Garwood Industries M134G Minigun


Since the mid 1960s, the Minigun has been much more of a star on the battlefield as it has on the silver screen. With its distinct sound and tremendous rate of fire, it is immediately recognizable to all, even in remote proximity. It has been over 40 years since “Puff the Magic Dragon” first flew in the skies over Southeast Asia, and with modern technology assisting in growth and change, this incredible weapon system appears to be here for many more years.
The M134 is commonly known as the “Minigun” regardless of manufacturer. Others simply call it a “Gatling” which was a very early model that looked similar but required a hand crank to fire, or even a combination of the two, the “Electric Gatling.”  While there are a few current manufacturers of this platform today, the one we are studying in this T&E piece is the Garwood Industries, M134G.
Capable of firing in excess of 6,000 rounds per minute and designed after the M61A1 20mm Vulcan, the Minigun can inflict a devastating amount of damage in a minimal amount of time. With several rate of fire settings depending upon the model and manufacturer, there is no question that firing up to 100 rounds of 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win) per SECOND, for several seconds, has the potential to eliminate whatever immediate threat is being targeted. While some believe that more is better, the engineers at Garwood Industries have other ideas.

VIDEO

Garwood Industries of Scottsdale Arizona is a certified government contractor specializing in the design and manufacture of Miniguns. They have been studying the Minigun design for some time and have developed their latest project, the M-134G, which incorporates several upgrades to the original G.E. system designed over 40 years ago. Through their extensive research they have discovered that the highest rate of fire the system is possible of operating at may not be the optimum rate of fire for hit potential. After several extended firing exercises, Garwood collected enough data to conclude that the optimum rate of fire for the Minigun system is approximately 3,200 rounds per minute (rpm). This cyclic rate provides the operator with the maximum amount of target saturation while expending a minimum amount of ammunition. Even a novice gunner can achieve a greater rate of accuracy at the 3,200 rpm mark. Because of these findings the M-134G is being produced and offered with this firing rate as well as 4,000 rpm and the previous standard of 3,000 rpm.

A Brief Tour Inside The Minigun
While the rate of fire research and adjustments have been quite significant, several other upgrades and improvements have been implemented by Garwood Industries, and for the first time since General Electric manufactured Miniguns in the 1960s, the complete M-134G system is being manufactured to meet and exceed military requirements. To accomplish this, all of the weapons components adhere to ISO standards to ensure quality traceability.
The differences in the M134G are numerous and maybe even slightly confusing unless you are intimately familiar with the method on which the system functions. Everyone knows the barrels spin and it shoots fast but beyond that, the details start to depart from traditional firearms mechanisms quite fast. In order to learn about the system upgrades, let’s first look at how the system actually functions. (For a very detailed look inside the Minigun and how it works, see Small Arms Review Vol. 5, No. 7, April, 2002)
First, it is important to know that the system is operated from an outside power source and not dependant upon ammunition ignition or produced recoil of any kind to function. In the case of the M-134G this power is supplied by an improved 28 Volt DC motor.
In the most simplistic terms, the Minigun is a single group of 6 complete guns working in unison as a single gun. This takes place inside a single “receiver.” In the M-134 system there are 6 barrels and 6 complete bolts and bolt carriers, each containing a firing pin and spring. Each bolt also has a cam bearing which guides it along a cam path inside the receiver.

 

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