receiver body, front sight post, and carrying handle while maintaining steel operating system components. The manufacturing process had to be adjusted because titanium takes longer to machine than steel and requires more frequent replacement of tooling bits; more pliable stainless steel rivets were used, and the receiver was coated with boron and chrome carbo-nitride coatings with a ceramic-based top coat to preserve it under extreme operating temperatures. The M240L weighs 22.3 lb (10.1 kg) with a standard-length barrel and standard stock, and weighs 21.8 lb (9.9 kg) with a shorter barrel and collapsible stock. The short barrel is 4 in (100 mm) shorter than a standard M240 barrel, and with the collapsible stock the M240L can be made 7 in (180 mm) shorter. The smaller and lighter variant of the M240L is the M240P, which is still in a testing phase in Afghanistan. The M240P is not used as often as its predecessors.[14][15] The Army initially bought 4,500 M240Ls, and plans to buy 12,000 total.[9]

M240L 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (Light) specifications:[16]

  • Operation: Gas-operated (full-auto)
  • Feed System: NATO standard disintegrating link belt-fed
  • Length: 1,230 mm (48.5 in) with the standard barrel and 1,130 mm (44.5 in) with the short barrel
  • Barrel Length: 551.18 mm (21.7 inch)
  • Weight: 10.1 kg (22.3 lb)
  • Caliber: 7.62mm (7.62×51mm NATO)
  • Maximum effective range: 1,100 meters with tripod and T&E (the latest FM reads 1,800 m)
  • Maximum range: 3,725 meters
  • Tracer burnout: 900 meters
  • Cyclic rate of fire (hydraulic buffer): 550–650 rounds per minute

Barrett 240LW

The Barrett 7.62x51mm NATO 240 Light Weight (LW) program has its design roots in the original U.S. Army solicitation for a lighter M240 medium machine gun in 2010. The program called for a much lighter version of the M240, while keeping the same familiar open bolt design that the machine gun is world-renowned for. This was formally known as the M240B Weight Reduction Program, or the M240E6. The results of that solicitation ended with the adoption of the M240 Lima by the U.S. Army. By producing the receiver out of titanium, instead of steel, FN delivered a light-weight solution by trimming the weight of the M240B by 5.5 pounds, or an 18 percent weight reduction of the original machine gun, giving it an overall weight of 22.3 pounds. Currently the Lima is in service with the U.S. Army in a limited capacity.[17]

Although Barrett did not participate in the solicitation program, the company felt that it could produce an equivalent weight reduction by more efficient manufacturing methods instead of simply switching to the much more expensive titanium receiver. In addition, the company makes the point that the majority of worldwide titanium reserves are coming from Russia and China. Should relations between the United States and these countries sour, it would become much harder to find sources of titanium. Thus Barrett designed the 240 LW series, keeping the standard 240 technical data package, while more efficiently manufacturing the receiver.[17]

Excess weight in the original M240 is necessary due to its riveted box receiver. The overlapping steel required for this process, as well as the rivets that adds to the overall weight of the machine gun and allows for corrosion risks or operational issues during use in the field. The Barrett solution is to machine the receiver from forgings, then expertly weld the halves together. There is no extra steel for overlapping plates and no rivets to vibrate loose. This procedure allows for a reduction in receiver components from 64 down to only 2 and subtract four pounds off the receiver alone. The Barrett manufacturing process reduces weight without the use of rare, exotic materials. Improved reliability and corrosion has been moved into a 21st century design with the Barrett 240LW and 5.5 pounds were saved during the process.

