FN MINIMI Mk3 (7.62mm and 5.56mm)

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FN Herstal’s update of the FN MINIMI, the FN MINIMI Mk3 is probably the most important new firearm of 2013 given its widespread use by the militaries of North American, South America, Europe, South East Asia and Oceania. The new FN MINIMI Mk3, which will be chambered in both 7.62mm and 5.56mm NATO, features a number of upgraded components over the previous version.

Users of the FN MINIMI (China may also be using a  clone)

Users of the FN MINIMI (China may also be using a clone)

FN MINIMI MK3 Upgraded Components

FN MINIMI MK3 Upgraded Components highlighted in blue.

The old fixed stock has been replaced with a 5-position adjustable stock that has a 4 position adjustable cheek piece (two positions for iron sights and two for optics). The stock also integrates a shoulder rest and hydraulic buffer  The forend/rail/bipod have been upgraded and the folding bipod is now more compact and will not get in the way of accessories mounted on the picatinny rails. The topcover and feed tray has been upgraded for easier one-handed reloading. The cocking handle (not pictured above) is more more ergonomic and easier to operate with either the strong or weak hand. A new heat shield is an optional accessory.

FN will be selling upgrade kits to any of their customers who own the previous version. Upgrades can be performed in-house by the organizations that purchase them. FN can also provide caliber conversion kits to switch the guns between 5.56mm and 7.62mm.

There will be four 5.56mm variants and three 7.62mm variants (down from the total of eight variants previously available). The 5.56mm variants are …

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Tactical SB

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Para

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Para

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Standard

FN MINIMI 5.56 Mk3 Standard

DefenseWeb published this video about the new Mk3 …

It is not guaranteed that the  US Armed Forces will upgrade their M249 Light Machine Guns to the new Mk3 model because USSOCOM and the NSWC have been developing their own variants and upgrades for many years. The fruits of their labor are the Mk. 46 Mod 0 and Mk 48 Mod 0/1.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • davycroquet

    Looks awesome, Belgians rule

  • Esh325

    So let me get this straight you can switch between 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 on one receiver? I guess the only disadvantage of that is that machine gun going to be heavier than it needs when being used in 5.56×45, but I suppose it’s well worth it considering the logistics gain. Maybe one gun like this could go replace both the M240 and M249 in service?

    • Lance

      No this was discussed on Kit up this is more of a Mk-48version in 7.62mm. This NOT entering US military service. The Army already went with a M-4 style stock on some SAWs.

  • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Alex C.

    Hey FN, so uh… Can we review one of these… for science and stuff?

    • http://www.scoutbasecamp.com/ TV-PressPass

      For science!!

      • FourString

        Cave Johnson here!

    • Christiano

      absolutely alex …we can…I think many will not disagree with me in this regards..
      What say pals??
      Let`s start for the sake of science

    • Andrey Martim

      Yeah! Science!

  • Drapetomanius

    I have loved every FN that Uncle Sugar ever loaned me, and I’m 100% positive that I’d love this too, if these damned guttersnipe oliticians would ever admit the real definition of “infringed”.

    • 11b

      Meh, the SAW is kind of crap. Hard to clean, jams a lot, bi-pod is annoying, weighs too much, ect.

      • Drapetomanius

        Disagree if you like. Everybody around me had weapon issues. I cleaned my weapons regularly (but not too much), kept a dropper bottle of CLP with me everywhere I went, and never had any major issues with any weapon they handed me.

        My issued M4s were all FN, and they didn’t have half the problems that the Colts had. My minimi was pretty damned reliable. Mossberg was rattly, but utterly reliable. Mk-19 ran like a top. My M9….okay I hate M9s. Slide mounted safeties suck.

        Maybe it was just dumb luck, but the weapons were the only ray of sunshine for me in the sh!^^y, f@^#*ed up US military. IME, of course. YMMV.

        • Joshua

          FN has never delivered M4’s to the Military, and only recently did they win the contract to supply M4A1’s to the Military.

