Motorized Handheld 5.56mm Gatling Gun: The XM556 Microgun


Motorized Handheld 5.56mm Gatling Gun: The XM556 Microgun

Empty Shell, LLC: their website home page reads “Unique Firearms Design,” and they’re not lying.

The one we’re talking about here is called the XM556 Microgun, and it’s a motorized gatling-style gun that fires 5.56 NATO ammo like it’s going out of style. Oh, and it’s designed to be handheld, which makes it the first of its kind.

(Image: Empty Shell, LLC)
(Image: Empty Shell, LLC)

Here’s a quote from their website:

After working in the firearm industry… [we saw] a consistent pattern. Products typically evolved from companies looking around at current trends and trying to get on board before they caught on.

When we founded Empty Shell in 2014, it was decided that we would not go that route. We will only bring products to market that add value to the industry and have a large advantage to the end user. We will never sell something that you can find easily somewhere else. We also only add team members and vendors that understand our vision and are talented enough to produce parts with the same commitment we have in developing them.

About the XM556, they have this to say:

The XM556 is a new platform system… designed from scratch. The parts are not just a smaller imitation of the larger M134. An absolutely all new style of bolt was conceived and designed to eliminate current known issues with the M134. The bolts combined with many other improvements have been made to not only extend the life of the gun but reduce wear and reduce or eliminate stoppages.

Right now, they’ve uploaded a total of three short videos on Youtube. This first one shows the gun chewing and spewing 100 dummy rounds of ammo.

This next one shows a very short test.

And finally, the video below shows a “belt” of linked rounds being fed into the gun and then fired. This thing sure goes through the ammo quickly!

Here are some specs:

  • Caliber: 5.56mm
  • Barrel Length: 10″ or 16″
  • Total Gun Weight: 16 lbs (subject to change)
  • Rate of Fire: 2000/4000 (subject to change)
  • Total Length: Handheld 22″
  • Total Height: 6″
  • Total Width: 9″
  • Feed System: M-27 Linked Ammunition Belt
  • Fire Mode: Full Auto Only
  • Power Requirement: 24 Volts DC
  • Barrel Life: TBD
  • System Life: TBD
  • Status: Prototype/Still in Development


Avatar Author ID 61 - 919102292

Editor & Contributing Writer Russ Chastain is a lifelong hunter and shooter who has spent his life learning about hunting, shooting, guns, ammunition, gunsmithing, reloading, and bullet casting. He started toting his own gun in the woods at age nine and he's pursued deer with rifles since 1982, so his hunting knowledge has been growing for more than three and a half decades. His desire and ability to share this knowledge with others has also grown, and Russ has been professionally writing and editing original hunting & shooting content since 1998. Russ Chastain has a passion for sharing accurate, honest, interesting hunting & shooting knowledge and stories with people of all skill levels.

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