BREAKING: French Defense Procurement Department CONFIRMS Heckler & Koch HK416 Win for French Rifle Contract

HK416France

If any of you still had doubts about the HK416’s rumored win of the French AIF (Arme Individuelle du Futur – Future Individual Weapon) contract, doubt no more. The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement, their defense procurement office) has released the final decision for the contract, naming Heckler & Koch as the winner. The press release is replicated in machine-translated form below:

BRANCH OF WEAPONS

The DGA award the contract to the Future Individual Weapon (AIF)

General of Armaments (DGA) the contract to the program “Individual Weapon Future” (AIF) in consortium Heckler & Koch France SAS and Heckler & Koch GmbH on September 22, 2016. The operation arming IAF seeks to replace the FAMAS whose design dates back to the 70. a call for competition at European level has to retain five proposals were evaluated by the DGA, in conjunction with the armed forces.
the assault rifle used is the HK 416 F. This rifle, NATO caliber 5.56 mm, has the ability to shoot rifle grenades and can receive a 40 mm grenade launcher to increase its firepower.
This market helps strengthen the strong ties between Germany and France in the defense and in particular the arms industry. It can meet the needs of the three services listed in the 2015 update of the law of military programming from 2014 to 2019 with the delivery of more than 100 000 weapons, accessories, ammunition and various services which promote the qualification, initial support and user training. Deliveries are scheduled from 2017 and will be spread over ten years.

If I had to speculate as to why Heckler & Koch beat its close rival Fabrique Nationale, it would be that the HK416 possessed features that the French evaluators felt were less troublesome than those of the FN SCAR. The SCAR’s reciprocating left-side charging handle – originally the product of a US SOCOM requirement – has been a thorn in its side ever since the rifle’s introduction on the international market. The polymer side-folding buttstock, too, may have caused the SCAR to suffer in durability tests, as it likely isn’t as shock-resistant as the HK’s AR-15-style fixed tubular sliding stock. None of this is to suggest that the SCAR is a bad rifle, but based on past French testing protocols these relatively minor issues may well have made the difference between the two rifles.

Fabrique Nationale has reportedly already submitted a protest to the contract award, so this story may not be over just yet.

 

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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  • Vitor Roma

    The Scar is a great platform but it is kinda lame how lazy FN seems about updating it or doing some modifications. They should follow the example of CZ that didn’t hesitate to update the Bren.

    • Tritro29

      Bren needed updates because the rifle wasn’t finalized yet. The SCAR is a final product, result of the US SCAR/ACR contract. There’s not much to update on the rifle from that viewpoint. The same is true for the HK 416. It’s basically the same kind of product with slight differences, but the French clearly added a political tone in the PR.

      • Minuteman

        The SCAR needs a crap load of after market though. The G38 -which I assume will fill the contract- is pretty much good right out the box. Only thing I’d change are stock, grip and trigger. Throw some BCM/Magpul furniture as well as the Geissele 416 trigger into the mix and you’re set. All else is fine.

        • Tritro29

          The SCAR is in use with COS in France as much as the HK416, both rifles need upgrades on an individual basis if they’re going to be given to every soldier out there, in terms of durability alone. We’re talking about a military contract with whole armed forces. This simply means that there will be nothing added to the rifles. As such both are perfectly equal when it comes to action reliability, accuracy and maintenance. The difference, mainly, comes from the annex deals that the rifles have been offered with.

          • Minuteman

            I’m with you on the logic that nothing will be added to the average soldier’s rifle. Which brings me to the issue of the need for a perfect rifle straight out the box. If cou compare them side by side, the HK416 wins hands down. It blows the SCAR out of the water in terms of lay out and ergos. The AR platform is an occlusive system, meaning it’s designed with having as few as possible ingress points possible. The charging handle is right there where it should be: out of the way. The SCAR’s is on the side, interfering with optics, snagging on webbing (yes it can be mounted on the other side but that is far from ideal from handling perspective), and it simply doesn’t have fully ambi controls. It’s a no brainer if you ask me. France made the obvious choice. HK’s rifle is better, and it’s the one that killed Bin Laden 😉

          • Tritro29

            How does the H&K 416 wins hands down? It has gone against other systems in the past Year or so and has a spotty record. In 6 tenders, it has lost 4 times. Ironically the SCAR has lot also 4 times with the two outsiders being the F2000 and the MCX…

            For the rest you’re clearly part of the AR-15 hype train, no need to talk further about this.

          • Minuteman

            There you definitely have a point…. Didn’t the SCAR have a lower failure rate at the Army’s rifle technology demonstration/trial as well? IIRC the top contenders finished as follows: HK XM8, FN SCAR (or the other way around), HK416.

            Oh I will concede where it is obvious I’m wrong, I’m open to debate and being enlightened. I wholeheartedly admit I like the AR platform a lot, yes…

            Hmm, you know what? Perhaps I should re-evaluate my whole SCAR/416 position, I don’t know..

          • Joshua

            Xm8 lol. Only thing that rifle did well at was being a horrible weapon platform.

          • iksnilol

            You should be a salesman 😉

          • Minuteman

            😀

    • Minuteman

      The SCAR is far from great given how much design flaws it has and hence needs so many after market to straihten it out. No man, the SCAR sucks… HK’s offering is clearly superior. It has fully ambi controls and is an AR derivative. You can’t beat that.

      • Pedro .Persson

        Curious what you consider design flaws, from an engineer’s perspective the SCAR is a very good system, very simple and elegant, specially the tappet piston. Only thing I don’t like on the design is the disassembly procedure, but it works nonetheless, and the monolithic receiver (which is a brilliant extruded piece with few machining operations) which limits the “handguard” length, but they could simply add a longer one with a cutout for the gas system just like they did with the MK20. The reciprocating charging handle does simplify the design immensely (specially if you insist on a forward assist or a non reciprocating charging handle that also acts as a forward assist) and if it’s such a bother, somehow not on any other weapon that uses it, a bent and folding handle would be simplicity itself to engineer. Can’t say much on the stock, only that it doesn’t have a vital component of the action running inside it and is easily replaceable.