          • Drapetomanius

            Apparently Colt just had some serious spelling issues, or else you’re sniping me with semantics bulls**t. I was issued several rifles that had FN stamped on the receiver. Seeing as how I left the Army in 2005, I don’t see what that has to do with the 2013 contract. Feel free to reject my reality and substitute your own.

          • Joshua

            Don’t take it so personally. Aside from M16’s FN has never been awarded any contracts to produce M4’s or M4A1’s until recently.

            The only way they would be able to produce M4’s for the Military is via contract and none were issued.

            I have never seen any in the Army but could it possible have been a rebuilt rifle? I know the Air Force often restamps lowers with a new model designation such as the GUU, I am not positive but could that have been it? I have never seen any but you would know given its very obvious.

          • Drapetomanius

            At least 40% the carbines in my last unit’s armory were very clearly FN Herstal manufactured, and I saw plenty of them carried by other MOSs and other units. Whether you call them M-16s or M4a1s, they were FNH rifles. Contracts me no care about. I don’t care if you’re a contract lawyer or a three star general, we carried FNH carbines. Dems the facts, jack.

  • Christiano

    I just loved this article by Steve. You just rock bro with this update. I like each and every FN and you can say me an addicted one about the stuff. Just wanna add something abouth the FN MINIMI MK3. Its main modifications are an ergonomic buttstock
    adjustable in length (5 positions) to allow compensation for body armor
    and load bearing equipment. The buttstock is adjustable for cheek rest
    height as well. The user can have his eye correctly aligned with the
    iron sights, or optical sights, while keeping his cheek properly
    positioned on the buttstock. It also integrates a folding shoulder rest
    and a hydraulic buffer that stabilizes the rate of fire and reduces felt
    recoil,

  • Christiano

    Also, this is loaded with n ergonomically-shaped cockinghandle that gives the user a better grip with the strong or weak hand,

    an improved feedtray
    with belt retaining pawls that hold the belt correctly in position
    during the loading procedure, which is most useful when the user is in
    the standing position,

  • Christiano
  • Ed

    Always liked the FN MAG (M-240B). Never get the need for a 5.56mm GPMG I want destructive power with a belt fed and 7.62mm is the minimum on that. Id like a MG that can kill trucks and LAVs, a puny 5.56mm round wont do that. Over all the upgrade this is old news Kit Up on Military.com had reported this, FN makes a new SAW variant. The Army had looked at this, and is not looking in on this and they already updated some Saws with M-4 style stocks. Never get this weak collapsible stocks I like the original M-240 stock alot stronger and sturdier for more accurate shooting. I do like a good M-60 or M-240 though cant beat FN on the 240 Brovo.

    • Anonymoose

      This is why it comes in 7.62 as well.

    • Risky

      Everyone likes to talk about how awesome 7.62 guns are… until they’re asked to hump one around on a deployment for a year. Quite a bit of difference between the weight of a 240 and 500 rounds and a SAW and 500 rounds.

      • Esh325

        Well I think the M240 and M249 serve very different purposes so they can’t be compared necessarily. I think there’s two sides it. One could say how awesome the .223 and how light it is until they find out it doesn’t have the desired effect on target. Then there are those that say there should be compromise round that should do the job of both. Then there are those that say you’ll never have one round that can do it all.

        • Drapetomanius

          Huzzah for the “no perfect round” camp.

        • Sid

          I think the standard issue 10 millimeter explosive tip caseless, standard light armor piercing round the Marines were using during the rescue on LV-426 can suit most needs. When coupled with the 30mm grenade launcher, it could meet most battlefield requirements.

          • Pedro

            Great comment! Not everyone will get it.

          • st4

            2013 is almost over and I am still saddened how small arms tech is still is nowhere near half as cool as anything from that film.

      • John

        On a side note, ever notice the weight difference between the PKM (16.5lbs) and our closest [still used] equivalent, the M240L? (22.3lbs)
        Makes me wonder why we can’t get our GPMGs that light

  • bbmg

    All very nice but how do the people being shot at tell the difference between this and the original Minimi first introduced 39 years ago?

