M2 Browning (12.7 mm)

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This page is about the aircraft mounted M2 Browning (12.7 mm). For the vehicle mounted variant, see M2HB (12.7 mm). For other uses, see M2 (Disambiguation).


There are 4 version of the M2 Browning in War Thunder. The "early" M2 does not have API bullets. The "mid" M2 is identical to the early M2, but with access to API bullets. The "late" M2 has access to more effective belts, has better accuracy, overheats slower, and a slightly higher RoF. The British have their own variant that is similar to the "mid" version but with different bullets (for example the API for the American gun is different from the British API).

The turreted variants of the M2 Browning are also separated into the "mid" version, the "late" version, and the British version. The only difference between the "mid" and "late" variants are the belt composition. The British version yet again has different bullets, but is otherwise identical to the American versions.

The DGP-1 gunpods are composed of 4 "late" M2's.

Vehicles equipped with this weapon

Vehicles equipped with early M2
F2A  F2A-1 · Thach's F2A-1 · F2A-3
F3F  F3F-2 · Galer's F3F-2
F4F  F4F-3 · F4F-4 · ▄Martlet Mk IV
P-26  P-26A-34 M2
P-36  P-36A · Rasmussen's P-36A · P-36C · P-36G
P-39  ▂P-39K-1 · P-39N-0 · ▂Pokryshkin's P-39N-0 · P-39Q-5 · ▂P-39Q-15
P-40  P-40C · H-81A-2 · P-40E-1 · ▂P-40E-1 · ␗P-40E-1 · P-40F-10
P-400  P-400
Attackers  A-20G-25
Bombers  ▄Avenger Mk II · SB2U-3 · SBD-3 · TBD-1 · TBF-1C

Vehicles equipped with mid M2
CW-21  CW-21
F4U  F4U-1A · F4U-1A (USMC) · ▄Corsair F Mk II · ▅F4U-1A · F4U-1D
F6F  F6F-5 · ▄Hellcat Mk II · ▄F6F-5 · F6F-5N · ▄F6F-5N
P-43  P-43A-1 · ␗P-43A-1
P-63  P-63A-5 · ▂P-63A-5 · P-63A-10 · ▂P-63A-10 · P-63C-5 · ␠Kingcobra · ▄P-63C-5 · ▂P-63C-5
P-66  P-66
XP-55  XP-55
Twin-engine fighters 
F7F  F7F-1 · F7F-3
P-38  P-38E · P-38G-1 · XP-38G · P-38J-15 · Bong's P-38J-15 · P-38K · ␗P-38L-1 · P-38L-5-LO
P-61  P-61A-1 (Defensive) · P-61C-1 (Defensive)
VB.10  VB.10-02
XP-50  XP-50
Attackers  A-20G-25 (Defensive) · A-26B-10 · A-26B-50 · A-36 · PBJ-1H · PBJ-1J
A-26  A-26C-45 · A-26C-45DT
A-29  A-29 (Defensive)
A-35  ▄A-35B
B-17  B-17E (Defensive) · ▅B-17E (Defensive)
B-24  B-24D-25-CO (Defensive)
B-25  B-25J-1 · B-25J-20 · ▂B-25J-30 · ␗B-25J-30
B-34  B-34 · PV-2D
PB4Y  ␗PB4Y-2 (Defensive) · ▄PB4Y-2 (Defensive) · PB4Y-2 (Defensive)
PBM-3  PBM-3 "Mariner" (Defensive)
PBY-5  PBY-5 Catalina (Defensive) · PBY-5a Catalina (Defensive) · ▂PBY-5a Catalina (Defensive) · ▄Catalina Mk IIIa (Defensive)
SB2U  SB2U-3 (Defensive)
Sunderland  Sunderland Mk V (Defensive)
TBF-1  TBF-1C (Defensive) · ▄Avenger Mk II (Defensive)
XA-38  XA-38

Vehicles equipped with late M2
F4U  F4U-4
F8F  F8F-1 · F8F-1B (Suspended) · ▄F8F-1B (Suspended)
P-47  P-47D-25 · ▀P-47D · ▂P-47D-27 · P-47D-28 · ␗P-47D-30 · P-47M-1-RE · ⋠P-47M-1-RE · P-47N-15
P-51  P-51A · P-51D-5 · P-51D-10 · P-51D-20-NA · ␗P-51D-20 · P-51D-30 · P-51H-5-NA · ␗P-51K
Twin-engine fighters  ␗P-38L-1 (Suspended) · P-38L-5-LO (Suspended)
Jet fighters  F-80A-5 · P-59A
Attackers  A-36 (Suspended)
Bombers  B-17E/L (Defensive) · B-17G-60-VE (Defensive) · B-29A-BN (Defensive) · PV-2D (Suspended) · SB2C-4 (Suspended) · ▄SB2C-5 (Suspended) · SBD-3 (Suspended)

Vehicles equipped with British M2
Beaufighter Mk 21 · Spitfire F Mk XIVe · Spitfire F Mk XVI · Spitfire F Mk XVIIIe · Spitfire FR Mk XIVe · Spitfire LF Mk IX
Beaufort Mk VIII (Defensive) · Lancaster B Mk III (Defensive) · Lincoln B Mk II (Defensive)

General info

The 12.7 mm (.50 cal) M2 Browning is a very powerful heavy machine gun when used in large numbers, particularly with the late P-51s and P-47s, with six and eight .50 cal machine guns respectively. However, on early American aircraft, many are armed with only a 7.62 mm and .50 cal, putting out very limited firepower. The .50 cals are inadequate in few numbers, making them ineffective in "snapshots" or high deflection shots. This is particularly noticeable in Spitfire Mk IX, XIV, and XVI, where the two Brownings provide insufficient firepower and are mounted too far apart, leaving only the plane with 2 cannons, with only 240-260 shells each, without complementing firepower. Without the cannons, the .50s can only chip away at the enemy, and the best hope for scoring is to hope for a lucky pilot snipe.

