HK416 production suspended

UPDATE: The Tactical Wire got it wrong. Production was not halted.
Tactical Wire claims that significant problems with the HK416 have been uncovered and production has been halted:

The Tactical Wire has learned from very reliable sources that the US military has encountered significant problems with H&K Model 416s in combat conditions. HK has suspended production pending an internal investigation and inspection of that weapon system.

Very interesting if true. I previously reported that Norwegian soldiers were having problems with their HK416s.

Thanks to Ed Friedman for alerting me to this.

UPDATE: In response to jdun1911: I don’t think this is an Aprils fools joke:


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • EzGoingKev

    That’s funny, I thought after the 416 made Colt look bad that Colt’s military hacks ordered the 416’s be turned in so that everyone would have Colts while the Senate is reviewing procurement.

  • I wonder what this means for the MR556 and MR762 ? A big part of the press release that HK did when they where first announced was how closely related they are to the 416.


  • *It is I, Jennersen.*

    I am not surprised. Sorry, I had to say that since I still hate on the gas piston ARs.

  • jdun1911

    I bet you the piston hard jammed in combat thus making the rifle useless. There is no fast way to clear this type of malfunction.

  • Not surprising.
    The piston ars are not in the same league as the rifles designed from the start with piston systems…
    FNC, SIG, SCAR, XCR, G36 etc.
    SCAR gets my vote.
    I wonder when Delta Force will switch to the SCAR.

  • jdun1911

    Could anyone verified that this isn’t an April Fool Joke?

    HK piston design hawk back to the 70’s-80’s. It was proven to be a failure then and today pistons is no different. History repeat itself.

    If I were to make a piston AR, the upper and the piston will be redesign from the ground up. It will be a complete never before done AR15 piston upper. The lower will be the same tho.

    • jdun1911, I am pretty sure it is not a joke. I just updated the blog post, take a look at that screenshot.

  • jdun1911

    SCAR is a failure. It feels cheap and too bulky for it’s own good. I would be surprise if anyone actually use it in combat.

  • HK: Because you suck and we hate you!

    Sorry, someone had to say it…

    • thebronze, LOL, I was waiting for someone to say it 😉


    LWRC has a piston setup that has been through some pretty tough testing and it appears to work as advertised. I’m not surprised by the HK news to be honest. I’ve got friends who had them in ganistan and said they were more hype and that issues had occured with them.

  • Dennis

    Having used the M-16A1,M-16A2 and the M-4 Carbine,I dare to speak in thier behalf.They will be harder to replace than might be imagined.A lot of the kinks that were in the A1 are not in the A2:performance significantly improved with its adoption.
    I can tell you with no reservations that the M-4 is one of the best guns out there.It just rocks when it needs to rock and it rolls when it needs to roll.

  • Vitor

    I actually appreciate HK attitude of admiting problems and try to correct them, much better than Colt holier than everybody attitude.

  • One issue that has been noted by several people whom I know who have put large number of rounds through many of the piston AR systems is that the bolt tends to tilt slightly when hit by the piston. While this may not cause any immediate problems, it is causing wear in areas they have never seen on an AR and has been implicated in issues with the piston and the bolt. One manufacturer has addressed this issue…I can’t remember off the top of my head who (it was NOT HK, they don’t listen to anybody!)

    This is one of the reasons I prefer rifles like the SIG 550 series or the Robinson XCR which were designed as piston weapons and not half-assed hybrids. Eugene is likely doing somersaults in his grave!

  • jdun1911

    LWRC like HK test their weapons in house. So you can’t take those tests seriously. 100% pure marketing.

    AR15 piston flaws have been well documented over they years. Every gun manufactures knew it. So I don’t see why HK is surprised by these developments.

    Colt did not push hard for the piston design because they been there and done it.

  • rootman

    Have you fired the SCAR?
    I have not. It looks like a great design.
    Do you say that the claims of operator involvement in the design is a lie?

    These folks like it.

    Calling it a failure sounds a little… overstated.

