BREAKING: The Next French Infantry Rifle Is German – Heckler & Koch Reportedly WINS French AIF Rifle Competition

HK416France

According to an as of yet uncorroborated report from the French publication RETEX MAG, the next French rifle will be a variant of the German-made Heckler & Koch HK416. The report cites notices sent out to the five participants in the French Army’s AIF (Arme Individuelle du Futur – Future Individual Weapon) program, which allegedly called the contest a win for the Rottweil-based gunmaker. From RETEX’s Facebook page:

x8i0cTd

 

Which machine translates to:

HK wins the market of the aif
Even if the info is not yet officially communicated, the 5 finalists received their mail indicating if they have been retained or not… the market of the aif is therefore attributed to HK Gmbh in partnership with HK France SAS.
Expect when even the exit of the info on the OJ.

TFB reported last month that the French rifle competition had downselected to entrants from the Belgian company Fabrique Nationale and German Heckler & Koch, which indicated that the competition’s end was fast approaching. While we haven’t yet received positive confirmation of Heckler & Koch’s win, the expectation has been that the decision could be released any day, and it stands to reason that the manufacturers would be notified before an official announcement is made. Therefore, expect confirmation – or possibly denial – of this report within a few days.

Since this is an unconfirmed report and not an official announcement, there is also no word yet on whether the rifles are slated to be produced in Germany, or license-produced in France, although I would expect the latter.

Interestingly, if this report turns out to be correct, then TFB’s prediction of four years ago that the HK416 would become the next French service rifle will have proven very prescient indeed.

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


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  • Don Ward

    Merde!

    • Anonymoose

      “Meanwhile, in Herstal…”

    • Black Dots

      Perfect execution.

    • lostintranslation

      But……it’s not Direct Impingement!

      • lostintranslation

        416F………prêt à partir.

    • Nobody mention the war, okay?

      • Mike

        I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it.
        So who is going to mention the built I white flag?

        • Realist

          The same one who’ll mention something about French Rifles having never been fired and only dropped once.

  • DW

    Anschluss intensifies

    • Wetcoaster

      Anschütz, nein?

      • DW

        Can yuo into Germanyball

      • iksnilol

        Anschluss = Annexation or connection in German

        • Wetcoaster

          Yes, I know. I was making a pun; the Anschutz being the standard for competition rimfire rifles for a long time

          • iksnilol

            Naaah… Anschütz? Good for rimfire competition? Who told you that?

    • Blake

      Anschütz accurizes 🙂

  • Richard

    They didn’t select the Thales EF90?

    What a shock.

    I guess Australia only selected it because it was the only entrant in the ‘trials’ that were also run by Thales.

    • Tritro29

      Why would they select a rifle that wasn’t among the participants.

      Also there’s no word yet about this. And there’s is talk about HSProdukt filing a review request about leaks regarding the AAPC process. This has the potential to become a better story than anything regarding the Indian procurement.

      • “Indian rifle procurement” is now a meme.

        • M1911

          Indian military procurement is now a meme. It isn’t limited to rifles – near as I can tell every Indian military procurement effort is a mess.

        • Penghulu Manuk Manchal

          “Indian rifle procurement” killed Mikhail Kalashnikov… 🙁

      • Richard

        The VHS – the only rifle with an adjustable stock that goes from long to super long.

        • anonymous

          The Betamax rifle was better.

        • Tritro29

          Stock made for the Flak88.

    • Merlaad

      Thales retired his bid. Moreover Thales has only a license for the Austrian weapon from Steyr

    • Aurélien Morel

      Australia was already running the original Steyr AUG, and had been since 1989. It makes perfect sense to buy an upgraded version of it, be it only that you won’t waste time re-training every user.

      • Richard

        Using that argument, the French should have selected an updated FAMAS.

        • Rock or Something

          They probable would have if they still had the manufacturing capabilities to.

          • Tritro29

            Or if they wanted the headache and drama (ask H&K).

        • John

          If the MAS factories were up and running, they WOULD have. France no longer has the manufacturing facilities to make their own guns, and were dragged into opening the competition for other companies.

        • Aurélien Morel

          The updated FAMAS is already 20 years old (FAMAS G2), and Nexter doesn’t have the facilities to make them anymore anyways.

          The AUG lines in Australia haven’t been dismantled, on the other hand.

    • Nallan

      Australia selected the EF90 cause it’s a distinctly Australian rifle. Which is important, as Australia has always suffered from not enough nationalism, which will become an even bigger problem now that we are going to increase the population by 30% with foreigners. At least that’s my theory.
      The other theory is that Australia considers a bullpup to be the only viable platform for the future thermal sight + airburst grenade launcher weapon system, which will be standard for all infantry.

      • Aurélien Morel

        Not to start anything, but aren’t all Australians already “foreigners”? That might not help with the nationalism (nor would the whole “still technically governed by the Queen” stuff).

        Anyways, as all other manufacturing is shutting down (most recently car manufacturing), keeping the rifle-manufacturing local was likely a very strong argument.

        • Mellena

          True, but white christian Anglo-Celtic foreigners. Now we are importing indians, muslims, asians, africans ie much more foreign.

  • Joseph Goins

    Called it! Bull-pups are on their way out.

    • BattleshipGrey

      I’m not necessarily happy about it, but it’s clearly the trend.

    • If the future is 6.5mm cased telescopic ammo + smart optics/ smart under barrel GL/ suppressors, we’ll likely see the return of bullpups due to the need for 20-24″ barre length+ suppressor and the superior balance offered by bullpups when fitted with a GL.

      • Joseph Goins

        That is not the way of the future. That is a Hollywood fantasy.

        • iksnilol

          We’re just going to stop bolting on grenade launchers and other crap on our rifles?

          Doubt it. I think bullpup will survive.

        • It’s not even the future, it’s pretty much the present.

          Smart optics that feature a laser range finder and ballistic computer are already here, in the form of the Steiner ICS, allowing anyone with a bipod and trigger control to make hits at 800+ yards.

          Bottom ejecting, fully ambidextrous bullpups firing lightweight, long range cased telescopic polymer ammo were available in 1987 – it’s called the Steyr ACR.

          Underbarrel 40mm grenade launchers with integrated computer sighting systems have been available since 2001 – the FN F2000 is purpose built for using the FN Fire Control System, with calculated ballistics for 6 existing grenades, and is programable to use new air bursting grenades. Colt Canada has developed an even more interesting system that uses aiming data from mini drones to hit non-line of sight targets.

          Proximity fused shells have been around since the 1940’s. Programable air bursting grenades have been around since 2000.

          The need for shorter weapons is already obvious – the army is using 33″ long M4’s, and many SF users are using even shorter 27″ 416’s.

          Suppressors are default equipment with SF teams, and are becoming more and more common with regular armed forces.

          Polymer cased telescopic ammo is on the horizon, in the form of the LSAT program. One of the most likely outcomes is a 6.5mm LSAT, that has better range the 7.62×51, and weighs less then 7.62×39. However, to get this level of performance, a 20″+ barrel is required.

          Meanwhile, the entire US armed forces has already switched to a battle rifle doctrine of using aimed semi automatic fire over fully automatic. They’re just using battle rifle tactics with assault rifles.

          When you look at all of these trends converging, their nexus is in a bullpup.

          The chief problems of a bullpup – slow magazine change speed, ambidextrous shooting, and poor trigger, have already been solved by various companies. the Tavor is as fast to reload as the M4; the F2000, Kel Tec’s, DT MDR, Steyr ACR, have all solved the brass in the face issue. Aftermarket triggers from Geissele, and factory triggers from Desert Tech, show that Bullpups can have excellent triggers.

          With their few shortcomings now solved, the bullup is the ideal platform to combine all of these new developments in optics, long range/lightweight ammunition, suppressors, and smart grenades.

          • Joseph Goins

            All you did was mention a group of unrelated (and most of them commercially unsuccessful) developments and then said that they all are going to converge. The cost is prohibitively expensive. The cost of the Steiner ICS alone is more the cost of an M4A1 with ACOG which is more than capable of going out to eight hundred yards.

            Moreover, the adoption of that is antithetical to the element in military doctrine: the fireteam. Only one person gets a grenade rifle as that is all they need and it inhibits movement.

          • The convergence is obvious once you look at it.

