Lithuania Resumes Buying G36s, Finds No Flaw in Guns

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The Lithuanian Land Forces have reached a decision: They will be keeping the Heckler & Koch G36, and will continue to buy the controversial rifles. In July of last year, the Lithuanian government halted procurement of the polymer-receivered German assault rifle amid controversy about the rifle’s stability in different temperatures and humidity levels. Despite strong rhetoric from the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and a scathing report from the Ernst Mach Institute, the Lithuanian government’s research effort regarding the rifle concluded that the G36 is a very suitable infantry rifle, and that the rifles “diverge from their technical characteristics only in case they are used for fire support, i.e. as light machine guns,” according to the press release.

The Ernst Mach Institute report on the G36, released in April of last year, was a harsh blow to the rifle’s reputation. It claimed that the rifle experienced major point of impact shifts in varying ambient temperature, humidity, and sunlight, as well as during heating from firing. Heckler & Koch and the rifle’s proponents, however, claimed the report was politically motivated, and that the G36 does not experience significantly more problems than competing rifles in these respects. The final word on the G36 controversy has yet to be written, but for Lithuania, it seems the rifles are there to stay.



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 can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Still overpriced rifles for what they offer

    • How much do you think a G36 costs?

      • Sgt. Stedenko

        More than he makes trolling the internet

      • Major Tom

        More than I’d be willing to pay for given the G36’s stats.

        • Ionosphere

          What are the G36’s “stats”?

    • Marc

      The Bundeswehr pays 600€ per rifle including dual optics.

  • Pat

    So Lithuania considers the G36 to be ‘accurate enough’ despite the documented flaws in the design. I guess they’re also happy with their EOTechs despite the thermal shift issue, if the article’s photo is an example of a standard loadout. Not exactly encouraging news for Lithuanian soldiers

    • Phil Hsueh

      Maybe H&K actually uses the correct polymer in the Lithuaninan G36s instead of the sub-standard ones used for the Bundsewher, because the issue wasn’t in the design itself but because H&K used a different polymer in the German issue G36s than what was called for in the specs.

      • cmbv79

        Exactly, both in Portugal and in Spain (where the G36 is under license), no one complains about their accuracy). In summer, temperatures reach into some regions very high values and is no shortage of military exercises at that time.

      • Kivaari

        Why did they do that? Wouldn’t government inspectors reject sub-standard rifles?

    • Ionosphere

      The accuracy issues stem from cost-cutting shortcuts taken for the German Army rifles. It’s like how the early M16’s were unreliable because of the Army’s cost-cutting measures. The core design is fine when put together properly.

      • Joshua

        Can you point me to a source? Not being sarcastic, just interested.

        • Ionosphere

          I don’t remember the source but it was probably this blog.

          • Phil Hsueh

            I remember reading about it here myself.

    • DIR911911 .

      Lithuania is probably not silly enough to be sending troops into the desert with them, but if russia comes calling a g36 seems to shoot well enough in the snow.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Maybe it just so happens that the EOTech’s thermal drift exactly counterbalances the G36’s POI shift so it is always still on target…

      And I hope their standard loadout includes magazines

      • Pat

        Wouldn’t that be hilarious if that was actually the case!

      • Gecko9mm

        Maybe Eotech Thermal drift helped correct for the POI shift and it was shot by someone who was cross-eyed? One theory I read on the Internets is it could be the particular runs they made for the German military that used sub standard polymer to meet costs. It’s hard to believe but…

  • Newman

    Judging by the fact they dont need mags in the guns in no wonder they have no problem

  • Peter Balzer

    Pewpewpew, no mags in, EoTechs, no wonder they think the rifle’s fine…

    • Green Hell

      Is EoTech hate train mandatory to board now?

      • Peter Balzer

        That train has left the station a long time ago…

        • Kivaari

          I’d like to know if the current crop of EOTechs are NOW worth having.
          I liked them, until the reports came out and I lost confidence in the things. Especially so because I live where we have 5 months of sub-freezing weather.

          • Gunner4guy

            The Lithuanians are using the “Northern Warfare” version of the EOTech…… and magzine-less ammo.
            If they want to ‘donate’ the wpns, I ‘ll take a pair.

          • Kivaari

            Yesterday I went to my favorite gun shop and bought another EXPS3. If Bob trusts them, I am willing to give ’em a try. I will be “forced” into buying a night vision optic. Damn, bad luck.

  • gunsandrockets

    Aside from the melty issue, doesn’t the G36 have pretty good rep?