    What, in your opinion, is wrong with the thing that SOCOM and and a lot of other folks can’t see?

  • For me, up close and personal was the mac-10 .45 and for my weapon of choice for 100 yards or more would be the M-14.I used them both.One in Vietnam and the other at Grenada. I know they were heavy weapons but they were reliable.I never had any jams in the swamps or sand on the beaches. They served me well.I wasnt to much of a fan on the M-16 but during the old days nobody liked them.I know they have made them better but im still sticking to what i know best.God bless the troops and i hope they all come home safe.

  • jdun1911

    I have not fire a SCAR nor have I disassemble one. I have held it and it feel cheap and bulky.

    Have anyone heard about the SCAR other then it is overpriced since the release? No. Anyone got pictures of Special Force units using it in Afghanistan in combat? I haven’t seen any pictures.

    As all of you are aware the HK416 conceived from members of the SF. Well, that’s what HK told us anyway. Do you know what is called when a guy coming out of the water with the weapon stating in bold letters “Design for and use for Special Force” or whatever in an ad? It’s called marketing and the guy in the picture isn’t a Special Force person. He’s an actor, pay as an actor to sell a product.

    From what people have told me and what I read in the forums. The SCAR action used a modified AR18 action. Like the XM8, the SCAR is a glorified AR18 and if history repeats itself it will be a disappointment.

    There nothing wrong with the AR18 action. It’s a great design. The problem is, no manufactures have successfully made it to work well in other rifle or sell a meaningful quantity of it.

    Here the brutal truth about firearms. New designs like the SCAR, XCR, etc are recycle from old design. New body, new name, and higher price tag but the soul is the same. In some cases made even worst. If the SCAR was successful and if US Special forces actually use it in combat, FN marketing department would have field day. Right?

    BTW someone posted on that LWRC carrier screws break after 1000 rounds. I haven’t read the thread tho.

  • Matt Groom

    I have two words for Piston-Driven gas system fan boys: Cam Angle.

    Any system which is a modification of standard AR-15/M-16 operating components, such as the Bolt Carrier and Upper Receiver, is GOING to fail SOONER than any stoppage that may be traced to the direct Gas Impingement system. All current piston-driven ARs I’ve seen fail to alter the cam angle and are therefore going to be plagued by failures.

    The problem with the AR-15 is the Johnson/Stoner bolt design (Weak extractor spring, smallish extractor, plunger ejector, and too damn many locking lugs!), not the direct gas impingment system. Anybody worth his salt in the industry will tell you that. Reed Knight, Jr. (who worked with Stoner before his death), George Kellgren, The guys from Magpul (What do you think the delay on the Masada is caused by?) to name a few. The direct Gas Impingement system is actually a huge BENEFIT to the AR-15, and no gas system is completely clean, and thus they will all eventually cause stoppages without cleaning.

    Of all the next-gen rifles I’ve inspected, the XCR is definitely the best, and a clear improvement over the FNC which seems to have inspired both the XCR and the SCAR. The SCAR, by the by, is mediocre, overpriced, and ugly IMO. The Masada looks nice, but doesn’t really exist yet, and the HK, well, they hate us, right?

  • rootman


    The SCAR gas system is not at all like the ar18.;9074210;/fileinfo.html
    It is not even like the closest piece the FNC.
    Picking the thing up is not convincing experience.
    The SCAR is in the process of being fielded.
    You will see plenty of folks using them.
    FN does not need any marketing..
    ..the thing is a done deal.



    While most arms manufacturers do most of their testing in house and should be taken with some salt, LWRC has given their platforms to outside sources for testing. The most recent issue of Swat has a m6a1 write up on a year long testing basis. Other than some springs and one screw, the rifle performed incredibly with some pretty rough testing. Pretty good writeup by Pat Rogers if you have the time.

  • jdun1911

    It’s not a done deal. Come back in a year and we’ll see if who is right.

  • jdun1911

    …and well see who is right.

