FN Herstal recently unveiled its next generation MINIMI Light Machine Guns that feature a new feedtray, cocking handle, buttstock and bipod/handguard assembly.
The U.S. Military adopted the 5.56mm version of the MINIMI in 1982 to become the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon.
The new FN MINIMI Mk3 is convertible to either 5.56mm and 7.62mm and "offers the users improved ergonomics and improved mobility while retaining the same core mechanism as the previous versions, for a limited impact on logistics," FN officials maintain.
"The modifications introduced on the FN MINIMI Mk3 result from feedback provided by users engaged in current operating theatres. Indeed, the demands of users have evolved over the past 10 to 15 years due to changes in the way the FN MINIMI machine gun is used in combat (increased use of accessories, evolutions in the soldier’s equipment, and changes in tactics such as shooting from all positions)."The changes include:
-- An ergonomic buttstock adjustable in length (5 positions) to allow compensation for body armor and load bearing equipment. The buttstock is adjustable for cheek rest height as well. The user can have his eye correctly aligned with the iron sights, or optical sights, while keeping his cheek properly positioned on the buttstock. It also integrates a folding shoulder rest and a hydraulic buffer that stabilizes the rate of fire and reduces felt recoil.
-- An improved feed tray with belt retaining pawls that hold the belt correctly in position during the loading procedure, which is most useful when the user is in the standing position.
-- A new handguard/bipod assembly that provides a comfortable handguard and three forward MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny® accessory rails. The adjustable-height (3 positions) bipod, when folded back, integrates into the shape of the handguard even with an accessory on the lower rail.
-- An ergonomically-shaped cocking handle that gives the user a better grip with the strong or weak hand.
-- An optional heatshield that greatly reduces the risk of inadvertently touching the barrel.
Customers with 5.56mm or 7.62mm FN MINIMI machine guns already in service are not left behind. FN Herstal offers them a customized upgrade program to upgrade partially or completely their weapons: adapted to their exact needs and easily carried out by the armorer on site using the supporting documentation provided with the conversion kits.