        For the “it eats scopes”, I don’t see how it would be different from say an AK which is overgassed and has a massive BCG as well. Or a machinegun really.

        As for price, there is no way the HK product costs less to make, it’s a more complex design and require more machining. So the claims of lower costs are a lie, or KH is willing to take a loss, or FN suddenly got stupid.

        • Tritro29

          H&K is dumping previous rifles into this contract an the French Army isn’t going to buy the full complement of ammunition and grenades.
          That’s the only explanation for the alleged 200 million price tag.

          I agree fully, from a technical standpoint, the SCAR is the simplest offer…And has a folding stock.

          • Minuteman

            So the French are not getting the top of the line model? The G38 (previously known as the HK416A5)

          • Tritro29

            Is there a top of the line and a bottom of the line in this argument? They are going to get the rifle they have asked, the issue I take is with the Price, H&K has never done such a discount, you’re paying M16/M4 price per rifle if the 200 million price tag is confirmed. It’s basically dumping.

          • Minuteman

            The G38 is HK’s flagship model. That’s all I meant. The price point is indeed ‘interesting’ to say the least. Especially because the French will not be license producing them and no tech transfer is involved. These guns will be built in and shipped from Germany.

          • Joshua

            Yay for politics!

        • Minuteman

          I consider its flimsy stock and the lack of fully ambi controls (which are pretty much the industry standard nowadays and hence a must on a 21st century rifle) design flaws. I agree on its piston system and monolitithic receiver being a marvel. But they should have made the hand guard longer. Adding after market for all those things (stock, different charging handle, hand guard extension and so forth) is simply too cost prohibitive and time consuming. A military doesn’t want to waste time on putting their guns together first. There’s night and day difference between civilian rifle building and military tenders. The French military made a very competent decision by opting for a rifle that is pretty much good to go right out the box. HK won’t make loss, don’t worry. It’s all about volume of order, that’s how military contracting works. The SCAR is an inferior platform from the perspective of getting it up and running, there are simply too much things you need to tend to. You can tell by the quite impressive after market industry for it. If a rifle is perfect there’s no need for any, right?

          • Tritro29

            Lack of ambi controls…are we even trying now?

          • Minuteman

            I firmly believe in optimizing the warfighter’s tools as much as possible. Why settle for less if you can have it all?….

          • CS

            Hold on, your moaning about the things that need to be changed on the SCAR, yet in another post you said all the French have to do to the 416 (if you was them) is change the stock, trigger, handguard etc. Also, other than the charging handle all the other controls are the same as an M4/M16. I get your not a fan of the SCAR, but your contradicting yourself with everything you say.

          • Minuteman

            True, but let me explain myself a bit more. The SCAR’s stock is a horrible pos and NEEDS replacement. The HK416’s stock is not as bad, it’s a solid one peace. Do I like it? No, but could I live with if denied tweaking? Yeah sure. It does what it needs to do and is kinda/sorta akin to an M4 style stock. Just a tad bit too skinny for my taste and not as comfortable as say for instance the STR. The HK416 stock trigger is okay despite HK triggers generally being sucky but that relates more to hand guns I suppose. I would prefer Geissele because that’s the gold standard. With regard to the handguard, that’s an issue… Man that thing heats up quickly..

          • Pedro .Persson

            Well to me the controls on a SCAR are pretty much identical to an AR, it-s only the bolt release that is not ambi because it´s pretty much an AR bolt release (SOCOM requirement maybe, I need to research it.) I admit HK solution was ingenious and elegant albeit I would preffered something like on the G36 but extended. That is another rifle that needs a modernization but it would take quite a while. But on the SCAR you do have that charging handle so I guess it makes up for it even if a fraction slower.

            The stock looks fine, nothing egregious design-wise. The cheek piece is a bit floppy, but so you can remove it easily. Haven´t so much heard about actual problems as much as it feeling woobly and plasticy. Still it´s a secondary non vital part, the rifle will work even if it´s destroyed, unlike a buffer tube.

            On the receiver FN has a longer one, the MK20, It´s just a longer extruded piece with different cutouts, easy. You don´t need much to adapt the rifle to your needs so it´s out of the box perfect, not unlike what NZ did with their new rifles, you don´t need a whole new ACR program to do that. Maybe the French are broke or not willing to push their will… which is strange and another reason why I think it was more of a polictical decision than anything else.

            Still I want to see the actual report, if I recal right FN is complaining that they lost despite doing well technically-wise.

          • Minuteman

            They are indeed, minus ambi bolt release. That sucks if you ask me.
            The point with side-mounted charging handles is that it’s a snag point, unacceptable. There’s good reason why the AR’s CH is located where it is and where it should be.
            Stockwise, fair enough, but see? There you go, it needs to be replaced after market. The ACR stock would suit the SCAR fine.
            Wouldn’t know about France’s in-house politics..
            Me too. I’m not at all bashing the SCAR in the reliability department. Performance-wise it’s a darn good and accurate rifle. It’s just the design in the ergos, real estate and handling realm which bothers me.

          • iksnilol

            Are there any documented instances of a charging handle snagging on things?

            I think it’s a thing people stress so as to complain about something.

          • Minuteman

            Ever tried it yourself? Try carrying an FAL around all the time, for instance. Side mounted charging handles suck balls. They interfere with webbing, constantly poke you around and what not. I say to hell with them. YMMV

          • iksnilol

            A FAL? Never encountered those, used AKs and bolt actions though. No problem from charging handle on either for me at least.

          • Minuteman

            All of those have the CH on the right side, I”m talking about the CH on the left side where it causes the aforementioned problems.

