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Vektor Mini-SS: South Africa’s Answer to the FN Minimi

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While under international embargo and at war in the late 1970s, South Africa needed a new 7.62mm GPMG. The answer was Vektor’s SS77, a design which would replace the FN MAG in South African service in the 1980s. The gun had really substantial problems for many years, and took a lot of work to revise and improve until it was finally fit for service. However, that work did result in a really excellent gun. With the US adoption of the FN Minimi as a Squad Automatic Weapon, interest developed in a 5.56mm version of the SS77.

Named the Mini-SS, this was initially envisioned as a conversion of the SS77, but that never actually came to pass. Instead, the Mini-SS was built from the ground up as a 5.56mm SAW, with a number of changes to reduce its weight (like a simple fixed polymer stock, fixed gas port, and the removal of tripod attachment points). Coming into service in the early 1990s, the Mini-SS has developed an excellent reputation.

Mechanically, both of the Vektor designs are unusual for the use of an asymmetric side-tilting bolt (like the ZH-29 and only a few other production guns). It is a very simply gun to disassemble, and has a lot of quite clever design features.

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