Firearms / Machine guns / Minimi

Minimi

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Machine gun

  • ORIGIN
    Belgium

  • NICKNAMES
    C9 (Canada)
    F89 (Australia)
    L108A1 (United Kingdom: Minimi)
    L110A2 (United kingdom: Minimi Para)
    M249 (United States)
    Squad Automatic Weapon / SAW (United States)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1960's - 1980

  • DESIGNER
    Fabrique Nationale

  • PRODUCTION
    1982 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Australia - ADI
    Belgium - Fabrique Nationale
    Greece - EBO
    Italy - Beretta
    United States - FNMI

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Limited weight
    High volume of fire
    Dual feed mechanism
    Quick change barrel
    Overheats quickly

Introduction

The Minimi is a machine gun of Belgian origin. It was developed in the mid and late 1970's by Fabrique Nationale although concepts were drawn up much earlier. The Minimi is the world's first dedicated 5.56x45mm machine gun. Such weapons did exist earlier, but were derived from assault rifles or larger caliber machine guns. The name Minimi stands for Mini Mitrailleuse, which is French for mini machine gun.

Design

The Minimi is a belt fed machine gun with a quick change barrel and is also able to use magazines if needed. The Minimi gas operated and has a gas piston below the barrel. The design has a strong emphasis on a limited weight, allowing the Minimi to be used by a single operator. The Minimi has a plastic forearm and uses a fixed plastic stock, although the earliest versions had a metal tubular stock. The more compact models use a tubular retractable stock and shorter barrels. The latest model is a scaled up version that fires the heavier 7.62x51mm round.

Firepower

The Minimi fires the 5.56x45mm NATO round from 100 or 200 round belts or STANAG magazines. Recently a scaled up model that fires the 7.62x51mm round has been introduced. The Minimi fires fully automatic only and has a rate of fire of 700 to 1.150 rpm, depending on the setting of the gas valve. The effective range is quoted as 300 meters against point targets and 800 meters against area targets.

Users

The Minimi is one of the most common machine guns in the world. The USA was one of the first who adopted it and remains a major user. The Minimi is in service with most NATO countries and can also be found in Asia and South America. In many armies two Minimi's replaced a single 7.62mm machine gun in infantry sections.

Variants

Minimi Standard

Minimi Standard

The full size Minimi is the first model of the Minimi to be developed. It fires the 5.56x45mm NATO round from belts or STANAG magazines. Since 1996 the Minimi is produced to a so called new standard, mostly consisting of components from the US product improvement package developed for the Minimi's in US service. The new pattern Minimi was called the Minimi Mk 2, but this designation changed to the Minimi Standard. The improvements include some reliability upgrades, ergonomic changes, a plastic fixed buttstock and folding carrying handle. The US military M249 features a heat shield above the barrel. The new pattern Minimi is also available with Picatinny rails as the TR model.

Statistics

Name: MinimiMinimi StandardMinimi Standard TR
Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO5.56x45mm NATO5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine 100, 200 rounds100, 200 rounds100, 200 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length 465 mm465 mm465 mm
Rifling 6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity 915 m/s915 m/s915 m/s
Weight 6.88 kg empty7.31 kg empty7.58 kg empty
Stock FixedFixedFixed
Length 1.040 mm1.040 mm1.040 mm
Width ?110 mm110 mm
Height ???
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radiusIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radiusIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
Remarks BipodBipodBipod
Minimi Para

Minimi Para

The Minimi Para is a Minimi with a shorter barrel and a retractable stock. This reduces the overall size and weight of the weapon and makes it more suitable for operation by a single person. The Minimi Para is also available with Picatinny rails as the TR model.

