Firearms / Machine guns / FN Minimi

FN Minimi

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Machine gun

  • ORIGIN
    Belgium

  • NICKNAMES
    C9 (Canada)
    F89 (Australia)
    Maximi (Australian nickname)
    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
    Belgium - FN Herstal
    United States - FNH USA

    Licenced production:
    Australia - ADI / Thales Australia
    Greece - EBO / EAS
    Indonesia - Pindad
    Italy - Beretta
    Japan - Sumitomo
    Sweden - Bofors Carl Gustav

  • 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

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length465 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity915 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.040 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight6.88 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length465 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity915 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.040 mm
Width110 mm
Height?
Weight7.31 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length465 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity915 m/s
StockFixed
Length1.040 mm
Width110 mm
Height?
Weight7.58 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length349 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity866 m/s
StockRetractable
Length914 mm / 766 mm
Width110 mm
Height?
Weight7.35 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire700 - 850 rpm, 950 - 1.150 rpm
Barrel length349 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity866 m/s
StockRetractable
Length914 mm / 766 mm
Width110 mm
Height?
Weight7.62 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire750 rpm
Barrel length406 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockRetractable
Length908 mm / 762 mm
Width?
Height?
Weight5.75 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
Remarks-

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber5.56x45mm NATO
Magazine100, 200 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire750 rpm
Barrel length414 mm
Rifling6 grooves, 178 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length920 mm
Width?
Height237 mm
Weight5.7 kg empty (without bipod?)
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 300 - 1.000 m gradations, 490 mm sight radius
RemarksBipod

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length502 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.015 mm
Width128 mm
Height?
Weight8.2 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length502 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.015 mm
Width128 mm
Height?
Weight8.4 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length502 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockRetractable
Length1.000 mm / 865 mm
Width128 mm
Height?
Weight8.4 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksBipod
TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length502 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockRetractable
Length1.000 mm / 865 mm
Width128 mm
Height?
Weight8.6 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksBipod

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.

TypeMachine gun
Caliber7.62x51mm NATO
Magazine100 rounds
OperationGas operated, rotating bolt, open bolt
Fire selector0-F
Rate of fire680 - 800 rpm
Barrel length502 mm
Rifling4 grooves, 305 mm right hand twist
Muzzle velocity?
StockFixed
Length1.015 mm
Width?
Height237 mm
Weight8.3 kg empty
SightsIron sights, hooded post front and adjustable aperture rear, 100 - 1.000 m gradations
RemarksBipod

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