Heavy machine guns are those which are considered the first generation of machine guns, while light machine guns are those more recently invented. The difference between the weapons can be seen in the weight and shape of the gun, as well as the accuracy of each weapon.
Heavy machine guns is the term often utilized to describe the machine guns that were manufactured and utilized during World War I. The guns were cumbersome and bulky, making it difficult for soldiers to utilize the weapon. In addition,the bulky weapons were often inaccurate, partly because they were difficult to maneuver. However, the heavy machine guns were able to be fired for long periods of time, because of a water chamber which kept the gun cool. Without the cooling chamber, the guns would quickly overheat, rendering them inoperable.
Light machine guns were created so that one soldier could operate the gun independently. The light machine gun is capable of firing in bursts of ten rounds. Soldiers usually have the assistance of a bi pod on which they set the weapon. However, unlike the heavy machine gun, light machine guns did not require that more than one solder be there in order to operate the gun. Light machine guns also fire ammunition which is generally a lower caliber than that which is fired by a heavy machine gun.