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.50 cal inefficient for Iraq, Afghanistan conflict?

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posted on Oct, 12 2007 @ 11:02 PM
I have watched several hours of convoys being attacked in Iraq and after the IED explosion most of the fire came from small arms with the insurgents being scattered in fields. The soldiers returned fire from their Humvees with the ususal .50 cal but wouldn't it be more effective to put a mini gun on those things to eliminate the hostile personell?

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 11:08 AM
I would take a mini gun any day over a .50 cal in Iraq or Afghanistan. They have little defense.

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 11:49 AM

Just tell me. What is the caliber off the Mini gun you are talking about because damn iff a .50 cant cut it. Then only GMG`s can do the job.

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 12:44 PM

Originally posted by Cyprex
I would take a mini gun any day over a .50 cal in Iraq or Afghanistan. They have little defense.

The following is based on the assumption that you're comparing a generic minigun (presumably the G.E. M-134 / GAU-2/A 7.62mm or derivative of same) to "Ma Deuce" (M-2 .50 cal and offspring). It's hard to tell from your post.

Why do you think the minigun is 'better' than the .50?
The minigun certainly isn't any lighter. By the time you have the minigun itself, the power supply, and enough ammo to actually fire the beast, it comes in at ~190 lbs, vs the .50's 128. I'll freely admit that those numbers aren't, strictly speaking, an 'apples-to-apples' comparison, since the weight for the minigun doesn't include the weight of a mounting / tripod, and the weight of the .50 doesn't include ammo...but they do show that there isn't a weight advantage for the minigun...if anything, quite the reverse.

The minigun doesn't have the maximum range of the .50. nor does it have the penetrating power. What it does have (in spades) is rate of fire...which is a Good Thing if you're facing huge numbers of enemy troops, or trying to saturate an area with fire. The down-side of a high rate of fire is high ammo consumption, though...all those bullets have to be transported to the front, then carried into battle, which is why you don't see a 'man portable' minigun outside of video games or the Predator movies. The .50 isn't exactly a one-man weapon either, but it at least breaks down into two man-loads (weapon and tripod), and the ammunition for a fairly long firefight can be carried by the rest of the squad (1-2 belts per man is a LOT of ammo at 600 rpm).

My point being that until you start specifying the mission you're undertaking, it's hard to say what the 'best' weapon is...but with all due respect, assuming I'm a foot infantry trooper, I'll take "Ma" over the "Mini" for just about anything.

[edit on 13-10-2007 by Brother Stormhammer]

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 12:56 PM
If I remember correctly, didn't they originally design the Minigun for base defense from the infantry waves they had in Korea? I saw something how the M2 wasn't very well suited for hundreds of enemy troops doing a head on rush to the base, so they designed a weapon that used rifle ammo and fired insane fast to defend bases.

We just don't get that many suicide rushes of entire companies at our bases anymore. But they have found plenty of good uses for it.

Personally, I'd take the Ma Duce anyday, main reason being power. Miniguns have to be plugged in somewhere and I doubt they have a very good battery for them. You run out of juice and you have to hand turn them, which would be slower than the M2.

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 01:28 PM
The M1117 has a great combination of M2 and Mk19. The Mk19 usually stops a firefight pretty quick while the M2 gives you range and precision.

A minigun mounted on a gun truck would be a SOB to reload, although I have seen a video of one firing in Iraq, but never saw one actually.

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 03:14 PM
How can we say the caliber of something is better than that something?

At first I thought you meant Barett .50 cals, but that doesn't make sense considering mini-guns are area denial weapons.

Shattered OUT...

posted on Oct, 13 2007 @ 08:25 PM
I think the main danger as long as vehicles go are IED's and a minigun ain't much good against that. As for urban combat... A Humer ain't good for that with or without a minigun, specialy on hard to travel streets. You have little cover and if you get isolated or ambushed and your not doing high speed youre going to be
a sitting duck. Why do you think so many peole in Iraq who are stupid enough to cross the streets without looking get run over by the things. Their best defence is to get from point A to point B without stopping.

posted on Oct, 14 2007 @ 04:45 AM
The .50 is designed primarily for anti-material use, i.e. punching holes through light armour or buildings. The minigun is designed for anti-personnel area saturation. Neither should be used in isolation, as they are very role-specific weapons.

The minigun has been shown to be highly effctive when used from helicopters as they cover more ground per second than single-barrel systems, increasing the chance of a hit from an unstable firing platform. In the average door mount helicopter engagement, a single or small number of targets need to be engaged and destroyed quickly to allow the helicopter time to escape. The minigun performs this role well.