          • iksnilol

            I forgot to mention the part where I have two (2) functional hands, arms and shoulders. So I’ve used and carried from either side. Not a real issue unless you have a really big charging handle.

          • Minuteman

            Kudos man. I belong to the AR crowd. The CH is right there where it should be and functions the way it has to (out of the way, occlusive, non-reciprocating). At the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference. I repect everybody’s personal experiences and preferences. Whatever floats your boat.

          • iksnilol

            Agreed, but at the end of the day it is a moot point. You need to have a decent working knowledge of various firearms. I don’t like VFGs, but I learned how to use a rifle with one, due to many military issue HK416s (what Norway uses) have quad rails and VFGs.

            Same applies to AKs, if crap goes diagonally you might need to use one. So being flexible helps. I have my preferences but am still decent with other options.

          • jono102

            Folding cocking handle of the L1A1 solves that.

          • Minuteman

            I’ll give you that.

          • NickG

            The British FAL – L1A1 – called SLR in service, had a folding cocking handle that did not snag or dig into your gut when holding it at low port for extended periods. It worked well.

          • Minuteman

            I took notice of that earlier in the discussion indeed.

          • CommonSense23

            It’s a legit issue. Posting your gun on a barrier, shooting thru a loophole. Its a legit issue which comes up more than people think.

          • iksnilol

            So when you put your gun on a barrier, you don’t put the handguard on the barrier but the receiver, and then just to pull off the difficult shot you angle the gun 90 degrees?

            Yeah, not seeing it.

          • Jim N Jenna SK

            I had my scar 17s ch snag on my sling. It happens.

          • Pedro .Persson

            Neither am I about the HK, those are fine guns, but I still think FN are the better engineers, even if their aproach ends up too industrial looking. Albeit I do not like it´s higher than a normal AR and uses a different type of handguard… but it´s more of a civi complaint… I still want to see a modernized G36, that would be awesome.

            Well it´s a solid charging handle, it´s to be expected, but then FN was ordered to have one. The fix is easy, bent is donwards or add a folding one. Not complex really, just a minor tweak if the client really wants it that way. The AR CH is in a good place to be ambi and not interfer with stuff, but I´s also heard people complaing about using it prone or in confined space. I would prefer a non reciprocating one, but to integrate a FA into one is not easy… look at Magpul patents for that.

            Yeah and that is a common aftermarket pattern like AR stocks is nice, you can source them anywhere if you have to. Frankly if I was at FN I would have just slapped a buffer tube adaptor and called it a day both to address this complaint and not to have to bother desgining one… which looks like they are doing witht he CSR 20, so again, if the client really wants it, they will have it their way

            I don´t know much about French polictics, only generally how Europe is doing, maybe an act of good will torwards Merkel… not sure. Only thing I can be sure is that there must be quite a few military personel and engineers that are not happy it´s not a native design… heck France did built both a gen 4 fighter and a MBT on their own to suit their needs better, the FAMAS is a rather impressive gun considering it´s a delayed blowback. Sad to see their small arms industry gone.

          • Minuteman

            FN are far more exciting and innovarite a company in comparison to rather boring and on the safe side conservative HK.

            The G36A2 is out there. That upgrade enough for ya? I’m still not a fan of magazine release lever based reloading though.

            I find the ACR stock to be very good looking on the SCAR, I’d run it that way. Mounting an M4 style buffer tube doesn’t add up because of the design of the receiver. Vltor makes one though. Yet having the barrel below the buffer is hardly desirable and makes for unbalanced firing. Take a look at the Creative Arms ARK for example and see how that thing kicks around.

            Wouldn’t know about politics these days. They all suck up to each other. The French traditionally are way closer with the Belgians though, which gives the HK tender food for thought. It’s kinda hilarious in some way that they can’t even build a rifle of their own. Europe is so libtarded…

          • Pedro .Persson

            Well you can regulate the height of the buffer on Vltor adapter, looks like crap but I guess it works.

            The new G36 is not quite there yet, making the rail lower and longer like on the SL8 so you have decent sight radius, Getting a proper modular handguard, an extended bolt release would be a start

      • Vitor Roma

        A more robust stock, longer guard, a non-reciprocationg handle option and the gun is pretty much flawless.

        • Minuteman

          I could accept that indeed. I prefer fully ambi controls, but okay.. I guess that’s just a training issue. As for the CH, agreed, be it foldable though! Why did FN kill the FNAR (which I believe they called the non-rec CH version) in the first place?

          • Pedro .Persson

            Fn FNAC I believe, the FNAR is another rifle, rumored to be a nightmare to disassemble. I don´t know why it disapeared, my guess is that they had problems integrating a forward assit or it didn´t had one… not sure.

          • Minuteman

            FNAC indeed! Yeah kinda weird because it was listed on FNH USA’s web site for a while. Funny how FN seems to be incapable, the Tavor series and ACR have a non-rec CH, how come FN can’t do that?

      • iksnilol

        Ambi controls? What about the bolt and mag release?

        • Minuteman

          On an AR you mean? Well, there’s PWS, LWRC, HK, POF, KAC to name a few examples of AR vendors that offer fully ambi lowers.

          • CS

            Iksnilol is right, yes lwrc etc. offer full ambi but almost all military service M16/4’s have the mag release on one side and the bolt release on the other… Hell, even most charging handles have the release lever on one side (requiring the old two finger pull).
            I think the problem is you keep jumping between what is available to civilians and what the military actually buy.

          • Minuteman

            To be real honest with you, I give a hoot about any military/govt agencies, indeed. I’m far more interested in the commercial market, what civilians and to some extent the PMSC industry get.

        • CommonSense23

          How are those not ambi?

          • iksnilol

            On many ARs I see one is one side, the other is on the other side.