            To begin with, so longs as brass cased ammo is what’s available, the US military will remain fielding 5.56 and 7.62. The AR15 and similar systems will continue to be used. Most Western militaries needing to modernize weapons will select a similar system, as A) virtually none of them will ever engage in a military action separate from the US and B) as long as the World’s largest military fields AR’s, the majority of ancillary accessories that improve rifle performance will be designed with an AR type rifle (conventional layout, long handguard) in mind.

            AR’s are not beating bullpups due to the inherent superiority of the AR platform – it’s a default function of most of the world’s R&D dollars being spent on the AR platform as a byproduct of it being “America’s Rifle.” It’s a level of market dominance similar to the accessories available for the Iphone, only even more so.

            Had the FAMAS been America’s rifle, and the AR15 France’s rifle, and then the FAMAS had undergone the same decades of R&D improvement that went into the AR, we’d be seeing France ditching their AR’s for modernized FAMAS’s. One need only look at the M16A1 from 1980 and compare it to the FAMAS of 1980 – at that point, both rifles were a wash capability wise. A few decades and a few trillion dollars in infantry warfare later, and the M16/M4 is a very different rifle then it was in 1980. The exact same would have happened had the US fielded the FAMAS, or any other 5.56 rifle.

            So, what breaks this paradigm and causes an actual shift to a “Future Rifle” vs simply upgrading 20th century designs?

            Convergence #1: the LSAT program for cased telescopic polymer ammo.

            With LSAT ammo, none of the previous legacy weapons will work, due the very different nature of the cartridge – the current LSAT LMG uses a “push through feed and ejection with swinging chamber,” whatever that is. Likewise, the Steyr ACR had to use a completely new firing mechanism to use it’s cased telescopic ammo.

            So first convergence is there – to use LSAT ammo, a very different rifle than the AR is needed. With the AR knocked out, an actual fresh drawing board for rifle design can actually commence, free of the burdens of a legacy system.

            Convergence #2: the development of a new LSAT caliber to replace 5.56.

            Namely, once a new cartridge style (LSAT) is introduced, and the need for legacy compatabillity with the AR is mechanically impossible, then there is no longer a need for 5.56 ballistics. The new LSAT cartridge isn’t going to just duplicate 5.56, as it doesn’t need to – it’s free to become a completely new caliber.

            The 5.56 was designed to be A) lightweight and B) controllable in full auto. The new LSAT, by virtue of its construction, is already lightweight. Meanwhile, full auto rifle fire has been nearly completely replaced by the use of Semi auto fire with optics. We are already using battle rifle tactics now (aimed semi auto, often at distance) but with assault rifles.

            What that means is that with the use of LSAT to lower weight, and the use of Semi auto over Full, the next cartridge is going to be more powerful / longer range than 5.56.

            Enter convergence #3: Death of the Assault rifle, erra of the lightweight battle rifle.

            With 5.56 gone, and the need to fire full auto no longer being taught or necessary, the new LSAT cartridge will focus back towards more of the goals of a battle rifle – namely, range and power.

            Afghanistan has shown that ranged engagements are very much still a thing. Fights in Africa and the Arctic are also likely to feature fighting beyond the normative “within 400 yards” envelope. Any future military caliber will be extremely aware of the ability to go long range; if one looks at the DTIC documents posted by TFB awhile back, you can see that military planners are also planning for use out to 1200 meters.

            In short, while the Assault Rifle was designed for 400 meters, the “Future Rifle” will be designed to work at at least twice that distance.

            Optimizing for Range is fairly obvious in the era of optics. A simple 1-6x optic allows hits out 600+ yards for an average rifleman (assuming a stationary target.)

            Meanwhile, with the coming era of “Smart Optics” that range and perform ballistic calculations, this further improves hit probability out to 800 yards and beyond (Steiner ICS demo video being worth a watch.)

            Taking development to a more future conclsusion, optics linked to the rifles trigger ala Trackingpoint continue. Colt Canada, DARPA, others are all experimenting with this – in the video from Colt Canada posted a few months back, the speaker describes being able to produce bring hit probability up to potentially 90% with this type of computer controlled firing.

            In short, the new cartridge, and hence the new rifle, will be optimized for range.

            Convergence #5: Long barrels, short rifles.

            The most likely new cartridge will be some sort of 6.5mm, but it could also be a higher velocity, high BC heavy .224, 6mm, or something in between like 6.35.

            Regardless, all of these rounds require a long, 20″+ barrel, in order to achieve the optimal velocities necessary for 800-1000 yard shooting.

            Further adding length will be suppressors. Suppressors are default equipment in SF the world over now, and given the increased blast of the more powerful LSAT cartridge, they will likely be mandatory hearing protection for conventional armed forces – to say nothing of the tactical advantages of being quiet.

            Yet at the same time, the rifle itself must be as short as possible – while the new LSAT caliber will be designed for long range, the rifles themselves have to be designed for Urban and Mechanized use. Most of the world’s population lives in urban areas, making a standard rifle with a 20″ barrel + suppressor more than a bit awkward for room to room fighting.

            If only there were a way to have a 20-22″ barrel with suppressor that was shorter than an M16….oh wait, it’s called a bullpup.

            TL;DR:
            The LSAT will replace the 5.56×45 brass case, requiring a new rifle. The caliber will be designed for fighting out to 800+ yards, based on Afghanistan and new Smart Optics making long range shooting viable for the average soldier. The new caliber will require a 20″+ long barrel to make use of its potential, and will also require a suppressor. However, the needs of Urban fighting still remain extremely important, and the only way to have a 20″ barrel + suppressor in a package small enough for handy CQB is with a bullpup.

            This does not cover enemy access to body armor and night vision, and the coming role of air burst munitions, portable drones, and the increasing reliance on “small footprint” military engagements, all of which will have a huge impact on the “Future Rifle.”

          • Joseph Goins

            This is a good bit of counterfactual history mixed with conspiracy theory. Like I said: the military’s M4/M4A1 is an 800 meter gun for a hell of a lot less.

          • So an accurate summation of the LSAT program (as reported here on TFB), and it’s likely down stream effects due to the nature of the new cartridge, is a conspiracy theory? Virtually every single thing I touched on has been covered by TFB in detail over the years – just look up the 6.5mm LSAT.

            Are you so wedded to the M4/M4A1 that you can foresee no possible replacement in the next 25 years, and that no serious performance improvement is to be had?

            As far as counter factual, the M4’s struggles in Afghanistan’s long range engagements, and SF teams bringing back 7.62×51 for some of their fighting over there, would point to the 14.5″ M4 Carbine not being a “800 meter gun” in practical combat use.

          • Arathar

            So your ONLY argument is money? Its like saying why not take a stone instead of a bow it makes less effort. Why not take a bow instead of a bolt action. Why not take a machine pistol instead of an assault rifle.

            Tell me how long do you want to stuck in time?

            Its not about cost, its about LIVES, of people of this country with familys.

          • Joseph Goins

            Lives are not at stake now with the AR-15 family. The standard issue M4A1 is a reliable weapon that is accurate out to 600 meters on a point target and 800 meters on an area target with the most common optic–the ACOG.

          • Bhess

            I disagree with the reliability. There are rifles out there that are a lot more reliable. That gas system kills it for me. All that heat on the bolt. It’s like when the coax on the tanks was the 240 and the infantry still used the M-60. That M-60 would get hot and run away. The 240 was easier to use, swap barrels, and more reliable. The switch was made eventually. The AR needs to go.

          • Joseph Goins

            Tell us: how did you come to the conclusion that the gas system “killed” you? How many rounds have you fired through it and in what duration? What year was this? Which version of the platform was it? Were you using a military-issued weapon? If so, what was the maintenance like prior to you receiving it?

            I’ve personally shot 2,400 rounds (two range sessions) through one of my BCMs with no lubrication/cleaning and no malfunctions in sandy Southwest. It is dead naughts reliable.

            The three most common issues effecting reliability in the AR15/M16/M4 family are: 1) old magazines with mad feed lips, 2) a carbine buffer weight, and 3) an old buffer spring. All three of those are indicative of a cheap person/individual that can’t properly maintain the weapon system.

          • DaveB

            Bull-pups, may be all that you say, but I find them utterly awkward, and I just don’t want one. I was thrilled to death when they announced the Steyr was going the way of the do-do here in NZ. Never would have been in service in the first place if the thrice-damned politicians hadn’t interfered.

