H&K MG5 Accuracy Req’t Doubled to Allow Guns’ Acceptance, Says Parliament Doc

According to a recent document published by the German popular parliament (Bundestag), the German government has authorized a relaxation of the accuracy requirements for the new MG5 machine gun. Both the original and machine translated versions of the document are embedded below, but first the relevant quote (edited for clarity):

The contract amendment with price reduction is in the framework agreement Q / K2DH /
R6796 (1 amendment agreement and recast) from March 11, 2015 included.
2. What “contract amendment” was exactly (please specify breakdown)?
Subsequent claims have been changed and a corresponding Preisredu-
financing agreed:
Accuracy in single fire:
The mean point of impact may shift by a maximum of 10 cm (previously 5 cm) after a barrel change with a barrel of the same length.
Accuracy in burst:
The mean point of impact may shift by a maximum of 15 cm (previously 10 cm) after a barrel change with a barrel of the same length.

Oddly, the document states that the original, more stringent requirements for the MG5 were agreed upon by both the Bundeswehr and Heckler & Koch; and even more strangely, the document contains an admittance that neither party based this requirement on previous “credible experiences” – i.e., that neither knew what a reasonable accuracy requirement should be, initially.

Thanks to Axel 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 nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


  • Riot

    “that neither knew what a reasonable accuracy requirement should be” yeah right, a prominent gun manufacturer and a nato member don’t know how a mg should perform.

    • Thomas Weißhuhn

      The Bundeswehr and the ministry of defence are a joke, I can’t take them serious.

      • n0truscotsman

        I cant imagine why anybody ever did. I didn’t in the 80s, and fully expected myself and my battle buddies to be on our own if Ivan actually crossed the fulda gap.

        If anything, their situation has gotten worse.

        • Will

          I’d have to agree. I was only in the region for near 6years, but every time we had any joint exercises, they never impressed me at all. Of course this was still during the conscription era so maybe that’s changed. They were no better or less than than when we would go with the Belgians or Dutch as far as professionalism or getting things going. Disappointing after all the history reads really.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            Like when US Frigates arrived in Norway with “FSK was here”, tagged below the waterline? *Chuckle*.

          • n0truscotsman

            That wouldn’t surprise me. Them guys are BAMFs.

          • brainy37

            No one thought that their old fashioned subs would work that well. Not even the Norwegians when they first got away with it. To date, that’s their only claim to fame.

          • G0rdon_Fr33man

            FSK off course shared the information on how they did it with the Americans. After all, we are allied!

            And yes, diesel electric subs are surprisingly good for what they are, but does off course have severe disadvantages compared to nuclear ones.

          • n0truscotsman

            Its a work of alternative history fiction but Ralph Peters wrote a book called “Red Army” that i think properly conveys the efficacy of the Bundeswehr as a deterrent. Fortunately, we never had to find out.

    • Wolfgar

      Why would they, the nations of Europe and the US don’t know how to run a nation anymore either. Border control, whats border control?

      • Anonymoose

        Border control is

      • The Bundeswehr’s mission is to defend Africans and Arabs against the German people. That’s just good border control!

        • Sgt. Stedenko

          Almost all western militaries are under the same control as the Bundeswehr.
          There’s a disease in the world, but identifying it will get you sent to the PC gulag.

    • Nashvone

      German nationalism won’t allow their engineers to look outside their own borders for inspiration or developmental standards. This brings us to the “credible experiences.” When is the last time anyone read an article bragging about the accuracy of H&K rifles?

      • Marc

        You mean like every HK416 review? Not sure when I read the last one.

        • sliversimpson

          To be fair, it seems that the 416 is no more acurate than most, higher quality AR-Type rifles.

          • Joshua

            But it has the best service life of any AR barrel I have seen.

            20,000 rounds is what you can expect from it vs the 10,000 of most AR barrels.

          • Sianmink

            Being H&K though it will cost 4x as much as other AR barrels.

          • Zachary marrs

            Most ar barrels? Making it to 20k is a walk in the park for most ar barrels

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but with what precision left?

          • Zachary marrs

            Easily better than 4 moa, the spec for a military m4 barrel

          • iksnilol

            I somehow doubt that it is gonna retain sub 4 MOA after 20k rounds (the M4 barrel).