          • CommonSense23

            I’m lefty. The standard AR15 is one of the most lefty friendly rifles there is. To many people think that the only way to be “ambi” means having the exact same controls. I’ve seen guns like the SCAR in trying to be ambi friendly make things worse such as the mag release.

    • ProLiberty82

      Yeah it’s beyond puzzling, they should have fix that god damned flimsy airsoft buttstock aeons ago, it was one of the reasons that SOCOM rejected the rifle and it’s an extremely well documented point of failure across the entire shooting world, it would not surprise me if also cost them the contract with the French military. But do they fix the issue? Nope.

      • Tritro29

        They rejected the L variant for cost first and foremost. The H variant, with the same “flimsy” stock isn’t going anywhere.

  • Cuvie

    I wonder if FN completely dumped the FNAC after the Individual Carbine competition. It seems like the better option to submit to these competitions since it has a non-reciprocating charging handle

    • I haven’t heard anything about the FNAC ever since IC ended. It’s possible they entered a similar SCAR variant for AIF, but I would be surprised.

      • jono102

        Isn’t the FNAC a development by FNH USA. FNH Belgium and FNH USA seem to work in isolation from each other apart from base designs. FNH Belgium apparently offered a pretty much stock SCAR to the New Zealand Steyr replacement tender last year and it wouldn’t surprise me if they offered the same thing here.

        • Yes, but it’s conceivable that the SCAR entered into AIF might have incorporated similar improvements. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

          • Tritro29

            The SCAR-AIF was not the Advanced Carbine, but a variant almost identical to the Belgian Defence bid, according to rumours.

  • Wolfgar

    Perhaps the SCAR does eat optics and the frozen piston problem of the 416 has been resolved or perhaps the 416 was just the cheapest option.

    • Tritro29

      Neither were the cheapest option and the choice was made because of synergy with RUAG regarding ammunition. The H&K416F was actually the most expensive rifle without the spares and ammunition.

      • Minuteman

        HK416F? Never heard of, isn’t the G38 aka 416A5 HK’s top of the line model?

        • Tritro29

          H&K 416 F (for France), will be a slightly different variant of the A3 that the COS has bought. This means it will be able to use French rifle grenades.

          • Minuteman

            Thanks for clearing tht up. Hmm, combining rifles and rifle grenades/grenade launchers is a bad idea because it makes for both a very bad rifle and grenade launcher. Your rifle will always be your primary, the GL is the escalation dominance weapon. I rather arrange for rifles and B&T GL-06 grenade launchers. I never understood moving away from the M79 concept in the first place. It worked in Vietnam and it works today.

          • Tritro29

            I’d say that if the French were using their rifle grenades, there must be something about it. So I’d let their MoD decide.

          • Minuteman

            Maybe it’s an effective range/accuracy thing? I don’t know as I’m not that familiar with French military equipment. Indeed, let their MoD decide.

          • iksnilol

            Rifle grenades have more range and power. But yeah, are less practical to use.

          • jono102

            And 1 rifle grenade takes up the same volume of at least 3 X 40mm grenades. They also harder on both the weapon and firer. I don’t know what variety of munitions rifle grenades have.

            We went from the stand alone M79 to the M-203 on the Steyr and I definitely prefer the under slung set up. The stand alone launchers are easier to shoot but a day or so into a dismounted patrol, having a second a second weapon hanging off you gets pretty old pretty fast

          • iksnilol

            Thats true, drawbacks and benefits to everything.

          • jono102

            Are there much differences between the A3 and A5?

          • Tritro29

            Almost none. A3 was the initial two stage gas setting to improve serviceability in harsh climates.

          • jono102

            Did it include the ambi bolt release on the right as on the A5? The concept was good but the little lever was partially masked by the ejection cover. I found it a lot less intuitive to push the lever down than button like the LMT/LWRC/KAC’s.

            In reference to the rifle grenades, It was quite common to see images from their deployments to Africa etc them fitted on FAMAS when vehicle mounted. Seemed to be a counter ambush SOP.

    • Minuteman

      Oh ok? Care to tell me something new? As fas as I understood the 416 doesn’t do well in arctic conditions.

    • Major Tom

      HK is cheap? Good giggles m8.

      As far as I can tell too, all the “frozen” problems were no more or less than any problems a typical AR would have in the cold. In short, myth busted.

  • Joseph Goins

    I called this years ago. Another move to the M16 family.

    • Minuteman

      Nothing beats the AR. Absolutely nothing. It is the best rifle system out there.

      • Major Tom

        Except for the AK-12.

        • Twilight sparkle

          Which rendition of it?

        • SP mclaughlin

          I hope this is bait.

        • F for Falafel

          Forget about the AK.

          The new AK is called A545. It is going to take the AK47 legend status. The best rifle in the world of the new era. It needs some time for the reputation to rise up, because the Russians have no clue about marketing. But this rifle is the future. The A545.

      • Joseph Goins

        The AR is a professional’s weapon. There is a reason why most countries around the world use it (and why most special operations forces choose it).

      • John

        Until the lasers come out.

        • Minuteman

          Yeah yeay lasers, pasers, tasers and sharks with friggin laser beams on their heads. Vaporware and unobtainium….

      • Malthrak

        The AR being “the best” is a highly arguable statement, most any modern assault rifle will do the job its users need it to do more than well enough. For well trained professional troops who will routinely clean the weapon with excellent logistics systems with relatively advanced manufacturing capabilities, it’s a great rifle. It’s not so great a rifle for forces that lack these things or devote their resources to other things. More to the point, its easy to interface with the big partner in NATO when everyone uses compatible stuff.

        Either way, differences between rifles make essentially zero difference in the outcomes of conflicts when we’re talking about modern assault rifles, you’re not going to lose a battle because on side has AR’s and the other has SCARs or AKs or Brens or ACRs or whatnot, and an HK 416 is a fairly major deviation from the original AR pattern rifles that the US uses.

