The M247 General Purpose Machine Gun, also known as the Machine Gun, Caliber 7.62x51mm, or M247 is a lighter variant of the M247H Heavy Machine Gun. It is designed to fire smaller 7.62mm rounds from a stationary position. Despite this, the M247 GPMG can punch a hole through just about anything and, when mounted on its stationary base, functions as both an offensive and defensive support weapon. Besides turret and portable versions, the M247 GPMG is also found on the M312 Heavy Recovery Vehicle and can be mounted from the ceiling of the D77-TC Pelican's troop bay, while a version known as the M247T Medium Machine Gun is equipped on the M808B Main Battle Tank and M850 Main Battle Tank.
The M247 is a very effective weapon against enemy infantry and light vehicles. The weapon's tracer rounds are far less visible than the projectiles of the Covenant's analogues, the Type-42 and Type-52 Directed Energy Support Weapons. While the 7.62x51mm round is effective against armor and flesh, unlike plasma-based weaponry, it is not particularly effective against shields. Despite this, the M247's high volume of fire makes it a very potent weapon.
In-game, the location of impact of the M247 on a target does not affect the damage inflicted. Therefore, a target shot in the legs would take the same amount of damage as it would take if shot in the chest. The M247 can take down enemy targets through sustained fire: a target that is unshielded can take only two or three rounds before dying, while a fully shielded target can survive seven or eight. A target with a fully charged overshield can take eighteen rounds before being killed, or three seconds. This is not a problem, as the high volume of fire will make short work of any foe.
As is the case with the Covenant's plasma cannons, the M247's gunner is extremely exposed to incoming enemy fire and will invariably become a high-value target to be taken out. A single hit by a rocket launcher, a round from a Scorpion tank's main gun, or a well-placed plasma grenade will destroy the turret and kill the gunner. A hit from a Wraith or an M68 Gauss Cannon will also completely deplete the gunner's shields, leaving said individual vulnerable to a follow-up shot.
The M247 cannot be detached from its mounting, and so can only be used from a stationary position, which makes it an easy target for enemy troops.
While it is useful against enemies in light vehicles, this is not a weapon to use when faced with enemy armor, as the rounds will have little effect on a Scorpion tank or a Wraith, unless the target is hit with sustained fire for about seven seconds. Therefore, it is highly advisable to immediately flee from the turret when confronted with a tank.
In contrast to the Halo 2 incarnation of the Shade, the M247's gunner is completely exposed to enemy fire and very vulnerable to snipers and other scoped weapons. Furthermore, the M247 can only traverse 180 degrees, so a wise gunner will recruit an ally to watch their flanks and rear. Also, while this machine gun is capable of firing over long distances, its accuracy is drastically reduced at extreme ranges. Furthermore, it is harder to zero-in on targets beyond ‘standard’ visible range, even with a spotter guiding the gunner's aim. That said, a good two-person team can overcome this to a large degree, although the lack of accuracy is still problematic.
- In Outskirts, it can be used to suppress and kill the Hunters. On Cairo Station, players can use the M247 to eliminate the Covenant boarding party when it docks early in the level. In Metropolis, the M247 appears again towards the end of the level. Here, players can use the turret to quickly dispose of the Elites, Grunts, and Jackals that come pouring out of the Scarab. In Quarantine Zone, a barricade of Flood man a triplet of turrets in front of the passageway to the gondola.
- The turret usually overlooks a good area and is readily accessible. While the gunner is capable of cutting down waves of infantry, its location and value usually marks it as the immediate and (due to its static state) "easy" target if the assailant can hit the gunner from behind. Because of this, it is a good idea for the gunner to have a spotter. This is always a good multiplayer tactic, but here it applies especially well as the gunner's rear is completely unprotected, unlike that of its Covenant counterpart. The mobility of the Shielded Plasma Cannon is 360°, but the M247 only allows a 180° area of fire. Having an ally watching the gunner's back will substantially increase their effectiveness and potential lifespan.
- On maps with other vehicles, the gunner should be mindful of his limitations. The M247 is effective against infantry and light ground vehicles, not tanks. If an enemy Scorpion or Wraith approaches, the occupant should find cover with utmost haste or be killed.
- When up against the M247, it is important to focus on the turret's three main weaknesses: its weakness to explosives, lack of cover, and the lack of mobility. Explosives will easily take the emplacement down, a sniper can take advantage of the gunner's lack of cover, and an experienced player will be able to get behind the gunner and take him or her out.
- This weapon shares a very similar name to the real-world Belgian M249 and M240 machine guns, as well as sharing a similar design and combat role.
- In the Halo 3 Beta, the packaging of the M247 can be found in the map High Ground.
Halo 2: Anniversary
- Halo 2 (First appearance)
- Halo Graphic Novel
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx
- Halo: Spartan Assault