The Barrett 240LW is a general-purpose machine gun capable of mounting on a bipod, tripod, aircraft, or vehicle. It is belt fed, air-cooled, gas operated, fully automatic and fires from an open bolt. It features an adjustable buttstock with a hydraulic buffer, feed pawls, a fluted quick detach barrel, a new handguard with Keymod attachments, a new quick detach titanium bipod, adjustable carrying handle, a rivetless receiver, and a three position gas regulator.[18]

Barrett 240LW 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun specifications:

  • Operation: Gas-operated (full-auto)
  • Feed System: NATO standard disintegrating link belt-fed
  • Caliber: 7.62mm (7.62×51mm NATO)
  • Maximum effective range and T&E : 1,100 meters with tripod
  • Maximum range: 3725 meters
  • Tracer burnout: 900 meters
  • Cyclic rate of fire: 550–600 rounds per minute

Barrett 240 LWS

A variant of the Barrett 7.62x51mm NATO 240 Light Weight (LW) program is the Barrett 240 Light Weight Short (LWS). The design concept for this variant is to produce a viable medium machine gun that would serve in a special operations capacity, where a small team of operators could maximize a medium machine gun by having it in a shorter and lighter package than its big brother, the 240 LW, or the equivalent M240B. This follows in the footsteps of the Mk48 and the M60E6 medium machine gun ideas, also designed for the small unit role. The FN Mk48 is a completely redesigned M249 SAW in 7.62x51mm NATO and has comes across some issues in its service life; it was never designed to be a general purpose machine gun, while the M60E6 arguably came too late to make a difference in USMC and US Army general machine gun adoption, being that the M240 design was well standardized within the DoD ranks. Both offerings are more focused on Special Operations in US Service.[17]

The Barrett 240 LWS is a 7.62x51mm NATO gas operated, belt fed, open bolt, medium machine gun in shortened form from the 240 LW. It has a removable buttstock, that has a 6 position telescoping buttstock that differs from a similar buttstock on the 240 LW in that it is half the size in length, and does'nt have a polymer cheek piece. There are two telescoping rods that will allow the buttstock to be extended to the desired position, when depressed from the top portion. The rods have indentations on them, which lock into positional latches within the rear of the buttstock. The hydraulic buffer is permanently encased within the stock and is necessary for recoil reduction from the violent reciprocating movement of the bolt group. It has a solid sling loops on either side of the weapon.[17]

The position of the pistol grip and firing control group is what truly allows the LWS to be as short as it is. Barrett moved the entire grip forward by about 4 inches, to where the front of the trigger guard is at a right angle to the ejection port. Moving the grip forward took away the ability to mount the LWS on a traditional M240 T & E mount or a tripod. But the intent of the LWS is for it not to be mounted, and instead being a part of that small man team needing the additional firepower on a foot patrol. The front pintle mount is still on the receiver, so the machine gun could be mounted to a pintle turret mount, it would just have to be free-gunned the entire time.[17]

By moving the fire control group forward, the overall length can be shortened because the machine gunner no longer needs a traditionally longer stock to compensate for the original position of the pistol group, towards the very rear portion of the receiver. Instead of a machine gunner achieving a cheek weld on the stock, the machine gunner is now resting his face against the actual receiver of the machine gun, also it allows the gunner to have a closer fit of the weapon. But by doing this, the bolt had to be modified accordingly, because the original location of the sear is no longer there. Barrett had to move the position of the sear catch on the bolt to further down the length of it. The bolt group is still the same as the original M240 design, with the exception of the position of the sear catch.[17]

It features a longer Picatinny rail compared to the M240 machineguns that runs the length of the receiver, for various optics and Picatinny mounted rear sights to be mounted. The design of the feed tray cover hinge has been altered to be in the shape of a hexagon, thus allowing for the feed tray cover to be able to stay open while at a 45 degree angle to the receiver, while the machine gunner is loading a belt of ammunition. The feed tray has also been altered, with two protruding spring-loaded teeth which can bend in the direction of the ammunition belt. These teeth allows a gunner to securely place a belt of ammunition on the feed tray, while at an upright angle, and not have the belt slip out while closing the cover. In addition they allow a gunner to squeeze the front of a belt into a closed cover. Because the teeth only bend in the direction of the belt, the belt will pass over them, the teeth will click upwards, thus locking the belt in place. Another click forward, and the belt of ammunition will be in place to fire. This allows a gunner to feed a belt of ammunition into his 240 LWS without ever having to possibly expose his position or line of sight, by opening the feed tray cover.[17]

