The M134 “Minigun” is a truly awe-inspiring weapon, and quite an experience to fire! In addition to destroying a truck with it in the video below, the producers will look at disassembly and functioning of the minigun – the delinking mechanism is really the most complex part of the weapon, and a very interesting device.
The General Electric M134 “Minigun” is essentially an electrically-powered Gatling gun – the conceptual operation of the gun is identical to Dr. Gatling’s original creation.
What has changed, however, is the chambering (it’s in 7.62 NATO), the power source (an electric motor), and the feed mechanism (belt-feed using M60 links instead of the Gatling’s Accles, Broadwell, or Bruce feeds).
The weapon was a scaled down version of a 20mm rotary powered cannon devised for aircraft armament after WW2, hence the “mini” name. It was used primarily as helicopter armament, although it has found its way only ground vehicles as well.
Firing between 3000 and 6000 rounds per minute, the Minigun is ideal for aerial engagements where the gunner only has a brief moment on target and needs to fire as much as possible during that moment.
Here’s an interesting ‘fun fact’….according to the National Firearms Act, any fully automatic weapon made before 1986 is fair game to civilians. Since the M134 was made in 1962, if you possess the proper Federal Firearms Licensing (and the cash) you can own one of these babies.