  • jdun1911

    I just saw a close up of the action on a video. In fact IIRC it looks like it is the same action that is used by the G36 which is a modified AR18 action.

  • @jdun1911

    You can say they are all alike. They have pistons and bolt carriers etc.

    The SCAR has a much smaller “user stripped” part count.

    The piston is contained in the barrel assembly.

    It is not “the same action” as the g36 or especially the ar18 which has a lot more small parts.

    Thank you for your opinion. I have more confidence in the design and the ability of SOCOM to get the thing right.

    I surrender to your knowledge and ability to see the future.


  • jdun1911

    Which part did you not understand “modified AR18 action?”

    Ok kid here one simple question. Why is the US military doing another future weapon competition starting this upcoming November. If the SCAR is sooooo successful and soooo cooooollllll looking why do they need to start another program?

    You have no idea how the military works or how they procure new weapon platform.

    If the SCAR is in production for the US military they would have it last year because you know military get their stuff first before civilians. Right? Right? Where are the Special Forces that are using SCAR?

    The only market left for SCAR are game kiddies and internet commando wannabes.

    With the exception of Colt, FN, HK, etc does not understand that the US military isn’t looking for a piston driven rifle. It is looking for an improve DI rifle that is superior in every way to the AR15. Anything less is unacceptable.

    SCAR is a failure because it does less for more.

  • TBob


    I found this thread searching for something on Google. I’m amazed at your certainty about a weapon you’ve never even fired and apparently know nothing about. I couldn’t let this go without correcting the record here. Also for the record, I do not work for FN and never have. I do know a few things about military weapons, though.

    The SCAR has been following normal DoD acquisition procedures. After the initial production approval, it entered Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) as is normal. After more extensive operational testing, it has now been approved for full rate production by the SOCOM commander. As of today, there are some 2,000 SCARs in warfighters’ hands around the world. It will appear across SOCOM in increasing numbers this summer.

    SOCOM and FN both advertise that the SCAR was developed by warfighters for warfighters, and that’s indeed the case. Active Special Operators were involved in establishing the design requirements and conducting the extensive testing of the SCAR. If it wasn’t the best weapon available, the program could/would have been killed in its cradle by its future users who will bet their lives on it. The truth is quite the opposite.

    I have fired both the Mk 16 and Mk 17 many times, as well as the M4/M16, HK416/417, HK G36, IWI Galil, SAR-80, and a number of other assault rifles/carbines around the world. The FN design is the most innovative, reliable, modular, light weight, and easily maintainable. It also shoot great. Its barrel lasts 3x longer than the M4s and sports a host of other features greatly lower the SCAR’s total life cycle cost. Maintenance like barrel changes for which the M4 requires factory equipment can be done by an operator in the field on the Mks 16 and 17. Combined with its accompanying Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module (EGLM), the SCAR family can be configured for every mission from CQB to sniping, all in the field. Even better, they cost less than a current M4 and can use the existing SOPMOD kit accessories.

    You may not like the feel of it because it’s different, but then I’m guessing that your life will never depend on it. Those whose lives do depend on the Mk 16/Mk 17 helped develop it and welcome its arrival into the force. They believe what they have tested and experienced, not what they read on blogs. The Mk 16/Mk 17 are the best of breed.

    If that’s your definition of failure, well, that’s your privilege in America.

  • TBob

    The original headline on this thread is false. Here’s H&K’s response from :

    Contrary to anonymous source reports on the Internet, the U.S. military HAS NOT encountered significant problems with HK Model 416s in combat
    conditions. HK416s are currently being used in combat operations by U.S.
    and NATO special operations forces.

    Furthermore, Heckler & Koch HAS NOT suspended production of the HK416. The HK416 continues to be one of Heckler & Koch’s most successful and sought after products.

