We’ve already pointed out that police firearms training is a little lacking, in terms of frequency and practicality. The more YouTube Army training videos I watch, the more I wonder about our fighting force’s weapons instruction. In this clip of the Small Arms Master Gunner Course (shooting an M240B 7.62mm Medium Machine Gun), the instructor tells the shooter to “Bring it up!” (i.e. aim higher). Repeatedly. To no appreciable effect . . .

In a combat situation, which would be a hundred times more chaotic, executing that command could be the difference between life and death. And what’s with the cartridge recovery magnet swooping around the gun? Although distraction is excellent preparation for the fug or war, this indicates nothing more than a lackadaisical attitude towards gun safety. Fun with 7.62mm? Sure, until someone loses an eye.

2 Responses to There’s No Time Like the Present for Recycling Brass

  1. Being in the military myself, and having qualified on all crew served machine guns at one time or another I can attest that this can be common. Not the magnet doohicky, never seen that before. But keep in mind that it takes time to build up proficiency with any gun. Not all soldiers are assigned as gunners and it takes time to build a good gunner/a-gunner team.

    Of more concern is the failure to adhere to proper loading procedures. The soldier on the gun performed the following sequence as best as I can tell from the video:

    1. Raised the feedtray cover.

    2. Removed spent brass/links from the feedtray.

    3. Pulled the bolt to the rear.

    4. Placed belt of ammo on feedtray.

    5. Closed feedtray cover.

    6. Resumed firing.

    As far as I can tell the safety was never engaged, and the belt was loaded with the bolt locked to the rear. This means that if the gunner had negligently pulled the trigger it would fire with the feedtray cover open, which would not be good. The proper sequence would be as follows:

    a. Move the safety switch to the F (fire) position.

    b. Charge the machine gun.

    c. Move the safety switch to the S (safe) position.

    d. Return the cocking handle to the forward position.

    e. Open the cover.

    f. Remove the source of ammunition, if present.

    g. Raise the feed tray.

    h. Look into the chamber for ammunition.

    i. Lower the feed tray.

    j. Move the safety switch to the F (fire) position, pull back on the cocking handle, and pull the trigger.

    k. Allow the bolt to ease forward to the closed and locked position.

    l. Place the link belt in the feed tray over the belt holding paws, open link down.

    m. Close the cover.

    That's a handful I'll admit. But with practice it can go quickly. The instructor should have corrected the gunner on the spot. Do it the same way every time until it becomes second nature. In combat I would probably eliminate steps a-d, and g-k(note: assuming there is a dire need to save what would only be a few seconds). But in training instructors and range safeties need to enforce the standards.

  2. Army training in the early 90s was more about putting rounds downrange as fast as possible, accurate or not. I don't know if things have changed much.

    Of course, there's no easy or cheap way to teach machine gun training. I think a critique of every burst would have been best. Take 30 minutes to go through a couple belts. Then try to do it in 15. Then 3. Proper firing technique and accuracy first. Speed will come naturally, later.

    Oh, and if they can't shoot well, give them a supporting fire role and replace them with someone who can.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *