Heckler & Koch Fires Back At G36 Audit Report

In response to the recent EMI/WTD 91 audit report on the G36 rifle’s thermal issues, Heckler and Koch has issued a statement rebuking the claims made by the Ernst Mach Institute about the rifle. The statement has been machine translated into English and replicated below:

HECKLER & KOCH GMBH, Heckler & Koch-Strasse 1, 78727 Oberndorf aN
Press Release April 21, 2015
Opinion no. 6 of Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle to Bundeswehr experimenters were introduced HK MG36 gun disregarded

Fire cycles and evaluation methods obviously changed arbitrarily

Comparability of recent results with previous studies, and requirements of Technical Specifications and regulations of the Bundeswehr impossible

MoD denied publication of the report

A few days after the announcement of the latest investigation report to the G36 condense evidence that serious doubts about the credibility of the technical Experimental procedure and the conclusions derived from these reasons. Bundeswehr experimenters were introduced HK MG36 gun disregarded Together with the currently known standard G36 rifle was the mid-1990s under the name MG36, successfully tested a further variant of the G36 and among NATO Stock Numbers 1005-12-336-6892 1005-12-336-6893 and introduced. Thus, the MG36 at any time by the troops on the supply route will be requested or purchased without further testing by the BAAINBw.
The MG36 was a G36 variant in the infantry Waffenmix in the group function a light machine gun to take.
In July 1995, the MG36 by the federal government with a quantity of 4,700 was on Heckler & Koch ordered, but due to a desired part of the Bundeswehr Amending treaty of October Finally, in 1997 was not purchased until further notice. From an actual procurement unaffected, it is in any case for MG36 an officially introduced in the army weapon based on the G36 assault rifle in NATO caliber 5.56mmx45.

The MG36 is identical to the G36, but has a much thicker pipe as the G36; the MG36 weighs just 135g but overall more than G36.


2015-04-21 10_10_37-HK-G36-PM-Nr_6-21-04-2015 (1).pdf - Adobe Reader
Fig. 1: Comparison of the pipe geometry of the MG36 with the gun barrels of the Bundeswehr weapons
G36 assault rifle; MG4 machine gun, as well as the tested light machine gun HK416Bw.2

Can be clearly seen in the above figure that the MG36-tube in the right section (Between the chamber and the gas sampling) is virtually identical to the MG4-tube and thus substantially thicker or heavier than about 135g, the tube of the standard G36. The illustrations also show that the MG36-tube in the left section (between Gas sampling and mouth) an assault rifle geometry is much more similar than one Machine gun tube, but its higher mass in the right rear area still improved heat capacity similar to having a machine gun or match-tube.
Thus, an MG36-pipe is a G36 assault rifle tube technically more similar than Tube of the recently tested special weapon HK416Bw which almost 50% more tube mass has, during the MG36 pipe against the G36-pipe only about 20% more tube mass has.




Fig. 2 .: Meanwhile publicly accessible Figure 3 from the Bundeswehr recent report for G36. This photo is not only that the presumption by HK was correct that in technically illegal, the special weapon HK416Bw compared with the assault rifle tested wurde.4 The caption rather also shows that the responsible experimenters the WTD91 the physical benefits of a much thicker tube regard. Heat absorption and vibration characteristics were fully aware of, in particular its
Superiority with respect. Treff performance in the hot condition scoring is concerned. The failure to Comparative testing with the introduced MG36, which also has a thick pipe, makes it even more difficult to understand – especially since the MG36 total of only about 135g heavier
than the standard G36 rifle.
This raises the question of why the MG36 has already been introduced in the Bundeswehr has not tested the recent comparative studies, while obviously a technically comparable HK416Bw, as well as models from other manufacturers procured and considered wurden.

Again seem in this context that already in the HK Press release no. 5 WTD91 said two-handed weapons experts to have played a central role, which the so-called. “plastic theory” concerning. the housing material of the G36 set and had spread:
To confirm delivery documents that WTD91 mid-1990s not only more Weapons testing has HK50 and G36 obtained in the variant MG36, but even a complete set of drawings of the G36 variant with thick Rohr. From HK documents is indicate that the WTD91 has received a total of at least eight weapons of the type MG36.

The key question is therefore whether these two experienced staff and the MG36 in particular the fact that this G36 variant has a thick tube, which the hot-shooting physical reasons better performance with respect to parameters. The precision which were actually mentioned in the recent experimental design. Much urgent, however, is the question of why the two experts said the MG36 not in the Latest comparison drawn trials, although scientifically mandatory would have been required, the requirement imposed by these two persons “plastic theory” to verify as the sole problem cause by which the thicker tube of MG36 and the influence of the pipe geometry studied in an identical weapon housing.
In particular, the question of why these two handed weapons experts there is at least refrained between late 2011 and mid-2014, mentioning the MG36, in HK to address known technical discussions or to test even while using media have become known statements under the federal press conference can be shown that obviously weapons from other manufacturers specially procured and together with the technical and tactical not comparable light machine gun Must have been HK416Bw tested against the standard G36.

The translation is decidedly imperfect, but the desperation of the Rottweil district firm is palpable. Heckler and Koch is attacking the report wherever possible, from questioning the report’s credibility, to complaining about what it claims are mercurial requirements set by the Bundeswehr. Mostly, though, the statement essentially argues that if the Bundeswehr had wanted more heat resistant rifles, they could have bought MG36s – the heavy barreled G36 variant. H&K seems to maintain that there is no inherent issue of misalignment with the sights and the barrel due to the plastic receiver, and essentially is blaming the Bundeswehr for attacking them instead of buying heavier barreled weapons from them.

In my estimation, Heckler and Koch is lashing out in an attempt to salvage the G36’s reputation. I have for several years known about the G36’s lack of a direct metal connection between the barrel and the sights, something that I strongly suspected would cause POI shift issues with polymers of higher coefficients of thermal expansion. Two days ago, those suspicions were confirmed. The G36 suffers from an issue stemming from its very architectural design.

Heckler and Koch will have a very difficult time refuting this, and it sounds like they know it, too.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • hikerguy


    • What is hilariously brilliant is that this will still be a win for H&K. If the German govt decides “aight, we need all new rifles” they will likely end up with another HK product (the Germans are heavily biased towards domestic industry when acquiring almost any military ordnance or material). So they armed the country 20 years ago with a new rifle and made a bunch of money, and now they will get to do it again, most likely with the 416.

      • MountainKelly


      • MoPhil

        I agree. It’s only about throwing around with taxpayers money.

      • LCON

        HK is the German Army’s small arms Supplier. everyone else is either to small or or just not up to the task. You might get Pistols from walther, a few batches of AR15 clones from Schmeisser but the numbers just don’t work. and HK has basically given them a major exporter and small arms power house. German pride and the investment in HK will keep the German army buying from them. So G36A7 or G38 Expect the German Army to keep shooting HK

      • hikerguy

        This is true. HK comes out victorious. 416:… here they come.

  • Weaver

    I think we need to also look at the requirements the German army made for this rifle back when it was being developed. We also have to remember that German probably figured they would be a defensive army. With that being said I strongly believe a thermal ceramic barrier around the trunnion would help the design.

    • Giolli Joker

      A ceramic barrier would add an additional interface and being very rigid would either need to have some clearance with the trunnion (play) or it might break under the expansion of the metal.
      This other than being a rather expensive solution.
      However, I can hardly think of a solution that has no drawbacks.
      Well… just take back the G3!

      • Weaver

        Arx160 has a ceramic barrier between the trunnion and the polymer receiver.