          • Much like cars and clothing styles, carbines are subject to personal taste.

            I’ve grown up using conventional laid out rifles, own several, and ended up really loving the way the AUG felt in the hand.

            More than the compact size (27.5″, similar to the MP5) it’s really the balance that sold me. The weight is centered right over the grip, making it less fatiguing to hold steady when standing unsupported, and allows excellent control of the gun when using it with one hand while resting on the shoulder (for example, while opening doors.)

            What is it that you find awkward about them?

          • DaveB

            Quite agree, it’s a large part personal preference. I find them butt-heavy in the extreme, and I find the changing a magazine awkward. I absolutely loathe the huge trigger guard and the push-through safety. No way in hell would I accept that safety on a military rifle. I have seen too many accidentally pushed-in.

          • It’s funny, I actually really like the push through safety as it’s an in-line movement with placing my finger on the trigger, as opposed to rotating a lever which is more of a secondary operation. However my primary concern is forgetting the safety is on vs accidental activation. Having spent 90% of my shooting with Glock’s, I’m generally more fearful of safety’s then supportive.

            I’m surprised you find it butt heavy; with a loaded 42 round mag in the stock, and a Surefire mounted to the gas block, mine’s balanced right at the pistol grip.

            In general I prefer rear heavy over front heavy, as the further the weight is towards the shoulder, the less mechanical leverage it is able to exert against the support arm and shoulder muscles. Similar to how it’s easy to hold a 10lb weight at the pectoral, but very fatiguing to hold the same weight out at full extension of the arm.

          • Bhess

            I agree, shooting it is easier IMO. You have more control to keep it on target. I liked the integrated scope. Also the way to go auto with it I liked, just pull the trigger back further.

          • Yeah the progressive trigger system is a really neat method of selecting full auto. I got a chance to use that same style of trigger when I rented a full auto P90. Sadly not an option with the civilian version of either firearm.

          • Uniform223

            very interesting!

          • Bhess

            The AR is only around because of politics. It certainly isn’t the best rifle. HK has done a great job of modding it and making it better. It still boggles my mind that the US still fields an AR. That gas system sucks so bad. I’ve shot a number of other rifles in my time so I get the undying love that design gets. I lament that the US never adopted the XM-8.
            I’ve shot an AUG and I liked the control I had and it shot well. I just didn’t like shooting it as a rightie when I’m a leftie. I know there’s a kit to swap it but that’s a downfall of bullpups. If they make them ambi then great.

          • Tritro29

            800 m with an M4 is like having an football strategy of lobbing hail mary’s at every down.

          • Joseph Goins

            I repeatedly hit that distance every time I am at the thousand yard range with M855 SS109.

          • Tritro29

            … Oh yeah 62 grain bullet at 120 pounds residual energy with a 8 m drop from FP. Looks like extremely useful round…Add to that an insufficient x4 optic like the Acog and sure that makes sense militarily…I’m sorry can some one take this guy out of here please, we got a kid in the room.

            If you understand what the hell you’re talking about, you have to be a troll.

          • Bhess

            Reminds me of being on a M-16 range using a Greasegun sub. Had to walk those .45 rounds to the 150m target holding it at a 45 degree angle.

      • mig1nc

        I agree. I think we’ve seen in Afghanistan and Iraq that infantry needs to engage at much longer distances than previously thought. And modern combat optics (which didn’t exist en-mass in WW2) help make that possible. While modern urban warfare dictates that the weapon needs to be small enough for mechanized operations and CQB. The only way to check all the boxes is with a bullpup.

        • CommonSense23

          Iraq and Afghanistan have proven that the vast majority of the infantry can’t make hits past 200 yards effectively with a rifle. There is a reason mortars and belt feds exist.

          • billyoblivion

            Training and a preference by Leadership for 2nd generation warfare v.s. 3rd generation.

          • CommonSense23

            What?

          • John

            I think he’s saying they can’t hit that far because military doctrine discourages them from doing so

          • CommonSense23

            They can’t hit that far cause it’s a incredibly difficult task. People don’t realize how actually hard it is to make shots in combat at range.

          • Uniform223

            When I was in (US Army… I think USMC shoots out to 500) we were trained to shoot out to 300 meters. Even when we got red dots later on it was still fairly difficult. That was in a relaxed environment of BRM qualification. Under situations of stress or even accelerated heart beat and see how different it is.

          • billyoblivion

            Training–Our troops aren’t well trained riflemen.

            This is at least in part because of a preference by military leaders (officers and civilian) for 2nd generation warfare (massed firepower, largely centrally controlled) v.s. maneuver warfare (de-centralized control).

            Modern American Doctrine is *largely* to get the grunts out there to find the enemy and keep him pinned down until we can get Arty or CAS on their case.

            The inability of your average grunt to hit at 400 meters is a self fulfilling prophecy–Leadership says “they can’t hit that far out so training them in how to hit that far out is a waste of time, use machine guns, cannon and bombs”. Then with little or no training in combat marksmanship the solders *can’t* shoot at distance, so the leadership is vindicated.

            The human mind and body can do amazing things when trained and pushed. Even a scrawny, far sighted 120 pound Marine can reliably hit at 500 meters (admittedly on a square range) in boot camp WITH IRON SIGHTS. You mean with another year of intermittent training you couldn’t get him up to speed with a modern optic?

          • n0truscotsman

            I disagree completely.

            Poole had some great ideas, although arguably, warfare against insurgents predated modern warfare on an industrial scale. Not my original idea, but one that Im convinced is true.

            I wont put words in commonsense’s mouth, but its my experience that the average infantryman is most effective at hitting targets within 200 meters, but, this is not caused necessarily by a lack of training (although imo, thats one issue), but by the realities of human nature when enduring the stress of combat conditions.

            It is good to train to 500 meters imo, although, to expect infantrymen to be mostly effective at those distances, in combat conditions, with a 5.56mm rifle is a bit unrealistic. Same is true with 6.5 or 7.62 calibers.

          • CommonSense23

            No. You are not going to get that average guy up to speed. One the best combat shooters I know, a JSOC sniper. Considers himself effective to about a 100 yards when trading effective fire with some one.
            The Taliban aren’t stupid. They are engaging us outside the effective ranges of even our 240s from concealed high ground positions with really good belt fed weapons. And they present a extremely small target.
            We use combined arms for a reason. The M4 firing 5.56 is more than enough if we fight smart in Afghanistan. Unfortunately we are not doing. Giving us a mythical gun that shoots a round with 300win mag ballistics with a intermediate round isn’t going to solve any problems if we keep fighting stupid.

      • yodamiles

        I disagree. I used to be 6.5mm/6mm fan but after some research (espacially from Nathaniel F) I realized that there are many ways to increase range and effectiveness without increasing recoil or weight. While 6.5/6mm bullets are very ballistic coefficient, it will easily double the weight per round compare to 5.56. Larger propellant for heavier bullet will resulted in more recoil and weight. Weight is already a big problem in modern day warfare (and massive suppression/spray and pray nature of modern war .) Instead, smaller but very long and ballistic coeffiecient 5mm or 4.8mm bullet (in 55 gr range) would allow for same effectiveness in smaler/lighter package. Combine with EPR tech, we wouldn’t have to worry lethality.]

      • Black Dots

        To paraphrase De Gaulle “Bullpups are the rifles of the future, and always will be.”

        • To quote William Gibson, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”

          Here’s to hoping that TFB will be around in 25 years so we can see whose quote was right 😉

        • Bhess

          You’re on a history quip roll.

    • DGR

      This has less to do with Bullpups and more to do with the FAMAS wasn’t that great of a rifle to begin with…

      • Joseph Goins

        True, FAMAS wasn’t great. However, the French had other bullpup options and didn’t pick them.

        • DGR

          That doesn’t really mean anything. The AR is an amazing platform, and is there a bullpup that is as good of a rifle as a HK 416? You cannot sell a new design if you cant beat existing designs. That is the problem with the old bullpup designs, like the FAMAS, they just were not all that good when compared to what else was/is available.
          This is not just the FAMAS but the SA80 is another great example. Great concept, but flawed execution. But conceptually, having the longer barrel in a shorter gun is a huge advantage. You just have to not make the rifle suck in the process of getting that long barrel in a short platform.

