Country of origin
5.56 x 45 mm (.223 Rem)
1 040 mm
Cyclic rate of fire
700 - 1 000 rpm
Belt-fed or 30-round box magazines
1 000 m
Range of effective fire
600 - 800 m
Nationale (FN) MINIMI is an extremely effective yet surprisingly
light and small machine gun.
Development of the Mini Miltrailleuse (French for mini
machine gun) began in the 60s. When introduced in 1974, the weapon
was revolutionary because it was the first dedicated 5.56 mm machine
gun. It was introduced in an age when militaries were switching to
small caliber, high-velocity weapons. Consequently, the MINIMI
filled an important niche by providing squads with heavy firepower
in a package using the same ammunition as their rifles.
The FN MINIMI is in service with more than 45 countries and
still in production. This light machine gun is popular for several
reasons. It is small, short, and light, yet it provides heavy
firepower and quick-change barrels that a trained soldier can switch
out in 6-7 seconds. It can use the same ammunition as many other
rifles and can even take standard
magazines. Accordingly, it is perhaps the primary Western machine
The United States’ Army uses a slightly modified US-produced
version of the FN MINIMI as their standard machine gun. In U.S.
service, it is better known as the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon
The MINIMI is a gas-operated, air-cooled, open bolt design,
capable of automatic fire only. Its feeding system is derived from
FN MAG machine gun, which in turn owes its feeding system to the
World War II era German MG42. The standard MINIMI has a fixed skeletonized aluminum stock, a carrying handle towards the middle of
the weapon, and a folding bipod with three different height
settings. The MINIMI can also be used on a tripod, although it is
best in the close range fire support role. The barrel is chrome
lined for sustained fire.
has an effective range of 600 m against point targets, 800 m against
group targets and 1 000 m for neutralizing fire.
The MINIMI can accept disintegrating-link belts of various
lengths, sometimes in boxes or pouches, along with standard
assault rifle magazines.
The MINIMI has fought in many wars with many armies since its
introduction. In U.S. service it has fought in the Persian Gulf War,
Afghanistan, and Iraq. It is produced under license in Australia,
Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Sweden, Greece, and the United States.
shorter and with a folding metal stock, the Para is designed for
paratrooper use. A similar model, the MINIMI Para TR features a
triple accessory rail.
Vehicle: an electronically operated version of the MINIMI
specifically designed for use on vehicles.
M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW): this is
the modified American version of the MINIMI, adopted in 1982. Instead of the skeletonized stock, it has a solid synthetic stock and larger flash
hider. As a result, it is slightly heavier than the standard MINIMI.
MINIMI 7.62: also known as the MAXIMI, this larger and more
powerful version of the standard MINIMI. It is chambered for 7.62x51
MINIMI Mk.3: revealed in 2013, this is the newest model of
the MINIMI line. It incorporates many improvements including an
adjustable stock and barrel that can be easily modified to use
either 5.56 or 7.62 mm cartridges.
F89: the Australian version of the weapon with modifications
to suit their needs. It is built under license in Australia.
Canadian version of the FN MINIMI.
Article by The Tiger
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