Modern Weapons with Forgotten Weapons – The M134 Minigun

Color me just slightly jealous of Ian and crew over at Forgotten Weapons. In their latest hands-on, they go fully neck-deep into one of the most revered modern full-power shooters, the M134 Minigun. While yes, I have gotten the chance to see and shoot one, Ian is able to break apart the weapon and show its brilliant and complex construction in detail.

While the concept for an electrically driven Gatling gun existed for nearly a hundred years prior, the
“minigun” as we know it was designed in 1960 by General Electric as a solution to provide significant firepower for helicopters during the Vietnam war. The Army’s Huey was thin-skinned and needed a bit of “oomph” to protect itself compared to single-barrel machine guns.

The Minigun itself picks up its name through its design lineage. The weapon itself is a scaled-down version of the rotating barrel M61 Vulcan (hence “Mini”) designed to shooter 7.62×51 NATO ammo (the “gun” part). It was originally designed to fire 6,000 rounds per minute, but this was later reduced and made user-selectable starting at 2,000 RPM.

Ian goes hands-on with the weapon in extreme detail, showing the barrel unit and the delinker’s function. His footage gives one true appreciation of the capabilities of the weapon system, which is fantastic for a machine gun and astounding for its rate of fire.

Check out the video’s from Forgotten Weapons below, including slow-motion:

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • codfilet

    What they use for a junk truck would be an old truck in amazingly good shape here in salty-roads Michigan-It bothers me to see a solid-looking vehicle like that shot to pieces.

    • Dave

      That’s the beauty of Arizona. There is no snow.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Just not in the southern parts with Saguaro cacti.

  • billyoblivion

    Google says 2.69 pounds per 100 rounds.

    3000 rounds is about 53.8 pounds of ammunition.

    Talk about “Three men and a small boy”.

    • DataMatters

      Don’t forget the batteries. Maybe could use a wheelbarrow or garden cart.

    • Chris

      There’s no way that figure is right if your’re talking about M80 linked ball ammo. It’s much heavier.

    • Sam

      I think you had your calibers mixed up when googling. 7.62 is much heavier.

      • billyoblivion

        That is exactly what happened.

        Clearly what I read and heard didn’t stick because I thought it was a 5.56.

  • El Duderino

    Mall ninja sez, “Just stand behind a bush, the leaves will deflect the poorly stabilized 5.56mm.”

    • Jim_Macklin

      7.6×51. Of course if it was designed for man portable use, a 5.56×45 would be so much easier to hump.
      In that movie, PREDATOR not shown was the 200 pound battery pack or generator truck nor the half ton of ammo.
      It is even more over the top than the 100 shot 1873 45 Colt the outlaws and posse were using in the old movies.

      • El Duderino

        Mall ninjas don’t know a M134 from a XM214…sheesh.

        • Uniform223

          But CoD and Battlefield is a good source of information because of its authenticity and realism. Hell look at CoD Black Ops.
          *sarcasm off*

  • UCSPanther

    When I hear a minigun fire, all I can think of is the cost of the ammunition…

    • Jim_Macklin

      $90,000 per hour.

      • Cymond

        $40,800 per hour

        Assuming firing continuously, loaded with the cheapest 308 (Tula at $340/1000), and it’s turned down to only 2,000 rounds per minute

        • Jeffrey

          Don’t forget the links.

    • Bill

      To me it sounds like ripping cloth, or a dry fart.

    • Sam

      Buying ammo now makes me reflect on my time back in the Marine Corps as a Machinegunner. Going to ranges, laying behind a 240B shooting thousands of rounds. Free ammo is fun. Paying for ammo… not so much.

  • Mazryonh

    “Come on in, Old Painless is waiting.”

  • Jim

    Forgotten weapons? The mini MK-134 (7.62) and the micro MK? (5.56) are in demand now more than ever by militaries all over the world. I’ve read that Dillon Precision can barely keep up with orders.

    • Gambler X

      He did a great job explaining how the gun operates, and besides, who turns down a chance to shoot a minigun? Nobody…

      • Johnsmyname

        +1 THIS!!

  • DataMatters

    Is there a way to throttle it down to say 600rpm? It’s an electric motor, right? So just add a gearbox or a belt drive like on top of my drill press.

    • CommonSense23

      Why would you? Might as well just use a 240 then.

      • iksnilol

        Well, you can reduce their ROF. 3000 RPM isn’t always needed.

        • Dan

          It most definitely is always needed. ALWAYS!!!!

        • CommonSense23

          So use a weapon that is heavier and if it malfunctions far harder to get back into shooting?

  • shooter2009

    I will remember always the chance I had to shoot 5,000 rounds from the M134D out the door of Mike Dillon’s fully-restored 1968 Huey in the AZ desert.

    A true kick in the pants.

    • iksnilol

      Please tell me Jimi Hendrix and Creedence Clearwater Revival were playing in the background… and that you had straw hut targets.

      • UCSPanther

        Deep Purple’s “Hush” is also required listening for any Vietnam War soundtrack…

        • iksnilol


          And I’m outta ‘Nam references.

          • Mazryonh

            Try “Better you than me.” Or “Let me see your war face!”

      • shooter2009

        “Ride of the Valkyries” 😉

        But, 55-gallon blue plastic drums. 🙁

  • Dan

    Well I made it most of the day without an awkward erection. I am actually glad these are not legal for unregulated ownership. Otherwise i would have several and would have kids left and right just to sell so i could afford to feed them.

    • Wolfgar

      Perfect , just what I was thinking LOL.

  • Geoff Timm

    What ever happened to the company making Gatling guns in miniature firing .22 Short? I always thought it would make an excellent punch line in an action movie. Geoff Who is curious.

  • Mmmtacos

    Sorry, I have to disagree. I think oif the M134 every day, it’s hardly a “Forgotten Weapon”

  • noob

    The Dillon clutch is amazing.

  • noob

    what is the noise like? I notice they aren’t wearing over-ear protection

    • whskee

      It’s seriously a lot of noise, and I prefer to double when I can. Ours have a barrel shaped flash suppressor which helps a lot to direct the blast and noise away more than open ended barrels like in the video. It’s not bad directly behind the gun, but step to the sides and you’ll get it.

      During training we’ll have 2 mini’s up to clear a path for an approaching team shooting extremely close to them. It’s insanely loud and pretty hairy to be on the down-range side of these in operation, and I have hearing loss I’m positive is from mini’s (and more). Google hot extract, I’m sure there’s still video up to be found.

      • noob

        Thank you for your service, and the insight into what it’s like to care for and feed these six barreled beasts

  • billyoblivion


    Do those weights include the can, or is that just the belted ammo?

    • whskee

      That’s just the belted ammo weight. The 4,400rd can without the booster motor assembly is maybe 15-20lbs. Our cans have a motor to push from the can up the feed chute, which increases reliability.