Ever Shot A Pod?

posted on September 29, 2014

Ever shot a “Pod?” Well, the “American Rifleman Television” crew had not either until last week at FN Herstal in Belgium, formerly known as Fabrique Nationale Herstal. What might a pod be? It is a complete weapons system mounted, well, in a container or “pod,” underneath either a rotary or fixed wing aircraft. The Systems Department of FN Herstal makes these units for military customers around the world. What's the difference between this pod and others? Inside is a .50 cal. FN M3P machine gun, along with either 250 (FN HMP250—HMP standing for Heavy Machine Gun Pod) or 400 (FN HMP400) rounds of ammunition, depending on the pod. Also in there is a remote firing system and a method to collect either the links or cases or both. The FN M3P is an update of the World War II vintage AN/M2 .50 caliber machine gun. Of course, the original M2, which fires approximately 550 rounds per minute, is a John Moses Browning-based design produced in updated form by FN today. What the Belgian company has done with the .50 cal. FN M3P is to up the rate of fire to around 1,100 rounds per minute, essentially doubling the firepower of the gun. And there is another FN pod, the FN RMP LC (RMP standing for Rocket Machine Gun Pod), that can fire up to three 2.75 inch rockets in addition to 250 rounds with the exclusive FN M3P.

On the range—even while not mounted on a rotary or fixed wing aircraft—the FN pod is extremely impressive, and this is but one part of the FN Systems product line. There are electronics involved in its operation (remember the unit hangs under a helicopter so it's not like the pilot can reach down to cock the thing). It also has sophisticated targeting and fire control systems for inside the cockpit well.

In the video, there are two FN M3Ps firing about 2,200 rounds of .50 cal. tracer ammunition (also made by FN). Look for more on the “FN pod” as well as other FN systems on the next season of “American Rifleman Television.”


Clandestine 1911 Bonavita
Clandestine 1911 Bonavita

Colt's Rarest Clandestine Pistol?

According to advanced Colt collectors, only about 35 or so of the original 400 factory Colt 1911s chambered for .38 Super have surfaced in the United States postwar, with only about a dozen of those remaining in their issued condition with their original finish, and given that the war officially ended on August 14, 1945, and since the OSS was dissolved on October 1, 1945, it isn’t likely any of them were issued before the Armistice. 

New For 2023: Taurus 917C

Taurus is re-introducing a Beretta 92 clone in the form of its 917C, and this compact variant provides a "Commander-sized" option for fans of the DA/SA semi-automatic pistol.

Preview: Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro 17-Round Magazine

Springfield Armory’s Hellcat Pro is a slightly larger, yet still easily carried, version of its micro-compact Hellcat for personal defense, and the gun’s flush-fit magazine capacity was also increased to 15 rounds.

Gun Of The Week: Browning X-Bolt Target Max

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range this week to get a close look at an improved X-Bolt rifle from Browning. The Target Max is the latest iteration of the famed X-Bolt action, and it’s designed for long-range work, thanks to its Target Max customizable stock, adjustable trigger, bull barrel and more.

The Armed Citizen® Dec. 1, 2023

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Review: Mag-Na-Port Custom Ruger Blackhawk Convertible

The author found the just-right performance and managed recoil balance he was looking for with this fully customized single-action wheel gun.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.