The .50 has been shown to be useful when fired from a light vehicle mount as it increases the range of the infantry section and gives the ability to punch through medium cover. These vehicles are also fitted with 7.62 GPMGs to take care of close range or mass attacks,or for target suppression.

Using a minigun in the above role would cause too many problems. The firefights that we've been involved in lately have been lasting for several hours at a time. There is often little chance for resup for several days at a time. A minigun chews through ammo and power at a stupid rate. A .50 HMG fires at about 550rpm. A decent gunner can put down 1-3rd bursts quite accurately. This conserves ammo and still destroys targets. Try that with a minigun.

posted on Oct, 14 2007 @ 06:40 AM
Slightly off-topic (since this relates solely to the Browning .50 M2, and not to mini-guns)...I just realized while fact checking myself that the "Ma Deuce" entered production in 1932. (On a side note, I know that as of five years ago, an M2 built in 1940 was still in use by Company A of the 1140 Combat Engineering Battalion, Missouri Army National Guard).

75 years, and still going strong! Even if you're a dedicated, anti-gun pacifist, you've GOT to admire a piece of engineering with that kind of track record! Shall we all, mini-gun lovers and Browning fans alike, lift a virtual pint to the technical genius of J.M. Browning? CHEERS!

posted on Oct, 14 2007 @ 08:11 AM
.50 cal inefficient for Iraq?

My son is a former Marine Scout, vehicle commander and was in Iraq in '04-'05.

His vehicle had the 50. He told me that it saved them and could "tear up a lot of s##t."

John Moses Browning was a very talented man.


posted on Oct, 14 2007 @ 08:46 PM
Gunners on the MH-53 told me that they liked the range of the .50, but the mini gun, tho short ranged, could put out a butt load of rounds quicker. Just depended on what they were doing as to what weapon they took along.

posted on Oct, 14 2007 @ 09:54 PM
Any gun you can cut down trees with has my approval. The Ma Deuce has got to be pretty deadly in the right hands.

posted on Oct, 15 2007 @ 03:06 AM

Originally posted by pavil
Any gun you can cut down trees with has my approval. The Ma Deuce has got to be pretty deadly in the right hands.

Pretty much any machine gun can cut down your average tree with enough ammo. Indeed, it was one of the party tricks used to sell the first Gatling Gun.

posted on Oct, 15 2007 @ 07:13 AM
reply to post by PaddyInf

Yes, but it was the prefered weapon of a number of Vietnam vets I know. That is good enough for me. There os something about a 4 1/2 inch or so bullet slicing your target in half that has to be pretty demoralizing to your foe.

posted on Oct, 15 2007 @ 09:46 AM
Aside from the lethality issue, you also have to look at the psychological effects of a weapon. A .50 will keep peoples heads down, and have a negative impact on their morale. When ambushed, the primary issue is getting out of the kill zone, so suppressive fire is what is important to keep yourself alive, and the ability to shoot through cars/walls/etc... allows you to suppress better than a smaller caliber. When you combine .50 with the 40mm MK19, M-240 and M-249, and personal weapons, you have a wide variety of weapons complimenting each others capabilities. Having the .50 and MK19 also give you the ability to have stand off range, and the ability to take out harder targets, than lighter weapons could(i.e. VBIEDS, or built up firing positions).

posted on Oct, 15 2007 @ 09:19 PM
Overall, it depends the mission to determines which is gun system is better. In helicopters, minguns are effective becasue they blast everything fast and the helicopter is outta there. Ammo is not to much of a factor becasue you dont need to supress anything with gunship defensive armaments, but on the ground a mini-gun is only good at supressing people: at least until ur outta ammo. With the browning has slower Rounds per min. , it has accuracy (which the mingun lacks) and range make it the ideal heavy-machine gun for convoy defense. It is also simpler to set up and use (no-batteries, special mountings, and requires less ammo for the job ). Preference is based on the mission , for helicopters i'd prefer the mini gun for its huge amount of lead it puts on target fast, but on the ground: hands down id prefer the Browing .50 cal for it's ammo conservation (ilack of rounds per min actually helps it in most situations), range, accuracy, and the power to destroy the enemy and basically anything theyre hiding behind in an uraban enviorment (walls, fences, cars, houses) . One more factor i forgot was morale, a minigun will scare the enemy sh#@less at first but they know that i cant fire like that for long (on the ground), the .50 has the ability to supress them longer with deadlier rounds but supresses less effictively because of its lower rate of fire which in turn damages moral because they know its gonna be a long day. so basically i agree with what most people said about the match up.

posted on Oct, 16 2007 @ 02:58 AM
We use the .50 mounted on a WMIK for the most part. It is combined with the GPMG to provide decent all round fire power. The .50 is used to create a mobile fire base and for long range target indication, a well as for anti-vehicle roles. It is a superb weapon, but does have some limitations, e.g. the barrel overheats quickly and there can be reliability issues with the headspace (not so important with the current quick change barrels). We tend to slap a SUSAT on top as the iron sights don't do the weapon justice. The size and weight of the ammo is a problem, limiting the amount you can load. This is overcome with good fire discipline and short bursts.

