A light machine gun (LMG) is a machine guns that is generally lighter than other machine guns, and is usually designed to be carried by an individual soldier. In practice, they are either automatic rifles (machine rifles) or medium machine guns with a bipod, a stock, and sometimes a pistol grip. Usually an LMG is intended to act as a support weapon in that it can generate a greater volume of continuous fire than the usual firearms carried by infantry soldiers, but at the cost of greater weight and higher ammunition consumption.
While it is usually possible to fire an LMG “from the hip” or on the move, they are much more accurate when fired from a prone position, especially when using a bipod. They are often designed to be used with magazines, not belts, but some, such as the M249 SAW, use both.
Light machine guns are often used as squad automatic weapons (SAW). A SAW is used to provide suppressive fire for an infantry squad or section. The basic use of this weapon is to force enemy troops to take cover and reduce the effectiveness of their return fire while friendly troops attack. This increases the likelihood of a successful attack against an enemy position. Therefore, a SAW must be light enough for an individual soldier to carry.
Many SAWs (such as the RPK-74) are modified assault rifles. Most SAWs in current operation are derived from only three basic patterns: RPK, the Stoner Weapons System, or FN M249.
In BF2 the LMG is the primary weapon of the support class. The LMGs are not well suited to firing while standing or kneeling. They are also inherently inaccurate in any stance, relying on quantity of fire rather than quality of fire. Practice is required to learn how and where to use an LMG effectively.
Always drop to the prone position and you will get decent accuracy for short and intermediate ranges if you fire in short bursts. Watch the heat indicator, if you use the gun with sustained fire the gun will overheat and you'll have to wait for it to cool down - another reason to fire in short bursts. Go prone in a narrow alley way and mow down enemies as they run down the alley, you can rack up quite a few kills this way. Beware, sometimes some idiot on your team could jump in front of you (while you are firing!) and you'll end up killing them, so either be ready to let off the fire button, or prepare for a team kill. Just remember you need to go prone before firing – fire while standing and you'll hit everything but the target.