Portuguese Army HK416A5s

A report by Janes Defense has highlighted the purchase of 24 additional 5.56x45mm HK416A5 rifles and four 7.62x51mm G28 (HK417) rifles by Portugal for their Rapid Reaction Brigade (SOF). This is in addition to 18 rifles in November of 2014, and 22 HK416s in February of this year. This recent purchase brings the total amount of HK416s to 64 that have been reported to the media, or essentially enough for a reinforced platoon. Now, seeing that these purchases are more or less in sets of 20, I’m assuming that each batch is going to a separate and new team of their SOF, with each team retiring the service rifles they had before, at the rate that they are going with now. The rifles come equipped with a number of goodies, to include bipods, PMags, Aimpoints, AN/PEQ 16s, suppressors with Manta M700 shrouds, and the picture appears to have a high power optic with Accuracy International scope caps (not sure if these are made by AI, because I’ve seen Schmitt & Bender scopes with AI adjustment caps). Barrel lengths are ranging from 14.5 inch barrels for some batches and 16.5 for others. It is interesting to see a number of features on their weapon systems that imitate some American tendencies. Such as the PEQ16s, zip tieing their attachments, and their choice in accessories.

The Portuguese Army’s Logistics Command (CmdLog) has ordered a new batch of 5.56×45 mm Heckler & Koch HK416A5 assault rifles for the army’s special forces (Força de Operações Especiais – FOE).

A total of 24 rifles were purchased on 3 December from Heckler & Koch’s Portuguese trader, Defmat, for EUR114,372 (excluding VAT). The batch comprises 20 with a 14.5-inch barrel length and four with 16.5-inch barrels for snipers, together with a comprehensive number of accessories.

Portugal is looking to receive the weapon as soon as possible, a CmdLog source toldIHS Jane’s . Four 7.62×51 mm Heckler & Koch G28 precision rifles were purchased under a separate contract, the source added.

The FOE part of the army’s Rapid Reaction Brigade (BrigRR) received a first batch of 18 HK416A5s in November/December 2014 under a contract signed in early November 2014, with a second batch of 22 rifles procured and received in February 2015, an army spokesperson told IHS Jane’s . These were a mix of rifles with 11-inch and 14.5-inch barrels.

L-3 Warrior Systems AN/PEQ-16A laser devices, Aimpoint Comp4 sights, and a wide array of accessories were also received.

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Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at miles@tfb.tv


  • TheSmellofNapalm

    Looks heavy. Bet they wish they had DI guns the other 99% of the time they aren’t snorkeling.

    • Vitor Roma

      Most of the extra-weight is due to the outdated quad-rails.

      • ostiariusalpha

        That quad rail is indeed heavy, though HK uses a pretty beefy piston/op rod on their rifle and even the receivers are a little weightier than the normal forgings you’d see on an M16/M4. Without the need to accommodate the op rod, they’d basically have a Daniel Defense M4.

        • Esh325

          I’m sure some day they’ll release a HK416 that has polymer/lighter alloys for weight savings.

      • Gruul

        Quad rails are outdated already?…. damn, time goes by fast lol.

        • G0rdon_Fr33man

          You see, this is a fashion-driven industry. I believe M-lok is the deal of the day, pushed by manufacturers who cater to the tacticool crowd who has to manage only their own personal arsenal. Not one with 100 000 guns in them. Keymod? That is soooo yesterday…

          • Dan

            I used my keymod rail to hold my “industrial grade” shelving i bought at walmart together when i bent a support beam

      • jono102

        The A5 that was at the NZDF trials had a newer hand guard with top and bottom rails and only short sections (6-7 teeth long) it apparently didn’t do much for cutting weight compared to the other AR platforms as the weight was in the gas system and heavier components. The H&K mags are heavy as hell too compared to alloys or P mags, they feel as they have a couple rounds in them when they’re empty.
        Don’t think a military unit would want to go for total Keymod especially for the likes of a 40mm underslung.

    • Esh325

      Why would they? There have been organizations that they replaced their DI guns with HK416’s, like Polish and Dutch SF.

    • John

      Heavy absorbs recoil. Might suck to lug around, but when you’re tired you don’t have to work as hard to aim and fire.

      • jono102

        But the weight is relative, A soldier will spend the vast majority of the time carrying it and relatively small amount firing it. A 7.62 platform there is a need for a degree for some mass, but in 5,56 recoil can easily managed with a good design and balance. The muzzle device will have a large effect as well. An A5 with a M-320 mounted to it is a heavy beast for a 5.56/40mm regardless.

