How To Use Heavy Machine Gun Effectively

The new MG-206 Heavy Machine Gun is a beast of a weapon in Helldivers 2. Sporting the highest damage and armor penetration in the Machine Gun category, this weapon is perfect for spraying down hordes of medium-armored enemies and leaving nothing but smoldering wrecks in its wake.



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However, using the Heavy Machine Gun can be a unique challenge. It only has two spare magazines with a shallow (for a machine gun) 75 bullets each, an insane amount of recoil, three firing modes, and there’s no crosshair when you aim in third person view. Which leads to the question: how the heck are you supposed to use a weapon like this effectively? This guide will show you how to turn this weapon from a floundering bullet hose to an armor-melting machine.

Helldivers 2

Released
February 8, 2024

Developer(s)
Arrowhead Game Studios AB

MG-206 Heavy Machine Gun Basics

Heavy Machine Gun intro in Helldivers 2


Code

Down, Left, Up, Down, Down

Call-in time

3 seconds

Charges

Unlimited

Cooldown

480 Seconds

Cost

Level 12, 7500 Req

What You Should Know About This Gun

  • Best used against groups of medium armored targets like Devastators, Scout Striders, and Bile Spewers
  • Surprisingly effective against Chargers and Hulks
  • Users have to overcome a few weaknesses, including:
  • Shallow magazine with only 2 spares
  • Slow, stationary reload
  • High recoil (unless you’re firing at the lowest fire rate)
  • No crosshairs in third-person mode
  • Currently, first-person sights are improperly sighted

First and foremost, the Heavy Machine Gun is a generalist weapon. Compared to its fellow Machine Guns, the Stalwart and the MG-43, the MG-206 Heavy Machine Gun offers more armor penetration and more damage per bullet. This means it can successfully solve a majority of problems by just spraying said problems down with enough ammunition.


While it is ammo inefficient, this weapon has a flexible array of relevant targets you can mow down with it. You can shoot down one of the newer enemy types, the Automaton Gunship (not Dropships), 2-shot Hulks by hitting their red eye, and melt through a Charger’s glowing backside. Against large numbers of medium armored threats like Scout Striders, Devastators, and Bile Spewers, the Heavy Machine Gun shines in its ability to melt these anti-democratic foes in seconds. It can even effortlessly pierce through the Scout Strider’s front plate and hit the pilot behind it. However, these moments are also where the Heavy Machine Gun’s many problems begin.


The Heavy Machine Gun can pierce through the front plating of a Scout Strider, but it will struggle against a Heavy Devastator’s shield.

This weapon has a shallow magazine, no reticle when you aim it in third-person view, a slow standing reload, and some of the strongest recoil to fight through in order to tame this beast of a weapon. Some of these problems can be solved by choosing the right fire rate for the situation you’re dealing with. This machine gun has a 450, 750 and 950 RPM firing mode. Choosing a slower firing mode will help alleviate ammo problems and make the gun easier to control at the cost of DPS.

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Heavy Machine Gun Vs Similar Stratagems

A Fun Weapon, But Sadly Outclassed

  • Struggles to take down hordes compared to its fellow Machine Guns
  • Autocannon is a better generalist weapon
  • Anti-Materiel Rifle fulfills a similar role with fewer problems


The biggest draw to the Heavy Machine Gun is how it’s an automatic weapon that can contribute damage in almost any situation with a specialty in tearing through medium armored threats. While it can’t put a dent in heavier targets, like a Bile Titan, that’s usually an acceptable loss with the right Stratagem support. However, this leaves the Heavy Machine Gun competing against too many other guns that outperform it in this regard. Its fellow machine guns can take down hordes with decent ammo efficiency, and weapons like the Anti-Materiel Rifle are better at consistently taking down every kind of threat from Automatons with just a few shots.

Additionally, if the description of “great at everything, but suffers against the heaviest armor” sounds familiar, you’re not wrong; this is the exact same niche as the Autocannon. For the cost of your backpack slot, you could use an Autocannon that’s more ammo efficient than the Heavy Machine Gun, can take down fabricators and bug holes, destroy objectives, reloads faster, and it’s much easier to control each Autocannon shot.


