BREAKING: Bundeswehr Accepts HK417 As Temporary Replacement For G36 With Front-Line Troops

In a surprising move, the German Defense Ministry has accepted an order of 600 new rifles and 600 machine guns to replace the troubled HK G36 that was savaged by scandal earlier this year. Their choice? The 7.62x51mm HK 417 rifle. The Local reports:

Junior Defence Minister Katrin Suder decided to spend €18 million on 600 new rifles and 600 new machine guns for frontline soldiers to replace some of the defective weapons, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.

The army will take delivery of the full number of HK417 rifles, a type already in use with some special forces units, by mid-2016.

Recent tests on the new rifle have shown that it suffers none of the accuracy problems seen in the G36 under extreme conditions.

Swapping out just 1,200 of the more than 100,000 rifles used by the army will only be an interim solution for soldiers on deployment in combat zones.

But both replacements will come from the same manufacturer behind the problematic G36 rifle, world-renowned gun maker Heckler and Koch (HK).

Rifle could be changed this year

A more permanent decision about whether to replace the army’s entire stock of G36 rifles will come later this year.

We covered the G36 controversy extensively earlier this year, beginning as things began to heat up, the release of a damning report by the Ernst Mach Institute, H&K’s defense, the German Defense Minister’s condemnation of the rifle, the cover-up scandal, to Lithuania’s withdrawal from G36 procurement. We even tested a G36 for ourselves, to see if we could replicate the accuracy issues.


Thanks to Daniel for the tip.

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


  • Henry Leaver

    da hell / is this the first time an army going back to the 7.62 ?

    • Joshua

      first time a “First world” military would do it so far as I know, though its not set that the Germans will. almost all countries have re-integrated a full sized rifle cartridge for marksmen, snipers and other specialist troops. which is where this seems to have come from, the Germans need a rifle to equip their front-line troops with now, and they have the 417s already for their DMs, so they extend the order for them and get enough to tip the spear. they haven’t adopted it.

    • Shmoe

      Yeah, I’m curious about that, too. Nathaniel?

    • There is a 100,000+ rifles to replace. They are only buying 600 417s for front line troops.

      It’s too early to say they’re “going back” to 7.62, but it’s an interesting decision nonetheless.

      • 6.5x55Swedish

        Many NATO members and partners are looking for new rifles right now, non of them (as far as I know) is in a real hurry. This means they have the perfect time to start thinking about a new caliber. I don’t think they will but if they are thinking about it they should do it now.

      • John


        I think H&K suffered a blow in New Zealand. Behind the scenes, I also think that when this German junior minister heard H&K lost, a decision was made to buy a token amount just to keep H&K running and some soldiers armed with “good enough” weapons while the parliament decides.

        I wonder how this is influencing the French rifle trials, if at all.

  • DW

    okay……maybe they need to bring out the G3s stored in arsenal.

    • Joshua lee

      That would be really embarrassing I imagine, for a country like Germany. Here in the U.S. That mentality’s fine, but I can’t imagine Germany, hero of the E.U. , going back to Cold War inventory, especially when Germany’s dealing with Germany and European Union dissenting voices.

      • 2wheels

        Well, I’m thinking that maybe the reason they did this has more to do with the fact that they’re apparently already using the 417 in small numbers. So why not order more?

        • Brocus

          correct, certifying a rifle not currently in use by the military would take too long

      • Mobious

        Aren’t marksmen and other units already using the G3?

        • 2wheels

          There may still be G3s in use, but I believe their primary DM rifle is the G28 (HK417).

          • Photographic evidence overwhelmingly shows G3s as DMRs vs. G28s, but that could just be that the latter is new.

          • Michael

            The G28 is based on The MR308, not the HK417.
            The 417 is the base for the (to be acquired) 600 G27…

      • DW

        I think it’d be logical to bring back the G3s if they want 7.62 rifles, and want them NOW or want them cheap (they still have lots of them in reserve I believe)
        G3 is not as light as the 417 but they are both capable lead slingers in 7.62

        • iksnilol

          Think about image.

          Just think of the headlines: “German troops resort to Cold War inventory!”, “Germany desperate for arms – Scavenge from Cold War armories”.

          It isn’t about what it’s like, it’s about what it looks like.

          • 2wheels

            We did it with the M14, and we’re supposed to be the greatest military on the planet. I don’t really think national pride is the reason they didn’t go back to the G3.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but… you don’t have the “high tech everything – EVERYTHING!” stereotype that ze Germans have. That and not as big of an anti-millitary movement as the Europeans have.

          • Joshua

            No we didn’t. We never issued the M14 as a replacement for the M4.

            The M14 was drawn out of retirement for use as a DMR in use as a placeholder for the M110.

            Because any DMR is better than no DMR.

          • 2wheels

            You’re correct, but with only 600 guns purchased I’m thinking something along the lines of what Nathaniel posted above. That these are going to serve as something closer to DMR rifles to augment units long range firepower, and not as direct replacements to the G36 until they can find a complete solution for their G36 problem.

          • UnrepentantLib

            That does seem like the most logical reason they went with a 7.62 rifle.

          • Tom

            Plus the very short service life of the M14 meant they were essentially like new rifles. The Germans would I suspect have a bit of trouble finding any quantity of servicable G3s.

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            Yeah, and teven if they find decent G3s they might not have the logistics required to bring it back quickly. Do they have all the relevant side equipment to bring the old rifles back? Sometimes it is just easier to buy a new package with all the support that comes with it.

          • BillC

            What’s that symbol for your avitar?

          • 2wheels

            Basic US EOD badge.

          • BillC

            Oh, like an engineer.

          • Joshua

            No like an Explosive Ordnance Disposal.

          • BillC

            I think you are thinking of sappers.

          • 2wheels

            No, engineers and EOD techs are very different jobs.

          • DW

            “Still kicking ass: Old warhorse still going strong”

            Worked with M14, I don’t see how that couldn’t work with G3.

          • Anonymoose

            That might be a nice, nostalgic headline for Guns & Ammo, but it wouldn’t go over well with politicians with a stake in HK/FN/SIG or Jo(han) Schmo who only watches cable news and knows nothing about strategy, tactics, or weapons.

        • The G3 is lighter than the 417. The latter is one of the heaviest combat rifles on the market right now.

          • Rich Guy

            No only is it lighter, it has better irons, and is at least AS reliable as the 417.

            My heavy barrel PTR 18″ with a B.S. trigger pack and VX-3 scope is on average 1.2 moa and can ring torso targets at 700 yards (my furthest range) 18-20 shots.

            I have no qualms about using it as a DMR any day. It’s one throw lever away from mounting an Acog and being a battle rifle again.

          • DW

            Really? how did they manage to make a Aluminum gun heavier than a steel one? Even more insulting is that the aluminum gun came LATER and is based on a …Armalite design.

          • They used a lot of aluminum, I guess.

          • Giolli Joker

            Or thick barrels.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Sheetmetal vs milled steel, and the upper on the 417 is steel, not aluminum.

          • DW

            Steel uppers are supposedly only on G28s, not other 417s

          • HKGuns

            HK417’s do not have steel receivers. Don’t post if you don’t know.

            The G28 has a steel receiver, not the 417.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            G28, not 417, I stand corrected. I assumed the G28 was the model referred to to begin with. Do you know if the MR308-G28 also has a steel upper?

        • Manuel

          The Germans gave the kurds 12,000 G3 Battle rifles last year.

      • Joshua kee

        Lol, I meant Greece

    • Tom

      I believe most of the G3s were given away as aid or destroyed.

      • Lance

        No some still in use in German army most where sold to 3rd world nations though.

      • Anonymoose

        Yeah, no need for the ZF even, with the G28 around. 🙁

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    In a short while they are purchasing new 416A5s. Mark my words.

    • I actually wonder if they will, due to the 416 being much more expensive than the G36. I just don’t think the German Defense Ministry has the money.

