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I’m a bit of a nut when it comes to big guns. Why? Because guns. They’re a lot of fun to shoot. Well, it’s a lot of fun to see what happens to what you shoot. Thanks to Uncle Sam’s regle du jeu, I won’t be seeing this SAW in my gun safe anytime soon. As a fantasy check, I put it to you: if you could, if you had the money and buying one wasn’t machine gun impossible, would you add a FN MINIMI light machine gun to your collection? Here’s the press release . . .

Belgium-based small arms manufacturer FN Herstal unveils the next generation FN MINIMI light machine gun in both 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers during the MILIPOL exhibition in Paris, November 19 – 22 2013.

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 new FN MINIMI Mk3 offers the users improved ergonomics and improved mobility while retaining the same core mechanism as the previous versions, for a limited impact on logistics which includes; an ergonomic buttstock adjustable in length (5 positions) to allow compensation for body armor and load bearing equipment, a new handguard/bipod assembly that provides a comfortable handguard and three forward MIL-STD 1913 Picatinny accessory rails, an optional heatshield that greatly reduces the risk of inadvertently touching the barrel and the convertibility of the FN MINIMI 7.62 to fire 5.56x45mm ammunition.

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  1. If the obstacles currently standing between me and owning a quality Belgian made light machine machinegun were somehow swept aside, would I buy one? No. I’d buy two. At least.

    • I would. I couldn’t feed such a beast, and I’d rather have a precision long range rifle and optic that cost just as much that I could use for something other than making a lot of noise at the range. Nor do I foresee a situation that suppressive fire would be something I would have an actual need for–and until then, a MG is just an expensive range toy.

      • Your precision long-range rifle is a sweetheart, for sure, but useless against a zombie division.

        I like the way thees Belgian makes the gun sound like a “MINI-ME”, and I’d grab it off the rack if I but could.
        But I think I’d rather take the M-249 SAW. Just sayin’.

        • Problem with SAWs is they are not precision weapons. They are area suppression weapons. The next generation of Light MG have to have a huge improvement in accuracy sans T@E so infantry soldiers using the MG can provide pinpoint accurate fire . I’d like to see some soldiers use this weapon to find out just how good it really is. FN makes some really good stuff.

      • I’m guessing you have not fired full auto before…especially belt fed. It ain’t about need. It’s about that big smile you won’t be able to wipe off your face every time you think about how much fun you had shooting it.

    • It really depends on how counterfactual the counterfactual fantasy is.

      How much would it cost if the 86 ban never happened? It is still a nice piece of gear, but I would think it should be closer to 10k than 20. More to the point, without the 86 ban a Thompson would not be anywhere near 20k, more like 2k tops.

    • A full auto real M4 should cost $1,000. There’s only 1 real part difference, a stamped auto sear toggle. Were the free market allowed to operate normally I would totally buy one. Whether I could afford to shoot the thing full auto would be another separate issue, but its one I would have liked the opportunity to have. How the heck can the 1986 new full auto act pass muster as a non-arbitrary law?

  2. I couldn’t afford to feed it, even if I could afford to buy it.

    If I could afford the care and feeding of a machine gun before I bought a MINIMI I would buy a BAR, M2 HB, or an M1919.

    • Yeah, gotta agree. Couldn’t afford that ammo and if all costs were taken out of the picture, I can think of other autos I’d much rather have.

      Now if for some reason the choice was Minimi or nothing then… sure.

  3. I feel like a buzzkill saying it, but nah. If I can have a FA I want either an SMG or some kind of PDW. A SCAR L with a 10 inch barrel sounds like the tops.

  4. That’s not a big gun… 20mm & up is a big gun, although I always think 16″ naval rifle when I think “big gun”. To answer the original question – yes, what did I buy?

  5. Only as a member of a well regulated Militia.
    Oh yeah, thats right I am a member, I’m glad we have the 2nd Ammendment.
    So what’s your question again.

  6. I’ve used this line about beautiful women in the past (I’m a pig, I know), but it applies here, too:

    Bring me two, because I’m gonna wear the first one out.

  7. If it has to be an FN, M240B please 😀

    Like Jeff said above, I might go a 54r route just so that I wouldnt have to get another job for ammo.

    • I’m with you on this, I’d rather put the money towards buying that property out in the boonies where I could practice my marksmanship almost any time of the day or night.