  • Alvar

    I wonder whether the €4800 ($5200) price tag is for the rifle only, or with all the goodies included?

    • Joshua

      The M27 cost somewhere around $2,500-$3,000 for the rifle, so it’s not a stretch to see these being close to that price depending on procurement size.

    • Daniel

      Article states “together with a comprehensive number of accessories”, English comprehension tells me they were included. I mean no shot or insult- I know this blog is read in other countries.

  • aweds1

    Rifle orders in batches of 20. Welcome to the modern NATO. 🙂

    • Yimmy

      Yes, they allow the US largely to send their sons and daughters to get maimed and die. They spend their money on their infrastructure and education. It’s much simpler this way, at least the US Brits and Aussies can actually win a fight.

      • MeaCulpa

        Or, you know, it’s a smal unit more along the lines of delta force than the army Rangers. And, this might come as a surprise to some, not all countries believes in all the conflicts the US gets itself involved in and therefore might not feel all that inclined to send troops.

        Having said that; the US obviously takes a larger role than what’s fair when it comes to global security, sort of like Britain used to do.

      • Bal256

        “Us Brits and Aussies can actually win a fight”.
        Must be why my unit had to replace the Brits as they retreated from the Helmand province right?

        Nah actually, the Brits and Aussies I met overseas were cool as hell. I’m sure they don’t want to be represented by an edgy kid gloating over the death of their allies.

      • Simon Says

        If only I could disagree with you but based on facts I can’t.

        I was in the Royal Dutch Army and did a tour in Afghanistan at FOB Ripley/Camp Holland where I shared the base with Australians and Americans. We were called the beggars army and it felt bad. When I was outside the wire I had to borrow weapons with NVG capable optics from our recce guys because all we had were iron sights. We ate American MRE’s because ours were insufficient and the SF guys mostly used US F18 air support because Dutch air support was a political minefield that needed a decision from Dutch politics (AKA hours of waiting time). Also whenever we went out we had to borrow ammo, batteries and supplies from the other countries.

        I know our SF guys had it better but if you are deployed in a logistically inferior position it eats on morale.

      • Pranqster

        First, they don’t “allow” America to do anything, America disregards anything that doesn’t align with their current political / military / economic ambition, even when its wrong.
        Second, If you think that the US can “win a fight” you havent been paying attention, since we are still getting bogged down in the middle east, and Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria etc. are worse than before, despite many thousands of American lives sacrificed.

  • Lance

    Nice Pmags though.

  • NewMan

    the HK 416A5 is the apex of the AR/M4 design, period.

    • Anonymoose

      HK417A2, tho.

      • NewMan

        417A2 is a great rifle as well.

        HK pretty much perfected the AR platform by turning it into a more reliable, robust & cleaner system that also work very well with suppressor.

        • CommonSense23

          You really have no clue what you are talking about.

        • mechamaster

          Well, Slightly more reliable and clean, and ( slightly ) less-dangerous from water inside receiver.. yes.. ( but still there are limitation ).

          And suppressor always make the rifle dirty even piston operated 416 / 417… because suppressor tends to blow excessive gas to the chamber and create fouling.

          Piston and suppressor case… err… and there are phenomenon called ‘piston-pop’ in suppressed piston operated gun, that doesn’t exist in direct-impingement / blowback operated, and ( sadly ), the quietest suppressed AR is direct-impingement AR..

          • NewMan

            416 completely destroyed the M4 in dust test…. So it’s more than just slightly reliable.

          • mechamaster

            It’s true as long the sand / dirt doesn’t enter the 416 trigger group.

    • John

      Then why did New Zealand chose 6,000 regular ARs from Lewis Machine and Tool?

      There’s no apex in gun technology. Next will be gay as rifles or lasers.

      • NewMan

        That doesn’t mean much in the bigger picture.

        The 416 has proven itself countless of time over to be the best AR-based platform on the market. Talk to the Marines and Marine armorer (as I have) as they have nothing but positive thing to say about the 416/M27 since it proven itself to be many time more reliable than the M4/M16 and they very much want to replace their M4/M16 with the 416 but politics don’t allow that.

        I respect the legacy AR system for what they are but piston gun (especailly when done right) completely blow any DI AR gun out of the water in term of performance.