          • Joseph Goins

            THAT means nothing. The FAMAS was not better than the M16 when it was originally adopted. No bullpup on the market today is better than the AR15 family. New Zealand and France are just the two most recent countries to leave the bullpups behind. Less than fifteen countries will field bullpup designs by 2018. It is a novelty.

          • ARCNA442

            I count 13 countries, but its a bit early to declare bullpups a novelty when one of those countries is the PRC with her 2.5 million man military. We could see the QBZ proliferate quite rapidly if the Chinese decide to start acting more aggressively on the international scene.

          • Joseph Goins

            I count 13 countries
            Of those countries, only seven countries’ SOF community use the standard issue bullpup rifles. Take the British and Australian SAS: they don’t use SA80/AUG. They use the M4 platform.

            We could see the QBZ proliferate quite rapidly if the Chinese decide to start acting more aggressively on the international scene.
            The size of China’s army means nothing in terms of the bullpup design.

          • James Young

            I wouldn’t say a novelty, but more of a specialized tool for certain scenarios.

          • Joseph Goins

            Fair enough.

          • Holdfast_II

            Back when I was a combat engineer I loved the SA-80. I spent a couple of weeks on exchange with the British Army, and was able to keep that bullpup strapped to my back while performing tasks where I would have had to leave my C-7 stacked to the side. Of course, an SBR with a folding stock would have been just as good for my purposes.

          • James Young

            Good question worth singling out: “…is there a bullpup that is as good of a rifle as an HK 416?”

            Does anyone know? The 416 is hard for many rifles to beat

          • A Steyr AUG with rails, such as the Steyr CQC / Thales F90, would have been as good or better than the 416.

            The reason lies in the AUG’s gas system and quick change barrel.

            The AUG uses a sideways gas system that allows the bolt to glide along two stainless steel rods, with minimal points of friction in the rifle. The entire rifle only requires 5 drops of lubrication, per the Steyr manual. The lack of friction points also makes the AUG extremely resistant to dust/mud induced friction failures.

            The quick change barrel turns the AUG into a complete 5.56 weapons system, capable of replacing all 5.56 weapons in service.

            It can transition from 16″ barrel carbine, 20″ barrel assault rifle, and 24″ barrel DMR/ Automatic rifle, all in a few seconds. Unlike the AR, which requires a new upper, these barrel changes can be made while keeping all of the weapons optics and accessories on the rifle.

            More significant, the quick change barrel allows the AUG to serve as both an Automatic Rifle, and as a true Light Machine gun, making it capable of replacing both the M27 IAR 416 varient, as well as the SAW.

            In it’s HBAR role, the AUG overmatches the M27 IAR, as it offers a longer barrel, 42 rd magazines, and a quick change barrel that allows a higher rate of full auto that possible with the fixed barrel 416 M27.

            In the LMG role, a two minute change converts the AUG into an Open Bolt configuration- while at the same time retaining the ability to fire both Semi Auto and Full. When the Open Bolt is combined with the Quick change barrel, the AUG becomes a true LMG, capable of firing in sustained full auto. Essentially a modern Bren Gun.

            While not as much firepower as a belt, the 42rd mag offers 40% more ammo than a standard rifle, and 15 magazines (one in the gun, 6 on the chest, a 4 pack on each side of the vest) offers 630 rounds on tap, comparable to the load of the SAW, but in a much lighter (10lb) and more versatile (35.5″ OAL, can be used like an assault rifle) weapon.

            All the AUG needs is “rail estate” which is already available in both aftermaket accessories, or as factory default in Steyr CQC and the F90 design, a beveled mag well that allows mags to 100% drop free, and a basic brass deflector. These are all very simple upgrades.

          • James Young

            I’m no expert on military machine guns, but the weight, construction, and heat dispersion design of the SAW is why it is an effective LMG. I suspect (though don’t know) the AUG is not made for that kinda of use and abuse.

            Regardless, I think your initial points are the most important. I’ll need to look into Steyr’s AUG some more.

          • I think you’re right, and the SAW would be absolutely be able to fire more rounds before overheating.

            But with the open bolt option, combined with the quick change barrel (which also, forgot to mention, swaps out the gas piston as well) I’m pretty sure the AUG LMG would be able to fire more ammo then the soldier was able to carry without critically overheating. Especially when you consider the cool-down periods of swapping the magazines out.

            The AUG was designed from the ground up for serving as a LMG; that’s why it has the quick change barrel design. Unfortunately it’s hard to find much info on it in terms of sustained rate of fire.

            Realistically it’s perfect for the automatic rifle role, but more in the “good enough but not ideal” for the LMG role. Very similar to the Bren gun.

          • jono102

            The difference being the Bren is a larger caliber and designed from the ground up for the role as an LMG which it performed well for decades.
            The long barrelled Steyr doesn’t lend itself to the LSW role any more than than the regular version less the fact it has a longer barrel. The long barrel versions are primarily used as marksman type rifles.
            The QCB function on it serves little use to a “gunner” as the bipod is barrel mounted so is a massive in convenience during changes. The barrel is also long and thin in comparison to LMG barrels so it would be awkward near impossible to carry spare barrels without getting them bashed around.
            The Steyr itself retains a fair bit of heat in the receiver, this wouldn’t change much with an open bolt, so any constant automatic fire would heat the stock up quite fast. Not ideal considering the gunners face is beside the bolt.

          • 2805662

            The barrel walls of an AUG are thicker than those of a M249 SAW – one reason why heat retention in AUG without fluted barrels in an issue.

          • The Bren comparison is mostly that the AUG LMG is the closest thing currently available as a “5.56 Bren” – namely a handy, magazine fed LMG with a quick change barrel and open bolt. I use the Bren as an example of a successful, magazine fed LMG, that gave up some sustained fire ability by using magazines, but offered much higher mobility over it’s belt fed contemporaries.

            While the AUG was never a dedicated machine gun, the use of it as such in the HBAR and Open Bolt LMG were part of the design – hence the name “Universal Army Rifle.”

            The quick change barrel really is what distinguishes it from previous attempts at the “LMGing” of a rifle, which typically only featured a heavy barrel – The M16 LSW/LMG, L86A1 LSW, Galil ARM, Chinese Type 95 LMG, all lacked the quick change barrel, and were prone to overheating the barrel in sustained automatic fire.

            Given that the Marines are largely fazing out the SAW in favor of a M27 heavy barrel 416 (which has a fixed barrel and closed bolt) it’s hard to imagine that the open bolt, quick change barrel AUG LMG would not be up to the task.

            Ultimately it’s more of an 80/20 solution (80% the benefit/20% of the hassle) to the SAW rather than a direct 100% better solution. You get less sustained fire, but gain much higher mobility, the ability to be fired off the shoulder and used in close quarters like a assault rifle, and the ability to share 42rd magazines with the squad. And of course, the logistical benefit of just having one simple to service weapons system for 5.56.

          • jono102

            All the LSW’s you mentioned don’t share the same construction around the receiver as the Steyr, the L-86 LSW as an example. They will disperse heat a lot better than the Steyr. A Steyr LSW gunner will get a warm “cheek” pretty soon.
            Any of the Steyr users I have worked with be it NZDF, ADF and IDF (Irish) have used 42 rounders or drums once before they realised how impractical they were on a Steyr. 42rd mags force you into a higher prone position and they both got in the way for position and hold during firing and patrolling. They became a novelty on the range or for poser photo’s but never went on patrol.

          • 2805662

            The ‘quick change’ barrel feature was deleted from the F90. It’s bolted in there.

            Also, from a practicality perspective (at an army level), multiple barrel lengths are a bit of a nightmare. Firstly, tracking & storing the serial-numbered items is an additional overhead. Secondly, how do you ensure that all the barrels wear at the same rate (related to headspace)?

            Working with two Armies that use AUG derivatives, individual rifles (or carbines) are procured and delivered with one barrel. The multiple barrel lengths are just procurement options at the point of decision, not at operator level.

          • Thanks for the insight. I totally failed to think of the ‘behind the scenes’ aspect of tracking the barrels.

            While I have you here, do you happen to know which parts on the AUG are most common to wearing out/breaking over long term use? I’d like to snag a few spare parts, but wasn’t sure which one’s to focus on.

          • 2805662

            The locking sleeve on the bolt tends to shed teeth, the ejector spring can lose tension, a spare gas piston is handy, and if you haven’t already, replace the return springs in the guide rods with the molybond ones (not sure they’re available separately).

