Belt-fed

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In the context of machine guns, a means of supplying a continuous stream of ammunition, linked together in a flexible belt. "Belt" usually implies that there will be some manual handling of the ammunition; magazine-fed machine guns may internally have a structure similar to a belt, but the magazines are changed as a unit without manipulating the belt.

The belt may be constructed with disintegrating links, which fall off as the cartridges enter the gun, or the gun's mechanism may extract bullets from a reusable belt, the reusable belt coiling underneath the gun. Some belt systems allow an assistant to link a new belt to the unused end of the belt actively being used by the gun, providing a continuous flow.

Examples of belt-fed machine guns include the M240, M249, M60 and M2. They contrast with magazine-fed units such as the M149.