          • Zachary marrs

            They do.

            Its not magic

          • ostiariusalpha

            It certainly isn’t. FN barrels used on current M4 rifles are cold hammer forged 4150 CMV with chrome lining, exactly the same as the HK416 rifle. There is no physical way that the HK barrels would last longer.

          • iksnilol

            Any normal 5.56 barrel is probably going to be over 4 MOA after 20k rounds.

            I mean, throat erosion is real.

          • brainy37

            Have you actually seen it? The 20k number is straight from HK propaganda fliers, nbs.

        • MichaelZWilliamson

          So, their overpriced derivative of the AR18 is as accurate as an AR18? Impressive.

  • Major Tom

    So the new shift tolerances are between 3.85 and 5.1 MOA? From the base level of accuracy?

    Are they even trying to hit the enemy?

    • Some gUy

      I mean it’s a machine gun. The goal is more to keep heads down and turn cover into concealment.

      Still one kind of expects them to at least keep up with FNH in terms of performance.

      • Anonymoose

        Don’t the MG4 and HK121 have a Safe-Semi-Auto FCG? I could have sworn I read that somewhere, and if everyone is running around with G36(K)s that can’t hit crap, they need something for working farther out. They did buy a fair amount of HK417s recently though…

    • micmac80

      Wrong gun has about 3 times less POI shift than lets say M60 , the issue here is Optical sights that became primary sight , on the older MGs each barrel was zeroed at the front sight post so each barrel change and new POI was also compensated by zeroed front sight . That doesn’t happen with optics

      • Joshua

        I wouldn’t call the M60 a good gun either. Unless you mean the M60E6 and I don’t have any hands on with that version.

        • micmac80

          No mater M60 , i just put is as an example as i was able to find the documents on M60 that included this data in mater of minutes.

        • ostiariusalpha

          The M60 uses iron sights attached to each barrel, it doesn’t have a POI shift; micmac is talking out his butt.

          • micmac80

            Look at the US army papers on M60 POI shift on barrel change is up to 3.7mil that equals 37cm at 100m or 3.7times that of MG5 .

            Point of impact changes on each barrel change but so does point of aim on the iron sights that are zeroed on each barrel . With optics you get a POI shift but no POA shift to compensate like you do with irons.

          • RocketScientist

            It DOES have a POI shift, with a barrel swap… its just that (as you state) the POA (point of aim) ALSO shifts with a barrel change due to the sights being incorporated with (and zero’d to) the barrel. So the end result is that you still hit what you’re aiming at. Due to the optics-based nature of the new requirement however, this system wont work, you’d have to re-zero your optic after every barrel swap. so to correct for this, they have specified a MUCH tighter POI-shift spec than any other heritage MG system.

          • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

            Wouldn’t a cantilever mount scope on each barrel be more efficient… To keep poi and the zero close kinda why rails are numbered.

  • Jeff Smith

    I think the title of the article is slightly misleading. From what the translation says, the change in accuracy is being measured by bullet impact after a new barrel is installed. Saying that the gun is “less accurate” would be misleading – it just experienced a shift in impact after the installation of a new barrel. The change in the rule allows for more of a shift than normal.

    Is this newsworthy? I’d say so. The army changing its standards to allow a particular gun to be accepted for service is pretty wild. But point of impact shift AFTER a barrel swap isn’t the same as “accuracy” as we traditionally define it.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Actually, not having a large point of impact shift in your grouping from point of aim is the very definition of accuracy. Each barrel may be able to group tightly, but that’s just precision.

      • Bill

        Can I steal your diagram?

        • ostiariusalpha


          • Bill

            Thanks, consider it stolen.

    • In this edition of Nathaniel’s Article Titles Need To Be As Long As Possible So That No One Can Possibly Complain About Any One Word In The Comments…

    • Patrick

      +1 to what Jeff says. With a receiver mounted optic and a new barrel, the new barrel must be within 10cm point of impact (assuming 100M) of the old barrel. That actually sounds pretty reasonable.

      I’ve switched barrels on ARs, benchrest rifles and long range precision rifles. There is a definite POI shift that has to be accounted for with a re-zero of the optic.

      Like anything, I’m sure the law of diminishing marginal returns applies and that shifting this to 5cm may drive up the cost astronomically for little benefit.