        • jono102

          For the Marines/Marine armorer’s the M-27 is a way to get a new rifle without “Getting a new rifle”, notice how some Bn’s have conducting creative accounting to up their ORBAT/ M-27 allocation. They’re new, not shot out, accurate and a big improvement over the standard M-16/M-4’s they’re used to dealing with, so they will be rated highly y them.
          We’ve had 416/417’s here for evaluation and various programs for 5+ years. Based on my personal experience they’re a good rifles, not perfect but good. One thing I know for a fact is they do get dirty and will have stoppages about the same as any other quality D.I. or Piston system and do break, contrary to H&K PR or the internet hype. Once again only based of my personal experience.

          • Patrick the Canadian

            +1 on what Jono102 said but let’s also not forget that the companies who get military contracts have military contacts. Million dollar deals don’t happen just because a product is superior, but if it meets the Mil-Spec, which usually isn’t all that high compared to some higher end guns (JP Rifles is one I know) and is cheaper than the other ones and those guys brought you to the strip club (Glock pioneered this, btw), etc. The 416 is nice but quite crude, the rental at our range broke a lot of parts over time. I am now a big fan of PWS, who’s guns run smoother, are lighter, are cheaper retail, and come with astonishing aftermarket service from PWS. As always, there is no prefect gun and we all have our own opinions.

          • Patrick the Canadian

            I’ve personally played with the MR556 (which is what many PD SWAT team use around Montreal) just now, and the bolt has a firing pin safety. Now there could be 2 reasons for this, either the great Lawyers got in there good or the system is so rough with the bolt that a normal free floating firing pin would ignite a primer. That just adds pieces that are going to break and can’t be replaced. Yeah it’s a nice gun but nowhere near 4400$ worth. Not for what you get.

        • CommonSense23

          I am guessing you have no first hand experience with the platform. It has issues. Seen more malfunctions on the line in a day with 416s than I did in a year with our M4/Mk18s. Most guys I know who have a 416 want their MK18s back.

          • NewMan

            Do you have any source to back up that claim? And not just hearsay from disgruntled AR fanboys?

            I have talked to plenty to have had experience with the platform including armorers… And the fact remain the it is THE best AR-based platform at the moment. Just ask Larry Vickers or the Marines.

            Face it, the only reason why the M4/AR platform is still around and ‘winning’ any contracts is due to money and politics. All the testing done shown that the 416 is vastly superior.

          • jono102

            Source? Like I posted, based off my own personal experience and use of the various platforms not that of others, especially those who have vested interest/financial interest in a particular platform. Personally

            When it comes to pistons, personally I prefer the system in the SIG 516 as I found it more simplified and easier to manipulate than the chunky 416. Once again only based on my personal experience and not that of Larry Vickers or somebody I spoke to.

            “All the testing done shown that the 416 is vastly superior”……Once again, Not in my experiance

          • CommonSense23

            Larry Vickers doesn’t even try to claim the gun outperforms the current SOPMOD M4A1. Neither does the Marines. Why do you think SOCOM decided to not switch to the HK416. They stuck with the M4A1/MK18MOD1 cause its the better rifle. The 416 was a rush job to get a working 10inch that could run reliably suppressed. Thats it.

          • NewMan

            certain unit were FORCED to have to give up their 416, once again politics…

            you also ignore how the Marines said that the 416 is superior to the M4 in every way in term of performance.

            if you have data where the M4 out-performed the 416 then post it.

            The very fact that you said the 416 was a rush job show you do not know what you are talking about.

            “Just a little tidbit gents for the 416 haters out there- I just got
            some info that one specialized end user currently using 416’s tested it
            against several ( read that as most) current DI and piston guns to find a potential replacement and the result of the test was…..

            The HK416 will stay in place as the issue assault rifle

            None of the other guns came close to it performance wise from what I wastold- you may not like HK but based on what they found during their test no one makes a better gun as of right now

            That’s all I can say – spin it however you want but this organization
            can and will buy whatever they want to get the job done; if there was
            something better they would be using it or in the process of buying it

            Be safe


    • GS

      I have a 416 as my patrol rifle and I wish I had my BCM 14.5 Middy instead. We have had multiple catastrophic failures with our 416’s and honestly I am just not impressed.

      • NewMan

        stop using reloads. any (bad) ammo that cause catastrophic failures in the 416 will do worse to standard DI AR.

  • So weird that such low procurements are reported. I’m not knowledgeable in procurement policies or implications, so sorry if it’s dumb. But I suspect for example Kremlin FSO patrol units employ more exotic firearms than all these purchases combined. I mean, explain to me if it’s appropriate why the fact is important.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    Those are B&T suppressors btw…

  • GS

    What’s with the guy shooting the ACOG? No way he can see through that thing with the eye relief of a TA31.