          • jono102

            As mentioned the bolt sleeve is generally the first thing to go be it loosing teeth or cracks on the sleeve itself. When we were still looking at upgrading the Steyr one of the key changes was a stronger bolt sleeve.
            One issue that can’t repaired is on older issue rifles the lug that holds the gas plug in getting snapped off. Its one of our key checks looking for hair line cracks etc. If it goes, new barrel time

          • DaveB

            Don’t forget the barrel extensions separating from the barrels. Those two oversize ‘rivets’ (for want of a better term) that the action rods pass through are a weak point and we are seeing a number of those separate now.

        • Tritro29

          Didn’t picked the AR-either. But go figure why they picked a Swiss firearm based on the AK, firing STANAG ammo. The French choices when it comes to the FAMAS were easy.

          °National Production.
          °National Supply Chain.
          °Logistical Commonality with NATO.

          The Plans to develop a 5.56 rifle for France were approved as early as 1968 when after the French military attaché in Vietnam was presented with the M16 in person.

          • Joseph Goins

            They picked the HK 416 which is a GERMAN product in the AR-15 family. The product has nothing to do with the AK platform.

          • Tritro29

            When offered a “brand new” AR-15 in 1974 the French picked a Swiss variant of the AK on 5.56 while testing their own rifle. Just think about it…an AK variant. Follow the discussion or stop talking.

          • Joseph Goins

            Follow the discussion or stop talking.

            I started the discussion, you pompous å$$ . It had nothing to do with with history of the French service rifles. It has everything to do with the current selection of the HK 416 and the slow death of bullpups.

          • Tritro29

            It has to do with history of French service rifles, because it is about a FRENCH SERVICE RIFLE. Also there’s no selection as of yet. And this has nothing to do with bullpups either. This looks like a beartrap kind of thing, when militaries start massively to reinvest into classical designs and capabilities although there are other innovations around the corner but the cost or implementation is too high/complex.

            Also I was adressing the fact that the French could have picked the AR back in the day, multiple times. They didn’t and will not field another DI gun after the MAS49.

            Also source about the fact the F2000 was subbed and AUG was subbed to the AIF bid.

          • n0truscotsman

            quite a few NATO countries use the 416 too, so its not a bad idea. Not my preference (being biased in favor of the C7/C8), but probably the better of the choices.

          • Tritro29

            I’m not arguing against the 416, it’s irrelevant to do so while the weapon has been shortlisted. It’s going to be either the 416 or the SCAR. So basically for good or bad there’s no more room for debate. On both cases AR15 or AR 18/G36 there so there’s litterally no contest.

      • Tritro29

        If you plan a rifle for a common round, then are forced to chop both initial project and round, there are going to be surprises. The Rifle if done properly as initially planned and without STANAG in mind would have been great (Forgotten Weapons had recently a presentation that would probably make you review your judgement), but even though the rifle was simpler, cleaner and cheaper to produce than everything the French were offered by then. With the notable exceptions of the Finnish M76 series (non-NATO=ditched) and SiG 540, which won the initial French SOF contract.

        Famas is the example that if you want to have a successful venture in France, you should never implicate the French State in your business.

    • ReadyorNot

      On their way out in France and NZ, but on their way in, in other countries. I wouldn’t generalize based on a small sample size.

      • DaveB

        I haven’t heard any announcements. Can you tell me which countries have newly adopted bull-pup designs?

    • Anon. E Maus

      There’s still the Steyr AUG and F2000.

      The FAMAS just isn’t a very amazing example of a bullpup, is all, and needed replacement.

      • Joseph Goins

        And when they were looking for a replacement for the FAMAS, they chose to leave bullpups behind and not adopt the AUG or FS2000.

        • Neither the F2000 or AUG/F90 were submitted, so them not winning the contract is hardly a surprise.

          • Joseph Goins

            AUG and FS200 were submitted along with HS Produkt’s VHS-2. All three are bullpup designs and none of them were finalists. The runner up was the SCAR 16, and the winner was HK 416. It goes to show that the AR15 family is still alive and well and beats bullpup designs.

          • Do you have a source for the AUG / F2000 being submitted? I’ve been googling and was only able to confirm the VHS-2.

          • Joseph Goins

            It was in a TFB article long ago. Either way, the comment about bullpups stands. If France wanted them, they would have made that a design requirement.

          • Tritro29

            … Thales was deemed in-house bidding and wasn’t subbed, plus the AIF needed collapsible and/or folding stock. F2000 doesn’t have it.

  • Shane Gibson

    The rest of the world’s militaries are experimenting with bullpups and France returns to conventional rifles. They have always been more interested in looks than in use

    • Tom

      The French always do what is best for the French. They fight hard too.

      • Klaus Von Schmitto

        “They fight hard too.”

        Sure do. Don’t get between them and safety.

        • mig1nc

          Thank God they still have the Foreign Legion.

          • joe tusgadaro

            Most of the FFL is made up of French men…plus the FFL is not the only unit deployed to combat…it’s not even a major part of it.

          • mig1nc

            I know. I was half joking. Nevertheless, A Frenchman once told me they have an old saying, “the Legion is only as strong as its weakest German.” Apparently there are also a lot of Germans in the Legion.

      • Judging by the last decade, the French always do what is best for Islam.

      • Tritro29

        You invoked the troll brigade…

    • “The rest of the world”? No, if anything the trend is away from bullpups.

      I note that you’re criticizing France for not picking a bullpup because of “looks”, when the only bullpup in the competition was the Croatian VHS. So, what, France was just supposed to ignore all of the other well-proven entrants and adopt a Croatian rifle with a length of pull designed for yetis because… In theory the bullpup is a better concept?

      Maybe France knows a thing or two about how to adopt a rifle, and that’s why they didn’t adopt a bullpup this time around.

      • Joe

        Nathaniel, you’d probably know: What’s the shortest LOP bullpup rifle (not the P90)?
        I know longer than the norm is typical, but which is the least too long?

        • Ever, or currently on the market?

          All the ones currently on the market are very similar, except the VHS-2. The F2000 might be the shortest, but it’s very close so far as I can tell. Another good candidate would be the RFB, interestingly. I haven’t measured any myself, so this is all guesswork.

          Ever (assuming an intermediate round) would probably be the Russian TKB-022.

          • iksnilol

            Length of pull for TKB-022 doesn’t look too long for me. Seems average.

          • I believe Joe was asking what bullpups had the shortest LOP. I think the TKB-022 would be a good candidate for shortest ever, besides really small caliber stuff like the P90.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, my misunderstanding then.

          • iwan the terrible

            Very biased from you, suspiciously biased.

          • What in the world are you talking about?

          • iwan the terrible

            The winner is known before the official process is over?!

          • I am confused. Are you talking about the TKB-022?

          • iwan the terrible

            Result of process should be a report which unequivocally states the advantage of selected firearm, and I should suggest you to wait this report.

        • I just measured my AUG and PS90.

          AUG- from front of trigger to stock in a straight line, is 14.75.” However the stock is sloped, so when held higher on the shoulder, the length of pull is lower.

          PS90: Slightly over 13.”

      • Jallan

        True, comparatively the Steyr Aug in Australia in 1988 was considered a big success. (Australia had optics as standard on their rifles decades before first world armies adopted them, and I read it doubled infantry accuracy. Also had a forward pistol grip as standard as well)
        So the military being conservative, has instead just decided to fix the rifles deficiencies rather than move entirely to the AR-like platform. (that’s already being used by special forces anyway) I think this gives the Australian military the best of both worlds, no need to choose between the two.

      • Tritro29

        Actually there was another bullpup that was shafted, through Verney Carron (IWI’s XM95/Tavor).

        Also we’ve spoken about this, France wanted a no hassle choice without any possible headache. Given how BOTH militaries (French/German) were going to develop whole batches of armament (new tank, new rifle, new commo set, new PPE etc) the choice was clear. Now that the Germans haven’t decided on basically any of those programs, the French might still go ahead with the 416 so as to be in line with their partners once the funding for the rest of the projects will be green lighted.

      • iwan the terrible

        This is, what, 3rd article, in which your favorite gun wins? Is there any disguised motive for which we should know about? :/

        • Hold on a second, exactly what is supposed to be my “favorite gun”?

