Just like anything else…. We have to practice our ability to use firearms.

In this case, we exercised the ship’s primary armament, the M2HB .50 cal machine gun.

The M2 has been used by the U.S. in every conflict since it’s creation in 1933 and is a rugged weapon perfect for the marine environment.

The M2HB specs are:
Total Weight – 84 lbs
Length Overall – 64″
Muzzle Velocity – 3,050 Feet Per Second (About Mach 3)
A F18 at top speed is about Mach 1.5
Cyclic Rate of Fire – 450 to 550 RPM
Maximum Range – 7,500 Yards
Maximum Effective Range – 2,000 Yards
A gunshoot is very carefully scripted.

At least 48 hours in advance, a broadcast is made to warn passing ships, the FAA is notified to make sure there are no overflights, the area is researched to ensure there are no wildlife restrictions and the crew is thoroughly briefed on all safety guidelines and the procedures necessary to fire the weapon safely. Finally after lots of practice, walkthroughs – a live fire exercise. Mother nature cooperated as well!

CDR Andy Sugimoto, Coast Guard Cutter ACUSHNET (WMEC 167) Commanding Officer