It still features a non-reciprocating bolt, a fluted quick detach barrel that can be easily remove and features a quick flip-up sight, a three position gas regulator similar to the M240G’s gas regulator, a standard M240 muzzle compensator, quick detach titanium bipod that has three positions, and a new designed handguard that bolts the handguard to the receiver and having it freefloat around the gas tube and has a Keymod rail sections at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions, with the side sections being separated from the bottom by a gripping surface for the gunner.[17]

Barrett 240 LWS 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun specifications:[17]

  • Operation: Gas-operated (full-auto)
  • Feed System: NATO standard disintegrating link belt-fed
  • Length: 1079.5 mm (42.5 in) with the standard barrel and 977.9 mm (38.5 in) with the short barrel
  • Barrel Length: 582.6 mm (22.9 in) standard barrel and 480.3 mm (18.9 in) short barrel
  • Weight: 9.30 kg (20.5 lb) with the standard barrel and 8.96 kg (19.75 lb) with the short barrel, while unloaded
  • Caliber: 7.62mm (7.62×51mm NATO)
  • Effective range: 1200 meters
  • Tracer burnout: 800–900 meters
  • Cyclic rate of fire: 550–600 rounds per minute



See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "M240 Family of Medium Machine Guns". FN Manufacturing, LLC. October 12, 2006. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "FN Machine Guns: M240 Series". FNH USA. 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://armamentresearch.com/us-m240l-gpmg-seen-with-jabhat-al-nusra-fighter-in-syria/
  4. ^ a b "M240B". FNH USA. Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. 
  5. ^ World Gun's FN MAG page. Retrieved on November 21, 2008.
  6. ^ "Ohio Ordnance Works". ohioordnanceworks.com. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  7. ^ "Fort Benning Soldiers evaluate redesigned buttstock for M-240B, M-249". tactical-life.com. 31 July 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Lance M. Bacon (30 April 2011). "Improved carbines headed your way". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 30 April 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Corps Not Looking at M240L — But a Silenced M240B? – Kitup.Military.com, 10 January 2011
  10. ^ "'Ironman' a game-changer on battlefield". army.mil. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  11. ^ Herring, Nate D. (28 October 2009). "PEO Soldier Unveils New Equipment". Military Daily News – Military.com. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  12. ^ "M240L 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun (Light)" (PDF). PEO Soldier. United States Army. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Fuller, Peter N.; Douglas A. Tamilio (18 May 2010). "Project Manager Soldier Weapons Briefing for NDIA" (PDF). PEO Soldier. United States Army. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  14. ^ Soldiers play key role in fielding lighter machine gun – Army.mil, 15 December 2011
  15. ^ The M240L: The Myth of the $86,000 Machine Gun – Guns.com, 10 February 2012
  16. ^ FNH USA – Distinct Advantage :: M240L. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.fnhusa.com/l/products/machine-guns/m240-series/m240l/
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Barrett 240 LWS". Small Arms Defense Journal. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  18. ^ "240LW | Barrett". barrett.net. Retrieved 2017-05-14. 
  19. ^ Infodefensa.com (20 January 2016). "Los helicópteros Cougar y Chinook incorporarán las nuevas ametralladoras MAG-58, M3M y M-240 – Noticias Infodefensa España". infodefensa.com. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  20. ^ Försvarsmakten. "Kulspruta 58 B". forsvarsmakten.se. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 

External links

  • Official FN Military Machinegun Lists
  • Official Page of the Barrett 240LW
  • Official Manual of the Barrett 240LW
  • Chapter 3, M240B Machine Gun, Field Manual 3–22.68, Crew-Served Machine Guns, 5.56-mm and 7.62-mm, Department of the Army, 31 January 2003
  • Federation of American Scientists: M240
  • M240 Gun Fact Files, US Army
  • Original test report of multiple machine guns, including the later M240 (as MAG58)
  • Video #1 of the M240
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