    Steve Galloway
    Communications Director
    Heckler & Koch
    Ashburn, Virginia
    TEL: 703-450-1900
    3 April 2009

  • Roger Faithwright

    “While most arms manufacturers do most of their testing in house and should be taken with some salt, LWRC has given their platforms to outside sources for testing. The most recent issue of Swat has a m6a1 write up on a year long testing basis. Other than some springs and one screw, the rifle performed incredibly with some pretty rough testing. Pretty good writeup by Pat Rogers if you have the time.”

    How can anybody consider the Pat Rogers SWAT magazine article a postive towards LWRCI? The guns ran like crap. Numerous complete part failures in the 3K-5K range. None of the guns completed the test without 3-4 COMPLETE factory rebuids and they still broke. I’m not just talking about simple malfuctions either, we are talking about complete part failures required part replacement. Not just a few either.

    IMO: They just poved themselves to be a poorly built hobby gun.

  • T.D.

    Sad to hear this. I had an HK416 issued to me on my last Iraq deployment. I had lots of confidence in the weapon. Lots of hype, possibly. To be honest, I never had much trouble with M16A2s or M4s. I attended an armorer course for HK416/MP5 and saw some impressive demonstrations with the weapon. I always pack a back-up. Unfortunately, in the U.S. military that back-up is a Beretta M9. It could be worse, but it could always be better. Any bad or good news on the SIG 556?

  • @T.D.

    My Sig 556 SWAT is still running like a champ (not sure how many rounds i have through it but its past 1000 at this point) even with all the Texas sand/dust it eats.

  • Lance

    I dont know what you guys keep looking at SCARs they have problums and Many SOCOM guys have stayed with there M-4s.

  • Lance

    Jdun1911 is right in many ways. Not too many guys have gone to the EUro copy gyn aka SCAR and stayed with the old M-4.

  • John B

    The S I Q R is enroute!

    Soon you will be aware of the Synergistic Individual Quantum Rifle.There will be no hype,no actors, no biased claims.

    It is an ar based platform,with to many advances to list.What I will say, is that it resembles the m4. It is what has been saught after, but not found! Performance? After 12000 rnds (4000 steel cased )our proto holds 10 moa from a 50 rnd burst. Point of impact is 18″ higher at 100m, and velocity is 80 fps grater at 8′ with no discernable wear.

    Rate of fire;1200 rpm
    weight; 8.4 lbs w/100rnds
    sight radius; + 1″, over 1/4″ higher plane
    folding m4 butt w/stowage
    45% less recriprocating mass
    left charger
    Low impulse,self cleaning,recoil and torque cancelling,short stroke piston operated

  • TBob

    John B.,

    I’d love to have a dollar for every claim I’ve heard like that. The FN Mk. 16 and 17 barrel life tests out to around 25,000 rounds. They are sub-MOA carbines out of the box. The FN P90 weighs just 6.6 lbs with a 50-round magazine, and is very popular in a number of combat arenas. It fires 900 rpm and is easily controllable on full auto. Select special units swear by the HK 416, which shoots great and provides an excellent improvement over the legacy M4. I could go on, but if you’re competing against the M4, I’d say that you’re about 20 years behind target.

    Rumor has it that the Army will run a competition this year for a new carbine to replace the M4/M16. If your post is serious, I look forward to seeing your carbine’s performance in the competition. There’s a big difference between the laboratory and the field.

  • Lance

    To Tbob and John B

    The Army is not going to replace M-4s the compateion is suspended or canceld the Army time sataes that the brass wants a piston and new to all M-4 to be upgraded. Its not going to happen soon.

  • John B

    I would not disagree that I am 20 years 2 late. But as the S I Q R sports an entirely new upper, new gas system, modified bolt, bolt carrier, key, charger, etc … only the training evolution and the barrel have commonality. (save add ons) ie: sights, rails, etc … Therefore, I believe this is what should have been done 40 years ago. I will not bash nor demean other weapons, as many of them are fine, and would not be in use or considered otherwise. All current weapons are an amalgamation of others, ie: the M60 is an FG42 front end and an MG42 feed mech, the AK is part STG44, part SVT, part REM (yes Remington). This has been practice for centuries and will likely continue far into the future. Any designer, manufacturer or engineer who disagrees isn’t fooling anybody. That being said, the best attributes of any prototype should be on top of the bench. While others may be modified, or sh_ _ canned all together! I didn’t step off with a commercial mindset with this. It was, and will be of utilitarian nature. I am not usually one for quotes, but, I will let my guns speak for themselves! John B. / H.A.R.

