An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Articles
Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Aug. 1, 2019

M2/M2A1 Machine Gun: Load Like This

Loading your M2/M2A1 machine gun incorrectly can do a number on its bolt. The bolt’s top suffers dents, gouges and excessive wear. 

Protect the bolt by loading like this: 
  1. Ensure the bolt is forward and the correct front and rear cartridges are installed. 
  2. Make sure the weapon is on S (Safe) with the cover closed. 
  3. Select single shot or automatic fire.
  4. To select single shot, ensure the bolt latch release lock is in the unlocked position, turned to the right. The bolt latch release must be in the up position (not locked down).

  5. To select automatic fire, depress the bolt and lock by turning the bolt latch release lock to the left. Ensure the bolt latch release is held down completely with no movement.
  6. Insert the double loop end of the ammo belt in the feedway until the first cartridge is held by the belt holding pawls. 

  7. If firing automatic with the cover closed, pull the retracting slide handle all the way back until the bolt is completely to the rear. Release the handle. This half loads the machine gun.

  8. Repeat Step 7. This completes loading in automatic.
  9. If the M2A1 is set for single shot, the bolt will remain in the rear position, so move the slide handle forward before releasing the bolt with the bolt latch release.
  10. With cover closed, pull the retracting slide handle back until the bolt is all the way to the rear. Push the retracting slide handle to the fully forward position. Depress the bolt latch release. This half loads the machine gun.
  11. Repeat Step 10. This completes loading in the single shot setting. 
  12. Place the weapon on F (Fire).
  13. Press the trigger to fire.
Want to get better search results faster? 
Click the link below to access our "how to" guide
After entering a keyword, you must hit or click the Search bar/box below for the function to work.
Simply hitting Return won't yield results.
Note about links to archive articles

If you come across a link to a pre-2014 PS Magazine issue or article that uses LOGSA in the web address (URL), use this link instead:
For issues/articles from 2014 and after, click on the Archive/Index tab in the top menu of this website.

BE ADVISED: With the migration to Army365, emails in older articles may still reflect an address. To update, change the domain to