    • Guest

      How do they tell the difference between being shot at by an XM16E1 and an M4A1?

      • bbmg

        Let’s upgrade that XM16E1 to an M16A1, still over 35 years between that and the M4A1. Let’s take two groups of soldiers of equal ability and stamina, and equip one group with M16A1s and M4A1s, and have a firefight. Do you honestly think one group will have a decisive advantage over the other?

    • The Forty ‘Twa

      Might as well revert to muskets if you think like that.

      • bbmg

        A 5.56 bullet has a much flatter trajectory and therefore has much more accuracy potential than a musket. Besides, it is housed in a metallic cartridge, therefore allowing a much higher rate of fire – so, as I was attempting to point out, it is the ammunition development that was revolutionary.

        • Esh325

          Well not all weapons development is necessarily focused on the directly lethal capability, in the more recent years some of the development has been focused on making the weapon more comfortable for the user.

          • bbmg

            That is fair enough, ergonomics are important and deserving of continuous improvement, and ultimately a weapon that is more comfortable for the user will make it more lethal to some degree.

            Still, it is as “new” as the “new *insert this year’s car model here*.

    • Sid

      The short barrel and adjustable stock allow the user to exit vehicles much easier and using it in urban ops is improved.

  • gunslinger

    the blue upgrade picture looks like it came out of the most recent Call of Duty video game

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      I thought Call of Duty was all about tiger striping ;)

      • http://www.scoutbasecamp.com/ TV-PressPass

        Internet Pro Tip: never google “tiger stripping”

  • Thatguy96

    On the matter of the various Minimi derivatives in US service, I would think it unlikely if they went with this weapon as it looks like FN Herstal took a lot of the lessons FNH USA had learned in both their work to update the basic M249 for the US Army and develop the Mk 46 Mod 1 and Mk 48 Mod 1 for US special operations forces.

    • Anonymoose

      There’s still a chance they might use some of the Minimi Mk3 attributes in future versions of the M249/Mk46 and Mk48.

      • Thatguy96

        Very true.

  • Matrix_3692

    Just out of curiosity, does the 7.62mm caliber version Mk3 accept feed from a box magazine?

    • David Sharpe

      Nope, looks like it has a link feeder like the rest.

      Unless you’re wondering about a belt box or bag that contains the belt?

    • Anonymoose

      No, but let’s assume they did. What kind of magazines would they use? FAL mags? SCAR-H mags? The main issue with using 7.62 NATO rifles for automatic suppression fire (the primary role of an automatic rifle, SAW, or LMG) is that larger magazines tend to be unwieldy, and the rifles themselves tend to be much lighter compared to older mag-fed automatic rifles like the BAR, Lewis, and Bren, increasing felt recoil and muzzle rise to the point where it is uncontrollable. Out of the 4 major Cold War battle rifles (FAL, G3, M14, and AR10), only the G3 and AR10 are capable of controllable automatic fire due to weight and ergonomics, and only the G3 has large-cap (50-round) magazines that are (relatively) widely available. Current model SCAR-H and HK417 mags are expensive, proprietary, and unfit for use in an automatic rifle by today’s standards (only 20 rounds lol). Then there is the “DPMS”/”AR-10″ pattern mags, developed by KAC for the M110. Those are very common in the US, and are probably the most widely-available 7.62 NATO mags in the US military aside from M14 mags, but FN chose instead to use a modified FAL mag design for the SCAR-H so they could sell new proprietary mags. The best part is that 3rd party modified L2A1/C2A1 mags (25- and 30-rounders) don’t quite fit correctly in the SCAR-H.

  • Leonard

    The visual similarity of modern LMGs is amazing (although the Minimi is probably the original template). Compare, for example, the Minimi with an MG4.

  • Heath J

    Awesome, but they took mine and gave me an M27.. Figures they’d change it for the better and the Corps would do away with it.

  • CALEB

    Me want