        • Giolli Joker

          That’s interesting, I didn’t know it.
          So, maybe as it’s not really a proven firearm, there’s a way to pull it off properly. However the ARX was designed for it, the G36 wasn’t, retrofitting would be troublesome.
          (On a side note, I remember speaking to a Beretta rep that was praising the fact that the gun has all the metal parts moving on polymer rails, to avoid need for lubrication… that to me sounds like an engineering nightmare)

          • HenryV

            Sounds like innards of a modern printer / photo-copier.

          • Alex Nicolin

            Which are pretty fragile. The rails and cogwheels wear down pretty fast if they are in contact with something metallic.

          • HenryV

            Yes. Never mind the considerable heat. The size of the parts; nominally as small as they can get away with. Fouling and lubricant forming a sludge. In some ways they are quite like firearms. When I was in charge of buying large printers for a former employer I stopped buying HP and Xerox and started buying from a Belgian firm who still used metal components.

          • Joshua

            Not to mention the ARX-160 has a weaker bolt than the AR-15’s 8 lug design.

            The ARX has a 9 lug bolt design with a thinner bolt lug web, and a 4 bottom lug, 3 top lug design split by 2 opposing extractors/ejectors, with squar lugs and plenty of 90* angles.

            Smaller lugs, more lugs, and thinner lug webbing is an even weaker design. I really have no idea what Beretta was thinking with their design.

          • HenryV

            It is a very Italian design. Beautiful to look at and when it works a dream. The key clause there being when it works.

            Odd how different nationalities have their own engineering and design styles.

          • Yellow Devil

            Well as the old European joke goes…

            Heaven Is Where:

            The French are the chefs
            The Italians are the lovers
            The British are the police
            The Germans are the mechanics
            And the Swiss make everything run on time

            Hell is Where:

            The British are the chefs
            The Swiss are the lovers
            The French are the mechanics
            The Italians make everything run on time
            And the Germans are the police

        • MPWS

          They sold them to Kazakhstan – pretty hot local. Any reports so far? BTW, you are right, the ceramics can be made accurately and fit well with metal components. They are fragile, but that part doesn’t not come to play here. The entire trunion could be made out of ceramic and survive.

      • Alex Nicolin

        The ceramic insulation only solves the inner heating (from the shooting) problem. But there is also an outer heating (from the environment). If the rifle with a plastic receiver w/o metal armature between trunnion and scope base is zeroed in at a low temperature then heated to a higher temperature, for example by being in direct sunlight, it will lose the zero. I’m curious how Beretta solved this issue.

  • A

    It would be very interesting to see just what the Bundeswehr has subjected the rifles to, during testing. Have the technical requirements changed over the years or not?

  • M.M.D.C.

    “The translation is decidedly imperfect…” Yeah.

    How about this: “They hate us and we don’t suck.”

    • I liked the excerpt: “Superiority with respect.” HK ought to emblazon that on their polo shirts.

      • MR

        Gonna have to see if I can get one of the local graphics companies to embroider that on a polo. That, and “You Suck and We Hate You”. Ought to be fun to wear at the range.

  • Isaac Newton

    Maybe a few engineering calculations can help you prove your theory of what thermal expansion does to sight alignment. (i think the problems stem from creep/softening and changing elastic modulus with temperature)

  • Alex Nicolin

    They address the wrong problem here. The thickness of the barrel does not matter much, since the trunnion and the way it’s inserted in the plastic receiver remains the same. The thicker barrel shank in the first 1/3 of the barrel will soak up heat in this area, but not much further back, where it’s screwed in the trunnion. So that area will heat up almost the same, leading to POI shift. Plastic deforms under stress and thermally expands orders of magnitude more than metal. The lack of a rigid metal structure for the receiver is a fatal flaw. I guess the rifles will be scrapped.

    • Joshua

      Agreed, the M4 never saw such extreme shifts in POI within a couple of mags and it is very this under the handguards.

  • Has Mexico’s licensed copy of the G36 had similar problems? Or did they not cut the polymer with inferior polymer like zee Germans did?

