Machine Guns: MG42 to modern ones in Ukraine

What on earth is this guy doing???

Reducing the attacking forces with any luck.

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Suppressing fire in the general direction of the enemy.
Those on the receiving end tend to keep their heads down when bullets whistle over their heads.
If they stick their heads up out of cover they might possibly get hit.

But the way he holds the MG could not be very good for either his shoulder or the precision of his fire… If the kickback is anything like a MAG, it will be AA fire within a few rounds!


He appears to have a good grip on the bipod, which would reduce the tendancy for the muzzle to climb. But I’d agree, it doesn’t appear to be an orthodox method of deploying the weapon.

AA-fire with M60 i Vietnam

Kicks back but doesn’t lift much at all

End of stock held under the arm doesn’t support the rear end from below so the gun should be able to pivot up(raise the muzzle)

Rambo challenge

Firing two at once

Comparing with the videos above I would say that the Ukrainian soldier has that machine gun under control.



The M240 – officially the Machine Gun, 7.62 mm, M240 – is the U.S. military designation for the FN MAG,[6] a family of belt-fed, gas-operated medium machine guns that chamber the 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge.[1]

says Wikipedia

M240L (Lightweight)

Still seems strange to me. :man_shrugging:


I agree on the lack of upward movement. Though I must say I am surprised. Yet the kickback is enough to make sure that there is no way of accurate firing the gun. Look at the staggering of the veteran when he shoulders the gun. The guy in the pic has the gun lying ON his shoulder…

*EDIT: didn’t see Frenchy’s post… When I was firing the MAG, certainly was moving backwards, even when I was lying behind id…

Totally agree on the precision issue
if the purpose is to send bullets whistling above the heads of troops in the other trenches
to keep them down while my own side is doing something else then the accuracy does not matter.
If I can’t see a target I can’t aim at the target so any inaccurate bullet might possibly hit something that I could not see.
If I can keep bullets flying in a 10 degree arc in front of my trench then my goal has been achieved.
To aim I need to see and if I can see the target then the target can see me and maybe shoot me while I am aiming at the target. If I fill the air with bullets my target will keep hidden and can’t see me or my friends.

The FN MAG does kick a little. A fired it, we called it KSP 58

At that time I weighed 85 kg, was lying down and I didn’t move a millimeter.
The instruction was to hold it in against the shoulder so that the gun coudn’t pick up speed backwards.

There is a LOT of myths about how machine guns and machine pistols will try to climb upwards.
I used the K-Pist 45B and the rumours were just wild about how it would kick up, the first time I held it really firm and then I didn’t bother. It didn’t kick at all, it was more of a vibration.
When you have shot a few rounds you know how much it will kick back and then you adjust how you hold the gun to keep it reasonably steady (not sniper fire, we are talking suppressive fire) to prevent it from climbing and to avoid falling forwards from leaning too much forwards.

If you have seen action movies you may have heard someone say
“Cover me!” before running out from hiding.
The others are then supposed to fire in the general direction of the enemy.

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Machine guns are not designed to be accurate, they are designed for area supression.


We were also taught to pull the stock as firmly in the shoulder as possible. I didn’t move very much (was around 90kgs then) but a few cm’s I did move.
Of course I am aware of the suppressing nature of the weapon with the purpose of putting as much lead in the air as possible, yet I was able to bring down a target at 100m with very small bursts of only 3-4 bullets per target. Now, with my faltering eye sight, I won’t but that is a different story altogether …
As for the upward movement: it also depends on the weapon. We used the Diemaco C7 (basically a modified M16) that didn’t have much upward movement, but the Glock pistols had a nasty kick in it. Never liked it.

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The videos showing standing firing of various MG’s show that the gunner is pushed back
but I don’t think it interferes with the purpose of the shooting.
A lot of the climbing depends on where the force is applied in relation to where the gun is held.
Holding down the bipod gives more leverage than holding it with only the pistol grip and the rear end of the stock.

It actually looks like he just finished firing and jerked the bipod off of the berm.


Switching firing direction?

I’m no machine expert, but I may have slept at a Holiday Inn Express a time or two.


I’m pretty much with Rob @18bravo … It doesn’t look like he is firing, but just totally shifting position…he does look like he has an itchy trigger finger though…

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I think he is licking each round before entering the camber.

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yes, generally, until German dumped the MG42 on the planet and its “the” arguably top three weapons ever invented for infantry.

@Uncle-Heavy but the FN is a copy of the MG42 first.