  • TBob

    Lance – I’ll let time demonstrate who’s correct about the new carbine competition. I’m not in a hurry to prove anything.

    John B. – I look forward to hearing what your guns have to say. Do you have a website, white paper, or any other publicly available information to which you can link?

  • John

    Your patience will pay off in the end.
    Your comment is promising,and i believe it to be true. The army, and marines have procured a small amount of different type of small arms for evals. I am counting on deficiencies of other systems, and the haste to get theirs to market. As many good products fail to come to fruition, for many reasons. Others are stolen by less than honorable people or companies.

    Our web site is under construction,and we don’t want to publish it until it is 100%. As for public info on H A R products, at this time we are close to (pat pend) status. Public disclosure of the weapon system would propel it into public domain, and therefor make it ineligible for patenting.

    I will however, answer any questions that I can pertaining to the weapon.
    If you send me your web address, I can send a video of proto t&e.

    The production facilities are currently being set up, for first run. These will available for industry t&e, and not for sale. Soon after we hope to be able to produce 100 units per month. First we intend to sell only uppers, as the BATF is swamped with applications and are far behind on licences. Conversions will be possible,but as there are very few parts that can be reused the purchase of an entire upper would be more cost efficient. Our goal will be to provide the highest quality, with median price. The second version will be a folding one,currently we are working on the select fire components of the system. We also have 50 beo(tm) gas piston proto,and a Free floating captured in the for end gas piston designed for use as a dmr. John H A R

  • JoeB

    HK 416 is the best rifle in the world my ass! This has made my night!

  • John
  • John

    The new design! New upper W/ railed carrier, internal op spring/buffer, self cleaning, self reg, self cooling, directional gas venting, stainless op system. Left (soon right) (fal type) charging, 1″ longer sight radi, higher sight plane, 1/4″ op rod, folding stock? with stowage, (where legal) 1.4 lbs lighter than m4 ™. Prototypes have exceded 12,000 rnds with two drops of lube, and proven to get 20″ performance from a 16″ barrel. Avail late summer 2010.

  • Warhawk1982

    I hate to break it to you guys who love the 416 so much, but it’s just another piston M4. I’m sure it doesn’t do anything that any other piston M4 can’t. The operating system of the 416 is the same as the G36, itself a copy of the *gasp* Armalite AR-18. I wish our military would stop outsourcing weapons production to the europeans.

  • razorx

    You guys need to get it together man. the pentagon don’t but buy what they want or what is best. They buy what congressmen and senators tell them to buy. Why did the top brass say the xm8 was the future. they spent 30+ mill on a weapon system they just shelved due to some cry-baby antics by colt supported gov officials. The U-tubes are just full of vids on this issue.

    M4’s and m16’s are good guns but I don’t want to bust anyone’s bubble, but the m-16 problems are older than me. It was made DI for weight and fire control issues. Nan era designers compared options and found piston systems added more mass for grunts to carry and slowed cycle rates. But due improper testing with ammo not available to solders in the field ( stick powder) and claiming the gun did not require cleaning was just an invite to meet your maker. Almost irresponsible of colt if you ask me.

    Piston systems run cooler, but add more moving parts to fail or get lost in the confusion of a fire fight. Where’s the happy balance? who knows.

    Oh, and why is the military bringing back the m14, the reason for the m16 in the first place. (I know the answer,,,,, knocky down powa)

    I do have to agree, the scar is some what of a joke to me. FN could make a gun out of reconstituted fecal mater and the gun world would say, it’s a masterpiece! Yah, a piece alright. Colt sucks too.