    Edit: the Mexican one looks like it borrowed from the G36 without exactly copying it. Maybe H&K could get some pointers from them.

    • Hk threatened them with legal action but realized it is a very different rifle.

      • KestrelBike

        lol holy crap… I always assumed Mexican gov just bought German exported HK’s…. didn’t know Mexico had pulled a China.

        • LCON

          Mexico did both there police us G36, there military build there own

  • This is all pretty typical of big gun companies: Problem? Oh, it is the user’s fault! Oh, that didn’t hold up huh? Well it was the ammo! Yeah, you used bad ammo! Oh the problem persists? Here’s some technobabble.

    Also typical of German mechanical engineers: Problem? No! You are in error!
    That is how all BMW and Mercedes repair manuals are written.

    • DW

      Das ist ze H und K way?
      I kid i kid

    • cahillm2

      They have that attitude because we are just the dumb end-users and aren’t smart enough to understand their masterful engineering.

      • Kittykittykittymew

        This is why i like Russian engineering — requires [quite possibly literally] an atomic screwup before catastrophe.

        • You are kidding right? Russian bullcrap is hilariously shoddy to the point where it makes Lucas Electronics look good. Check out a Lada under the hood and marvel at the **tries to contain chuckle** nagnificent engineering.

          • nadnerbus

            The quality tends to be crap, but the simplicity of engineering is sometimes a nice thing. But then, the complete lack of quality usually forced the simplicity. Hard to make exquisitely engineered stuff when the factories can’t turn out a quality pencil sharpeners.

          • Blake

            you hit the nail on the head

    • MPWS

      Speaking of user…do we know what was weight limit imposed by user (input specification)? Looks that the G36 “tube” wall thickness is impossibly small. If user forced them into it, there is perhaps shared blame.

    • n0truscotsman

      Glock still to this day denies anything was ever wrong with the Gen 4 Glock. Despite companies (apex comes to mind) introducing an aftermarket extractor that solves the issues.

  • mosinman

    yeah… like i’d buy their explanations… or anything they make for that matter.

    • I would buy an mg4 and a 121 yesterday if it wasnt against the federal laws of two countries 🙁

      • mosinman

        you have a point. i was thinking of their civilian offerings

    • iksnilol

      If you like more classy weapons. Check out the SLB 2000. I think they are still produced. I would love one in 6.5×55 (they are also available in other calibers) and some 10 round mags (I don’t know if they have 10 rounders for 6.5×55).

  • MPWS

    One can entertain the theory that with added barrel mass, more heat would have been soaked into it. (That is probably reason for bringing up MG36.) That thought drift seems to take a lead in this part of report, but it looks like trying to save oneself by catching on straw. Rather futile.

    In reality, heating up barrel is transient process where changes are due to function of heat input variation in time. The process is continuous and ongoing: receiving heat and passing it on. If the amount of heat or vice versa time to dissipate it would be allowed for, the effect to receiver could perhaps be tolerated. So, it’s not necessarily sole issue of type of material or its volume; rather combination with time factor. But, it’s dicey consideration however, which opens a chance.

  • David

    It seems like there could be a relatively cheap fix to solve the G36 issues. The Brits wrote a fairly big check to get their SA80s reliable and accurate. The A1 went from being a crappy unreliable and inaccurate service weapon to the A2, which from my understanding, is quite good now. The ergonomics still ain’t great, but it’s very accurate and reliable now.

    Mill out the polymer surrounding the barrel trunnion. Mill out the polymer rear sight block/carry handle/mount. Make a single monolithic metal insert. The insert comprises of a block that the existing barrel trunnion can mount within and fixes within the receiver with cross pins, thin flat prongs that run along side the bolt carrier within the receiver that connect the front block to a second rear metal block that sits higher and replaces the polymer rear sight/carry handle/mount that also mounts within and fixes to the receiver with cross pins.