Available ammunition

Early bullets (USA):

  • Armor Piercing (AP)
  • Incendiary (I)
  • Ball
  • Tracer (T)

Mid bullets (USA):

  • Armor Piercing Incendiary (AP-I)

Late bullets (USA):

  • Armor Piercing Incendiary Tracer (API-T)


  • Fighters (USA)
    • Default (early) - T/Ball/I/AP
    • Default (mid) - T/Ball/Ball/I/AP-I
    • Default (late) - API-T/AP/AP/I
    • Universal (early) - AP/AP/AP/T/I
    • Universal (mid) - AP-I/AP-I/AP-I/T/I
    • Universal (late) -
    • Ground Targets (early) - T/AP/AP/AP
    • Ground Targets (mid) - T/AP/AP/AP/AP-I/I
    • Ground Targets (late) -
    • Tracers (early) - T/T/T/AP
    • Tracers (mid) - T/T/T/T/T/AP-I
    • Tracers (late) - API-T
    • Stealth (early) - AP/I/AP
    • Stealth (mid) - AP/AP-I/AP-I/I/I
    • Stealth (late) - API/I

Comparison with analogues

Give a comparative description of cannons/machine guns that have firepower equal to this weapon.

Usage in battles

  • AP, API, and API-T rounds are effective against light pillboxes, light tanks, armored trucks, SPGs, artillery, AAA.
  • Usually incapable of an instant kill or a "snapshot" kill unless you pilot snipe, but is quite capable of a "snapshot fire" (not guaranteed though)... which is almost a kill...
  • Incredible range (can hit and still light a fire at 1.5km+, but damage does drop off). Good for long range desperation/harassment shots.

Pros and cons


  • Usually carries enough rounds per gun to be able to take out multiple targets per sortie
  • Quite accurate, does not randomly spread a lot (unlike stock AN/M3 and stock Hispanos)
  • API-T rounds are exceptionally good at igniting fuel tanks and engines
  • Armour piercing (AP) rounds have better penetration values when compared to most small calibre cannons
  • Retains kinetic energy and damage potential over a range much better than 7 mm calibre machine guns
  • Can be fired accurately and be a significant threat to fleeing enemies upwards of 1.5 km away
  • Virtually only jams if you try to mag-dump (continuous fire until the weapon jams or runs out of ammunition) the entire ammo load
  • Makes up the bulk of the USAAF's armament with most planes utilizing anywhere between 4-8 guns


  • Ball ammo in the default belt is rather ineffective
  • 25% slower rate of fire compared to 7 mm calibre machine guns
  • AP ammo lacks any incendiary or tracer, meaning shots that don't hit vital components barely does anything
  • Slower rate of fire at higher ranks means boom-n-zoom is necessary to maintain a firing solution long enough to dump sufficient rounds on target
  • The M2 Browning has 3 different variations, which all have vastly different ammunition belt types and how they are used

Words of wisdom: Always check the belt composition on a new vehicle or when returning to an old aircraft you have not used in a while...before heading into battle!


Examine the history of the creation and combat usage of the weapon in more detail than in the introduction. If the historical reference turns out to be too long, take it to a separate article, taking a link to the article about the weapon and adding a block "/History" (example: https://wiki.warthunder.com/(Weapon-name)/History) and add a link to it here using the main template. Be sure to reference text and sources by using <ref></ref>, as well as adding them at the end of the article with <references />.


An excellent addition to the article would be a video guide, as well as screenshots from the game and photos.

See also

External links

Paste links to sources and external resources, such as:

  • topic on the official game forum;
  • encyclopedia page on the weapon;
  • other literature.

Aircraft machine guns
7.62 mm  Browning · M134 Minigun
12.7 mm  M2 Browning · M3 Browning
7.62 mm  MG3
7.92 mm  MG 15 · MG 17 · MG 81
12.7 mm  FN M3P
13 mm  MG 131
7.62 mm  DA · GShG-7.62 · PV-1 · ShKAS
12.7 mm  A-12.7 · Berezin UB · YaK-B
7.62 mm  L8A1
7.7 mm  Browning · Vickers E · Vickers K
7.7 mm  Te-1 · Type 89 · Type 89 'special' · Type 92 · Type 97 navy
7.92 mm  Type 1 · Type 98
12.7 mm  Ho-103 · Ho-104
13 mm  Type 2
13.2 mm  Type 3
7.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · Lewis
7.92 mm  FN Browning
12.7 mm  Breda-SAFAT · FN M3M · Scotti
7.5 mm  Darne 1933 · Fabrique Nationale Mle 38 · FN Browning · MAC 1934 · MAC 1934T · Mle 33 · Mle 1923
7.62 mm  PKA
7.7 mm  FN-Browning M.36 No.3
8 mm  Ksp m/22 · Ksp m/22 Fh · Ksp m/22 Fv · Ksp m/22-37 R
12.7 mm  Akan m/39A · Akan m/40 · Akan m/45 · LKk/42
13.2 mm  Akan m/39 · Akan m/39A