Battlefield Vegas showed up at the March 2021 Big Sandy Shoot with one of their new toys: an M134 minigun mounted on an 850cc quad.
The vehicle got a lot of attention at the biannual machine gun shoot that takes place in the desert near Wikieup, Arizona. Battlefield plans to rent out the platform to those seeking a thrill. They brought it to Big Sandy Shoot to see how she slayed. She didn't disappoint. Rumor has it that it may also be possible to fire the minigun from the vehicle while on the move. This would be the ride of a lifetime.
WHY HAVEN'T SPECIAL FORCES THOUGHT OF THIS?
The vehicle is based on a Polaris Sportsman MV850 ATV. It's a two-person quad. The driver sits as they normally would, but a rear-facing seat has been added to allow a shooter to operate the minigun facing backward.
Ryan Garrett, a fabricator at Battlefield, explained how he modified the quad. "We created these brackets to hold the ammunition and battery box," he said, pointing to steel plates over the front fenders where an ammo and battery box are attached. Moving to the rear of the vehicle, "The gun is mounted in two spots," he said. "It's kind of like a tow hitch if you will." A roughly 5-foot-long ammo belt connects the ammo box at the front to the minigun at the rear.
4,000 ROUNDS PER MINUTE
The minigun itself is made by General Electric, but has many Garwood Industries upgrades. It fires approximately 4,000 rounds of 7.62x51mm NATO per minute. "Typically at Battlefield, people shoot 100 round belts, and that's about 1.2 seconds or so," said Danny Palmer, an armorer at Battlefield.
Interestingly, atop the minigun was an Aimpoint red dot. "People use it to get the initial rounds in, once she's running, you see the impact of the rounds hitting," said Palmer. Miniguns aren't known for pinpoint accuracy.
Also noteworthy were its shortened barrels. They were approximately 26 inches in length. By shortening them, Battlefield was able to increase the rate of fire and reduce stress on the electric motor rotating them. "There's a lot of torque going on when the gun gets spinning," said Palmer.
FIRST TIME FIRING A MINIGUN
Maj. William Cummings from the Air Force was one of the lucky folks who had a chance to fire the weapon at Big Sandy. He'd never fired a Gatling-style gun, so he was pretty excited.
"I'm about to shoot the M134 minigun, and I'm as stoked as one can be," he said.
After a brief rundown on its operation, Cummings settled into the hot seat and dumped 100 rounds in two short bursts.
Brrrrp! Brrrrp! A sense of exhilaration was clearly written on his face.
"I don't know if I can accurately explain how amazing that feels," he said after climbing out of the seat. "It makes you feel awesome. It makes you feel like you're in control of something powerful, but then you know that you have to actually control it yourself. You have to be powerful to control this weapon," he said.
If you like guns that go brrrp!, you'll likely enjoy our article about a slightly bigger version of the minigun, the 20mm Vulcan cannon nicknamed "The Hand of God."