  8. Its a bad ass gun, but why do the Belgians have play that light tone music. They needed some metal. Also, why the hell would you show case this in France. Sorry…this is my rant for the day.

  9. I’m sure I’d buy a true machine gun, or five, were they available in an infringement-free America. Why not? They’re fun.

    On a side note, Fox News reads TTAG! Nice little first-reported credit today on their website regarding TTAG’s recent article about NYC confiscation letters, which some here claimed were fake and that TTAG willfully misreported. Turkey for Thanksgiving, goose for Christmas, and crow (for some) in between.

  10. I’d buy one! Nice to see they have addressed ergonomics – I thought the M-249 was one of the least comfortable firearms I’ve ever shot, but the M-240 was a sweetheart!

    And I don’t understand why the registry is closed.
    Statistically speaking, aren’t legal MG’s the least used in crimes? IIRC, only two have ever been used in crimes, so that makes them a hell of a lot safer than your average Glock… Right?

  11. Probably, haha. Would need to be bathing in money, though. Would have other purchases to make if I can get full auto stuff now. ;p

  12. Well yes, I would. But to be completely honest if the barriers to owning a real MG I’d probably go with something Russian made. Probably a PKM.

  13. If I could afford one, I would certainly be a buyer. I had some exposure to the SAW in the Marine Corps, and it is a hoot to shoot. It’s kind of a neat thing shooting a string of rounds with a cyclic rate quick enough to actually see a gray streak of lead moving downrange. (They appeared gray to me, even though they wore copper jackets.)

  14. “I would buy one if I could afford it” is a common theme. Well unlike you guys I don’t have the money to feed it so I wouldn’t waste my money on buying the weapon just to say I have one.

  15. It isn’t really practical. I think I read once they used to sell belt fed machine guns for kids through mail order catalog long ago. I think it was a .22 or something?

    I would much rather go for something like an SBR or SMG if everything was legal all of a sudden. Carrying around belts of ammunition just doesn’t seem worth it.

  16. I wouldn’t because of ammo cost, lack of facilities permitted to use FA anywhere around me, and no particular hunting purpose for a tool like that. But in the event we run out of other people’s money this might be handy to have.

  17. If there were no NFA regs and no import restrictions I would buy an M240, an M249 and an M4A1, along with an MP5SD..why? because I can

  18. I’d buy it and a 22lr conversion kit so I could afford to feed it. I am assuming if it was legal a conversion kit would be available.

    As far as costs go. Before the tax stamp act on machine guns a Thompson could be ordered from a mail order catalog for around 150.00. Of course this was pre depression so that’s like 1300 in today’s dollars. I would assume that would be around the cost.

    A full auto ar15 would not be much more to produce than a semi only. Many at owners already upgrade to the full auto capable bolt carrier I believe.

  19. Ha! I wouldn’r buy imperialist weakling 5.56 machinegun. I would buy comrade Kalashnikovs PKM (maybe two so I could have one in 7.62×51 and the other in 7.62x54R).

    But seriously, if I could afford it and could do it. I would totally buy some belt feds, DSHK, PKM and of course KPV would be on my list if it was legal (and I could get ammo).

    • you need an RPK-74 too, to blow off those cans of 5.45 that are just weighing you down in life.

      Every time I get behind my AES-10B RPK I wish it had the giggle position on the safety, but it makes up for it by being the most accurate 7.62×39 rifle that I own – I have shot 3″ groups with that rifle at 200yds, 4x scoped, with plain old Wolf FMJ

      • You just had to remind of the fact that 5.45 and 7.62x54R are extremely rare here in Norway. I mean they are so rare that you are more likely to see one of those Africa calibers than those.

        But enjoy the AES-10B RPK, not my cup of tea(prefer belt fed or heavy calibers like .308).

        • Yeah, I could go over to Finnland but Norway ism uch better generally. I will gladly give up 7.62x54R and 5.45 (lol no; I will get something 7.62x54R anyway) if it means less of a hassle to get guns and a better economy.

        • I dont need none of yer sympathy. I will just import a Izhmash Tigr (civilian Dragunov) or a cheap Norinco M93 Woodsman (Colt Woodsman clone, with surprisingly good accuracy&reliability).

          But you make the best out of it, at least we dont have any stupid NFA process when it comes to suppressors.

