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This past weekend, I flew out to Georgia to spend some time with Kevin Brittingham, his associates, and his mountain of machine guns. While I was mostly looking forward to catching up with Kevin and a weekend off from the busy schedule, the fact that Kevin has an extensive collection of machine guns, Maxim silencers, and other awesome things involving the ATF means that a large chunk of our time was spent on the range having a little recoil therapy. The end result is that, in the next few weeks, we will be bringing you reviews of some classic and iconic machine guns, including slow motion video and awesome pictures. In the meantime, have a sneak peek and what we’ll be bringing you . . .

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  1. I have fired those 40mm practice rounds out of an M203. Some did not break. We picked them up and put them back on a spent shell casing. One is sitting here in front of me right now.

    • In the service we used to have to police the unbroken rounds up and break them as part of clearing the 203 range. You’d wind up with that orange powder all over your BDUs. We called that “the Easter Egg hunt”.

      • I have had a computer tech support guy “get curious” and ended up with that orange dust all over my desk and laptop.

  2. I would never out a fellow enthusiast, but darned if I wouldn’t love for those photos of the kiddos holding some heavy iron to be tweeted to the Moms… no doubt would cause non-fat, soy vanilla latte to be sprayed all over their laptops.

  3. No eye protection in the second photo. No ear protection in several. Full auto weapons are usually not ear safe even when suppressed.

    Does your six year old follow the four rules? I guess it’s OK because the gun is “unloaded”?

    Given the recent death of a child on a full auto range in MA, probably not the best PR for our side.

  4. I wish I had the resources to treat my kids to a day on the range like that. I guess there is still time though.

  5. But…but…but… HK and Recoil said the MP was “too much firepower” for civilians?!

    Someone could lose a paper target!

  6. My first FA experience was with a late uncle’s Tommy gun. Classic gangster gun and I was stoked for a week after shooting it.

  7. It’s called a ‘giggle switch’ for a reason. . . nothing quite like FA fire.

    I’m forced to wonder if some people don’t pontificate on gun safety out of some strange, nearly religious, superstitions notions based on ungrounded and essentially unthought-of feelings.

    As Matt said, ear and eye pro a in the end a wise but personal choice, except maybe for the kids, definitely need to enforce PPE on the kids until their old enough to make informed decisions.

    As for kids running FA I’ve put children as young as 8 on an old CAR-15 select fire and with proper body mechanics and having been taught how to use controlled bursts they were able to control the weapon safely if not accurately. In my experience adults at their first turn on FA gorilla grip everything including the trigger in one ecstasy/panic induced squeeze that inevitably results in a mag dump and a huge grin. I wouldn’t say they are completely in control of the weapon either, but so long as it’s pointed down range it hardly matters how fast the mag is emptied. The same goes for the kids, do I stand close enough to be immediately able to prevent them from turning with the weapon either voluntarily or accidentally to where it’s pointed in an unsafe direction? Of course, but then I do that with a single shot too with children that young.

    Some would surely scream child abuse but I have a nephew who used to beg to shoot 1911’s when he was an under sized 6 year old. You literally had to press your thigh/hip into his back or else the recoil would walk him backwards. He was however a passable shot and with proper supervision safe enough to have never shot anything that wasn’t in the target zone. I mention for no other reason that pride that he is now a Marine undergoing AIT and qualified expert in basic, scoring 4th in his training battalion.

    There is a safe way to do dangerous things. That is the crux of shooting in the first place; taking a potentially dangerous instrument and using it with the skill and respect required to elevate it to an art.

    Also, all people are NOT created, trained or prepared equally. What may indeed be insanely dangerous for one child might be safe to the level of being mundane for another.

    • “As for kids running FA…”

      For those of you with doubts, please see my avatar. You can click to make it bigger.

      It’s cropped out of this version, but in the full size copy you can see the adult’s hand hovering just outside of her left hand, and his right hand is on the back of her right shoulder. There’s a right way to do it, and as long as you’re being safe and they’re enjoying it, let ’em rock and roll with the big boys.

      • That kind of goes to what I was saying about different capabilities Matt: Seems that little girl is better off in that department than some ‘men’.

      • I’ve qualified with the M4, M16A1 and 2, M249, M60, and M240. I was an instructor on the M2 machine gun.

        1) I enjoy shooting FA (and it’s even more fun if someone else is paying for the ammo) but I have no burning desire to do so

        2) I really don’t want to see someone’s kid hurt or (more likely) someone’s kid hurt someone else when they lose control of an FA weapon a prudent person would not have let them fire

        The method Matt describes is similar to the way I’ve seen the Army teach firing on the move with an M249. A range NCO walks with the soldier until they get the feel of the recoil, then the soldier proceeds on their own. It ensures a weapon isn’t fired out of bounds by an inexperienced troop.

        I have no problem with supervised kids on a range. But if I see something stupid – like letting a preteen fire a submachine gun, I’m notifying the RSO and I’m leaving.

        I could see an argument for letting them fire a crew-served mounted on a tripod with the T&E engaged. Otherwise, this:

        ’nuff said.

        • Well, my negligence: I failed to mention that it’s been years since I shot on anything other than my private range where I am the RSO. This also means that there isn’t much in the way of anything to accidentally shoot for 180 degrees in front of the shooter. As I pointed out, I’m in contact distance behind any shooter that young regardless of weapon.

          That having been said, a loaded weapon at a gun show is so many levels of safety fail that it’s hardly the same thing as a firing line on a private range. Also, there is no way I’d let a strange child shoot FA. When I turn a kid loose on something like that I already known they are competent on basic safety and have competence on something with enough recoil that they aren’t going to be floored by an FA burst. Further, until they are up and running I only load a few rounds in their mags so that they can’t have a ‘runaway’ gun for more than a fraction of a second. . . not enough time to turn with it either on me or themselves. I’d probably not put them on anything short enough to be a support hand/leg self shoot hazard either. One could conceivably shoot ones self in the feet with a CAR-15 but not because of a loss of control in FA with 3 rounds in the mag. . . unless one starts with the weapon already pointed at the feet.
          When they demonstrate the skill and experience I’ll up load their mags and teach controlled bursts.

          Again, there is a safe way to do seemingly dangerous things. An for ever anecdotal account of a kid shooting themselves with a FA loss of control I can counter a dozen to one with the many safe FA experiences involving children that I’ve personally facilitated/witnessed.

          And again, not all kids are on the same level. . . an 8 year old with thousands of rounds down range in a variety of weapons is certainly a better candidate for FA than one who has never shot a gun before. The former is safe, the latter is negligent.

        • I don’t disagree with your comments re:risk management Argent. I just don’t think it’s generally a good idea. It’s hard to get past the physics involved in controlling recoil and their low body mass compared to an adult.

          M16A2 – Burst – 25M – Aimed Center Mass
          First Round – Center Mass
          Second Round – Left Shoulder
          Third Round – Over the Left Shoulder

          That’s with an adult. As an adult you can lean in and aim at the right thigh and get – right thigh, center mass, left shoulder – but my point is those weapons are hard to control if you weigh less than 100 pounds. Everyone can have an opinion – in my opinion the risk isn’t justified by the return.

          What you do on your range is your business. You’re the RSO and you own that range.

          I wouldn’t have any problem with a T&E setup where they have trigger control but they physically cannot max elevate or traverse past fixed limits.

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