          • iwan the terrible

            Not sure where you are located at, but in EU, from where I am and where France is, your insider information resulting from leakage in the process of selecting new French rifle, could fall under the Criminal charges. Seems as, you, in your few articles have a lot of insider information. Please free to explain yourself.

          • Take it up with RETEX MAG, then, since they’re the one who leaked it.

    • borekfk

      “They have always been more interested in looks than in use”

      You’ve never seen a Lebel, Berthier, MAS-36, MAS-44, or a MAS-49/56 then.

    • Richard

      Are they? Which ones?

      I’d say the trend is away from bullpups, not toward them.

    • Joshua

      New Zealand just ditched bullpups for LMT M4’s.

      • iksnilol

        Cause they got them cheaper?

        • Joshua

          Because the LMT MRPs were the best performing rifle of those entered.

          Don’t forget their SF also picked up LMT MRPs after having their own seperate competition.

          • Tritro29

            Please give me the entries for the Kiwi FR and explain to me why the Kiwis picked up a replacement over the planned MLO.

            Answer: Because Thales Lithgow were trying to molest them without lubricant and without a kiss. The upgrade price for the whole inventory was like 10% cheaper than buying new rifles off the Shelf.

            The Kiwis never wanted to change rifle, Capitalism, the Aussi way made them do it.

          • Richard

            Not true – NZ hated the AUG so much they brought their replacement program forward to get rid of it.

          • Tritro29

            That’s not what the NZDF people say and I got this by a true Ngati.

        • Richard

          Because, unlike Australia, they actually had a competitive trial program and the LMT won the trial.

          Say what you like about the AUG, but what kind of decision making process selects a rifle with ‘saving on training costs’ as the main criteria?

          What happened to combat effectiveness as the primary goal?

          • Tritro29

            I don’t understand what you just wrote. The most prolific firearm in this planet as it stands in all variables was adopted to “save cost” over two rifles that were superior to it.

            The AK was approved, re-approved and then some while each and every time rifles were betters than its performance.

            The only time the AK lost a trial…it still won again. And well, open a news paper. There’s a freaking chance you’d find a picture of some 3rd World rebel/terrorist with one talking his ass out.

        • jono102

          The NZDF had 2 scheduled programs for the in-service rifle. The 1st was the Mid life upgrade to the Steyr to bring it on par with current systems i.e. modularity not found with the AUG. This was planned to be done around 2010-2014. This project supposed to take it through to the 2nd being the Replacement planned for around the mid 2020’s.

          After a lot of development and evaluations, the NZDF decided what they wanted in an upgrade and took it to market. THALES was the only reply. Due to the price THALES asked and how close the planned replacement program was now, The NZDF decided to drop the upgrade and jump straight to the planned replacement program. THALES chose not to submit a tender for the replacement.

          Price was never a question in the Replacement as the project team never get that info. The project also included the cost of ACOGS, PEQ torches etc which together cost a lot more than the rifles they’re on, so they made the rifle cost irrelevant.

          I’ve never hated the Steyr. It may not be perfect an has pro’s and con’s compared with other platforms, but nothing a trained soldier can’t deal with. Its served me well, it just hasn’t been progressively upgraded since they came into service.

          • Rellan

            This supports my view that the EF88 is for Australians only, which doesn’t include the New Zealanders. Although rather than invasion being imminent, more likely New Zealand will be incorporated as another state of Australia in the future. This is inline with new zealand outsourcing it’s airforce to Australia.

          • jono102

            Shouldn’t that be “The EF88, For Australian soldiers whether they want it or not”
            I think if you look around its NZ slowly taking over Aussy, not the other way around. “Welcome to fold West Island”

          • DaveB

            As I recall, Thales price for rebuilding the NZDF’s Steyrs was in excess of $2K each. Nobody in their right mind would have agreed to that.

    • Tritro29

      Well the Famas in horrible to look at, but as a mechanism the rifle was leaps and bounds over some other similar rifles (AR-15 included).

      • AC97

        How is the mechanism “leaps and bounds” over any other rifle?

        • Tritro29

          At the time it was introduced and R&Dd the Famas was a simpler system to produce, easier to maintain, easier to move on a heavily mechanized Cold war army, had been equipped for many uses, had a theoretically better system both residue wise and recoil wise (that one turned out to be half a lemon) and relied on a super simple bolt.

          If you know what the FAMAS innards look like, you wouldn’t have asked the question. How bad the French messed up when they did not stick with the 55gr bullet, that’s something that’s not on the gun, but the political choices that were made BEFORE the Famas was designed and induced.

          Also it WAS, not is (although the simplicity of the rifle is still hard to beat).

          • AC97

            What do you think of lever-delayed blowback operation compared to roller-delayed blowback operation?

          • Tritro29

            What is this? Group therapy?

          • AC97

            Um, no? I mean is/was that mechanism better than roller-delayed blowback in things like cost and other things like that.

          • Tritro29

            Cheaper yes, better yes, but all this is theoretical. Take the Indians for instance. They managed to bunch together two weapons CAL+AK and made them a dangerous bastard.

            Take the Swiss, they bunched together two weapons as well; AR+AK and they made a rather interesting proposal with the 556.

            Everything depends on how you execute your final product.

  • jono102

    Awaits the arrival of the TFB H&K Mafia

  • Aurélien Morel

    The French military has been in love with H&K for a while, so it’s not really a twist.

    • Tritro29

      Actually the French have been botching ze Germans every time they could. They killed the H&K 33/41 bid for the COS and took SiG 540. They ditched the MP-5 bid for the second line troops and opted for 9mm kits fom Famas and Famas Commandos (even Unicorns are more common than the Famas C) and then they picked the 553.

      They confirmed the FR F2 as “DMR”, while H&K tried hard to sell the SG-1 etc etc.

      Although the French Police and Gendarmerie units they love the Germans. H&K uses some French specially treated steel and alloys.

      • Aurélien Morel

        The reason COS had SIG rifles was because they were built by Manurhin in France. And most of the SIG 540 were just trickle-down from the Army contracts of the 80s (to bridge the gap between the FSA 49/56 and the FAMAS while the troops were in Lebanon).

        All special forces have had G36s and HK416/417 for years, and the navys service handgun is the H&K USP.
        Special ops have also had everything H&K has sold over the years : HK33s, HK53s, HK G3s, and so on and so forth. Maybe not in large numbers (except for GIGN) up until the early 2000s, but they sure had them.

        Also Herstal has lost the appeal of being owned by Nexter years ago, and H&K has been sucking up to the French interior and defense ministries for a good 15 years.

        And what I meant was: the troops love H&K.

        Also, a whole lot of French manufacturing companies have been tooling up for AR15 and AR15-related production for the last handful of years, so they likely knew it wouldn’t be the SCAR or a random bullpup rifle.

  • Nallan

    You cannot stop progress! Instead of dropping them, they can just politely hand them over to add to the german armory.

  • Lily *Dogs Name*

    So an AR-15

    • iksnilol

      *Teutonic Space AR

    • Arathar

      Rather a bit changed Ar18 not Ar15

      • Kivaari

        I suspect that upper would fit right onto an AR lower. The AR18 is a sheet metal forming. Except for a piston and a bolt head shape, they have little in common. The HK uses almost everything AR15 except for that piston.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          It does fit an AR lower

      • Tritro29

        That would be Scar.

    • Anon. E Maus

      An extra expensive AR, with a short-stroke piston instead of a conventional AR-15 gas system. The gun is good, because the manufacturing is high quality, but it could probably be a little lighter and cheaper if they had designed it as a regular gas expansion rifle, in my opinion, while still being just as good.

      The French could probably have made a more economical choice, but ultimately the rifle is a good one, and it’ll be a significant step up from the very aging F1 rifles they have been using.

      • Scouse

        If the metal sights shown on the pictures here, on the prototype are the ones that are going to be on the finished product, they are crap!
        A silly, about a two inch rear piece of metal, with a aperture in it, one that folds down!
        The front post? Looks like an accident waiting to happen. The first fall, bent or broke.
        H&K have a terrific rear turret sight, like is on the MP5, and the G93. 76.2X51 rifle. Why not use one of those?

    • Just say’n

      No! THE AR-15 that killed UBL!

  • Pete Sheppard

    It appears the AR is the Mauser of the 21st Century

    • Ken

      With the 21st century twist of open source, produced without needing licensing agreements.

    • Tritro29

      Still less military sales than the AKM in the 21st century, by a 7 million margin.