      But maybe.

      • G0rdon_Fr33man

        They have the money if they want to, and Russia being Russia these days may justify increased spending on arms. Especially after this G36 embarrassment. Germany spend very little on arms compared to other NATO-members. Also, it is an off-the-shelf rifle, the G36 was not (afaik) but built especially for the German tender.

      • nadnerbus

        The German government could probably twist HKs nips quite a bit on price if they chose to go with the 416. For one they would be buying in bulk, and for another, HK is lucky they are not getting sued out of existence. They are more or less a defacto government industry anyway.

        • Joshua

          I would hope so H&K charges the Marines nearly $3000 per M27.

  • Tom

    I wonder if HK is giving them away to try and smooth things over.

    Its interesting from a historical point of view that Germany which made the intermediate cartridge mainstream stuck with 7.62 mm for so long (partly economic reasons I suspect) but would now return to it.

    • Wolfgar

      The fluid dynamics of warfare keeps changing over time. The large mass army’s of WW2 are changing into smaller regional wars which requires more diversity in small arms. Warfare is changing into a police type occupational roll rather than a direct conflict between nations military’s. Nuclear weapons have change the rules of
      conventional warfare and the types of small arms needed.

    • Jay

      Nobody, in his right mind, is returning to .308. The 7.62mm NATO was obsolete when it was issued the first time. Nobody will ever go back to select it as the main cartridge. It’s time passed before it was first issued. As DMR and GPM cartridge, it will be around for a long time.

  • TB

    Going back to 7.62 really makes sense. That extra power will be very useful if they will ever have to fight Russians with modern body armor.

    • Joshua

      Won’t matter. 95% of Russian soldiers have no armor capable of stopping even modern 5.56 rounds. The majority wear load bearing equipment.

      • iksnilol

        Most of them that I’ve seen had armor, like legit armor, not flak jackets.

        Though I presume the 7.62 is useful for the longer ranges that countries like Afganistan have. That at least sounds like a more practical concern than the Russians.

        • Joshua

          Almost everyone who invaded Georgia had flak jackets. Few had real plate carriers.

          Only their best soldiers have real hard armor.

          • Vitor Roma

            LOL @ the defensereview level of chicken hawkness here.

          • Michael R. Zupcak

            I hate defense review. I hate even reading their sentences. This comment was written on a 13″ mid-2009 MacBook Pro (designed by Apple in California) and I am wearing a black t-shirt from Old Navy that can be purchased for $7.99 by clicking HERE.

            That was a shot at DR, if anyone got it.

          • iksnilol

            They do a lot of advertising?

          • Joshua

            Who are you referring to?

          • iksnilol

            Russian soldiers used titanium plates last time I saw them.

          • Joshua

            You are correct. 12 in front and 13 in the rear.

            I was wrong on material, but performance is similar as both are level III.

            It also wasn’t issued to everyone.

        • Bill

          Why we went to war in open desert (GW2) and Afghanistan (open desert and mountains) with our primary long arm designed for CQB is an example of going with what you have, not what you need.

          • Joshua

            The M4 does fine out to 500M. Anything farther and it is the work of a DMR.

        • Bill

          I’m guess that the “Russians” we saw in unmarked uniforms in the Ukraine were in first-order units that had the equipment that they needed, not 19 year olds armored in t-shirts and vodka.

          • iksnilol

            Their most common vest is the 6b3, it consists of titanium plates and kevlar. Later on they made them with ceramic as well.

            It’s been in use since the 80’s, it just kinda looks like a flak jacket or load bearing vest so people don’t think it’s armor. I don’t know if that’s intentional or part of Russian fashion.

          • Joshua

            The 6b3 is only level III NIJ rated, while being Level IV in russie which is against 7.62×39.

            6.5mm titanium plates will not stop modern 5.56 rounds.

            I also did not see it being a general issued item when they invaded Georgia. Even still Level III for a “plate carrier” is laughable.

          • iksnilol


            Saw this, US Army tested titanium plates against M193 and steel core 7.62×51. Have a bit problems understanding it.

            I don’t know, their level 3 is made to stop 5.45, so is their level 4. And from what I have seen most of the 5.45 ammo is AP.

            Never underestimate your enemy, I would appreciate it since I am not on the best terms with the Russians myself.

    • Tom

      Isnt SS109/M855 designed to penetrate armour – or at least the sort of armour the Russians will have in this hypothetical scenario?

      • nadnerbus

        No. It is designed to penetrate a cold war Russian steel helmet at 500 yards, as I recall. It does not have any special rifle plate defeating capability.

  • iksnilol

    WOOOO! Battle rifles are back.

    • Only 600 of them.

      • Joshua

        hey, it;s a start

        • I would be very surprised if they standardized on a 7.62mm rifle, but who knows?

          • Joshua

            why not? Turkey is still using 7.62mm and G3s, and having a good time of it, while 5.56mm has in the last decade been trashed by everyone from front line grunts to journalists to politicians as being not enough round for the wars we’re fighting.
            I really don’t understand why we went away from it in the first place

          • Turkey is not exactly the model for modern fighting forces.

            5.56mm has been trashed a lot by everyone from people trying to sell new calibers to people trying to sell new rifles to people trying to sell new ammunition. Some servicemen are dissatisfied with it, that’s true, but many – including those with a lifetime of experience – are very satisfied with it.

            5.56mm is a good round; it may not be perfect, but it’s good. 7.62mm is also not perfect, and it’s less suitable as a rifle round.

          • Joshua

            most of the servicemen I know who have been deployed desperately want the FALs back. they want 7.62 so they can engage past 300m with any effect and a round that will begin to yaw in the body instead of as soon as it leaves the body.

          • I seem to hear that a lot, but the opinions of actual servicemen are in my experience much more diverse.

          • tb556

            your friends sound like a bunch of REMFs. 5.56 works fine to 600M

          • iksnilol

            Eh, it can hit, but it won’t work as intended at that range.

          • tb556

            A lot of dead Hadjis disagree

          • iksnilol

            Not saying you can’t kill at that range. It is just way less effective. Same way I can use an MP5 at 300 meters, can kill somebody but it won’t be that effective.

            Also, please stop calling them hadjis. It means pilgrim, it’s just ridicilous.

          • tb556

            I will take more ammo. Squads already have designated marksmen.

          • Evan

            Hajji means one who has made the hajj, the required Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, not “pilgrim” generally. It is used as a general term of respect for old men as well.

            Every time I addressed an Iraqi as “hajji”, he knew damn well that I wasn’t implying any respect whatsoever and that whether or not he had made the hajj was of no interest to me at all. Regardless of the original meaning of the term, it’s universal in the Corps at least (can’t speak for the other services, but every former soldier I know uses it), and the hajjis themselves understand that we aren’t using it the same way they do.

            That being said, I found 5.56 inadequate to the task at hand, but that was back in the old green tip days. With a different load I might have a different opinion. 7.62 NATO is an excellent round.

          • Joshua

            its the same as the old soldiers calling Germans “Huns” while not “politically correct” it’s preferable to being dead, and we put to much stock in being politically correct, that’s how you end up with a tyranny of the minority

          • Evan

            I’m not sure his objection was that hajji isn’t PC, I think it had more to do with the Arabic (or, as we would say, the hajji) meaning of the word.

            Either way, it’s irrelevant. Kraut

          • Joshua

            I’m sorry, are you calling me Kraut?

          • Evan

            Nah, crummy phone I’m using posted it before I was done. See edit.

          • Evan

            And you’re right about political correctness. I’m sure that the left would’ve preferred that we called the hajjis “poor victimized brown minority Iraqi members of the religion of peace” or some such idiocy, but in the Marines I used hajji, and now I use hajji, mahometan, mahoundian, musselman, Turk, saracen, or simply savage.

          • Joshua

            didn’t answer the question, are you under the false impression that I am German?