    I dunno, just spitballing here.

    Does it cost money? Sure. But you’d only basically have to machine one new metal part and remove some polymer from the receiver. It would be considerably cheaper than replacing all of the weapons. Especially with 416 rifles. This way, the optics/carry handle/top rail mount is directly connected to the the barrel and the barrel isn’t floating in soft plastic when it gets hot. It might even be easier for armorers to service since in order to get to the barrel, all they’d have to do is remove the bolt/carrier/recoil spring, front hand guard, and the cross pins for the barrel trunnion/replacement block and the cross pins for the rear sight block. The whole thing could be pulled out the front.

  • Steve Truffer

    Sounds like a certain fruit company who buys components from their competitors and Foxconn.

    • Chi Wai Shum

      Actually all big companies are alike this.

      • Steve Truffer

        What, buying components from competitors? yeah, that was a jab at some Apple employee who claimed that Apple made their components in house, and Samsung couldn’t possibly match it (Samsung makes the NAND storage for idiotPhones & pads).
        I was primarily mocking Apple’s tendency to claim that all fault and error lies in the consumer, and security breaches don’t exist.

        • Chi Wai Shum

          ”tendency to claim that all fault and error lies in the consumer, and security breaches don’t exist” – Funny enough, all big company are like this.

          • Steve Truffer

            Microsoft, much maligned as they are, routinely push fixes for exploits, Google in a roundabout way (unbundling webkit so they can push regular updates), Motorola’s US customer support is fantastic, Glock has a pretty nice thing going in GA. Not all companies are this bad.

  • Esh325

    It does look like the G36 has issues, but I would still say it’s too premature. It’s very possible H&K did make the rifle exactly to the Germany Army’s specs, but perhaps the new conflicts in the desert show the need for new specs. H&K’s name is certainly on the line here. Even if they do fix the problem, I imagine sales and confidence in H&K will be lost anyways.

  • Joshua

    Sure the Bolt carrier and stuff is bestly large. But have you actually used the ARX? Have you held the bolt? It is a large bolt length wide, but the actual lugs and webbing are smaller than the M4A1’s.

    • Uniform223

      Concerning the ARX…
      I haven’t had the chance to fire one as of yet but I hope get some familiarization in the future and put some 180 rounds through one. The ergonomics are pretty nifty. I don’t have much to say for their iron sights, they’re practical and easy but they just look so ugly. My biggest contention with the ARX is the charging “handle”. Its cool that you can switch it from right to left but that “handle” is just so damn small. Its hard to get a grip on it that feels positive.

  • Nathaniel, if you were in a fantasy reality where you could be in charge of procurement, requirements, and testing of the next rifle of the Bundeswehr, how would you go around it?
    What rifle would you chose? Or would you create a completely new design?

  • ColaBox

    TLDR: Nein! Waffen ist perfekt! Professionals only! Bundeswehr are incompetent! It ist heat, it ist thickness, buy our weapon!

  • John

    That’s great, HK. That’s just great. Attack the German Army for buying the wrong rifle from you WHILE AT THE SAME TIME submitting a rifle you make to the French Army trials.

    Yeah. That’ll go over great. Jeez.

  • Tom Currie

    I don’t doubt for a minute that this is a bad design — but whose fault is it that the Bundeswehr chose a rifle with this design?

  • New Man

    Something about this whole thing just doesn’t look right to me…

    The G36 is in service with over 40 countries right? I wonder if they have the same issue as well? Are there any kind of reports from other countries regarding this issue or is Germany the only one? Saudi Arabia has a pretty hot climate and they’re using the G36…

  • Brainlessconsumer

    Please tell me that you’re kidding because nobody can be this ruhtarded.

    Can they?

    Operators who “live” with their guns and have a choice overwhelming choose the AR-15. Even the Chinese military has an AR platform in their supply lines. That alone should be a hint that hey, maybe you’re wrong.

