The Safariland Group Blog

Bullet Catcher: Machine Guns and Memory Lane

October 5, 2009 at 13:06
50 caliber BMG bulletsAs a former Army officer assigned to an M1 tank battalion, I spent a lot of time around M2 (“Ma Deuce”) .50 Cal Heavy Barrel Machine Guns and became intimately familiar with their operation and capabilities. I shot them out to 2000 meters against both “soft” targets like trucks and “hard” targets like old armored vehicles. There’s nothing quite as exciting as seeing the splash of a .50 cal tracer round hitting an old half track in the middle of the night.

It must have made an impression on me – I still have an M2 headspace-and-timing gauge in my jewelry box twenty years later (this unique little tool means the difference between the gun spitting out bullets or just serving as a very large paperweight and currently sells for up to $100 on E-Bay).

So, where is this stroll down memory lane leading? I just received a great presentation (attached) from one of our Forensics Source salesmen, Dick Rogers, based out of Arizona. Dick had the unique opportunity to take one of the heavy-duty Bullet Catchers manufactured by our company to a range in Buckeye, AZ to test its integrity against a M2 machine gun!

According to Dick, most every ballistics expert on the range was convinced the .50 cal round would blow right through our Bullet Catcher and exit out the back. While that might not have been the worst thing to happen (thankfully, law enforcement agencies don’t have much need to shoot .50 cal machine guns for ballistic comparison), Dick took that challenge as a point of honor and assured all in attendance that our Bullet Catcher was up to the task.

Well, you will note from the presentation below (as we did with pride) that not only did the rounds fired into the Bullet Catcher not penetrate the back of the chamber, the projectiles themselves were well preserved by the chamber’s Kevlar® fibers and the equipment survived intact. The Bullet Catcher looks very little worse for the wear with only a few dents and some chipped paint. Pretty impressive considering that the bullet was moving at over 2800 feet per second and was fired from only a few meters away!

Now I know why the guys in the plant use a fork truck to move these things around – lots of steel. I’m thrilled that the equipment performed so well and that Dick got some great pictures to document the event, but I’ll probably never forgive him for not inviting me out to play with the machine gun.

Comments are closed