          • Evan

            No, as I said before, my crummy phone posted my comment before it was finished. I have since edited it. What I was saying was that kraut means herbs in German, but the US troops would have never been mistaken for calling the Germans herbs.

          • Kivaari

            In the minds of WW2 GIs it was the heavy consumption of cabbage that earned the Huns the nick name Kraut. Sauerkraut was the fuel of the Nazi bastards.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            Yeah god forbid anyone make an effort to acknowledge the humanity of anyone not like themselves (white straight american male), because then your basically hitler.

            where do you cartoon caricatures come from. are you even capable of nuance.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, I knew that. What would you call somebody that went on a pilgrimage?

            Interesting you mention “the old green tip days”, what are the standard loads now?

          • Evan

            We didn’t have any specific term for someone who had made the hajj, the subject never came up.

            The Marine Corps is using something called Mk262 or something these days, it’s an open-tipped round with supposedly far better ballistic performance than the old green tip. The Army is using M855A1, which I think is an all copper bullet, but I’m not sure. And JSOC has its own load as well, but I don’t remember the details of that one.

          • Kivaari

            Any enemy taking a 5.56mm bullet through the lungs or guts will become very sick. In muscle tissue, despite the “extra energy” of the 7.62mm (either x39 or x51) will have a wound track indistinguishable from that of a 9mm or .45 handgun bullet. I suggest you refer to the Army’s Wound Ballistic Labs studies. The wound profiles illustrated will make you scratch your head, if you have pre-conceived ideas of what bullets do. Note the variance between 7.62 ammo from the US and that made by FN. An attached reference directs you to a Yugoslav study, that “proved” how evil the western nations were by issuing either the 5.56mm M193 or the FN produced 7.62mm NATO.
            The US uses a jacket 40% thicker than FN.

          • I hear it a lot from randies on the Internet, not so much my friends.

          • Hedd Wyn John

            The round works fine but there are several reports based on combat in Afghanistan highlighting the ineffectiveness of individual soldiers fire beyond 200 metres.

          • Kivaari

            Is it the rifle or the shooter? The 5.56mm external ballistics are very close to the 7.62mm. The better performing 5.56mm using heavy bullets have shown to be superior in accuracy compared to the 7.62mm at 600 yards. Why are 7.62mm rounds better? Missing at 200m seems to be a failure of the shooter.

          • Hedd Wyn John

            its probably down to the shooter but you cant rule out the fact that 7.62 is affected less by wind drift. There’s a reason why most DMRs are chambered in that calibre.

          • Kivaari

            Are they? I was understanding that DMRs most used were in 5.56mm (Mk 12) or 5.45mm (AK74 with a scope). That few units issued 7.62mm DMRs, since the issuing of better ammo and better optics was more sensible. I wonder why the 5.56mm using proper ammo has broken most records once held by 7.62mm NATO.

          • Hedd Wyn John

            While 5.56mm DMRs are in service 7.62 is widely used for its extended range. Soviet/Russian DMR is the 7.62 SVD, the British DMR is the 7.62 L129A1, Germany along with a couple of others countries uses the 7.62 HK417 and of course you’ve got the M14 variants in use in the USA and the SR25

          • Kivaari

            It’s been awhile, but I remember when Soviets and Russian, used the 5.45mm with scopes, in the DMR role. It really made sense when they were running patrols. Like the Mk12 being used in the DMR role. It seems like it was the only reason for its existence. The scope rail on AKs beg to be used as DMRs, as well as fitting NVDs.
            I’ve used several Soviet/Russian optics on a variety of AKMs. Unfortunately many of the devices on the US market are rejects, that are impossible to zero. It’s one reason I sold my last AK 10 years ago.
            I suspect if you had enough time you could find images from the Afghanistan era, where quite a few CA troops will be seen with conventional scopes. I don’t know what the mix in the squad or platoon was. But, daylight optics, were obvious. Look at the Beslan images. Several optics are in use, as well a few weapons I had never seen prior to that.

          • HenryV

            Many servicemen regard their rifle as tool issued to them by their employer and they accept, with good reason, what they are told about the rifle and its performance Many firearms enthusiasts know a lot about guns and shoot more than many servicemen. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.

          • mikee

            Spot on HenryV! That is exactly my observation having spoken and been involved with the training of service personnel many with previous combat experience.

          • HenryV

            A good number of service personnel enter civilian life and never touch a firearm again. And if they do it will be a shotgun for hunting. They aren’t all operators and their knowledge extends simply to what their gunnery instructors told them in basic. What many civilians don’t appreciate is that there is more, much, much more to being an infantry soldier than shooting. Shooting is necessary skill but it just one of many. Most rounds put down range by most soldiers is to keep the enemy suppressed so other soldiers can drop large amounts of HE on to them. I have seen it in other spheres too such as four wheeling; soldiers are taught to drive safely in a very narrow band and apply very general techniques; they are not off-road experts because the government lent them a Humvee to drive and half of a fly over state to drive in. It is like thinking all police are expert marksman because they get to carry a gun everywhere……..

          • Kivaari

            I noticed while in the Navy and Army NG, the average enlisted man is gun ignorant. I’ve heard so many BS stories while in the service, it is sad. Like how Soviets adopted the 7.62x54mmR so 7.62mm NATO could be fired in the commie guns. Considering the Russian round was adopted in 1891 and not the 1950s, how’d they come up with that. I could put sample rounds in front of them, and they wouldn’t budge. I do suggest one looks at the 7.62×54 and the French 7.5mm round. The French round is almost a perfect rimless variant of the Russian round.

          • HenryV

            There is only one thing more frightening than an officer map with a map and that is a sailor with a rifle. ………

            I had a seemingly endless discussion with an army medic over our LA85A2 rifle. How much better it was to the US M4 etc. etc. My experience of firearms of all kinds was nothing because I hadn’t shot at a Taliban with a rifle that is adequate for service needs. And whose saving grace over the early M4 was a longer barrel aiding combustion. My knowledge of ergonomics, materials, quality, differing natures, sighting systems etc. which I started to gain a decade or so before he was born was nothing. Credit to him though he did “shoot” down an awful lot of rubbish spoken about round lethality. Apart from he never got that balletic gel isn’t meant to be a true analogue for a human body and so he dismissed gel as a worthless tool.

          • Rick A

            Sounds like the Australians and their AUG over our M16A2’s. I joked that I’d trade to one of them and they took it seriously and got offended. No way in hell I’d make that trade. The L85 has one of the most checkered histories in modern firearms. Everything has pros and cons. The L85A2 is largely ignored by the rest of the world save for airsoft and video games.

          • HenryV

            I think the Bolovians bought it and somewhere in the Caribbean. I suppose I would be less objective towards the L85A2 if my life had depended on it. But from an engineering and track record it is an adequate rifle with quirks not a latter day Excalibur.

          • Gregory Allard

            The Us army is replacing the M2HB As the Main weapon on a large batch of M1126’s With MK44’s…

            the 5.56 isn’t universally hated but allot of cases a 7.62x51mm Might be a better weapon giving some squad members a Battle rifle increases the effective range of the Squad out further. In Afghanistan that’s a real issue.

          • Tom

            7.62 NATO has a tendency to go in one end and out the other without yawing as well. Of course 7.62 Vs 5.56 is an age old argument that will never be settled.

            As for Turkey they fight a lot in the mountains so 7.62 mm makes sense for them but I am not sure its such a good idea for everyone else.

          • Nicks87

            Most servicemen I know don’t even know what an FAL is.

          • Joshua

            you referring to American service men? because no they won’t know what the right arm of the free world is, you never carried it. also, REMFs, had to look that up, I’d never heard it before, our service men seem to be a bit more unified than that. and we are all fighting in the mountains, that’s what the middle east is, so saying it’s fine for Turkey because they only fight in the mountains when most of the current combat is taking place in the mountains is a bit…simplistic?

            and if 5.56 is so fine, why does the US Army load it so hot as to be unsafe in sporting arms?