  20. It would be like owning a sports car. Expensive to maintain and use. For most people it wouldn’t get used much or at all. Look at Ebay motors and see how many Ferraris and Lamborghinis have low miles, even for 10-20 year old cars.

    Buy hey, if you have the cash to burn…

    • Personally, I’d buy a Ferrari before I’d buy a machine gun. A Ferrari goes anywhere (almost) anytime, into any place you want to go, and fills the other seat with beautiful women. A MG? Not so much. Priorities, I suppose.

  21. If you have money and I mean real money…you could own one of these. What are friends in high places (that you helped put there ) for? There are rules and then there are rules. The rules dont apply to people like Bloomy and Soros.

  22. Even if I could buy one, do I really have a few thousand kicking around for a heavy range toy with no other real purpose? Carrying a SAW around sucks. So right now, the answer is no, but in the future when I get rich it could be kind of fun. Just like Maseratis and Ferraris. Most of us don’t care about them, and have no use for them. I’d just like to be ABLE to buy whatever I want.

    More importantly, what I would like to be able to buy, at bargain price, with no NFA restrictions:

    Mark 18 CQBR M4A1, with a good quality suppressor on it.

    Assuming there were no restrictions, I seriously doubt that between all the various companies in the business (Colt, AAC, Surefire, Cough cough), they couldn’t put together a high quality “everyman-home defense platform” with rifle, suppressor light, and sling for under 1800 out the door. That’s the first Item I would buy, and probably the last. Maybe two, just to have an extra laying around in case I need a loaner.

  23. From an aesthetic standpoint, I wouldn’t give it houseroom. I’d rather have my old Spandau Maxim 08 water-cooled MG that I swapped for a bunch of handguns back in 1960. Now that was a work of art!

  24. Oddly enough, I suspect that if they weren’t trying so hard to keep me from owning one, I’d be much less interested in buying one.

  25. I’d like me some belt fed full auto fun for sure if all the fiscal and legal planets aligned, but in my estimation there’s only a few machine guns that qualify as artwork you can shoot and none are a Minimi. I’m thinking Vickers Gun, German/Finnish/Russian Maxims, Browning M1917/1919, Lewis Gun etc. There’s just something about the heft and steady controllable ROF of a WWI machine gun that really speaks to me.

    On the cheaper/cost effective/greater mobility end of the spectrum, can’t go wrong with the trusty PKM and a crate full of 7.62 x 54R. Or a BAR and .30-06 if I were inclined to Buy American.

  26. I would love to have a full auto 22lr – current issues with actually finding 22lr aside. However, I’ve done exactly zero research on the subject, does anyone even make a full auto 22?

  27. If I could, fuck yes I would!

    Though it would probably become little more than a safe queen, because ammo prices are still too damn high.

  28. Probably not, even without the NFA in the way. Not until I’m making enough to justify spending that much on ammo. Maybe if you could mod it to fire .22.

  29. There is a typo in your title Mr. Farago. Here let me fix it for you:

    Question of the Day: If You Could Buy [Insert Firearm], Would You? Of course you would.

  30. No as a matter of principle. The SAW is the modern chauchat LMG.
    S – Shitty
    A – Ass
    W – Weapon
    S – Stack
    A – All
    W – Weapons
    Since the single most useful job the M249 performs is as a rest to stack Marines’ M-4’s, A-4’s, 27’s, & 32 A-1’s.

    • Joe,
      Back in 87 I got to shoot an FN standard 249 and one that was modified to make the idiots in army procurement happy. Two totally different weapons. The original design was a pretty decent piece of work and the army fucked it up royally. Ditto the M-16A2, M-60 MG, and many other weapons systems. My problem with the SAW is the caliber of the ammo and that SS109 projectile. Its a flying ice pick at any extended range.

  31. Nah.

    The 249 is generally a waste of ammo that should have been put in your rifle. I didn’t run into many weapons I had an outright dislike of in the army but this is one.

    Of course I personally don’t feel the need to own a full auto anything. It lost most of the novelty many years ago. Now I just want effective firearms that work for our situation.

    Don’t think I’ll be in need of suppressing a larger force in the near future.

  32. How short is the barrel?
    Looks like an AR pistol mated with a Machine gun.
    Can I have one with a SIG pistol arm brace for the Rambo look


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