Minigun Tripod, Not What You Think It Is

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Last week, Lancaster Police Department received a 911 phone call from a concerned citizen. The caller claimed that a gun man was armed with a minigun. The police showed up to the Griest Building looking for the suspect. They never found a gunman. What they did find was a photographer with a large tripod. The photographer had transported her large tripod in its folded configuration and carried it under her arm. Thus having the silhouette of a 6 barreled minigun. How could the caller not question the logistics of owning let alone using a mini gun to commit a crime? Miniguns are usually too big and heavy to be carried easily. They must have been watching Predator and thinking of Jesse Ventura. Here is a picture of the photographer posing with the Lancaster Police Officers. Here is the link to the news article.

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Zachary marrs

    Ahh, memories

    Back in high school, filming for the AV club, walking around like the tripod was a minigun.

    • Squirrel

      And, with one leg extended, it became a sniper rifle…

  • Craig Olmsted

    Trying not to laugh

  • M.M.D.C.

    Happens to me all the time.

    • Iggy

      Pfft… amateur:

      • Iggy

        Of course the cake goes too:

        • TJbrena

          Unless that’s a prototype rifle for Silent Scope 4 (never ever), I can’t imagine what made the designers think it was okay to make it look THAT gun-like. Even has a bolt-like apparatus on the side.

          I mean, ergos look awful, but from afar it absolutely looks like a gun.

      • M.M.D.C.

        For a driveby photo shoot:

        • survivor50

          Wow ! A 40 mm “PROJECTOR”…

      • Southpaw89

        I hope you got your tax stamp for that short barreled camera.

    • TheNotoriousIUD

      I remember seeing a WWII doc where an American combat photographer was filmed using one of these to photograph some Japanese villagers and apparently the woman thought it was a gun so she grabbed her two kids hands and they all jumped off a cliff. That was messed up.

      • M.M.D.C.

        It could easily be of that vintage. It appears to be an rangefinder camera fitted with a reflex mirror, activated by the dual cable shutter/mirror trigger mechanism.

        I wonder what the rear trigger is for.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          Not sure, one cable is the shutter release and the other is attached to a module on the viewfinder. Maybe a mirror lock?

          • M.M.D.C.

            Right. I’m guessing the trigger first moves the reflex mirror up and then releases the shutter.

            My question is why mount a camera this way? Especially for use during a war.

          • TheNotoriousIUD

            Looking at it again I see that both cables are actuated by the same lever.

      • J.T.

        I doubt it was because of the camera. It was probably part of the mass suicides on Marpi Point in Saipan.

        • mosinman

          yup they did not believe in surrendering

          • mrsatyre

            The women probably would have, but their own troops had been telling them for weeks prior to the invasion that they would be murdered, raped and even eaten by the American troops, so a tragic number chose suicide.

          • mosinman

            yeah i’ve heard that one too

          • Simcha M.

            The ironic part about that is that cannibalism was actually practiced by certain Japanese troops under the orders of their officers, as policy.

            Sorry, I don’t remember where I read this but I do remember it being vetted.

          • Tassiebush

            “They’ll rape us to death, eat our flesh and sew our skin into their clothing and if we are very very lucky they will do it in that order”

          • Jim_Macklin

            Zoe, FIREFLY…the government made the Rievers.

        • TheNotoriousIUD

          In the film the woman looks terrified and ducks like shes afraid of a weapon but who knows.

      • Tassiebush

        I’m pretty sure in the more recent gulf war there was an incident of a cameraman being killed after what was probably a case of misidentification.

        • Southpaw89

          I remember that story, pilot thought it was a rocket launcher.

          • Tassiebush

            Yeah it’d look pretty threatening seeing sunlight glinting off a shoulder mounted device tracking you as you flew by!

          • iksnilol

            Possibly, though I saw the video. It was thermal camera, and the guy with the “rocket launcher” was just walking from A to B minding his own business. Guy didn’t even look at the chopper.

          • Tassiebush

            I never saw footage of the incident but I’m kind of making generous assumptions.

          • iksnilol

            Here’s a link to the video. Here’s also a bad screenshot showing the guy: a second or two before he got lit up:
            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/803eacab9e2984db8afab82d33c5b612248fb1d1bf3841174c95843f98dbf8e8.png

            It happens about 2 minutes in.

          • Tassiebush

            I was actually recalling a different incident. It was during the invasion stage of it when a cameraman in a hotel got hit.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, then I am not sure.

    • Samson

      Bro you deserve an icy-cold beer for that, hilarious.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    Put a black pipe on your shoulder, and have someone take a photo of you. Let others guess what the pipe is.

    Bazooka, right?

    • Zachary marrs

      Tripods were bazookas too, only if they were in the case though

    • Lammo

      Stick a bowling pin or some such in the end – – RPG, right? 🙂

  • Secundius

    I’m sort of curious, as to why a Police Department would NEED or HAVE USE for a Dillon M-134D/GAU-17 “Minigun”…

    • Phillip Cooper

      Reading is hard, huh?

      The Police department DOESN’T have one, nor did anything in the article say they did.

      Go read again. We’ll wait…

    • tazman66gt

      the short bus is waiting for you, grab your helmet and get going, moron.

    • Anthony Peyton

      You have a bad case of the “dumb”

    • Bill

      While in general, no. You do get the occasional dimbulb chief or sheriff who feels the need for a M2 or SAW, but the city council is gonna balk at a minigun. But buried deep in a garage at your local nuclear power plant don’t be surprised to find several HUMVEES or BearCats with them mounted.

      • Marcus Toroian

        A local department around here has two M240Bs to use in their Bearcat turret, and some sort of anti-tank rocket launcher.

