The M240 Machine Gun traces the development of the weapon, currently the primary medium-weight machine gun of our military, through the latest configuration, the M240 SLR, designed and manufactured by Ohio Ordnance.When the United States military determined during the late 1970s that it was time to find a replacement for older machine guns in the services, they initiated an extensive search for a weapon that would fire the 7.62 Nato round and prove economical, adaptable in many configurations, relatively lightweight, accurate, and more reliable than its predecessors. The clear winner was the Belgium-made Fabrique Nationale MAG, later adapted and renamed the M240, a belt-fed 7.62 air-cooled weapon easily adapted for use on ground vehicles, aircraft, and seagoing craft and light enough to be carried and operated by a single soldier. Today the M240 is the primary medium machine gun of our armed forces and of many of our allies across the globe.
Paul Ruffin is Texas State University System Regents' Professor at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, USA. He is the author of two novels, five collections of stories, five books of essays, and seven collections of poetry.Bob Conroy has worked in the firearms industry for over fifteen years as an employee of Ohio Ordnance Works, Inc., where as vice president he handles sales, marketing, and business development.