      • Joshua

        Reasonable for 100M. If you are engaging beyond 400M you’re then looking at 40+CM shift. At those distances you might as well not even bother shooting at them.

        • ostiariusalpha

          You just need to do a bit of walking the fire onto the target, which you sometimes have to do anyway even if your optic is zeroed correctly. There’s this damn thing called the wind that messes with 400 meter shots. Always shows up uninvited when I try to do ladder tests.

  • HK and the German Government: The Definition of a love-hate relationship.

    • iksnilol

      Nah, definition of mutually abusive relationship.

      • skusmc

        Like, as in mutually abusing tax payers?

    • hikerguy

      Codependency at its worst, no doubt. This soap opera goes on…

  • This is very disappointing… Like lowering PT standards to maintain diversity goals.

  • The_Champ

    “10 cm shift” at what distance?

    What does, say, a FN Minimi shift after a barrel change, for comparison sake? I’ve shot them, and I’ve swapped barrels on them, and then continued to put bursts onto group targets hundreds of meters away. The POI may well have shifted but I wouldn’t know it as the operator, and we never did test them for precision shooting.

    • MANG

      Yeah, it’d be great if someone could compare these requirements with US requirements for our MG’s.

      • micmac80

        Many times that

    • I don’t know what distance. I wish I did.

      • micmac80

        POI shift is actualy small, the issue is in the sights as optics don’t automaticaly rezero like irons sights do (by the virtue that front sight is on a barrel and individualy zeroed) look at the MG5 no iron sight on the barrel

        • That is an interesting point, mic.

        • The_Champ

          That is a good point, although it does appear the MG5 has a front sight folded down on the barrel. Of course that sight is irrelevant when using optics.

          I’ve seen more and more militaries mounting optics on their MG’s, so I’m guessing POI shift issue can’t be that big a deal. Maybe its a matter of the guys on the ground rarely needing to swap barrels in reality.

        • The_Champ

          By the way, thanks for making obvious something that initially totally flew over my head….. the fact that this issue likely revolves entirely around the very new practice of using optics on MG’s……wonder how other militaries are coping with the problem.

    • Joshua

      At 600M that 10cm is huge if they are using 100 or 200M for acceptance testing.

      • Vitor Roma

        Actually 4 MOA is quite ok for an open bolt gun.

  • mosinman

    oh look, HK can’t meet the original requirements so they conveniently changed the requirements so the MG5 could pass

  • Ron

    Coming from a different prospective…contract requirements change all the time. Engineers hate very stupid requirements (I have no position to state how good of a requirement 5cm is) and will do everything in their power to not have to do it.

  • Lance

    So they did the opposite on accuracy than they made there attacks on the G-3s with. Good old German corruption at work

    • Anonymoose

      They should bring back G3s for general issue…G3SG/1s for DMs,
      HK21Es for automatic riflemen, and G3KA4s for everyone else…

      • I dont think you realize how embarassingly inaccurate G3s are.

        • mosinman

          not to mention they don’t seem like they have much in the way of ergonomics from what i’ve experienced

        • Anonymoose

          Waifu material, though. Actually, I heard that back in the 80s the US Army tested the PSG1 against the M21 and either the M40 or M24 (this might have been when they decided to replace the M21 with a standard-action Rem 700 in hopes of using .30-06 or .300 Win Mag). The trials found that the PSG1, despite all the hype, shot much worse than the other two. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5d6e5421829b29c9c894ddc563198f82a7947f385a49820c61d9ab83bfda0e93.jpg

          • It was the MSG90. As I recall the accuracy was fine, but it’s inability to switch to 300 win mag is what killed it (a feature the military never ended up using).
            The MSG 90 is pretty much the apex of a G3 rifle. Accurizing a G3 takes a lot of work and extra parts, but HK figured it out at great expense.

          • 68Whiskey

            Actually, the M2010 variant of the M24 most recently accepted into Army service is in fact chambered in .300 Win Mag. Now, whether or not this justifies the use of long-action M24s since the 80s is up for debate, but the fact is the M2010 can be built or rebuilt in .300 on an existing M24 receiver.

  • Don Ward

    Welp. Time for the Krauts to go back to the old drawing board.