    Not bad for what is essentially a plastic AR-18 which uses a charging handle instead of bolt handle.

    • Yeah, and even though I’ve covered the G36’s problems a lot, I still like the rifle quite a bit. Mechanically, for example, it’s excellent.

      • Weaver

        Didn’t your one video prove that there was no point of impact shift when conducting a similar test that the German government stated.

        • Tom

          The problem, if it exists* seems to be that a different polymer was used so it stands to reason that results would vary depending on which polymer was used.

          * of course it goes without saying that an assault rifle is not a LMG and if you dump mag after mag after mag in rapid succession your going to have issues with accuracy. IIRC there were issues in Afghanistan with the SAWs/Minmi because of extreme protracted firing so it seems logical the issues was more one of the weapons being used outside of what they were intended for rather than a actual fault of the weapon. Whether you feel a weapon should be able to handle that volume of fire is another thing altogether.

        • “Prove” would be going a bit far, but Alex showed that at least his sample gun didn’t have that issue over a handful of mags.

          I also shot that rifle and found no issue with it. In fact, I liked it quite a bit.

          If that were all I had to go on, I’d say “yep, doesn’t seem to be any problems at all”, but the Bundeswehr/EMI report really casts serious doubt on the gun in my opinion.

          Now, having said that, if we assume the Lithuanian government was in the same position before they began their research project, and if we assume there was nothing hinky going on, then them investigating it and concluding that the rifle is fine does vindicate H&K somewhat.

          So it’s really a very grey issue for me, which is why I continue to report on it.

          • Weaver

            Could the issue have come from the dual optic that they use? That’s my question. I used one of those on a g36e one time and wasn’t a big fan of it

          • I dunno, I kinda doubt it though. The optic was made by Hensoldt, so it shouldn’t be of poor quality (although it’s in my opinion not a great design).

          • cmbv79

            The interesting thing is that in my country(Portugal), the Special Forces of the Armed Forces and Police Forces use both the G36 and the HK416 A5 and like much of one as the other. When this controversy went viral, nobody said anything bad about the G36, on the contrary.
            BTW we have a really hot summer.

        • mosinman

          i don’t think a couple 30 round mags proves anything

  • Petto

    Surely Hk was crying out loud to get more G36 for Lithuania and Hk must sell them cheaply nowdays

  • John

    >“diverge from their technical characteristics only in case they are used for fire support, i.e. as light machine guns,”

    My translation: “Yes, they melt, but only when troops use them as machine guns. Put them on single-shot and they work just fine. (Also they’re cheaper than buying anything else right now.)”

    • Ionosphere

      It is true that the German reports suggested that the accuracy issues manifested only after several full-auto mag dumps are performed through the same rifle without cool-down time. So the rifles should be fine if they are used for single-fire. Or alternatively, Lithuanian Army has communicated with H&K and determined that they are getting guns with the correct polymer.

  • Lance

    Never was a issue. Same attacks came at our own M-4 carbine in 2007. The only reason they attacked it easy in 07 FN wanted there plastic crap adopted so they buy a few Generals to make the M-4 look bad. Same thing in Germany. Best thing to do is tell the press and Generals to shut up and listen to the grunts who carry them. Besides Lithuania has now a cool trip of M-14s, G-36s, and M-16A1s in use, cool combo.

  • Malthrak

    Thats not too surprising. That the G36 issues appear only to have come to light ~20 years after adoption, and, afaik, not noticed by any other users speaks to something else going on. That sort of thing doesnt just pop up out of nowhere after two decades of international use.

    Either particularly bad QC for some guns delivered to the Bundeswehr (always possible), or H&K getting slapped for having new G36’s show up where they weren’t supposed to…

    • Phil Hsueh

      Not bad QC, just cheating/going cheap on the polymer and using an inferior polymer than what’s actually called for by the specs. Apparently, and interestingly enough, the Bundeswehr is the only customer that H&K has done this to; it seems that they use the correct polymer for everybody else’s G36.

      • Dolphy

        I heard that the export version had a different heat shield or something. But I’m not an expert. I can just see Nat grinning manically while posting this, though.

  • MechanizedSwede

    Swedish SOF and the Police national rapid reaction force still use the G36 (C’s and K’s), although heavily modified by Spuhr. Not a shed of complaint. If they found that something was wrong with the rifle it would have been swapped in a heartbeat (these units have really good funding). For me this is a good testament that these accusations are just BS made by scumbag politicians to make HK look bad…

  • HKGuns

    The problem that never was a problem, except in the minds of the politicians who would love to ruin Germany’s firearms industry. Socialists.