          • nadnerbus

            They do so in an attempt to make it more than it is.

            5.56 is a compromise like every other round out there.I feel it is the best compromise for most of the situations a soldier will face, but there are places and times when it is insufficient. The long range engagements in Afghanistan being prime examples. The US military has been pretty good about fielding 7.62 rifles and MGs to supplement the fighting squad, as well as even larger caliber sniper rifles in .338 and .50.

            Infantry fighting is combined arms. It’s all about the best mix of weapons from rifle squad, to mortars, artillery, and air support. When viewed in that respect, I think 7.62 as the standard round is overkill.

            When factoring the compromises of the round you choose, you can’t just pick range and power. You have to factor in weight and how much can be carried, how effective that fire is due to recoil, and the ability to gain fire superiority in a fire fight by putting out more volume of fire than the enemy.

            When looked at in that respect, it is obvious why every major military that I know of has 5.56 or something very similar as their primary combat round.

          • Joshua

            except we have the engineering ability to control 7.62, and despite the weight savings of the AR15 and 5.56 round US infantries load out is still over 100 pounds, more than a suit of medieval platemail. and volume of firepower is meaningless unless your talking about an MG, US troops in Vietnam put out more rounds than their enemy by a country mile, the VC and NVA didn’t care because the 5.56 was unable to defeat what at the time was considered “soft” cover.

          • nadnerbus

            Volume of fire isn’t about killing them, but pinning and suppressing them while you maneuver against them or bring in indirect fires. Something that, despite the ultimate loss, the US did pretty well in Vietnam. The rounds/kill thing is an irrelevant statistic, except in a total cost sense. At least that is how i see it.

            If you issue a heavier rifle and round, the rest of the weight in a soldier’s kit is not going to go away. It will be just that much heavier. A lot of the weight you mentioned is carried in a ruck and can be dropped. Mechanized troops, for example, probably have half that weight on them most of the time.

            Hit probabilities in combat are not high, despite advances in optics and training. More rounds are almost always better than less. There is no scenario where a soldier will be able to carry as many 7.62 rounds as the same soldier can in 5.56.

            Really, the only place 7.62 comes out ahead is at longer range, beyond 500 meters or so. At that range, a simple irons or red dot sight combat rifle is more limited by the ability to see the target than anything else.

            Part of the reason it has become so important to have 7.62 DMRs in Afghanistan is because the military has placed self imposed limitations on supporting fires. Meaning the small infantry unit has to close with and destroy the enemy by themselves much of the time, negating all the advantages of the world’s largest and best armed military.

          • Joshua

            except an assault rifles do not have enough rounds in the magazine to provide suppression, to the point where most militaries have already withdrawn full auto rifles, and the ones that have not are considering it. Suppression is supplied by your Squad MG while your infantry advance or outflank the enemy combatants and supply accurate, disabling fire. 7.62 provides better disabling characteristics than 5.56.

            also, if your going to debate, leave phrases like “At least that is how i see it.” out of your argument, that is an easy avenue to be attacked.

          • nadnerbus

            I’m not debating. I’m giving my opinion, as I am not an authority. I try not to misrepresent my expertise, which are armchair general level only.

            The US just reintroduced the full auto selector to the M4, removing the burst option. You are right though, assault rifles are not the primary means of suppressing fire, but they do augment it. The US military is not organized around the MG the way, say, the Germans were around the MG 34/42 in WWII.

            And the fact remains that within engagement distances that soldiers can actually see and engage the enemy, the 5.56 is effective enough to give it’s other positives room to tip the scales.

            I’d be interested to see documentation or studies that standard 7.62 ball has better disabling or wounding characteristics than standard M855. It has more kinetic energy, so it hits harder and is more barrier-blind, but I don’t know that that necessarily translates to more lethality, or better incapacitation.

          • n0truscotsman

            Have you heard of the term “suppressing fire”? in a 11B context?

            That applies to carbines as well, and has so since the STG44 as first fielded in ww2. In fact, its contribution to the suppressing fire of MGs as a system, compared to sub guns and full size rifles, was one of the most compelling reasons why the “assault rifle” came into existence to begin with.

            “7.62 provides better disabling characteristics than 5.56.”

            Which is all great and everything, assuming thats statistically true within a context of typical infantry engagements of sub-300 meter ranges, except for every 100 rounds of 7.62 you carry, that will weigh as much as 300 rounds of 5.56.

            300>100 rounds in infantry engagements.

            5.56 doesn’t operate in a vacuum. It is supported by belted 7.62mm MGs, sniper rifles of various calibers (up to 300 win mag now), 40mm grenades, and mortars.

            The 7.62 argument you are using was the same one the army used when they adopted 7.62×51 as a standard infantry caliber. This same argument was dismantled during the vietnam war and every other war since then.

          • Kivaari

            Excellent comments.

          • Kivaari

            Your team mates will suppress fire with M4s and M249s or M240s. Part of the squad moves while some suppress. I may have been a REMF, but I did learn that basic lesson.

          • Kivaari

            What armies are moving to semi-auto rifles? I know some of our special ops people prefer them over the FA variants. A Geisele SSA trigger and hammer make for a superior rifle. I put them in two of my rifles and they took 1 MOA off the groups.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            “also, if your going to debate, leave phrases like ‘At least that is how i see it.’ out of your argument, that is an easy avenue to be attacked.”

            lmao what is with this goofy clown

          • Kivaari

            Excellent comments, being far superior to what we normally see in comment sections. I was an REMF in both the Army and Navy. We deliver 5″-54 rounds onto targets that were often called in by soldiers or marines trying to stay undetected. Much of the fire was intended to just appear above the heads of the VC or PAVN. SEAL teams , SOG, and NGST 1 Marines carried M16s just in case they bumped into the enemy while sneaking about. They were still packing 20 round magazines around. They had normal pouches and then wore bandoliers full of loaded magazines. A huge number of rounds compared to those with M14s. I carried many rifles over the years. I would take a 5.56mm carbine over any of the 7.62mm NATO rifles. Even on FTX with blanks, the .30 caliber rifles were big and the ammo huge. Without a supply train behind you, it becomes a serious burden. MOST combat in Europe and Asia was up close and personal. A basic load of 100 rounds or 7.62mm compared to a basic load of 210 rounds of 5.56mm leans in favor of the smaller round. Then when knowingly going after bad guys, the load goes up.

          • Kivaari

            Regardless of the actual body count and having very ugly wounds.

          • Kivaari

            The most likely combat is at short range. Performing well at 0 to200m is what the basic soldier needs. Then they need to have the skill to read a map and call in fire from heavy weapons. If 90% of the threat is close, I’d take the M16/M4. My primary long gun for close to 10 years was an MP5. It can’t reach out, but the guy with the 7.62 rifles handled that. In the end I was issued an M4, and I loved it.

          • Kivaari

            The 5.56mm is not loaded too hot for use in sporting rifles. What a .223 Remington rifle needs is a 5.56mm chamber. 5.56mm loads tend to engage the rifling when chambered. Upon firing the pressures spike. That is why you hear of Wylde chambers, that accommodates both loads. Even the M193 load had issues 40 years ago. We simply didn’t get it at the time.

          • Kivaari

            My kid brought me a tubular FAL bayonet from Iraq. He thought it was for an AK. MOST soldiers are gun people, even in the infantry.
            I was in the blue water Navy and Army NG where I met the most gun illiterate people.

          • Lance

            The Germans never used the FAL for very long by 1960 they switched to the G-3 which it self is still in limited service. Same for USGI’s M-14 EBR more popular than the M-4 in Afghan combat.

          • Joshua

            I’m sorry, did I say I am German?

          • Joshua

            The M14 was never more popular. As soon as M110s got issued the M14 was dumped.

            It was a stop gap till more M110s could get made.

