Nothing gets our juices flowing quite like a Ma Deuce, so when we heard the U.S. Marine Corps announced last year that it would field the M2A1—an updated version of that iconic .50 BMG heavy machine gun—we were understandably excited.

The M2A1, around 3,600 were fielded by the USMC in FY18, is known for three key features that the service says make it safer and easier for marines to use: a quick-change barrel; fixed headspace and timing; and a flash hider that reduces the weapon’s signature by 95 percent at night. In addition, this belt-fed, recoil-operated, air-cooled, crew-served fighter weighs in at 128 pounds with a tripod, with a cyclic rate of fire of 450 to 600 rounds per minute. Meanwhile, its maximum effective range is around 2,000 yards, or 1,830 meters.

If you’re curious about the inner workings of this weapon, you’re in luck: in the video above, a Marine walks you through how to assemble and disassemble the M2A1.

Below, see a rundown of the features and specs for the M2A1. The information is provided by General Dynamics, the contractor that makes the gun.

M2A1 Features

  • Fixed headspace and timing: Reduces safety concerns associated with barrel changing
  • Simplifies warfighter training: Eliminates operator requirement to adjust the headspace and timing
  • Positive barrel engagement: Ensures the barrel is securely locked and aligned with the patented J-slot barrel retention system
  • Improved flash hider: Decreases muzzle flash, making the M2 night-vision friendly
  • Robust, removable barrel handle: Streamlines hot-barrel changing

M2A1 Specs

  • Caliber: .50 caliber / 12.7mm (NATO)
  • Weight (complete gun): 84 pounds (38.2kg)
  • Length: 67.75 inches (1,721mm)
  • Width: 9 inches (230mm)
  • Cyclic Rate of Fire: 450-600 rounds per minute
  • Maximum Effective Range: 2,000 yards (1,830m)
  • Maximum Range: 7,440 yards (6,800m)
  • Muzzle Velocity (M33): 2,910 feet per second (890 meters per second)
  • Barrel Weight: 24 pounds (10.88kg)
  • Barrel Construction: cobalt-chromium alloy liner

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