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Clearing procedures for the M249 Machine Gun

The first step in maintenance is to clear the weapon. This applies in all situations, not just after firing.

The first step in maintenance is to clear the weapon. This applies in all situations, not just after firing. The gunner must always assume the M249 machine gun is loaded. To clear the M249, the gunner performs the following procedures:

  1. Moves the safety to the fire "F" position by pushing it to the left until the red ring is visible.
  2. With his right hand, palm up, pulls the cocking handle to the rear, locking the bolt in place.
  3. While holding the resistance on the cocking handle, moves the safety to the SAFE position by pushing it to the right until the red ring is not visible. (The weapon cannot be placed on safe unless the bolt is locked to the rear.)
  4. Returns and locks the cocking handle in the forward position.

    DANGER WHEN OPENING THE FEED COVER ON A HOT GUN, MAKE SURE THE WEAPON IS ON THE GROUND AWAY FROM YOUR FACE. WITH THE WEAPON ON YOUR SHOULDER, POSSIBLE DEATH OR INJURY COULD OCCUR IF A ROUND GOES OFF WHEN THE COVER IS RAISED.
  5. Raises the cover and feed mechanism assembly, and conducts the five-point safety check for brass, links, or ammunition:
    1. Checks the feed pawl assembly under the feed cover.
    2. Checks the feed tray assembly.
    3. Lifts the feed tray assembly and inspects the chamber.
    4. Checks the space between the bolt assembly and the chamber.
    5. Inserts two fingers of his left hand in the magazine well to extract any ammunition or brass.
  6. Closes the cover and feed mechanism assembly and moves the safety to the "F" position. With his right hand, palm up, returns the cocking handle to the rear position. Presses the trigger and at the same time eases the bolt forward by manually riding the cocking handle forward.

    CAUTION The cocking handle must be manually returned to the forward and locked position each time the bolt is manually pulled to the rear.