          • Lance

            Strange most GIs I talked too said M-14 was better M-110 had too many jamming issues.

          • CommonSense23

            How many GIs have you actually talked to.

          • Uniform223

            The M14 or any version of is still being used because it is still considered serviceable. M110 had issues early on but now is a steady and reliable performer.

          • tts

            “Most GIs I talked to” is the modern military equivalent to “My friend’s uncle who works at Nintendo says” which wasn’t very convincing when you were a child so why would you expect it to be convincing now to others as an adult?

            Post some verifiable quality data, not unverifiable anecdotes. If you don’t have that sort of data try not to make authoritative sounding statements and pre-qualify your posts with a “well I don’t know but this is what I’ve heard”.

            Or maybe don’t post anecdotes at all to improve the comment’s overall signal to noise ratio so to speak since unless they’re amusing or interesting somehow they’re usually worthless.

          • Lance

            M-110 was adopted in 08/09 M-14 EBR and DMR in use since before 9-11-01 not a stop gap measure.

          • CommonSense23

            Where do you keep getting this M14 EBR is more popular than the M4 in Afghanistan. I had one over there, they still suck.

          • G.K.

            If by “Yaw after exiting” you mean “usually fragments before exiting”, yeah, sounds about right.

            Perhaps you should stop getting information on ballistics from Gary Roberts, who is the only person I know of that still pushes that garbage (and lied about it in the first place, ironically by using the ballistics of the M80 7.62x51mm round, funny how that works.) and thinking Journalists and Politicians have relevant opinions on topics they know absolutely nothing about before trying to be taken seriously in the future.

          • Joshua

            yeah, I have no clue who you are talking about, as far as I know Gary Roberts is hockey player.
            also, pretty sure ammunition that will fragment in the body is banned by the Hague and/or Geneva conventions.
            also, you cannot tell me that politicians, journalists and by extension the citizenship of the country are not entitled to be educated, and opinionated about their military.
            if you are advocating the flagrant disregard of Hague and Geneva conventions, and military impunity within their own state I would ask you to study Hitler and Mussolini C.1939
            and if your not taking that seriously, you deserve whats coming.

          • CommonSense23

            So lets start off, the M80 is the designation for a certain type of 7.62 Nato round. Ammunition that fragments isn’t banned by the Hague and/or Geneva convention. Fragmentation has always been a way to get around the conventions. 5.56 has been relying on fragmentation for its effective wounding since its start. And G.K. say nothing about politicians, journalists and citizens not being entitled to be educated about the military. But the idea that you have a relevant opinion when you don’t understand even the basics of what you are talking about.

          • G.K.

            Well, thanks for once again proving you have no idea what you’re actually talking about in the slightest.

            Since you appear to not even know what the projectiles you’re complaining about even do, let’s take a look!

            M193 of Vietnam vintage, and M855.

            Well, would you look at that? both rounds yaw and then fragment violently as opposed to “yawing after they leave the body”, Yet they’re simple FMJ/Ball rounds? It’s almost like high velocity rounds that destabilize rapidly upon hitting a fleshy target happen to lose their structural integrity or something!

            Also, you may want to actually Read the Hague, or waste your time with the Geneva with doesn’t actually say anything about ammunition, The Hague forbids projectiles designed specifically for the purpose of fragmenting, flattening, expanding, or otherwise, the M193 or M855 were never designed to do this, the effects are entirely incidental of using a fast round with a construction that isn’t strong enough to stay together under such violent forces.

            Also, I love how you think the M855A1 has It’s pressure jacked up because of some performance deficit in the M855 or something. Hey, news flash, the reason it had it’s pressure limit upped so high is because the projectile is longer due to no longer containing lead and needing a longer length to get the same weight with the materials it’s made from, this reduces powder room in the cartridge, thus they had to increase the operating pressure to get the same velocity as the shorter M855 in a 14.5″ barrel, clearly a sign of a massive defect. And in the case of the Mk.262…. Please tell me why exactly you WOULDN’T want a round originally designed for long range accuracy and performance to be optimally loaded regardless of caliber again in a military situation? please let me hear your logic on this one.

            Also, let’s see the performance of a round that genuinely does tend to yaw very late or after it exits the body, the M80 Ball for 7.62x51mm, bask in awe of it’s clearly massive terminal performance against simulated flesh targets!

            In short, please don’t waste my, and everyone else’s time if you don’t even have the most basic idea of what it is you’re even speaking of on the subject, thanks in advance.

          • Kivaari

            Fackler’s diagrams are very revealing. The army’s study of the rounds really did show what most often happens when bullets hit tissue.

          • Joshua

            okay, your attitude, good lord.
            now, the discussion, right, I don’t want M80 ball back, I had so well gotten over it I had forgotten it completely. what I want, is a cartridge that is capable of being lethal without having to rely on fragmentation. Rounds that fragment, whether designed to or not, are inhumane, and are inconsistent on transfer of energy. What I want is a modern round that is capable of delivering it’s energy quickly, and consistently. I highly doubt you will see that in 5.56, there is not enough round to work with.

            and I don’t think M855a1 is over-pressured to compensate for a deficit, it’s over pressured in order to make the round do something it shouldn’t be asked to do. it is composed primarily of steel and copper to improve it’s armor penetrating capability. but we’ve hit the developmental ceiling for the round, we can’t do much more with the bullet without losing velocity, or cranking the pressure, and we can’t crank the velocity without lightening the bullet, or cranking the pressure, so the American army in their infallible wisdom decided to crank the pressure so they could eat their cake and have it too. but the guns were not designed for the higher pressure. they may take it for a while, but it is beyond what they were originally engineered for. so your either going to need to get new guns, which do to the excessive heat generated by the excessive pressure will eat barrels. or a new rifle, and a new round, which will have the armor penetrating ability you want, with the velocity you want, without having to run at excessive pressure,
            7.62 is, so far as I can see, the easiest way to get that.

            so yes, I understand what a moronic decision the 5.56×45 nato is, and if you want to say the 7.62×51 is not the ideal solution I’d say your probably right, but lord I have had enough of people telling me that a .22 is all you need.
            thanks in advance

          • CommonSense23

            Inhumane? Its inhumane to kill a guy quickly with a 5.56? But you are cool with shooting and throwing grenades, droping bombs, hitting them with 50 cals, and hunting with gunships? And how is a round that reliably fragments going to be inconsistent in its performance. If you aren’t willing to take fragmentation for terminal effects, leaves you with expansion and tumbling, and tumbling is about the worst one to rely on in terms of consistency.

          • Joshua

            how consistent are the fragments? it’s not just killing, one in three people shot, die, that means two thirds live, how do you remove all the fragments from a wounded serviceman?
            no, I am not “cool” with war, but since we don’t seem to get the whole “if you have to go to war you’ve already lost” and we are committed to continued inhumanity to each other, I would like some ground rules, and Hague/Geneva are our established ground rules, and they forbid fragmenting ammunition, white phosphorous, among other incendiaries, poison gas, biological agents, and others, and, most importantly, torture of military prisoners.
            those being the established ground rules I want to see them followed, which seems to be happening less and less

          • CommonSense23

            Consistency of fragmentation is dependent on a lot of things, but you use the right ammo in its performance range, quite reliable. And you get fragments out with surgery. You will not get a reliable and impressive terminal ballistics without expansion or fragmentation.

            Established ground rules? Yeah not really. First the US didn’t sign the Hague Convention when it came to expanding ammunition. We use white phosphorous all the time to kill and burn people. When you try to be humane fighting wars, it slows things down, ends up getting more people killed in the long run. We didn’t win WW2 by trying to be humane.

          • Joshua

            you didn’t win WWII at all, the Russians were the first to Berlin, because the Americans couldn’t stand to see the Canadians hit
            Berlin first, so you sent us to Denmark.
            And I am well aware of your contempt for rules and atrocities you have committed, and I don’t care to continue this discussion
            good night

          • CommonSense23

            Pretty sure the allies won that one. That counts as a win. And curious have you ever served?

