POTD: [AWESOME PHOTO] Ancient vs. Modern Machine Guns

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Now this is a photo I never expected to see! My good friend Trev Weston sent in this photo taken at a British (military?) range in Kent, UK. You can see Maxim machine guns, Vickers Mk I machine guns and, in the foreground, a British Army L7A2 GPMG (FN MAG).

In 1897 the British firm Vickers, Sons & Company, purchased Maxim Nordenfelt Guns and Ammunition Company and was renamed Vickers, Sons & Maxim. The company improved on the Maxim designs they acquired and developed the Vickers Mk.I machine gun. Vickers was bought and sold over the years and no longer exists in name. In 2004 the last company to bear the Vickers name was purchased and folded into defense giant BAE Systems.

The Vickers machine gun remains in service with the Indian, Pakistani, and Nepalese armed forces. I don’t know of any users of the original Maxim gun. The FN MAG is, of course, one of the world’s most popular General Purpose Machine Guns.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

More by Steve Johnson

Join the conversation
6 of 8 comments
  • Stephen Beat Stephen Beat on Sep 09, 2015

    I've just been doing some reading about the Maxim precursors - such as the Gatling (and Hotchkiss) multi-barrel machine guns. I had no idea that the Gatling was still on the US Army inventory as late as 1912 and that some Gatling/Hotchkiss types served as AA guns during WW1!

  • Jon spencer Jon spencer on Sep 09, 2015

    If you start feeding belts of ammo through the L7A2 and the Vickers, the Vickers will still be firing long after the L7A2 has melted itself down.
    Water cooling does wonders.
    The twice as heavy Vickers is its undesirable feature.

    • Iggy Iggy on Sep 10, 2015

      @jon spencer That, and as long as you change the barrel every 10,000 rounds you can keep going pretty much indefinitely, one Vickers had a million rounds (load of surplus that needed to used up) put through it in one week in the 60's and still passed inspection at the end.
      They don't build em like they used to.