So, I recently traded my SCAR-H (which looked pretty on my shelf and shot well, but spent 90% of its time collecting dust particles) for Jester’s M249 SAW Para. Yes, I change guns like I change lanes. It was a bit of a no brainer to me – who doesn’t like giant belt-fed guns? I’ve never had a support weapon before… and as it turns out, I had a lot to learn.
List of stuff I learned during my first game as a squad automatic weapon gunner after the break.
1. SAWs are fricking heavy. Yes, the 15 pounds might not be that heavy when you pick it up in the parking lot in the morning and tell me “Hey Dizzy, this isn’t as heavy as it looks,” but try carrying it around for a whole day. On the plus side, my arms got a good workout, particularly my left forearm, which according to my girlfriend is significantly more built than my right forearm thanks to airsoft (shouldering rifles) and hockey (working the trapper). Keep the jokes to yourself.
2. As a follow up to the last point: use the bipod. I quickly learned given the weight of the weapon that firing from the shoulder is possible but not recommended for extended periods. Instead, go prone and deploy that bipod, or shift to some cover that you can use as support for the gun. A foregrip also helps maneuver the front-heavy gun and gives you something substantial to hold on to when you’re moving.
3. Don’t move.During one of the first warm-up elimination games, I saw that a tango was moving towards my right flank and I got up from my position and sprinted to my right in an attempt to outflank him. This was a mistake – not only was moving difficult with such a heavy gun, but it also left my teammates without fire support.As a support gunner, your job is to create a base of fire – not to engage in flanking maneuvers. Call out tango movement to your team, but leave the movement to your teammates and concentrate on making it rain.
(Above – two airsofters making it rain. Except using money instead of BBs. Note the American Rapper loadouts. Bling and face tattoos optional, but recommended for impression authenticity.)
4. Keep shooting.It should be obvious as a support gunner, but it being my first game in that role I was used to picking my shots carefully. But again, you’re a support gunner, not a DMR. Concentrate on laying down bursts of fire to pin down tangos – not necessarily to hit them, but at least to keep their heads down while your teammates (hopefully) move up. Even if you’re not hitting anything, at least you’re denying an area to the enemy with your fire.In other words, go heavy on that trigger.
5. Optics are useless. I started the day with a holographic sight on my gun but quickly removed it. Having no optic left me with a clearer field of view, which was helpful in spotting tangos and their movements.Besides, SAWs aren’t the most accurate things to begin with, anyway. Having an optic for those precise shots isn’t necessary.
How was your first game as a support gunner? Any golden nuggets of wisdom anyone can share?