But if having your backpack slot is important to you, the Arc Thrower and the Railgun can both fulfill the Heavy Machine Gun’s medium armor-slaying role while still adding damage to heavily armored targets. These weapons will take longer to bring down groups of medium armored targets, but they are also far more ammo efficient and are more useful against a wider variety of targets.

With these other options in mind, where exactly does that leave the Heavy Machine Gun? Despite its weaknesses, there is still a small niche that works perfectly with this gun, and that’s being a self-sufficient weapon that can investigate Points of Interest. One small brick of ammo will give you back an entire magazine, which, if you’re conserving ammo, can sustain you until the next Point-of-Interest or next supply drop. Plus, most of the enemies guarding these points are usually the preferred targets for the Heavy Machine Gun anyway.


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Best Way To Shoot The Heavy Machine Gun

Save Ammo Where You Can; Cut Loose When You Need to

  • Use a slower fire rate against lightly armored patrols and small enemies
  • Investigate Points of Interest for their ammo crates
  • Save the 950 RPM fire rate for drops/breaches, or if you’re defending an area and have a supply drop ready
  • This weapon’s sights are currently incorrect. Until it’s fixed, aim the red dot above your intended target in first-person view

The best way to shoot the MG-206 Heavy Machine Gun is in short bursts. This way, you can remain accurate, conserve ammo, and it makes it much easier to control the recoil in each burst. However, if there is a large group of enemies, holding down the trigger while pulling down on your aim will help fight the recoil enough for you to switch between each target more easily.


To further help reduce recoil and conserve ammo, swap to the 450 RPM fire rate, and invest a 1 – 2 second burst into each of your targets. This lower fire rate will make it much easier to control the gun and harder for you to waste ammo on lone targets. When more difficult targets like Chargers appear, or when groups of Devastators or Bile Spewers start to swarm around you, swap to a higher fire rate. Against enemies like Spewers and Devastators, extend the burst a little longer and aim for their heads. For Chargers, set the fire rate to its highest settings and aim for their glowing behinds. Don’t be afraid of getting closer when they miss a charge.

The only times you want to unload with a fully automatic stream are when you’re up close to your targets or when you’re fighting something large like a Hulk, Devastator, Bile Titan, or Charger.

If you need to reload this gun, find a safe place away from enemies before you start the reload. Your reload will also go by faster if you have a few bullets left in the magazine, but since you’re already limited on ammo, this isn’t the best option to do too often.


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Bring Tools To Fight Recoil And Heavy Armor

  • Bring armor with an Engineering Kit or Fortified to help with recoil control
  • Make the most of the open backpack slot or use the Supply Pack
  • Bring stratagems that can handle heavy armor

Armor that can reduce recoil will help you control the Heavy Machine Gun better. There are currently two kinds of armor abilities that can reduce recoil: Engineering Kit and Fortified. Fortified is better if you plan on fighting Automatons since it will allow you to survive a rocket hitting your face. Alternatively, Engineering Kit is perfect if you want to make the most of your grenades.


For grenades, Impact Grenades and Stun Grenades compliment the Heavy Machine Gun extremely well. Impact Grenades can take down heavy armored threats like Bile Titans, Hulks, and Tanks in a pinch. Stun Grenades are particularly synergistic with the Heavy Machine Gun because they can keep Chargers, Hulks, and hordes in place long enough for you to line up your shots into critical areas.

Best Stratagems WIth The Heavy Machine Gun

Bring stratagems that can help take down heavily armored enemies.The Orbital Railcannon, Orbital Laser, Eagle Missile Pods, and Eagle 500KG bomb are all perfect candidates for this slot. From there, you’ll want a stratagem that can thin hordes and destroy objectives. The Eagle Airstrike and Eagle 500Kg bomb are perfect examples of this.

For backpack stratagems, the Energy Shield Pack is rarely ever a wrong choice because of how it protects the user from obnoxious slows, or surprise one-shots. The Supply Pack is another good choice here because of the MG-206’s consistent ammo problems.


With that, you should now know how to shoot and build around the Heavy Machine Gun. Go out there and spread some managed democracy!

Still looking for more ways to do your part? Here’s our lists for the best primary weapons and the best secondary weapons.

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