          • Kivaari

            You might trying to find the data out of Yugoslavia decades ago that showed how messy the FN 7.62 NATO bullet was in tissue. The USA M80 load was less likely to blow apart in a person than the FN. Jacket thickness was the difference. Not creating inhumane wounds, means the enemy target isn’t hurt badly enough. Is it inhumane to blow an arm off or to vaporize the enemy with a direct hit of 105mm arty? War is ugly. WW1 showed how the .303 was changed to create more lethal wounds. Same with the 7.35mm Italian rounds. The idea is to kill the other guy, with a rifle or cannon. Inhumane indeed.

          • G.K.

            Jesus this post is so dumb and self contradictory I don’t even know where to start, Let’s start though shall we?

            “okay, your attitude, good lord.
            now, the discussion, right, I don’t
            want M80 ball back, I had so well gotten over it I had forgotten it
            completely. what I want, is a cartridge that is capable of being lethal
            without having to rely on fragmentation. Rounds that fragment, whether
            designed to or not, are inhumane, and are inconsistent on transfer of
            energy. What I want is a modern round that is capable of delivering it’s
            energy quickly, and consistently. I highly doubt you will see that in
            5.56, there is not enough round to work with.”

            Do you even understand what “energy transfer” even IS? And how blatantly illogical it is to say a round that fragments after penetrating deeply (and thus transferring basically all of It’s energy inside it’s target) makes no sense at all? Hey news flash, energy transfer doesn’t care about the size of the round, saying the 5.56 doesn’t have “enough round to work with” to transfer It’s energy literally makes no sense at all and makes me wonder if you even understand the most basic concepts of ballistics at all at this point.

            No one cares about your “doubts” because it’s obvious at this point you literally don’t have the faintest idea of what your talking about and yet arguing with people who have infinitely higher understanding of the topic then yourself.

            But please, tell me what wonder round you propose for the 7.62x51mm that’s both “engineered to be controllable” and yet somehow magically transfers energy “consistently and humanely” without simply icepicking the target and doesn’t fragment, flatten, expand, or anything else prohibited by the Hague in it’s construction, then come back and hopefully realize what you said is pure nonsense and basically classifies as a round made from elf magic that uses magic to kill it’s target instantly 100% of the time!

            “so yes, I understand what a moronic decision the 5.56×45 nato is,”

            Apparently you don’t understand anything at all, including why the only people who decry it are usually journalists with no knowledge on the subject or armchair commandos who don’t even have the most basic grasp of physics or ballistics, but yes, you clearly know better then all the researchers, ballistic experts, weapons designers, etc etc etc who were behind the development and deployment of the round and can easily deem what a bad decision it was based on your credentials of “nothing at all” or “spouting the biggest loads of nonsense that even a 6th grader could debunk.”

            “and if
            you want to say the 7.62×51 is not the ideal solution I’d say your
            probably right, but lord I have had enough of people telling me that a
            .22 is all you need.
            thanks in advance”

            Yes, clearly that extra 2mm of bullet diameter is the difference between life and death! and clearly big rock > small rock because big rock is better and the fact 5.56x45mm NATO uses a .22 caliber projectile is totally relevant to how effective it is against enemy personnel.

            You’re dismissed, go back to Ballistics 101 before posting more of this trash, “Thanks in advance.”

          • Joshua

            dear sweet lord, why can I not follow my own rules.

            this is my last post afterward you can declare victory for the internet.

            External Ballistics 101

            you have a bullet of specified weight, pushed by a level of pressure generated by expanding gunpowder behind it to reach a specific velocity when it reaches the muzzle, at which point it will shed velocity at a specific rate expressed by the bullets ballistics co-efficient. The bullet has a certain level of energy, defined as it’s weight multiplied by it’s velocity. When a round impacts a target it will rapidly decelerate shedding it’s energy into the target. the rate of energy transfer is expressed as the rate of deceleration times the projectiles weight, which to get the total energy transferred, you must then multiply by the thickness of the target that was passed through.

            For Ideal Energy transfer the bullet will enter the target and completely decelerate inside the target without penetrating to the other side. for maximum energy transferred to target without wasting energy the round should enter the target and completely decelerate with the projectile coming to rest just under the skin on the opposite side of the target from where it entered.

            given the formula, energy transferred equals rate of deceleration times projectile weight.times distance traveled in the target. where the rate of deceleration is a function of the surface area of the bullet presented to oncoming medium multiplied by the density of the medium being passed through.

            and given data for 5.56 and 7.62 projectiles we see that the 5.56mm M855 bullet weighs 62 grains, while the 7.62 M80 bullet (for standardization sake) weighs 144 grains. meaning, if we can engineer a bullet, that will achieve maximum energy transferred for each caliber then the 7.62 bullet, being more than double the weight, will deliver an exponential increase in energy transferred.

            This has all been a gross simplification, but then, this has been external ballistics 101

            go to college if you want the full course

            now good bye, keep calling me idiot if it makes you feel better. I am going to go to bed and never think about this thread, or you again.

          • nadnerbus

            I’ll take you at your word that you are not coming back, but I’m still throwing my 2 cents in. Though I am doing so respectfully, I don’t care for the condescending attitude you have received so far.

            The only way to get any of those modern projectiles to shed all their energy in their target is for them to yaw, tumble, fragment, or expand. Because the 7.62 has so much more energy at the muzzle than 5.56, it tends to waste that energy when hitting the target, as it neither fragments nor expands, and is a very stable round, meaning it doesn’t always yaw or tumble reliably either.

            So due to their very natures, 5.56 will dump a larger percentage of its energy into the target than a 7.62 will

            If you want a 7.62 like round to be “engineered” to dump more of its energy into a target, you need to figure out how to do that without using expansion, fragmentation, yawing, or tumbling. Simply saying it is possible isn’t good enough.

            Anyway, that is all a side issue, as the lethality of a round is less about how much energy it deposits in a target as it is the wound it creates. Consider a heavy round that somehow comes to a stop entirely in the target, leaving all its energy, but it does not expand or fragment, etc. It leaves a straight, clean, permanent wound channel, and a somewhat larger temporary cavity. Sure, the guy felt it really good, since all that kinetic energy was dumped in him. But if it doesn’t hit something vital, he is still alive and in the fight.

            Shooting someone is inhumane, no matter how you do it. If the object is to kill them, the most lethal round should be used. There is a reason why police use expanding ammunition and no one complains about it.

          • “The bullet has a certain level of energy, defined as it’s weight multiplied by it’s velocity.”

            There isn’t a gentle way to put this…


            “and given data for 5.56 and 7.62 projectiles we see that the 5.56mm M855 bullet weighs 62 grains, while the 7.62 M80 bullet (for standardization sake) weighs 144 grains. meaning, if we can engineer a bullet, that will achieve maximum energy transferred for each caliber then the 7.62 bullet, being more than double the weight, will deliver an exponential increase in energy transferred.”

            Also, what?!

          • Tell me more about how we should switch whole-hog to a round you don’t know the name of.

          • Joshua

            Do you not worship the Navy Denitst…How dare you blasphemer… To the gallows with ye.

          • G.K.

            Yes, how could I be so blind, I mean, he works on teeth, and your enemy has teeth. It all makes sense now and Gary Roberts is the most qualified ballistics expert of our age!

            I demand the 4 layers of denim in the FBI standard test be replaced with 4 layers of human teeth for greater accuracy!

          • Kivaari

            It’s why almost no nation is buying 7.62mm NATO caliber rifles in any quantity. Almost every nation is going for carbines in intermediate calibers. Most sales from what I had read showed significant changes to 5.56mm. Especially if we are involved with training and supplying the client states. It seems after 50 years of use people would accept how good it performs.

