53,550 Rounds Per Minute: The 4th Marine Division’s Machine Gun Platoon

The Machine Gun Platoon, Support Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Division, based out of Chicopee, MA, has been participating in the Agile Spirit 2011 military exercise at the Vaziani Military Base, Republic of Georgia. Dvids reports

All gunners in a regular infantry platoon combined can dish out 7,650 rounds per minute upon the enemy. Multiply 7,650 rounds per minute seven times and you have the capability of Machine Gun Platoon, Support Company, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, 4th Marine Division based out of Chicopee, Mass.

There are machine gun sections with approximately 20 machine gunners each in regular infantry weapons companies but Machine Gun Platoon is the only unit where close to 70 machine gunners come together to train. The number of machine gunners and their employment of all three dominant machine guns, the M240B machine gun, the M2 .50-caliber machine gun and the MK19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, is what distinguish them from any other unit in the Corps.

A machine gunner from Machine Gun Platoon fires the M240B machine gun during Agile Spirit
The .50 cal business end of a M2 machine gun. Taken during Agile Spirit

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Jim S

    And I was just thinking how long it would take me to make enough money to buy 53,550 rounds of 7.62. Not even going to think about the .50s that are in there!

  • Lance

    You mean M-240G the B is the Army model. Wounder will Marines update the M-2 like the Army is.

  • Dan

    Marines use 240Bs.

  • Coolie 4 life

    i was there and that was fun. and btw lance the bravo is a marine corps model for quite some time now.

  • Lance: While the M240G is shown in the photo, the USMC is moving to upgrade these to the US Army’s M240B configuration.

    Trivia: The USMC’s original M240G were converted US Army M240 co-axial machineguns. A few years before he retired from the Corps to join KAC, Dave Lutz discovered that the Army had more M240 on their property books than they were allotted. With some political wrangling, Lutz managed to get the extra M240 declared as surplus, which the Corps then swooped in to acquire. The only major cost was that of conversion kits from FN.

  • Sid

    “The number of machine gunners and their employment of all three dominant machine guns, the M240B machine gun, the M2 .50-caliber machine gun and the MK19 40 mm automatic grenade launcher, is what distinguish them from any other unit in the Corps.”

    What is this unit organized to do? Besides shoot huge volumes of fire…. I mean, when was the last time a .50 was manuever by dismounted troops? I am fairly certain that a Mk19 has never been manuevered in a dismounted situation. So, what it the organization’s purpose?

  • charles222

    Heavy Weapons Platoons in the USMC and US Army are mounted formations. They don’t dismount their guns. Their primary purpose is giving light infantry units supplementary firepower against armor; a .50-cal with SLAP rounds and the Mk 19 are both capable of destroying anything up to a BMP, and the TOWs in the company are capable against just about any tank.

  • charles222

    Edit: With our current lightly-armed foes, the TOWs don’t see much use, but the Mk 19 and the .50 both see plenty as they also have exceptionally long maximum effective range.

  • Coolie 4 life

    thats actually a bravo in the pic not a golf.

    • Allen

      Actually it is a 240G in the photo. The 240B has the front heat shields which the weapon in the photo does not have.

  • Use your head

    Unless you are using around 18 mini gun’s or about 70! M240B’s, you won’t fire 53,550 rounds per minute in a single platoon.

    • Samuel

      Actually, if there are 70 gunners….firing let’s say, 750 rounds/minute…that would be 52,500 rounds per minute. That sounds about right.

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  • Sgt Greene

    Just to clarify, the only difference between the m240g and m240b is not just the rails on the front (they can be removed with a simple allen wrench). Been a machine gunner in the Marine Corps for four years now, so just going to point out some facts between the two. There’s actually three things that make a golf a bravo; 1) The gas regulator plug on the golf has three gas settings to allow rates of fire ranges from 700, 800 and 900 rounds per minute, where as the bravo has one setting to allow a set 700 rounds per minute. 2) The golf has a solid butt stock causing the recoil of the operating group (bolt) to hit the face of it, thus causing more vibrations when firing. The bravo on the other hand has a hydraulic buffer built into the butt stock thus absorbing the recoil from the operating group, which makes for easier handling when firing. 3) And three, the rails. I’ve seen many a bravo without these and actually prefer not to have them. They’re quite pointless and the only purpose they serve is to mount lasers and such gadgets on them. Which we all know if your shooting any considerable distance with a round such as the 7.62x54mm that it has quite a substantial max ordinate when shooting around 600+ meters, thus making a direct line of site/point of aim laser useless.

    I hope this information was of to some use to you.

  • Cookie for life

    I’m telling you it’s a 240 bravo because I was there. Marines use bravos now. And whoever the numbnuts is wondering why marines don’t employ The mk19s in dismounted formations is because it’s too dm heavy

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