      • Black Dots

        I think you misspelled “donations”.

        • Tritro29

          You pay for donations in the US?

          • iksnilol

            Capitalists, they’re like that. They usually call paid donation “campaigning”, “lobbying” or my personal favorite: “tax deductible”.

      • Pete Sheppard

        That might make the AK the Mosin-Nagant of the 21st Century.

      • Aurélien Morel

        I’m wondering if the AR15 is even reaching FAL/SLR numbers. A hundred plus military users and a few million rifles produced, that’s pretty decent.

      • Kivaari

        Price. Third world countries still buy cheap AK rifles.

        • Tritro29

          … You don’t say. Also the problem is not exactly third world countries, the problem is war in third world countries. Sipri estimates that up to 50% of AK-related small arms have been bought by Western countries or “rich” countries for third parties. What fuels most of the current conflicts (Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and a couple wars in Africa) are weapons bought from the geat powers that sponsor them. Case in point the over 3 billion shopping spree of the US in the balkans in favour of the Syrian “Revolution”. Add to that the 1.5 billion USD bill that Saudi Arabia has footed during the same time…and yeah, basically you’ll have your picture.

          • Kivaari

            That’s a very good observation. It’s quite true. It’s like during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan we bought more AKs, SA7s ammunition from China to support the Muj. We had more in common with the Russians than the Muj. In the Congo the CIA shipped in 35,000 M1911 pistols because they could get them cheap. Trouble is there were not 35,000 people on both side. We buy all kinds of gear that fuels conflict. Look at Syria where we have Russians supporting Assad, while we support some of the rebels and the Kurds, while Turkey is at war with the Kurds. So our NATO ally is supplying other rebels and killing our allies. All the while Russian are killing ISIS. What a mess.

          • disqus_XlYouOiadt

            I think the U.N. calls it ‘gun control.’

          • Wu-Tang

            YUM! Nation Building! American favorite since the Cold War!

      • Paul Joly

        Yes more than 10 times that if you add the akm variants/copies (East German, Polish, Romanian, Chinese…)

        • Tritro29

          That would be for the XXth century, we’re talking about the XXIst.

    • RealitiCzech

      Why are they buying an overpriced gun like the 416 when one would imagine an M4 was far cheaper? There’s no national pride involved, and they’d save a ton of cash by adopting the budget version.

      • Bhess

        Uhhh, the M-4 sucks and has a higher failure rate by far.

        • RealitiCzech

          Neither is accurate.

  • KestrelBike

    Dear France: please send all your FAMAS to the US as kits, assuming cut receivers.

    • Richard

      They probably won’t, although I would love to get ahold of some.

    • Youbdu29

      famas replacement will be done in two stages: 45000 for combat units and more than 60,000 after so you may be lucky to recover a famas f1 between the two orders unless it is destroyed .

    • Spidouz

      You want to hear about the French gov stupidity? The FAMAS could easily be converted to semi-auto by changing the trigger group in the back by pretty much just pushing 2 pins and insert a new semi-auto trigger group that already exist for some “civilian” models. The French government could send the FAMAS to St Etienne to have them convert, validated and then be sold on the civilian market. They could easily sell a FAMAS in the $1,000-$1,500 price range because a lot of people want them, just for collection purpose. It could easily cover the cost of conversion and even finance part of the new rifle contract. But no… French government will send FAMAS to St Etienne for destruction (which is far from being free neither)… so it will cost even more taxpayer money. That’s how stupid and anti-guns they can be!

      • KestrelBike

        Figures. Clowns. Thanks for the info!

      • Tritro29

        Not @ MAS but in Tulle to be exact. All the rest is exactly true.

        • Spidouz

          Actually, it’s St Etienne that is the only allowed entity in France to make gun certification (in case of conversion). Now regarding the destruction, I guessed it would be St Etienne, but it could be Tulle or another place that would get the contract. I didn’t check to be honest.

          • Tritro29

            St Etienne doesn’t have a demil section (or a military section) anymore. It has been converted into R&D “pôle”. The weapons are currently repaired or modified in Tulle.

            MAS is only a souvenir, I’m affraid.

          • Spidouz

            But gun certification are still made in St Etienne and nowhere else.

          • Tritro29

            Certifications are a formal step and it’s normal that MAS keeps the intellectual rights vis à vis the French State and they work with actual physical demil from Tulle or when the Nexter facility in Tulle is overwhelmed by Chapuis (ex-ManuRhin).

            Anyway as I said, it’s exactly as you said in essence, no matter where the guns are torched, they still are torched instead of a quick modification and re-export. Instead of providing work and earning revenue, the French state spends more to destroy some of its more appealing items.

            Maison de fous. 😉

  • Big Daddy

    Good choice it’s seems like a good gun. Although from what I see the Bren seems to be better for a typical infantry soldier. They desperately needed to upgrade and the H&K can use the same ammo as the rest of NATO. I have read the FAMAS had issues with standard SS109. I also am hoping NATO goes with the M855A1 or something similar.

    • Tritro29

      The Famas had no issue with SS109, it had issues with the successor.

  • Vincenzo

    This last rumor about the 416 being chosen to replace the FAMAS turned out to be wrong, I think I will wait and see.

  • Jay

    They did move pretty fast with this competition.

    Judging by recent trends in US procurement system, had the Americans done this, It would have taken them a decade and few trillion fiat money, and still not find a replacement.

  • Black Dots

    The contract terms are fair. France just has to hand over Alsace-Lorraine.

    • Brian Peterson

      Unexpected history humor made me laugh loudly. My wife asked what was funny and I explained. She didn’t get it. Further explanation failed to produce any chuckles on her part, but she did call me boring. So there’s that.

      • Black Dots

        It just so happens that historical humor and creating awkward marital situations are my specialities.

        • pismopal

          Most marital situations are awkward..we just get used to it.

      • Scot168

        Every man that had to explain this type of joke to his wife has gone through the same experience, you found out you wasted your time. Next time when the same situation comes up, mention a shoe sale at the mall and focus her attention else where and all will be fine.

    • Bhess

      LOL

  • MNOR

    If true: Good on you Frenchies. As military service rifles goes, The HK416 is a truly great rifle. Especially now that it has been fielded for years, and the kinks have been worked out in the latest version, The 416A5. Can’t go wrong with it.

    BUT, I must admit(even as a 416 user since 09) that I was kinda rooting for the SCAR. Just because it’s not an AR platform.

    • James Young

      The SCAR just has some small differences that probably pushed them toward the HK416.

      That being said, I would love to see the evalution details of France and New Zealand (LMT) in how they determine the best rifles for their military.

  • Les Paul

    If true, good call!

  • James Young

    H&K416 is expensive as an infintry rifle, so I’m a little surprised, but it’s a solid choice from a performance standpoint…now if they had only done it a few years ago, their military wouldnt be playing catchup on modernization in the terror war today.

  • forrest1985

    Hopefully the UK will take note and ditch bullpups! Best to buy from US though, as i can see Germans shafting us for leaving Europe!

    • James Young

      They should adopt the best rifle for their military that they can afford. Which probably isnt a bullpup, but who knows how they decide these things

      • Martin M

        Best that they can afford? Have you seen their spending lately? A statement like that might land them somewhere between a HiPoint and Airsoft.

        • James Young

          Haha, love your comment

    • Ray

      Buy from Canada. Your SF already has.

    • n0truscotsman

      based on my conversations with UK military personnel, they would be delighted for the enfield to get replaced. Especially for a stoner rifle.

  • Niguana

    I hope they are drop proof.

  • Charles Newman

    When did the French start fighting?

    • rennsport4.4TV8

      The French participated both world wars, the war on terror in response to 9/11, Libya and are active in Syria. Oh you’re talking about that same tired joke. Ha ha.

    • John

      Maybe you didn’t notice the bad guys shooting up Paris and Nice.

  • desertcelt

    The Huns are on the march!

  • ScranunSlim

    Why would the French need a rifle?

    • Kurt Akemann

      To shoot Islamists and Russians.

    • Craigslist Redshirt1

      Derpa derpa derpa do got any more antiques to steal?

  • John

    Has The Firearm Blog reached out to all five companies (H&K, Fabrique Nationale, Sig Sauer, HS Produckt, Beretta) and asked them for comment on this?