        • Minuteman

          You do realize that the AR-15 truly is America’s rifle? It holds a 90% -if not larger- market share, with everything else making up for the other 10 or so %. I wouldn’t know about any foreign military and their procurement and support system. Being a non-interventionist/isolationist I’m not at all a ‘conflict’ guy and focus on the US commercial market and civilian gun culture. Sure as bleep don’t care about NATO and don’t intend to open its can of worms…
          As for the 416, I woudn’t say it’s a major derivative rather than just evolution, not revolution. The AR has come a long way though (and so has the 5.56 round with SOST, TSX and SMK), which is nice.

          • Malthrak

            Wait, what market does the ar15 hold a 90% maret share in? Do you have any data to back that up? They certainly dont comprise 90% of all rifles sold. Even amongst modern sporting rifles I’d be shocked if the figure was anything near 90% between the various clones of AK’s, rollery delayed G3/G33 clones, Scars, Ruger Mini’s (these are still very big sellers), Tavors, etc. AR15’s are very popular, and I own them too, but the AR is not 90% of the market.

            Im not bashing on the AR, its a great rifle, but definitively declaring it the “the best” is highly subjective.

            As for the 416, I’d accept that is an evolution, but its still a major deivation from the original design.

          • Minuteman

            My statement was metaphorical. What I was trying to explain is that the gun industry aka commercial gun market -that sector of the market that is accessible for civilians- is very much AR-centric. Because it’s simply America’s rifle. All those others are sifgnificantly less proliferated platforms and do not nearly benefit from that much support, hence their market share being relatively minor. Sure, the AK is picking up (I’d say it’s the number 2 in America). Your comment on the Tavor and SCAR does not hold because they are relatively expensive rifles that not every Average Joe and Jill can afford. So, apples and oranges. The AR is available in each market segment from entry level to high end, thus its market share in terms of economy of scale is ‘90%’. There aren’t any ‘entry level’ Tavors, SCARs, ARXs and what not. These guns come at a relatively significant price point. their market share is not nearly as big as the ARs from that perspective. The AR has always been, is and will always remain the biggest gun in America. I simply don’t see it going away. AR, AK, SIG, Glock, those are just guns that are here to stay. I wouldn’t be so sure about the Tavor -well maybe, it stands a good chance-, or the SCAR that never really took off in the first place, accept by those who can afford such boutique priced items. Again, remember, I’m talking economy of scale here.
            As for the 416, it IS an AR, and AR’s come in lots of different flavors.

  • yodamiles

    Wait, I just realized that the front sight is hold on the barrel. I pretty much expect all new western rifles to have sight on handguard or gas block, and not the barrel. Is that a part of French requirement or normal offering from hk?

    • jono102

      Normal for 16 and 20 inch barrels. Some versions have fold up foresight built into the top rail.

    • LazyReader

      416 keeps the sight on the barrel, but it’s removable. If sights on the rail are you favor. The A5 version with 11 inch barrel has sights on the rail, not the barrel. there’s a pin hole above the gas block so it folds down https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/ec3e50b0ac3a437d73275bbebc67f87d95e5c4c6a588e871a8fce9aeb5a15caf.jpg

      • Minuteman

        That thing is a monstrosity. The GL will be dead weight most of the time, you need to keep those two seperated. A Rifle/GL-combo makes for neither a good rifle nor a good grenade launcher. I’ve said this before and will keep saying it: B&T GL-06 is a far better choice.

  • Dom

    They will be happy to have a compatible tools with other nations (magazines, lights and mount!)

  • Tritro29

    First round is over, the decision was made public, thus the FNH appeal has been shot down. Let’s hope this doesn’t get a second round.

  • I’ll never understand why SOCOM required the SCAR to have a reciprocating charging handle.

    • Tom

      Its simpler in design and works as a forward assist (or a silent bolt closure device if you speak HK :)). I suspect however it might be a bit like the push button safety on the L85 series in that at some point one officer in procurement thought it was best and no one else came along and pointed out it was dumb.

      Of course in this day and age its just a bit odd but its what SOCOM asked for so you can hardly blame FN for delivery it.

      • Alexandru Ianu

        I think it’s more convenient to have a reciprocating charging handle for malfunction clearance. The trend towards non-reciprocating isn’t necessarily smart.

        • Tom

          I see your point and perhaps I was harsh labeling it as dumb. I just think that the negatives outweigh the positives but of course that’s a personal thing and everything is a compromise.

        • Yes, but it’s the placement on the SCAR that is the problem. There are really only three decent charging handle options right now: Low, left-side non-reciprocating, T-shaped non-reciprocating rear, and right-side reciprocating fixed to the bolt carrier through the ejection port.

          Charging handle placement is tough, and if you’re not doing one of those three, you’d better be doing something terribly clever.

        • jono102

          Malfunction drills are relative to the weapon, user and teachings. An FN rep once told me the reciprocating system on the SCAR is better because they allow the user to force the bolt home if it hasn’t closed and if the bolt won’t open you could force it against something solid. I’ve personally had to use method 2 on a few weapon systems. I asked him what if you have an obstruction of some sort, won’t ramming the bolt forwards cause more issues, He just shrug his shoulders.

      • I really think they should have split the difference and gone with the AUG style charging handle over reciprocating, specs be damned. Especially since that feature may have just cost the SCAR a much larger contract here in France.

        With the AUG, by rotating the charging handle upwards, it engages the bolt rod, allowing it to be used as a forward assist / silent cocking method.

        When not being used for either function, it remains non-reciprocating.

        Easy-peasy 1977 tech.

      • CommonSense23

        Well Socom is already asking for a non reciprocating SCAR. And from my understanding the reciprocating charging handle was requested as a backhanded way to keep our the AR platform.