          • Kivaari

            With rare exceptions every western leaning nation is buying 5.56mm carbines, as the 7.62mm rifles fall apart. Countries leaning towards Russia either buy 5.45mm rifles or just keep 7.62mm M43 caliber rifles, that are usually not even zeroed.

          • nadnerbus

            Then there is China and their own 5.8×42 round. Seems like a pretty huge conspiracy against the 5.56 that just about every major military, including those at odds with Western foreign policy, have chosen a very similar round.

          • Gregory Allard

            It actually looks like they are building Native Made 417s to replace the G3

          • Kivaari

            It wont happen. This small order is for a particular job that will go away in the not too distant future. Having a few 7.62mm rifles spread out, like our refurbished M14s, is just a little adjustment in the field units. The 5.56mm rifles will be dominant for decades to come.

        • Kivaari

          So the German Army equips three companies with these rifles, or are they spread around here and there within squads. With everyone else having G36 and MG4s.

      • PaulG

        Very interesting…the rollback to 7.62 from 5.56. I have read some of the criticism of the performance of the 5.56 round in Afghanistan and Iraq but this is the first I have read of an entire army, even on an ad hoc basis, going to the ‘old’ 7.62 round.

        • Which they are not doing. They only bought 600.

          • Kivaari

            I wonder how many infantry platoons the German spread these out to. There has to be more squads than rifles.

      • Kivaari

        How big is the German Army? 600,000? with 600 rifles spread out between units, that leave’s just enough for almost no one.

        • Phido

          Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr has been cut down to 180.000 and shall be reduced even more to Versailles-Treaty-like 120.000 in the near future. Of the current 180k, only a fifth might be actual fighting forces, the rest is administration.

    • Spencer

      Not this holy war again. I say

      • Michael

        Yup, the 1200 rifles and machine guns are ment to supplement the “weapons mix”, and add capabilities the G36 does not have (G27=longer range, MG4=sustained fire, which is the real problem with the G36…).
        And since both weapons are already in the inventory of the Bundeswehr, acquiring them is a whole lot easier than looking for something completely new.

        • Gregory Allard

          To be fair when the Bundeswehr was expecting to fight the russians in the winter again…

          The G36 Wasn’t such a bad idea BUT yeah thermoplastic weapons in a desert?

    • Esh325

      I highly doubt this means they will outfit all their soldiers with .308 rifles as a final solution. What about their stockpiles of 5.56?

      • iksnilol

        Well, the MG4s use 5.56 IIRC. 5.56 always struck me as a good MG round since you can carry twice as much of it, and most MG rounds are used for suppression.

  • Giolli Joker

    Are we sure it’s not a typo and they meant HK416?

  • Here’s my official speculation as to what will happen:

    The G27s/HK417s that are being procured currently are not enough to replace all the G36s in service, and may not be enough to replace even the “front-line” rifles only. I suspect they are going to be integrated into the rifle squads as DMRs, a la the L129 with the British Army.

    Rumor on the grapevine has it that H&K is working on a new rifle, and that it may be a metal-framed G36 derivative. I think it’s likely that the G36 will be replaced by this new rifle or some non-HK firearm. The 416/417 family are extremely expensive rifles, so unless HK offers a budget 416, I don’t see the German Defense Ministry going for it, not with all the bad blood between them. The G36 has an excellent mechanism, so if the new rifle is a G36 derivative it will probably take very little development time (and, hilariously, come out looking a lot like a SCAR). I highly doubt the Bundeswehr will switch over to an all-7.62 fleet, whether that’s G3s or 417s, whatever. There aren’t enough of those rifles out there, and 7.62 carries a lot of penalties with it.

    The HK417s will probably continue to be integrated as DMRs, and I suspect that, like the LMTs, they will do very well in that role. The G3s the Bundeswehr are currently using for the most part are all very old, and the G28 is extremely heavy, so it makes sense to have something newer that more properly fills the G3’s niche.

    If the Bundeswehr goes for an outside rifle, it will be groundbreaking. I would never suggest that could happen were this not such a scandal. I still think it’s unlikely, but if the German Defense Ministry is mad enough to not buy from HK then someone else may get their foot in the door (probably whomever bids lowest).

    • Joshua

      A metal G36 would be a pig of a weapon.

      • Yes, but it would work, and hopefully hold zero.

        • CommonSense23

          Or you just could do the smart thing and buy some M4A1s with a free floated barrel and MLOK and call it a day.

      • ostiariusalpha

        And it doesn’t have to be ALL metal, of course. A metal trunnion connected to a metal optics mount would correct the issue.

        • MPWS

          Yes, you’ve got that right and that would be essence of exercise left to be performed. With current structure of G36 it was hard to achieve however. It all seem to fall together.

        • John

          Or even make the barrel free floating.

      • Tom

        The AR18 (the weapon that formed the basis for the G36) weights 3 KGs empty and thats 1960s tech.

        • iksnilol

          And it has a longer barrel than the G36.

        • Joshua

          Yet the G36 still weighs more than the AR18 AND AR-15.

          • nadnerbus

            German engineering! Replace heavy metal with lightweight polymer, get a heavier gun. Ta da!

      • MPWS

        The metal needs to be placed in receiver area only, which may be reduced in size since ‘metal’ is stronger. Also, the ‘metal’ may be aluminum or even titanium. Way of future!
        With little bit of retrospect on G36: Germans always had preponderance to exploit plastics to the maximum. With G36 they predictably ran into snag and even with that there is a value gained – the top limit was reached.

    • Vitor Roma

      A metal G36 already existis, it is called CZ 805.

    • Tom

      Truth be told there is no shortage of companies in Germany with the skills to manufacture a new rifle should the German Government be that pissed, its just the design that’s an issue.

      Maybe some enterprising engineer needs to develop a new receiver the G36 internals can be added to (i.e. parts kit) and run down to Rheinmetall.

  • Chris22lr

    HK417? Last time I’ve heard words “HK417” and “Bundeswehr” in one sentece was when they were doing trials for G28. Apparently 417 had some issues (I think it was something about barrel technology negatively affecting accuracy) and they went with MR308 instead (this one had different barrel when compared to it’s military brother).

  • MPWS

    Sounds like a smart move on part of German DND. As Nathaniel says, pending a future acquisition (from whatever the source may be), they will be left with capable, albeit heavy DMR; nothing wrong about that. In the meantime, we shall see one last round of true combat rifle development with conventional cartridge technology (different case materials is still conventional tech).
    BUT, let’s not expect HK to develop new rifle in 2 years, especially after last faux-pas. If it was me I’d consider something like G3A1 in bull-pup format with both-sided ejection, potentially adaptable to a new round fitting between 7.62 and 5.56.

  • Haunted Puppeteer

    The German public can’t be liking this. It just looks bad.

    Buying 1,200 new guns from a company that has apparently pretty thoroughly shafted you on 167,000 other guns, and yet denies any wrongdoing?

    What, they can’t hold HK over a barrel and say “Fix it, or say goodbye to future contracts.”?
    It makes it seem like either the Defense Ministry is weak, or the whole problem is overblown. It does not look like there’s a whole lot of competence going around.

    • 6.5x55Swedish

      Can’t you just make Lockheed Martin pay for all the problems with the F35? 😉

      Weapons are very closely related to jobb. There is nobody who want a company that size to go bankrupt. They would also lose their ability to produce in the country.

      • Haunted Puppeteer

        The F35 is rooted in an idea that is flawed and nigh-unworkable. Compared to the F35, a G36 is a stupid simple thing.

        I don’t see any danger of Lockheed Martin going bankrupt. HK on the other hand.. But I digress. Too quickly this conversation could become very political. Let the Germans prop up HK if they want. HK has made a long line of wonderful things, no doubt. It is probably worth keeping alive.

        • 6.5x55Swedish

          The main problem with HK (as I see it) is that they have that German habit of over engineering stuff. That makes their products costly and a little bit too complex.

