Getting to Know More about the Lightweight MINIMI

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Getting to Know More about the Lightweight MINIMI

The MINIMI by Fabrique Nationale is a machine gun with so many highlights. First introduced in 1974, the MINIMI was regarded as one of the most revolutionary weapons of its time for being the first to feature a 5.56 mm capability. It is effective in its work and it does so while being lightweight and relatively small at the same time. The name is an acronym for “Mini Mitrailleuse”, French for “mini machine gun) and its design was first developed in the 60s. At the time the weapon entered the market, the climate of military environment shifted to weapons with a smaller caliber and higher velocity. It is no wonder then that the MINIMI became an important weapon in history as it allows servicemen to carry a small-sized high-powered firearm.

The MINIMI by Fabrique Nationale is still in production up to this day and is still in use in more than 45 countries. The weapon is popular among those countries for its lightweight, small build, shortness, yet it is still capable of packing a punch and it is easy to change the barrels. Trained servicemen were even recorded to have been able to switch in 6-7 seconds. The weapon is also compatible with most ammunition used by other rifles.


In the US, the weapon is rebranded as the M249 SAW (Squad Automatic Weapon), a modified US-produced of it that becomes the standard machine gun of the US Army. Variants of the MINIMI include MINIMI Para (featuring folding metal stock intended for paratrooper), MINIMI Para TR (featuring a triple accessory rail), Vehicle (meant for use with vehicles), MINIMI 7.62 (a.k.a. MAXIMI, a larger version of the original), MINIMI Mk.3 (the latest version of the brand), F89 (Australian version), and C9 (Canadian version). The machine gun is supported by gas-operated, air-cooled mechanism and features a design of open bolt. It only has automatic fire mode. The original MINIMI has a fixed skeleton of aluminum stock complete with a handle near the middle part and a folding bipod with three different settings of height. The weapon’s barrel is lined with chrome.

The weapon is compatible with any lengths of disintegrating-link belts as well as the M16 assault rifle magazines. Countries holding a license to produce the MINIMI include the US, Greece, Sweden, Japan, Indonesia, Italy, and Australia. The weapon has been involved in many military conflicts including Persian Gulf War as well as wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Entered service1975
Caliber5.56 x 45 mm (.223 Rem)
Weight (unloaded)7.31 kg
Length1 040 mm
Barrel length465 mm
Muzzle velocity925 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire700 – 1 000 rpm
Magazine capacityBelt-fed or 30-round box magazines
Sighting range1 000 m
Range of effective fire600 – 800 m

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