I love the weapon and have used it in numerous conflicts, including Sierra Leonne, Iraq and Afghanistan. We have also used them in training all over the world, from Norway to Canada to Botswana. The HMG, when deployed effectively, can be a a battle-winning piece of kit.

Tip of the day though - If you're a WMIK vehicle commander and a .50 decides to open up on the mount above you, stick your fingers in your ears! Take that from the voice of experience.

posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 05:40 AM
M2 is nothing more then an upscale Maxim gun, it being the first automatic machine gun in History.

Maxim gun was first made in 1884 by a British guy named Hiram Maxim.

Maxim fire standard 7.62 rifle ammo at 500 to 600 round per menute.

M2 Browning is just an inlarged version of the Maxim and fires a larger 12.7 round and 550 round per minute, and was first made in 1921.

The desing of M2 has not changed since, thus making it the oldest standard issue weapon in the world, totaling 87 years in service.

Technologically M2 is an OBSOLETE RELIC even back in the WWII, with its only positive of being chambered for a heavy 12.7 round.

M2s action is a vertically sliding locking block operated by short short-recoil. Even by 1930s recoil operated guns were considered “last-century”, and gas operated guns of all kinds were the standard, starting from rifles all the way to heavy auto-cannons.

Other major draw back of the M2 is its immense weight, making it hard to “swing” on target, especially manually.

As far as I know M2 is the only vhicle mounted manully operated HMG, putting aside those pickup mouted gurilla fighter setups.. Since the 50s, most 12.7 HMG were assisted or remotely operated.

Its this simple.

WWII M2 weighs 84 pounds.

WWII Soviet DShKM 12.7 weighs 75 pounds.

M2 is recoil operated 19th century, while DShKM was a gas operates 20th century design using a flat belt feed system and firing at 600 rounds per minute.

Only much later was the M2 upgraded to a M2HB model with a disintegrating steel belt.

DShKM served until the late 60s, and a need for a much lighter HGM was realized into the excellent NSV-12,7, the replacement for DShKM, making it a second Soviet generation HMG.

NSV-12.7 weights only 55 pounds, while firing at much higher 800 rounds per minute, compared to only 550 of the M2 Browning.

As with any weapon, its quality is measured by its reliability, fire rate, fire accuracy, fire sustainability, system mobility, serviceability, cost and easy of manufacturing.

M2 has been HOPELESSLY outclassed since the end of WWII, and it’s the only gun still in service which operating principle is based on technology over a CENTURY old.

Even Singapore retired their M2HBs for their own designed CIS .50 MG, a 66 pound tripod mounted, gas operated, dual feed selectable HMG firing between 400 to 600 rof.

With a tripod M2 weighs in at massive 127 pounds, while tripod mounted NSV pulls in at 90 pounds LOADED with 50 round ammo box.

It’s painfully clear that Singapore CIS completely outclasses M2 in every way possible, and also gives the Soviet NSV a run for its money.

In any case, when comparing WWII recoil operated HMGs such as M2, the real heavy hitter in this category would be the awesome Soviet 14.5 KVPT.

Weighing in at 108 pounds if fire a MASSIVE 14.5X115 rounds at 600 rounds per minute, it was regularly used to destroy light German tank and half tracks from up to a 1000 yards, since the 14.5 round has TWICE the power of the .50 cal.

14.5 mil round punches through a 1 ¼ inch steel slab from 1700 feet, and a ¾ inch slab from 3300 feet.

WWII era 14.5 AP rounds are even deadlier, and only M2A0 up-armored version of Bradley fighting vehicle is said to be protected against it, bit from undisclosed distance and penetrator model.

A 1000-yard burst at a moving target from KPVT is a stretch in any case, but I seriously have to doubt that from under 500 meters even the M2A0 will take a 14.5 AP round.

What’s eve worse, is that while our boys had to scramble to up armor their soft HUMVEES and swing around a heavy and hopelessly obsolete M2, here’s what the Soviet idea of the armored 4X4 was since 1962; " target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

Not only it was designed grown up as armored, mine resistant 4X4 with a 14.5 KVPT turret, but also the damn thing is amphibious!

Further more, KVPT turret can be replaced with banks of various ATGM and SAM missiles! " target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

Putting all this together, currently our boys are driving around in military transport class vehicles which constantly break down since they were not designed to take the extra weight of the added armor, and have fight with a manually operated and unsighted HMG which has been technologically obsolete since the end of WWI, all while Soviets had the pleasure of enjoying a fully armored, amphibious 4X4 with the firepower of a HEAVY 14.5 turret mounted and sighted HMG, with the option of missiles to take out tanks and aircraft.

That means that a small BRDM convoy can lay down heavy and accurate HGM fire against soft and light armored targets (including engaging infantry behind heavy in urban structures), while AT-5 armed BRDMs can engage enemy armor at long range and also engage infantry taking cover in hardened structures.

If that’s not bad enough, SA-9 Gaskin BRDM version provides low altitude SAM cover." target='_blank' class='tabOff'/>

Here are BRDM specs;

Getting back to HMG topic, the real HMG contenders of the current century, are the American XM312 and the Russian (not Soviet) Kord 6P50.

XM312 sounds really good on paper, even though it’s a stopgap measure until the XM307 is realized.

Interchangeable barrels will allow conversions from 25mil grenade launcher to a .50 cal HMG mode.

25mil grenades are BUNK. They’re just to small to be effective, and the minimum effective grenade caliber is 30 mil, it’s as simple as that.

The major advantage of the XM312 is the use of modern materials that give it an outstanding weight of only 41 pounds WITH a tripod, thus making it extremely portable with a two-man team.

It is gas operated, and based on the recoil reducing action designed for the XM307.

In order to manage massive recoil of both the 25mil grenade and .50, especially giving the reduced weight, the entire mechanism including the barrel recoil inside the gun housing.

While this concept does significantly reduces recoil, and has been played with through out the 20th century, until now it was rejected because it significantly reduced the rate of fire.

XM312 only fires at 260 rounds per minute, thus not allowing it to engage fast moving targets both on the ground and in the air, and that by default makes such a concept useless.

As of now, the most effective 12.7 (.50 cal) HMG is Russian Kord 12.7 6P50.

The emphasis of the Kords design was aimed at recoil reduction with out the sacrifice of rate of fire, while making the system one man portable.

Fire accuracy and recoil reduction was stated to be twice that of NSV.

In a bi-pod configuration, the Kord is used by a single troop in urban environment to provide the level of firepower that previously could only be provided by mounted systems.

The idea is to allow Kord armed troop to put short fast bursts of HMG fire on targets taking cover in buildings while the rest of the infantry advances. Then grenadiers and machine gunners can provide enough cover fire to inter enter and clear the building.

50 round box is just enough for a 3-4 good bursts.

While XM312 sure is more portable then the Kord, its low 260 rpm fire rate just doesn’t cut it.

As far as firepower goes, Kord fires +/- 12 rounds per second, while XM312 fires only 4.

A one second, 12 round burst from Kord fired at a building wall will turn it into rubble, and if it that doesn’t kill everybody inside the room, grenadiers will finish the job.

While XM312s 4 rounds will damage the wall, it’s simply not enough to bring overwhelming damage.

Two snipers with self-loading .50 rifles can do better, from a much longer distance and with higher precision.

Since these days it’s all about shoot-and-scoot, in this vital category Kord also comes up on top.

For the Kord shooter it will take about 12 seconds to accurately put out 4 well aimed 1-second bursts (at 2 second interval), for the total of 50 rounds on target.

For the XM312 it takes 3 seconds to put out a 13 round burst, and with 2-second interval, it will take 20 seconds to put 4 bursts for the same total of 50 rounds.

In short, XM312 gunner will always be forced to use up TWICE the time to put down the same amount of fire as Kord.

To sum up;

“.50 cal inefficient for Iraq, Afghanistan conflict?”
M2 has been obsolete since the end of WWI, but hey, a black powder muzzle-loading musket will kill just as well if you put the lead ball where it counts.

posted on Oct, 22 2007 @ 06:26 AM
Well, I would say its an excellent gun. Remember we still use alot of outdated stuff, especially in Reserve and National Guard units. The Puerto Rico National Guard (both Air and Army) still use the Huey helicopter and have about a dozen of them at Ramey Air Force Base/Rafael Hernandez International Airport. Many other National Guard units still use the Vietnam era M16 (first version) and I believe a few units might even still have the M60 Patton tank and the M60 light machine gun..

Remember Kent State? That was in 1970 and the National Guardsmen were still carrying the M1 Garand which was replaced with the M14 by the Regular Army in 1958! In India, Nepal and Pakistan, the police are still being issued the .303 Lee Enfield, Sten gun, and Webley revolvers. In the Phliphines, the Army defense units are issued M1 Garands, M14s, and 1903 Springfields.

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