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The M134 Minigun is a 7.62x51 mm NATO, six-barreled machine gun with a high rate of fire (2,000 to 6,000 rounds per minute). It features Gatling-style rotating barrels with an external power source, normally an electric motor. The "Mini" in the name is in comparison to designs that use a similar firing mechanism but larger shells, such as General Electric's earlier 20-millimeter M61 Vulcan, and "gun" for a caliber size smaller than that of a cannon, typically 20 mm and higher.
The M134 Minigun is a six-barrel, air-cooled, electrically driven rotary machine gun. The electric drive rotates the weapon within its housing, with a rotating firing pin assembly and rotary chamber. The weapon's multi-barrel design helps prevent overheating, but also serves other functions. Multiple barrels allow for a greater capacity for a high firing rate, since the serial process of firing, extraction and loading is taking place in all barrels simultaneously. Thus, as one barrel fires, two others are in different stages of shell extraction and another three are being loaded. The M134 is composed of multiple closed-bolt rifle barrels arranged in a circular housing. The barrels are rotated by an external power source, usually electric, pneumatic or hydraulic.
Today, the M134 is in use in several branches of the United States military under a number of designations. It is commonly used as a mounted weapon or door gun on contemporary aircraft and helicopters. Its devastating rate of fire, for which it chiefly know for, can be up to 6,000 rounds per minute (100 rounds per second), although it is typically limited to 4,000 rounds per minute. Additionally, several modern variants feature selectable rates of fire for varying situations. While the weapon can feed from linked ammunition, it requires a delinking feeder to strip the links as the rounds are introduced to the chambers.
In Predator, Blain carries a handheld M134 nicknamed "Old Painless" as his primary weapon. After his death, the weapon is briefly used by Mac, although it is presumably discarded once it runs out of ammunition. M134 Miniguns are also mounted as door guns in the helicopter that covers the team's insertion into the jungle.
- In the Predators shooting script, Nikolai is said to carry a Glagolev–Shipunov–Gryazev GShG-7.62 machine gun, which is essentially the Russian equivalent to the M134. This would make far more sense, as it is highly unlikely a Russian soldier would be armed with an American-made Minigun.
- ↑ https://www.dillonaero.com/content/p/9/pid/35/catid/1/Hybrid_M134D_H
- ↑ United States. Headquarters, Department of the Army. FM 1–40 Attack Helicopter Gunnery. Washington, DC: Headquarters, Department of the Army, 1969.