Crew-served weapon

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A crew-served weapon cannot, in practice, be operated by one person. When all preparations have been made, an individual might be able to fire it, but not reload or move it. Some weapons, such as light machine guns, can be used briefly as an individual weapon, but a single operator will soon become fatigued, run out of ammunition, etc. While Hollywood has been known to portray action heroes, for example, firing a .50 caliber machine gun held in their hands, a real human being attempting to do so would find himself flat on his back.

The most common example would be artillery larger than a light mortar. These contrast with individual weapons such as a rifle, pistol, or man-portable air defense system.

While it is technically possible for one person to operate, for example, a howitzer or mortar, by carrying out, sequentially, all tasks, the rate of fire would be unlikely to be useful.

Some weapons, such as guided missiles with nuclear warheads, are deliberately made, for safety reasons, so that they cannot be launched by one person. A typical intercontinental ballistic missile has to have a minimum of two keys turned essentially at the same time, but they are too far apart for any person to reach.