          They struck gold with the G3, but the success was mostly because it was so innovative. The HK416 isn’t and that is a real problem. Not many armies are going to turn their pockets inside out for a highly priced gun if it doesn’t put them far ahead in the game (or far behind if they don’t).

          • Haunted Puppeteer

            If it’s overengineered and it works, it’s just overengineered (and needlessly complex/expensive).

            If it’s overengineered and it doesn’t work, shouldn’t we call that underengineered?

          • 6.5x55Swedish

            An interesting question, I’ll try to theorize on it.

            I guess it is a matter of perspective. From a purely technical view it would be under engineered as it didn’t get developed to a point where it functions satisfyingly.

            From a strategical/project view it would be over engineered as the scope of the project didn’t stand in proportion to the projects recourses (time, money, competence etc.) meaning that a smaller project scope should have been established.

            In other words, they experimented a lot (more engineering) but didn’t have the recourses to finish the work require instead of experimenting just enough so that they could reach the required level of quality once the concept was in place and developed.

            We can also try to view it based of the output.

            Under engineered doesn’t suggest a price point, it simply suggest that quality requirements wasn’t reached.

            Over engineered suggest a higher than needed price point; as if the project didn’t deliver on quality but the product has high cost (due to a lot of time spent on engineering).

            Is any of this holding up to scrutiny?

        • NukeItFromOrbit

          And how exactly is the F-35 “rooted in an idea that is flawed and nigh-unworkable”? It is flying and the bugs are being worked out.

        • John

          >The F35 is rooted in an idea that is flawed and nigh-unworkable. Compared to the F35, a G36 is a stupid simple thing.

          I believe a U.S. general was on record as saying the exact same thing about the M14. Look how that turned out.

  • Colin S

    doesn’t 18m for 1200 units sound a bit high – even with parts etc.?

    • 6.5x55Swedish

      Yeah that price can’t be right…

  • Friend of Tibet

    It’s all a set up to replace 417 from the very beginning

  • HenryV

    I read 416 at first…….then I read it again………ding dong…….

  • 18 million euros /1200 = 15,000 euros a gun? that seems a bit expensive

    • iksnilol

      Probably includes spare parts and accessories.

      • 6.5x55Swedish

        It is still a lot of money for 1200 guns. Even if we include all the new stuff it would require, new logistics and training

        • FarmerB

          Project costs, admin and overhead. For every gun you’ll have 100 sheets of paper and 20 hours of highly priced contract people arguing every bullet point. Not to mention training, acceptance testing, issuing RFP and processing offers, etc Organizations don’t buy like people and every meeting, letter and phone call is costed out.

      • still…. America probably pays like 1000 bucks per m4. And China pays like like 500 bucks per qbz95.

  • Lance

    Strange the modern brass replacing a 5.56mm assault rifle with a 7.62mm DMR. Seem at least some German commanders made a smart move.

  • Leonidas

    First Turkey accept a battle rifle as a service rifle then Germany. Greece already use G3 rifles.

    Assault rifle concept developed during ww2 era. But times changed.

    • G.K.

      1. The “assault rifle” concept was being experimented with long before WW2.

      2. Do you honestly think Turkey (who’s rifle is actually dual chambered in both 7.62mm and 5.56mm), an underfunded German military, and Greece of all countries are some shining examples of who are going to be followed in future military trends? Christ, Greece is in such a poor financial situation right now I assure they’d ditch the G3 for something better the second they could if they could afford it.

      It’s also very telling that the less funded countries left that have the G3 are trying their damndest to replace it with something newer, usually in the 5.56mm range.

      Or that larger militaries like the USA and Russia seem quite content with sticking with the 5.56mm and 5.45mm with no signs of changing their frontline rifle’s calibers, if anything showing the opposite, and China also made their own SCHV round via the 5.8x42mm which has replaced the 7.62x39mm caliber with all but training and militia roles.

      Times do change, but this sure as hell isn’t going to be an example of it because it’s not happening. 5mm-6mm caliber rounds are still going to be the dominant choice for frontline infantry weapons for major militaries until something radically new comes along.

  • DIR911911 .

    why would this be surprising? do we think of the german gov’t and h&k as a divorced couple that don’t talk? you’ve been using a supplier for a long time and find a flaw in the product. it is only natural that h&k would be willing to make them happy.

  • ghost930

    The answer has been right there in front of them all the time. HK416 with mix of 417’s. It’s the best AR piston rifle on the market. Battle tested, designed with input from the special operations community, inter operable by and large with other NATO countries using the AR/M4 platform, best 40 round STEEL magazines on the market. It’s the gun they should have produced and accepted instead of the G36 to begin with.

    • Joshua

      40 round steel mags? Also the “high reliability” steel mags wore out so fast that SOCOM actually sent out a warning to dispose of them immediately.

      • ghost930

        Never had a problem with mine, and neither did anyone I know. When we were told to turn our 416’s back in due to the crap from Colt and Congress, most of us managed to keep some of the mags. I probably used mine for about a year or so, then gave them to a rotating in buddy. Used them a lot, no issues.

  • n0truscotsman

    I think the media is mistaken in this instance.

    This seems more like a purchase of a small number of designated marksman rifles and MGs to augment existing firepower (and G3s used as DMRs, old MG3s), rather than an interim solution to the G36 problem.

    A small batch of 7.62 rifle and machine guns to replace 5.56 caliber assault rifles. How does this affect the MTOE of mechanized infantry (panzergrenadiers)? probably not at all since no G36s are “being replaced”.

  • tony

    556 was never popular until US forced it down the throat of other NATO members.
    Meanwhile Soviets with 545 had a hard time engaging distance targets in Afgan.

  • Evan

    Could be a typo, they could’ve meant HK416, which seems more likely to me in this day and age.

    Always have been a fan of the battle rifle though. I’d take my M14 over any AR, any day. That rifle shoots like a dream.

  • Anonymoose

    This pleases me.

  • Nick

    77gr 5.56 fixes the issue. More range and a nice wound cavity. M855’s suck, MK 262’s are sooo much better

    • Anonymoose

      I’ll see your Mk262 and raise you a Mk316!

    • Uniform223

      M855A1 EPR

      So far good reviews from end deployed end users.

    • n0truscotsman

      Well whatever you choose to adopt, M855 isn’t the only game in town anymore.


  • AD

    Wait a minute, how much are they paying per rifle?

  • Phillip Wilson

    I’ll take one they don’t want.

  • McThag

    I know two gentlemen who served in Rhodesia (RAR) and South Africa who would take the FAL over any 5.56 gun. But it wasn’t caliber, it’s familiarity with the rifle that drives the preference. It’s the gun they know inside and out; and learned to trust utterly.

    One of them has a bias specifically against the South African R4 series because he feels that a 5.56 gun shouldn’t weigh as much as the 7.62 gun. But that’s not cartridge performance he’s complaining about.

  • lowell houser

    So they not only ditched their plastic rifles, they ditched the 5.56? Can the Marine Corps do that too?

  • Frontliner

    Ok, I’ve had a discussion over this a few days back and the same mistake I saw over there is present here as well: Both HK417 and MG4 are NOT replacing the G36(who’d thought about that given these numbers?) but instead are bought to increase their availability to the German Army’s combat troops. In no shape or form is any of the two rifles an adequate replacement for the G36 as an Assault Rifle, and they are fielded to solely boost the effectiveness of an infantry squad in engagement ranges of 400m and up.

  • MIstwalker

    18 million euros? That puts unit price at 15,000 euros a piece. Even taking into account the exchange rate, that… seems like a lot.

  • Brian M

    Huh, so Germany has had enough of melting plastic and subcompact rounds so they’re going back to steel and 30 cal. This is an omen.

  • Looks like Colt AR15… I hope Colt do get the royalty payment for the copying.

  • anomad101

    If you can’t shoot the one you like, shoot the one you got. (No, not your wife or gf, or bf, or…………never mind.)