    • kyphe

      The major political players in this affair such as Ursula von der Leyen are from the Christian Democratic Union of Germany which is conservative not socialist.

      • toms

        Calling anything in Germany conservative is a little ridiculous.

      • Kivaari

        Conservative v. liberal is a tool for Americans. It is how WE view the constitution. Liberals think it is a living document that can and should be changed to get rid of guns, free speech and religious thinking. Conservatives don’t want the constitution ripped apart by conventional democrats or social democrats. Applying our tradition of left and right doesn’t translate into any other nations politics.

        • kyphe

          Condemning socialism for everything is a tool for you Americans, most of Europe like the UK France and Germany have reached a happy practical medium. Conservatives in Germany and the UK are both center right analogs to US republicans. Both have liberal parties but the center left labor party is the main UK opposition as few trust liberals in government in the UK. The center left Socialist Democratic Party is the main German opposition to the current Merkel government with liberals having only a minority support base. You are blaming left wing politicians for the actions and statements of right wing politicians who appear to be trying to force unwanted military expenditure to replace something that does not need replacing. This has nothing to do with socialism.

          • Kivaari

            YOU DID NOT READ WHAT I WROTE. Look again. I said it has nothing to do with other nations politics. It is how AMERICANS view our constitution, and nothing to do at all with how Europe runs its affairs. If you have not noticed Bernie Sanders is running as a socialist-democrat. It I how we look at our politics. Screw Europe.

          • throwedoff

            “Socialist-democrat”……that’s about one oxymoronic phrase.

          • Kivaari

            You can thank Bernie Sanders for that. He has been an independent socialist for all his time in politics. He vehemently denies he is a democrat, but must run as one to make a serious ballot contender. Since, democrats ARE socialists, it just fits. The American Socialist Party runs a candidate every 4 years, sucking up votes everywhere. Once nearly 30 years ago they were still running on a platform denouncing our actions in Vietnam. They were not smart enough to get the message that the war was over in ’75.

          • Brats Use Force

            “Condemning socialism…”

            Condemning SOCIALISM?

            Are you serious?

            Socialism is, “A means or method of providing.” Period.

            There are two such methods: socialism and individualism.

            And how do these contrary methods “provide?”

            Individualism uses volunteerism (give to get).
            Socialism uses FORCE (gimme or you’re DEAD).

            There’s not ONE socialist policy anywhere on the planet that isn’t enforced by the barrel of a GUN.

            Condemn socialism–DAMN RIGHT!

          • kyphe

            You do not have the first clue what you are talking about. Most advanced nations especially european nations use democratic market socialism which is the best all around balance. Only one major western nation regularly has it’s law enforcement kill citizens and that is the USA.

      • parabellum

        Angela Merkel was marketed as a conservative too. Now Germany (as well as most of Europe) is being transformed into an archeological dig of Western civilization.

      • Hossi Blumengaarten

        dude both the Right wing and Left wing in Germany HATE GERMANY. Merkel killed the country already by letting in 1 million arabs.

        • kyphe

          Turks are generally not Arab they are Turkic, Syrians and Iranians and Iraqi are not generally not Arab they are Persian. the total Arab population in Germany is about 500000, 3 million less than the USA at 3.5 million, or France which has 5.8million and Brazil which has 10 million

  • Justin Roney

    My elbow hurts from looking at that picture.

  • Chi Wai Shum

    The last report from Germany was so harsh, it does make you wonder if the report itself is really accurate.

  • Friend of Tibet

    According to the old Ancient Chinese saying: “A warrior can hit nothing when he combine Eotech with G36……”

  • John Doe

    Rifle suffer same fate Ar15 has gone through people like or they hate no middle ground in debate. People like G36 rifle well works just fine people hate Hk G36 well complain about being crappy rifle until end time.

  • Kivaari

    Just about every modern rifle and optic system seem to get these up and down reports.
    It makes it hard to buy anything after I read reviews that can’t be trusted.
    At least EOTech gave me a refund for my new EXPS2. Leaving me without a clear idea about what would be worth buying. Wavering reviews slow me down from investing in good optics, since no product seems to be clear winners, that remain affordable.
    I have had excellent performance from AR15 pattern rifles dating back to the ’60s.
    Optics only gained serious attention as old age continues to dim my eyesight. It was simple finding iron sights. Not so simple with glass.

  • Kivaari

    Not too bad. They will never replace the M16 family of rifles.