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: