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The Minimi is a 5.56x45mm light machine gun manufactured by FN Herstal of Belgium.

They are comparatively lightweight weapons, designed to be employed by dismounted infantry squads and fired from a standing, kneeling or prone position. They feature a folding bipod to provide stability when firing while prone. The weapon has a mounting lug for use with tripods and vehicles although the minimi is rarely used this way by UK forces.

Minimis fire a disintegrating belt of 5.56x45mm fed from a 200-round box, 100-round box or 100-round soft pouch. Standard Nato 30-round magazines can also be fitted, although this is seen as an option of last resort.

The 5.56x45mm round lacks the punch of the 7.62x51mm round of the GPMG, but both the Minimi and its ammunition are lighter and more convenient to carry.

The Minimi can lay down fire at 700-1150 rounds-per-minute at an effective range of up to a 800 meters.

L108A1 Minimi

The Minimi, in its full-size version, (L108A1) was first used within the British military by the Special Forces. The Minimi, with its high rate of fire combined with the amount of ammo one man could carry, made it ideal for Special Forces operations. The Bravo Two Zero SAS patrol, for example, took several Minimis with them into Iraq during the 1st Gulf War.

The L108A1 features a 18.3 inch barrel and a skeletal fixed metal stock with a fold-up shoulder strap.

L108A1 minimi
A L108A1-style minimi, with hard box ammo magazine fitted and bipod deployed.
US Army Photo

Minimi (fullsize) specifications

weight: 6.85 kg
length: 40.9 inches
barrel length: 18.3 inches
action: Gas-actuated, open bolt
rate of fire: 700-1,150 rounds/min
sights: Rear aperture, front post

Minimi PARA

The (L110A1 & L110A2) Light Machine Gun (LMG) is the MoD designation for the the Minimi PARA, a variant designed with airborne forces in mind. The PARA has a collapsible stock and 13.7 inch barrel. The LMG has now replaced the GPMG in most British infantry sections / fire teams. A typical infantry section features 2 LMG gunners, 1 in each 4-man fire team.

Royal Marine LMG Minimi PARA
A Royal Marine armed with a L110A1 LMG.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl John Tran, MAGTFTC HQBN, Combat Camera/Released

The L110A2 is a development of the A1. The minimi mk 2 features a rail on the feed cover for mounting scopes such as the SUSAT, Lightweight Day Sight (LDS) and Common Weapons Sight (CWS) night vision scope. Another set of rails on each side of and under the forearm allows for laser aiming devices such as the LLM 3, lights or foregrips to be attached.

PARA with L110A2 LMG
A Paratrooper with 3 PARA pictured with a L1102A1 LMG (blank-firing adapter fitted). This LMG is fitted with LDS 4x scope with a mini red dotscope on top.
U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Reel/ Released

Minimi PARA specifications

weight: 6.56 kg
length: 36 inches
barrel length: 13.7 inches
action: Gas-actuated, open bolt
rate of fire: 700-1,150 rounds/min
sights: Rear aperture, front post


It is thought that SAS, SBS and SFSG have access to a variant of the minimi, known as the 'maximi', which is chambered for 7.62x51mm NATO.

The maximi features a 19.8 inch barrel, collapsible stock and triple-rail handguard. The 7.62x51mm cartridge and longer barrel pushes the effective range out to 1000 meters. The tradeoff for the increase in range and firepower is a heavier gun (and ammo) and a slower rate of fire than the 5.56x45mm models.

In late 2011 a small number of 7.62x51mm LMGs were bought from FN Herstal by the MoD as an urgent operational requirement (UOR) and deployed to the front line in Afghanistan.

Maximi specifications

weight: 8.4 kg
length: 39.4 inches (stock extended)
34.1 inches (stock collapsed)
barrel length: 19.8 inches
action: Gas-actuated, open bolt
rate of fire: 680-800 rounds/min
sights: Rear aperture, front post

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