    • A Fascist Corgi

      Why does everyone always bash the SCAR for having a reciprocating charging handle while no one ever says the same thing about the AK?

      • The AK is a design from the 1940’s and no one expects modern ergonomic considerations.

        With the option of a “rotate to engage” charging handle there is no reason for a reciprocating charging handle in the modern era. Even the MAC 11 doesn’t have a reciprocating charging handle.

        Given that the reciprocating charging handle may have contributed to the SCAR losing one of the largest rifle contracts in the world, I’m sure the designers are cursing that ludicrous SOCOM requirement.

  • The rumor mill here in Europe has FN appealing against the decision, so things may not be completely settled yet.

    • Tritro29

      They did last week and the the process was suspensive. No announcement could have been made without an administrative decision.

      • When an appeal is made against an administrative decision here in Europe, things tend to get long and laggy. I don’t expect this to be the final French Army decision. French bureaucracy isn’t known for settling things like this in a week, to begin with.

        • Tritro29

          The appeal was introduced to an administrative court on a speedy procedure, because there needed to be at least one formal hearing from FN in order to suspend the result being made public and the result from being definitive on qualification process. This was very important because of what follows.

          Qualification process for execution of bid will mean that the DGA will have to set an inspection team that will go both in Rottweil and at the French border art RUAG to check the materials, the QC lots and stamp proof the receivers, barrels and parts that will be tested from 2017 to 2019. After that, the acceptancy will be made in Tulle instead of in Germany. This means that the only way FNH is going to beat H&K is that somehow the DGA delegation in Germany will not find the arrangement suitable and/or will notice a discrepancy between the bidding offer and the production capacity.

          Therefore, the French administrative has heard the FNH argument but has retained it insufficient to suspend the announcing of the contract result.

          In a few words, this looks like a political decision.

          • Same here, just like when the Beretta AR-70/90 won the Italian military rifle trial in the mid-to-late 1980s against the M16-A1 (proposed by SAB – Renato Gamba under Colt license), the G41 (proposed by Franchi under HK license), the Galil (proposed by Bernardelli under IMI license) and the native SOCIMI weapon system.

            Of the three finalists (AR-70/90, G41, M16), both the G41 and the M16 were superior to the AR-70/90 – and as a matter of fact we are re-replacing it less than twenty years after it entered full service.

            But the decision had already been taken at a political level and the trial was merely a pro-forma.

            The French trial sounded to me like a rubber stamp on a decision that had already been taken, given how many French units (particularly Special Forces) have been using the HK-416 for just as long as the U.S. Special Forces have been.

          • Tritro29

            AR-831 was such a promising weapon.

          • SOCIMI was a bus manufacturer that entered in the military firearms business almost by mistake, when they came to know that some of their potential customers in south America were looking for weaponry. They never stood a chance in the Italian trial. And indeed their guns were promising, at least the prototypes were.

    • Marc Adam

      The appeal has been repelled by French administrative tribunal. It seem that Herstal lost because of a price of 0€ per rifle for the initial lot of gun and made a variable price for the other lot. They also failed to transmit several pricing data to the buyer so the appeal is void.(TA Paris, ord. 20 septembre 2016, Sté FN HERSTAL, n°1612871/3)

      • Tritro29

        Actually, they lost because Herstal was offering the test batch…for free. While the test batch is going to be paid for the H&K. It’s the same way FNH proceeds almost everywhere. It offers a sample batch, then puts on a bargaining process. Ironically the H&K offer is under-value, but it is going to take a while to understand.

      • I see.

        And yet, knowing how things go in Europe? I really don’t know if that is the final word.

  • Tritro29

    There’s some talk about H&K undercutting the budget allowance by almost half proposing the rifles at 200 million Euros instead of 350 million. This means only ONE thing, France will get the rifles of someone else at least in part and ammunition will not be bought under the same procurement but will be allotted from current stocks. Politics doing their magic.

    • Joshua

      Interesting and believable.

    • Marc Adam

      About 1600€ per rifle, so with 110000rifle it is about 176 millions euro.
      It’s about the same price paied by Norway for their first lot.
      The initial contract for the gun and ammo was with a maximum price of 300millions I think.

      H&K made a really nice price for the French, but they really want the contract.

      • Tritro29

        Nope, the initial price Norway paid was around 2000+ USD (NOk/USD was 5.7, not 8.3 as it is now). 100 million Krona were about 18 million USD then. The initial pre-contract from FNH was just under 300 million Euros. I’d belive that H&K can deliver that when pigs would fly.

      • Tritro29

        Also according to the reference, the actual market value of the tender wasn’t 300 or 400, but 500 million euros.

        Well at least no one will bomb French personnel in Rottweil like in the past elsewhere.

  • Minuteman

    Logial choice. The SCAR needs way too much after market and govt purchase is all about buying off the shelf and be done with it. We civilians mall ninja are guns, but militaries don’t do that. I assume the French bought the G38 aka HK416A5. That rifle is pretty much good to go right out the box. I’d only throw in the Geissele trigger (because HK doesn’t know what a good trigger means) and swap out the horrendous stock and grip. Those are fairly minor changes. The only real gripe I have against it is that the hand guard heats up too fast and it doesn’t hold its own in arctic conditions (ask the Norwegian Army)….

    • Twilight sparkle

      Militaries don’t mall ninja their guns? You should see some of the stuff from Russia https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/77ed066305c2bfe882cf9c9f1ddce01808bb750c56f26e555237dc3df1f1110d.jpg

      • Minuteman

        Damn you, you caught me off guard 😀 No, seriously, you know what I mean, right? We as civilians tend to have better equipment and throw more money at it than the military does, if you get my drift. Those guys are obviously Spetsnaz by the way, all of what they are wearing is non-standard issue kit. The Russian army looks different.

