I know what you are thinking: this multi-barrel machine gun looks kind of cute. I also know that it is totally odd, or even out of place, to refer to a deathbringer as “cute.” It is adorable because, the XM556, as it is known, is just half the size of an M134 Minigun (you know, that electrically-driven Gatling gun popularized by movies like Predator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day?). You know how it is. Anything that is very much smaller than the norm is cute. Well, mostly.
Because of its size, it is called microgun and instead of firing 7.62 mm rounds, the XM556 Microgun fires 5.56 mm rounds and it is obviously, not nearly as powerful as the shrunken down the m61 Vulcan Gatling gun. The company responsible for this “suitcase-sized” minigun is Empty Shell. The company created quite some buzz back in 2017 when it brought it to 2017 SHOT Show. Two years on, Empty Shell announced that the XM556 Microgun is entering full production.
But gun nuts don’t get too excited because, this weapon is not for consumers. At least, not yet. It is reserved for the military. Several improvements have been made since its debut two years ago and it includes a bidirectional barrel rotation to enable ease of clearing jams, the ability to fire at 90 degree angle up and down, and completely upside down, and there is a mark improvement in the rate of fire, which is now around 6,000 rounds per minute.
The weapon is expected to serve as a defensive suppression weapon that is cheaper and more flexible over the Minigun, and it is also highly customizable to fit a wide range of platforms and vehicles. It is worthy to note that General Electric, the maker of the original M134 Minigun, did hatched a plan to develop a portable version, but that never see fruition because, at 25.5 lbs (11.6 kilograms) gun-only weight, it is considered to be unwieldy.
Empty Shell’s version, however, weighs just 16 lbs or about 7.3 kilograms. The company expect XM556 Microgun to be deployed to the military in the next six months.
Images: Empty Shell.
Featured image and Source: YouTube (Guns.com).