  • James

    With all these “accuracy issues” I’m starting to have serious doubts about the marksmanship skills being taught in Germany… I’ll gladly go teach. I won’t even charge much.

    • micmac80

      This MG is highly accurate but has optics sight as primary. That is what its all about.

  • Bill

    It’s a machine gun – how “accurate” is it supposed to be? Has doctrine changed? Weren’t machine guns for area denial and saturation fire?

    • CommonSense23

      Machine guns still need to be accurate. Suppressive fire is only effective if it can reliably kill someone.

      • Joshua

        Alot of people don’t realize bullets make different sounds depending on how close they are to you.

        Hearing a gun fire doesn’t do jack in combat. Hearing bullets zip by and crack by as well as smack rocks right in your face does.

        Guys can rattle off rounds all they want, but you can tell when they are close to hitting you.

        • ostiariusalpha

          And that, in a nutshell, is just one of the many reasons I despise the Chauchat.

          • hikerguy

            Fitting, LOL.

  • John

    You know, the Germans may just want to eat the cost and make sure H&K actually delivers quality 416 and 417 rifles to each and every platoon, and metal in all the important parts of the MG5.

    It’s an expensive AR. Fine. But at least it works. If parts break, they’ll at least break in the future when they’re supposed to. And there won’t be plastic on gun parts that matter.

    • Phil Hsueh

      It’s not that HK uses polymer on the G36 that caused the problems, it’s that they used the wrong kind of polymer. Instead of using the correct polymer that’s called for in the specs, one that won’t soften or melt under normal use or from just sitting in the sun, they cheated and used a lesser form of polymer, possibly to save money and pocket the savings.

  • The_Champ

    You are right about the optics, but as I said below, there is in fact a front sight on the barrel of the machine gun, it is just folded down.

    So more questions arise, like is the above document referring to a scoped or un-scoped MG?

    Curious, where did you get the numbers on the M60?

    • The_Champ

      And I would add, if those numbers are correct for the M60, then the shifted POI reported in this article is basically a non-issue.

      But if someone already doesn’t like H&K I guess they can try to use it as ammo against them 🙂

      • micmac80

        Googled documents on M60 and found them in mater of minutes.

        Original POI reqirement was near 8x less than is for M60 i belive that was hard to achieve but POI moving stays an issue with optics.

  • Zachary marrs

    Someone’s jealous

    • micmac80

      Of what US fireams design prowess , that is a joke right.

      • Zachary marrs

        A joke? Compared to yours? Not even your precious g36 is a complete german design

        • Paul J

          What is a joke is the fact that someone censor my first answer about how the numbers micmac80 is asserting are bogus. But the ar15, ar18, the Browning m2, the 1911, the Mossberg/Winchester/Remington shotguns are just non significant compare to the very fine work of us Europeans…

          • micmac80

            Yes they consor quite often.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Anyone care to compare the requirement s to the capabilities of the MG3, M60 or other .308 MGs in service today?

  • Tassiebush

    I know some scopes for switch barrel rifles hold several zeros which can be quickly switched. I wonder if an MG optic could be built to do this?

  • Kivaari

    I have only fired original M60s of 1960-70 era. I don’t know how anyone could hit anything with them. As a kid I thought the Japanese having a scope mounted was silly. Then I shot the 60, it sure could have used a scope.

  • mosinman

    a cheap doesn’t mean bad, but i wouldn’t expect you to know

    • micmac80

      Sometimes but in many cases especialy with firearms built in the west you get what you pay for..

      • mosinman

        and you get the same quality from European guns but several times the price 🙂

  • G.K.

    Yeah, Germany still builds great gujs, like the H&K 416 thats a straight ripoff of an AR-15 you seem to hate that they simply slapped a gas piston and their overpriced brand name on, and the H&K 417 which is the same thing scaled up to 7.62x51mm, oh and the MG5 which flat out lost to the M60E6 in Danish army trials and has to get the German army’s standards lowered to reach acceptance there, or I guess the G36 which has so many problem even the Germans don’t it anymore.

    German “quality” myths, separating money from the stupid who want to feel special for generations!

  • albaby2

    At wnat distance is the accuracy measured?

  • Jarhead0369

    I seem to have missed something.
    “…point of impact may shift by a maximum of 10 cm (previously 5 cm) …”
    OK, but at what distance?