        • Twilight sparkle

          They are indeed spetznaz but the propensity for people to modify their weapon definitely is moving to militaries around the world and the militaries aren’t always the ones paying for it. These rails and optics in Ukraine were crowd funded by Ukrainians and probably some Americans too https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3146d03e7b787c05be268414505ef2e2f7710c6cb8d8c703ebecb8613db353ae.jpg

          • Tritro29

            Yes and they were crap. Holosun’s were resold as quickly as they were sent to Ukrainians.

          • Twilight sparkle

            I’ve heard that repeated before but I haven’t seen an actual source for that, if you have one if be interested.

            Either way my point about militaries having “mall ninja” guns still remains.

          • Minuteman

            Crowd funding the military… Don’t we already do that by paying taxes? 😀

  • Ritterbruder

    I think another big reason the 416 won is that the French already use the 417, so they stick with the same platform.

  • guest

    UND DAS IST HOW THE MERKELREICH GOT STARTED JAWOHLLL!!!!

  • Lance

    AR systems win again!!!! Though the FAMAS F2 in the navy may still see use for bit longer since its more NATO compatible.

  • User

    My opinions stands. For front line troops absolutly ok. For the entire military an absolutly hilarious waist of money. Its 2016 and calling it “Future Individual Weapon” is incredible hilarious, its technically outdated since 3decades, and in just a few years totally outdated to Rifles that will become standart.”30 years” for use … just no way in hell.

    • Anthony “stalker6recon”

      Have you ever served in the military? Did you get time behind the amazing M2 .50 caliber machine gun? Did you ever bother to check the stamp on the side of it? Almost every one of these amazing machines had a stamp other than Browning on it. Companies that surprised me a bit, until I realized what it actually meant. Frigidaire, AC Delco, GE and others. These were likely forged during the second world war and have spent nearly a century as the top machine gun on the planet. Saying that the AR is outdated is ridiculous, newer does not always mean better.

      The AR is a wonderful platform, and the innovations to this design have only made it more reliable, accurate and capable, one of the best rifles I every carried in the military and owned as a civilian.

      The old saying, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. This is why the MP5 still is a standout among SMG’s, and innovation has only extended it’s life near the top of its class and fielded around the globe. Too bad they made it so ridiculously expensive and out of reach of the common man, otherwise I would own at least one of them by now. The SD would be my first choice.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    isn’t this the perfect example of how capitalism works?

    you have a rifle that is very good, although it has an akward charging handle and no ability to fold the stock, and it wins the free world.

    how is the AR better than other similar inventions? the former HKs in 5.56 or FN rifles, or others? well, it is not – but the largest military in the world chose the AR, sold it off to many others, gave it away to even more, and it became popular among civilians.

    I also think this proves that the soldier does not need the best rifle there is. He needs good enough tools, with good enough support to make the tools work.

  • Roman Stefic

    Petty that VHS2 was not chosen .. this one has the best performance and their company is able to produce full number of the guns .. HS Product is the only one who has now, in this moment production capacities for 500.000+ handguns only in USA and this level of production they have in last few year (as best sell). It will be interesting if Heckler production will be even close to required number of guns.. … but political decisions was done. Good luck!

    • jono102

      Has trial info been released about performance of each the platforms or is the above opinion?

      • Roman Stefic

        not officially, unfortunately, but you will be surprised about performance .. politically will not be allowed to be announced but what we heard is that two chosen in last round were not with best performance/price/time of delivery … VHS2 is proven in the real battles in Syria and Iraq: YPG/spec. forces and Iraqi spec. forces use it very often. I wonder how many changes in French army will be with handling rules of the gun whose is not bull-up type, now.

      • Tritro29

        There will be no official release of trial results…it’s exactly for that reason that VHS went first on the offensive in court, because there were leaks that 3 rifles were rejected, although the trials weren’t finished yet.

        If anything gets out, it will be by someone leaking data, for whatever reason. My opinion is that the one to benefit most from this would be VHS and Swiss Arms.

        • jono102

          That’s what I was getting at. Any trial information would be “commercial in confidence” Producers would get feed back on their platform and theirs alone. Generally most outfits running trials are well aware of the danger of leaving themselves open to legal issues should enough questions get raised and delaying projects. Some companies may wave their hands around in protest for the press but generally don’t have the balls to push it because data may get released in a court that may not reflect well on their rifle.

  • Sasquatch

    Well I guess the FAMAS is French toast. 💩

    • mick

      The FAMAS came out in the 1970’s it’s time for am upgrade all though the H&K 416 is a very good assault rifle I’m somewhat surprised the French didn’t stick with the bull type assault rifles.

  • John

    Adieu, VHS, mon bien-aimé.

    It’s political for three reasons that I think exist. First, France has always wanted to step up their force role in the world. Second, Germany is demanding a unified European Union, and this will only strengthen them.

    And third, Heckler and Koch really screwed the pooch with the G36. This is their attempt at salvation, pure and simple. If the 416 is produced in significant numbers, maybe the overall cost of the weapons will go down and it’ll be much easier to outfit the Bundeswehr with them, as well as anyone else in the EU. Like Portugal, who has an outstanding tender for new weapons. Or other countries.

  • Will

    The French have to be kicking themselves for not making the FAMAS NATO standard.

  • Joel Negron

    I’m actually surprised that people are surprised that the 416 was chosen. France has long had a relationship with H&K, you guys remember all the G36 pics floating around during the attacks last year?

  • Minuteman

    I seriously like the looks of the F2000. That thing seems amazingly comfy to shoot if you’d ask me. It’s a shame they don’t import them anymore. I’d like to own one. The only thing missing on that rifle are right hand bolt release and mag drop free function, but it sure is one sexy piece of kit. That’s what I like about FN: they are one of the most innovative manufacturers in the gun business. The Tavor just doesn’t have it for me. Am I the only one not being tickled by it? I’m keeping my eye on the MDR though… Not a fan of pups but that gun seems to do it right!