Statistics

Name: Minimi ParaMinimi Para TR
Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine 100, 200 rounds100, 200 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length 349 mm349 mm
Rifling 6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity 866 m/s866 m/s
Weight 7.35 kg empty7.62 kg empty
Stock RetractableRetractable
Length 914 mm / 766 mm914 mm / 766 mm
Width 110 mm110 mm
Height ??
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radiusIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
Remarks BipodBipod
Minimi SPW

Minimi SPW

The Minimi SPW is a version of the Minimi Para that was developed for special forces use. The name SPW stands for Special Purpose Weapon. It features a lighter handguard, lacks a bipod, lacks the magazine feed ability and is fitted with Picatinny rails. The SPW is discontinued now the Minimi Para is available with Picatinny rails.

Statistics

Name: Minimi SPW
Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine 100, 200 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 750 rpm
Barrel length 406 mm
Rifling 6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity ?
Weight 5.75 kg empty
Stock Retractable
Length 908 mm / 762 mm
Width ?
Height ?
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
Remarks -
Mk 46

Mk 46

The Mk 46 Mod 0 is a version of the Minimi SPW that was specifically developed for US special forces. It differs from the SPW in having a fixed plastic stock, different heat guard and it has an attached bipod. The Mk 46 Mod 1 has a titanium bipod and improved forward rail.

Statistics

Name: Mk 46
Caliber 5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine 100, 200 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 750 rpm
Barrel length 414 mm
Rifling 6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity ?
Weight 5.7 kg empty (without bipod?)
Stock Fixed
Length 920 mm
Width ?
Height 237 mm
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
Remarks Bipod
Minimi 7.62

Minimi 7.62

The Minimi 7.62 is a Minimi that is chambered for the 7.62x51mm NATO round. It has a longer and heavier barrel than the 5.56mm model and is belt fed only. The Minimi 7.62 is available with a fixed plastic stock or the same retractable stock as used on the Minimi Para. In both versions it is available with Picatinny rails as the TR model.

Statistics

Name: Minimi 7.62Minimi 7.62 TRMinimi 7.62 ParaMinimi 7.62 Para TR
Caliber 7.62x51mm NATO7.62x51mm NATO7.62x51mm NATO7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine 100 rounds100 rounds100 rounds100 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open boltGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 680 - 800 rpm680 - 800 rpm680 - 800 rpm680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length 502 mm502 mm502 mm502 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity ????
Weight 8.2 kg empty8.4 kg empty8.4 kg empty8.6 kg empty
Stock FixedFixedRetractableRetractable
Length 1.015 mm1.015 mm1.000 mm / 865 mm1.000 mm / 865 mm
Width 128 mm128 mm128 mm128 mm
Height ????
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradationsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradationsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradationsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
Remarks BipodBipodBipodBipod
Mk 48

Mk 48

The Mk 48 Mod 0 is a 7.62x51mm NATO variant of the Minimi and led to the development of the Minimi 7.62. It differs from the Minimi 7.62 in having a heat shield above the somewhat shorter barrel.

Statistics

Name: Mk 48
Caliber 7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine 100 rounds
Operation Gas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Rate of fire 680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length 502 mm
Rifling 4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity ?
Weight 8.3 kg empty
Stock Fixed
Length 1.015 mm
Width ?
Height 237 mm
Sights Iron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
Remarks Bipod

Use

 
Afghanistan
Antigua & Barbuda
Argentina
Australia
Belgium
Belize
Bolivia

Bosnia
Brazil
Canada
Chile
Colombia
Croatia
Cyprus

East Timor
Egypt
France
Greece
Hungary
Indonesia
Ireland

Italy
Jamaica
Japan
Jordan
Kenya
Latvia
Lebanon

Luxembourg
Malaysia
Mexico
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway

Oman
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Philippines
Poland
Slovenia

Spain
Sri Lanka
Sweden
Taiwan
Thailand
Tunisia
Turkey

Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom
United States
Venezuela
Yemen

K3

The design of the South Korean K3 is derived from the Minimi light machine gun.

Negev

The Israeli Negev looks somewhat similar to the Minimi light machine gun and has a rougly similar performance.

5.56x45mm NATO

Most versions of the Minimi fire the 5.56x45mm NATO round.