    • Tritro29

      You will not have any comment for this, unless you know people from those or within French bureaucracy. There’s a no tell policy required by both parties. This has prompted allegedly HSProdukt to initiate a review request about possible leaks.

  • Peter Wall

    The main concern of the French selection board, that the finalist would be drop
    proof. The weapon must whitstand multiple drops from 3 to 5 feet. The test was
    from a running movement.
    (I am of French persuasion, so I can laugh at my heritage)😁

    • iksnilol

      yeah, well, YOU’RE A BUNDLE OF STICKS!

      😛

    • mazkact

      My last name ends in a silent consonant and my folks left the Viking coast of France in the 1700’s. Having said that, the length of the FAMAS is not conducive to using it as a bearer of a white handkerchief 🙂

  • Arathar

    Is it just for frontline troops or entire military? If than its the most retardet choice ever. Its frigging 21century. This Rifle is outdated since over 3 decades. The next rifles and cartidges like polymer cased telescopic (and other even better ones) are coming anyways verry soon. For the frontline no problem but the ENTIRE military… what an hilarious waist of money. In a few years they have to change again anyways.

    Could rather be used to help like poor children. What a shame.

    • jono102

      The maturity of LSAT/cased and other developmental munitions and weapons are still sometime from maturity as proven system. Even then, only once they prove a practical advantage in a military sense over current ball type munition will they even be even considered for adoption. Only the US or a consortium of other countries will have the ability to push them into service without accepting the risk of a non standardized munition. So soon as in 15-20yrs+ maybe. The H&K G11, was supposed to be the next big thing sometime back till it proved to be a good concept but not practical as an example.

      France doesn’t have the legs left in the FAMAS to wait for that and will have to accept a lot of risk and costs to try to. It would cost as much if not more in the long term trying to band aid the FAMAS till then

  • ARCNA442

    Go back a hundred years and the world of military rifles was stagnating in Mauser derivatives. Go back another hundred and everything was Charleville copies.

    Each level of technology tends to produce a very small number of truly great designs and militaries will drop the less successful experiments and gravitate towards those designs as the era goes on.

  • DanGoodShot

    Wounder what the French army would have said if you told them back in 1945 they are going to be getting their small arms from a German company. Thats why I love reading history. To see where we have been to where we are today. Heck, I’ll bet you would have been shot as a trader for even suggesting that England could be an ally back in 1776. Not only are they an ally, they are our best ally.

    • Wu-Tang

      Because prior to the war and afterwards we kicked out the 1/2 of America that supported loyalty to the crown.

      Plus the irony is that the anti British crowd become the Jeffersonian French loving crowd. When the French Revolution turned bloody the Jeffersonians cheered them on while the arguable more pro British crowd were appalled.

  • mazkact

    FAMAS c’est merde!”

  • Frank Stratton

    For a gun design the gets so.much bad press. The AR has become the FAL of most modern forces that have a budget.
    Sad that true inovations are laying in the world.
    The bean counters and world banks rule.
    Don’t get me wrong it is a good design that has proven itself in all environments. Isn’t perfect but good to go, with present mitary doctrine. Flawed as that is.

  • jay

    Why didn’t one of the big firearm producers figure out how to fix the problems with the Famas, then bring in the manufacturing equipment and partner with a French company. The French would have jumped on it! Issues resolved, new materials and parts manufactured in France. New replacement parts, rotate out out old arms with new or modified new. Everyone is a winner!

    • Tritro29

      Market Economy and European Regulations.

      • jay

        Yeah, bet it kind of de gauls the French though! ;-}

        • Tritro29

          Also all problems with the Famas are fixed. The issue is that there is no more will from the French state to re-open the line as the company that owns the rights, MAS has closed its doors and the one that owns MAS, Nexter is now a private company. The French State is forced by law to hold a tender for the replacement/upgrade of the rifle. This means that they would have to restart a line for at least 5 years, this means more cost than simply shopping abroad. Also the French used an European qualified tender, which has some details that make the bidding process a 1% kind of club. So yes, De Gaulle must be rolling on his grave. Don Ward eloquently put it through the Occupation picture.

  • iksnilol

    Indeed she shall, now my fine sir, I shall bid thee good day: GOOD DAY!

  • Joseph Goins

    The AR platform will be in use for at least the next fifty years. Like the B-52 aircraft, you can’t kill it despite advances in technology.

  • Frank Grimes

    Hopefully they beef up the front sight.

    It doesn’t look like it would survive a drop too well.

    • Scouse

      Beef up the front sight? They can shorten the front sight, by over an inch (just by gaging it roughly by eye) throwing away the stupid tall stick with a hole in it, rear sight, and using the HK turret sight, as fitted to the MP5/HK91.
      Which I believe was the original equipment anyhow.

  • jay

    Crud. You over effectively shot that idea down. ;-{ But you are right too much to change to make it a competitive New gun. Too bad! I know you “Frogs” would have loved to built the new rifle yourselves. But they will probably get the manufacturing rights and produce the new rifles in France. Thanks for destroying the dream. ;-}

  • iwan the terrible

    Honestly, very surprising choice, considering the dubious recent HK quality and corruption charges.

  • Anthony “stalker6recon”

    When I was on active duty in 03′ through ’05, those with the means procured 416 uppers to reduce/eliminate action fouling jams. The difference was pretty stark, with almost no fouling, and most jams/double feeds were the results of damaged magazines and bad spring/followers.

    The HK416 is a better rifle than the Colt M4 that I carried, although my M4 had little trouble, but required detailed cleaning when ever possible. The amount of time spent cleaning the bolt group/star chamber etc, was noticeably reduced for those with the HK upper. I did not make this modification since I preferred to spend my money on the ACOG instead, so I do not know what other changes had to be made to make the new upper work. I would think that the buffer/spring would have to be replaced, but I don’t know for certain. I love my firearms, but I am not one of those who can tell you the exact specifications, such as diameter of the gas blowback tube, or the length of the stroke. While I was chosen to go to armored school, my NCO neglected to notify me, which pisses me off, because I would have loved to have that skill under my belt.

    I hope that the US military starts buying what is the best for our Soldier, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. If they are going to battle, they deserve the very best, not what is politically expedient or the cheapest.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    un corobboratted fluff from undocumented resouces that are guessing about something that has not yet been confirmed about maybe happenning….

  • tomato soup

    The H&K as a private company obtained the illegal government subsidy in hundred of millions in order to avoid bankruptcy three times. I doubt the French would choose company which battles on court about these issues and other corruption charges. Not to mention that company in the last decade could barley stay afloat without government subsidies.

    • uisconfruzed

      I’d own a couple if they weren’t SOOO much more expensive than their competition.

      • tomato soup

        I just stated that the HK company can’t obtain enough operating profit to avoid bankruptcy (3 times in last decade) without German government subsidies. Don’t know about reasons.

  • disqus_XlYouOiadt

    I guess they figure everyone’s forgotten it is an American AR-15 by another name. Let’s skip the alphapbet soup and call it a German copy of an American gun.

    • tomato soup

      The price tag in French tender for HK-416 is 3000 € = 3400$. How much would the original cost (AR-15)?

      • disqus_XlYouOiadt

        LOL. There might be some difference in quality but the Chinese Norinco M-4 goes for under $400 Canadian in Canada; a tad over $300 US. Still a rose by any name…

  • Tritro29

    Controls are placed where (they’re placed in the trigger unit)? Famas and Tavor use the same obturator in principle and you have to swap the blocking piece on both cases.

    Are you sure you have used a Famas? Are you sure you know what you’re talking about.

    Checking for malfunction with the Famas i easy because the ejection port will be directly under your eye and as the cheekpiece is slanted you have direct visual contact.

    Case doesn’t eject at high speed, it doesn’t have a buffer to get deflected and sometimes you have a hot case on your face.

    Many internal parts make no sense says who? The charging handle IS NOT reciprocating which makes actually difficult to have a second check for the nature of your malfunction (stovepipe, DF etc).

    You can fire low qual press withough issue IF your bullet is 55 grain. It will eventually come down to the golden BB that will get chewed but that wouldn’t be much different that other guns. But try high quality 62 grain, brass, iron, unobtainium even, and the issues you will get won’t be some case being squashed upon extraction, but your bullet key holing. FFS.

    Just a question, are you French? Parce que tu viens de vomir une flopée de conneries gars et je ne suis même pas Français…Les AEG c’est pas le mieux pour connaitre les armes.