        • Porty1119

          Where do you live? Helmand Province?

    • Anomanom

      Duh, so they have something to mount on their gently used surplus MRAP.

    • jess

      When the terrorists show up with a Westinghouse M-27 Phased Plasma rifle in the 40 watt range under each arm or a General Dynamics RBS80 Phased Pulse “Minigun”, you’ll WISH you HAD at LEAST one Dillon M-134D/GAU-17 “Minigun”…

    • Jon Hendry

      In case there’s a black kid with a toy gun.

  • Phillip Cooper

    God, people are stupid.

  • Indiana Finney

    If I had a dollar for every time my tripod was mistaken for a minigun, I could buy a minigun.

    • Paul White

      You should start asking for a dollar everytime someone makes that mistake

      • M.M.D.C.

        “Take it, take all of it!!!”

    • Jim_Macklin

      A rough calculation, to shoot a minigun for one hour would take a week unless you had a very big drum. And at $90,000 an hour of shooting… well you’d better have the taxpayers buy your ammo.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Wow, somebody took their stupid pills that day.

  • Edeco

    Wow, concerned citizen is apparently not too in touch with firearms tech, and can be affected by fantastical stuff in popcorn action movies. Oh well, none of my bidness. I’m just glad I’m a gun enteusiast and jaded to those movies.

  • Anomanom

    Well, it is *possible* to own a minigun. There was one for sale at a local gun show a while back. I think they wanted a quarter mil for it (plus the transfer tax, of course). But in a city where you see Ferraris, Lambos, and Aston Martins on the regular, it’s not out of the question.

    • Edeco

      Hmmm, concerned citizens heard hoofbeats and thought zebras, not horses.

    • avconsumer2

      Wow. $250k? We need to get into the minigun business.

      • zmd

        First you’ll need to get into the time machine business and travel back to 1986.

    • nadnerbus

      I suspect that is not the case in the UK.

      • Anomanom

        Probably true.

  • Arch

    Dang, I live in the city this happened in… and totally missed it.

  • datimes

    It operates on a 24 volt battery!!

    • Edeco

      hmmm, I read where 24v is used in aircraft so it wouldn’t surprise me…

      • JK

        Yeah, some aircraft, military vehicles, road graders, school busses…pretty much anywhere you’d find a practical purpose for a minigun.

  • USMC03Vet

    You’ll never believe this, but they actually responded to my call about a mini gun. This was how I was able to steal the intelligence. – TF2 Spy

  • DIR911911 .

    someone needs their 911 privileges rescinded

  • allannon

    Man…I kinda wish I lived somewhere where “What’s that? Oh, must be another minigun.” was a valid concern.

  • iksnilol

    That looks just like the minigun in GTA V:

  • marathag

    lucky they didn’t didn’t have one of the big Manfrotto tripods, all the tubes in them would have let them think they were looking at a 15 barrel minigun

  • avconsumer2

    “Bunch of slack jawed faggots around here, this stuff’ll make you a gawdamn sexual tyrannosaurus… just like me.”

    heh – love that bit

    • JK

      *Trying to think of a tasteful way of making a joke about that lady being a sexual tyrannosaurus.*

  • Bill

    I have a couple video tripods that could function as deadly weapons, and monopods are great for getting people out of your way. There are also some HDSLR rigs that look vaguely weaponish, but I’d think that the general lack of loud noise and screaming bleeding people would be a clue, depending on the scene you are shooting.

  • nadnerbus

    In an abstract sense, it’s kind of interesting from a media standpoint. There can’t be all that many miniguns in the world, what maybe a few thousand? Probably less. The ones uses in the movie are usually the same damn one owned by a movie prop company that gets reconfigured for various movies. I know the Predator and T2 chain guns are the same one anyway.

    Popular media has made them such stars, though, that someone actually thought there was a risk that one was out in the wild. Like they can be picked up down at the local gun store. It’s really amazing how much media fiction, or media fixation on rare events, can completely distort public perception of reality.

    • dbhm

      You mean they can’t be picked up at the corner gun shop?

      • nadnerbus

        Maybe they sell them at the same gun shop that is selling all the RPGs and hand grenades to the Mexican cartels.

        • Nicholas Chen

          See CA Senator Leland Yee, he will get you squared away. LOL

      • Rob

        Only what you see, pal.

  • lbeacham

    “See something, say something” run amok.

  • Yes we do have laws covering that but in this case it was a sincere concern so no law broken.

    • Dan

      Are we sure it was really a concerned citizen? I could see a younger version of myself saying to some younger dumber friends of mine “hey guys im bored lets call the police on that lady and tell them she has a mini gun”

  • Nicholas Chen

    I can’t believe I forgot about this article I posted. Weapons made out of camera equipment.

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/09/22/weapons-inspired-advertising/

  • Southpaw89

    This is what happens when the villain wields a man portable mini gun in every other modern action flick. Hollywood loves em’.

  • iksnilol

    I think they were worried more about the artillery piece you were towing 😛

  • Mustascheo

    Because people are generally stupid…..

  • bruce Cambell

    I wonder if her camera went ‘pew’,’pew’, ‘pew’ when she took pictures.

  • valorius

    People are so stupid.

  • Travis

    I’m sorry, but they don’t even look *remotely* alike.

  • iksnilol

    Protection game weak, no shields for gunner dood.

    “Raptor 3, after 5 years of success”

    … you still haven’t added side shields for the gunner, *smh.

  • Jon Hendry

    I’m glad they didn’t go in and shoot her like the guy at Walmart who was holding a bb gun he picked up off the shelf.