    The AR-15 is as close to perfect as we can possibly get. Take it from someone who’s been through every whiz bang piston operated NATO and WARSAW pact weapon looking for a replacement for the AR-15.

    I never found a suitable replacement. I instead found myself right back where I began 6 years ago with an AR-15.

    • Geoff

      @ Avid Fan

      You rock. 🙂

      @ Brainless

      I’m not kidding, though you are brainless. I explained absolutely every point thoroughly and your reaction is to claim that I must be a moron for using experience and reason to come to a solid conclusion that the AR has several severe problems inherent in the design from the perspective of a user — not an engineer or a designer, but as an end user.

      I like my systems to be simple, rugged, and handy, The AR is overly complicated on several levels. While there is good evidence to support it being rugged, there’s too much plastic and alluminium on it for my taste, as well as still extant documented reliability problems. When I say handy, I mean the rifle points and turns well, is well balanced, and doesn’t have a lot of little and weirdly placed controls and switches, or has three-hands-required actions somewhere in the sphere of normal use.

      • MR

        How ’bout we keep the AK fanboy-ism out of this discussion? Suffice to say, if you’re having that much trouble operating an AR, you must be functionally “differently abled” and will have trouble operating and maintaining any firearm or mechanical device. But this discussion isn’t about that. This discussion is about condemning or defending the G36, and H&K’s business practices.

      • Brainlessconsumer

        Your comments are so full of derp and failure that I don’t even know where to start in addressing your great wall of bullshit that you’ve spewed forth here.

        It’s pointless to argue with someone like you. You’re too far gone to change and you truly believe your moronic bullshit.

        Anyone who has spent time with an AK, and built them will tell you that they’re a piss poor weapons system. Anyone who has spent time with any other platform you’ve mention will tell you all about their pit falls and inadequacies.

        The other guns listed are at the bottom of the pile for a reason. It isn’t because arm chair commandos like you over analyzed them and used “experience” to determine that they’re the best.

      • yo dude


  • HenryV

    Those peskie German engineers appealing to Italian design fads!!!! 🙂

    Thanks I didn’t know.

  • HKmaster

    Once the bundeswehr drops the G36, can we get some cheap parts kits over here please? 🙂

  • Avid Fan


  • MR

    I must be some kind of deformed mutant. First, the Glock grip angle fits me with no complaint, then the AR15 architecture and controls fit me great, even though I’m no “hulking six-footer”. Granted, I could do without the finger nub on the A2 pistol grip, but that’s easy enough to grind off or swap out. Haven’t noticed a problem with balance, must be my mutant-strength forearms.

  • sliversimpson

    Mine works great, and has for thousands of rounds…

  • Bro-Ham

    DAMN YOU HK, give us lowly civvies all those unwanted/unloved G36’s!!!… at discounted prices of course, ‘cuz ya know, heat issues ‘n stuff 😛

  • Gast13

    Austrian. According to the Internet he is living in a town called Steyr.

    • Yes, Ulrich Zedrosser had worked on the Steyr AUG, ACR, and SBS (including the Scout).

  • TJbrena

    The AR platform has many problems, and there’s definitely better stuff out there, but the AR itself is more than “meh”. It’s a good gun – far from the near-perfection it’s been called of late – but a solid weapon system nonetheless.

  • Gast13

    They used reinforced polyamide. I’m not quite sure whether it is reinforced by carbon or glass fiber, as sources differ. But someone better informed than me seems to be convinced it is PA 6.6 CF30.

  • Blake

    “In my estimation, Heckler and Koch is lashing out in an attempt to salvage the G36’s reputation. I have for several years known about the G36’s lack of a direct metal connection between the barrel and the sights, something that I strongly suspected would cause POI shift issues with polymers of higher coefficients of thermal expansion. Two days ago, those suspicions were confirmed. The G36 suffers from an issue stemming from its very architectural design.”

    Excellent analysis.