    • Pedro .Persson

      Yes it’s a shame they didn’t push it… specially since bullpups are a bit more popular in the civilian market. It’s quite the wonder of engineering as well, forward ejection is not an easy feature to implement, and they did it so elegantly and completely integrated with the rest of the action. Only thing more complex than that would be the G11 and that wacky and lovely Korobov bullpup. A long snout version to make 20″ barrels more practical would have being really nice as well.
      Tavor is ok, it works but there are quite a few points in the design and construction that I don’t particularly like, like how the receiver parts and barrel are held together. But other things like the bolt cam and guide rod are really ingenious.
      Still think that the AUG is one the best along the F2000. A shame their trigger sucks, it does need a bit of re-engineering if not a total redesign.
      I’m also exited about the MDR, looks quite promising, elegant mechanism but I still need to have a better look… they blacked out the patents.

      • Minuteman

        The F2000 just screams ‘hug me’. I really like that gun. Pups are fine as long as you don’t have to go prone, cause that’s where the fun starts. They make excellent LE/CQB/Security Guard rifles though. SWAT types would be well served with a bullpup if you aks me. Let’s wait and see how Desert Tech pulls off the MDR. I have high hopes for it and if it actually gets released and does well in the reviews I’m definitely picking up a few of ’em. Throw on an EXPS3 and a Surefire M600 Ultra and you’ve got yourself an amazing HD rifle.

  • Sulyvahn

    I know there are a lot doubts and many think this decision is purely political, but rest-assured that the 416A5 was the best performer during the trial. The SCAR was no slouch and came very close, but the 416’s AR-15-esque ergo and modularity and the fact that many of its steel components are made from French steel, made it an easy decision. I can say with absolute confident that the 416 has served me very well and is the pinnacle of the piston AR design, and the best improvement that the platform has received thus far. Can you think of any piston ARs on the market that is as remotely proven?

    Long story short: Rest assured that French troop is receiving the best weapon.

  • Pedro .Persson

    Frankly I do not like the G36, a lot of good ideas but not quite implemented right, that is why I think a modernized version would be awesome and a trully great gun. I would prefer the SCAR, FS2000, AUG or Beretta ARX100, those a re much more mechanically interesting guns.

    I saw the ACR stock, it does looks better. But I’m not familiar with it, any advantages over the SCAR’s, is it stronger?

    Frankly I have no idea and I’m not really following the issue. But I would really like to see the technical evaluation

    • Minuteman

      I was under the impression you like the G36 a lot.
      The ACR’s stock is a marvel being made out of solid polymer and for more robust than the SCAR’s. You simply cant go wrong with Magpul Quality. The ARX looks nice on paper but still doesn’t cut it, and nobody needs a barrel that can be swapped in the field. Too much marketing hype. Alex C did a review on it a while back ago. Use the search field on the web site and see for yourself…

      • Pedro .Persson

        I do, but not as a whole; wouldn’t turn one down if I had the chance. But if I were to buy one rifle, it would be another.

        Yeah, the ARX is not perfect, I don’t particularly like how the barrel change is made, sure is easy, but I’m not too confident into the method reliability and repetability. A SCAR system is more viable, you just need a torque wrench. But if you absolutely must have a QC barrel, the AUG is better. I agree it’s overrated for the rifleman, but for a dedicated SAW it makes more sense, not sure how much more.

  • whamprod

    The 416 is a good choice, but the SCAR’s charging handle is an issue? Just put it on the other side, which takes about 30 seconds to accomplish. The 416 may well deserve the contract, but the SCAR’s charging handle is (or ought to be) a non-issue, because the fix is a no-brainer.

  • The only reason why the HK-416 won is that FN Herstal had to be kicked out of the trial due to “commercial irregularities”. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4fd088b644efee1094708ab6d979175270b6cf611eb4ee356fcd633707b2872f.jpg

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    it can win wont mean they will adopt right away…….. FN is also appealing the decision and if they do it it means something real bad must have happenned…..

    • Rob

      The FN appeal was denied. The announcement was pending the outcome of that appeal. The HK 416 will begin being delivered to the French armed forces early next year.

      • Jackson Andrew Lewis

        show me the link to that everything i find has it still in progress.

      • Jackson Andrew Lewis

        i have seen no official source saying that yet…….

  • plasticvicar

    I still wouldve preferred the VHS-2 just for the pure irony of replacing the French FAMAS with a Croatian FAMAS

  • Anthony “stalker6recon”

    The HK 416 is a superior rifle to the Colt M16/A4 and the M4 being fielded in the military right now. While I carried the M4 throughout my time in the Army (before it became the standard by all soldiers) and never had issues with it, the cycle of cleaning is far more important for the gas only rifle. While fouling rarely ever caused feed jams, it was always a nightmare to clean, especially in the breach/bolt group/and the dreaded star chamber.

    Eliminating almost all the gas blowback fouling reduces time and wear, now if they could just get better magazines. The followers/springs were the single most common cause of double feed/jams, and most of mine were stamped KA.

    I wish I could find a 416 here in the Philippines, it would be a no brainer. Instead I can either pay extraordinary high price for a Colt or save a few bucks and buy the locally made Shooter’s version of the AR. I haven’t found any solid reports on the quality or accuracy of these rifles though, not a lot of solid information out there, maybe I am not looking in the right place.

  • Hossi Blumengaarten

    why didn’ the french army just upgrade the FAMAS like the french navy??? so crazy that a german weapon won!!! does anyone know how many companies competed for this? was there any french company that submitted a rifle???

  • mick

    Although the H&K 416 is a very good assault rifle I’m somewhat surprised the French didn’t stick with the bull-pup type assault rifles that the FAMAS assault rifle was.

  • UWOTM8

    FAMAS parts kits plz?