The Browning M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun, Heavy barrel is an automatic, recoil operated, air-cooled machine gun with adjustable headspace and is crew transportable with limited amounts of ammunition over short distances. By repositioning some of the component parts, ammunition may be fed from either the left or right side.
A disintegrating metallic link-belt is used to feed the ammunition into the weapon. This gun is has a back plate with spade grips, trigger, and bolt latch release. This gun may be mounted on ground mounts and most vehicles as an anti-personnel and anti-aircraft weapon. The gun is equipped with leaf-type rear sight, flash suppressor and a spare barrel assembly. Associated components are the M63 antiaircraft mount and the M3 tripod mount.
The M2A1 with Quick Change Barrel (QCB) is an enhancement to the M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun. It offers Soldiers increased performance as well as new features and design improvements that make it easier and safer to use. The M2A1 features a fixed headspace and timing configuration, flash hider and removable carrying handle to increase the performance of the battle-proven M2.
The M2A1 speeds target engagement and improves survivability and safety. It reduces the time required to change the barrel while eliminating the timely procedure of setting headspace. The flash hider reduces muzzle flash by 95 percent, making the M2A1 less detectable in darkness.