BREAKING: Heckler & Koch Gives Up Selling Firearms to non-NATO Members/Partners

The HK416F variant adopted by the French Army. Note the specialized bayonet lug apparently designed for launching rifle grenades. Image source: sofrep.com

The HK416F variant adopted by the French Army. Note the specialized bayonet lug apparently designed for launching rifle grenades. Image source: sofrep.com

German firearm giant Heckler & Koch has finally given up selling firearms to countries that are not NATO Members or NATO Partners following years of concerted effort by the German government to hamstring the company’s export sales. Reuters reports

German arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch will no longer sign contracts to supply countries outside of NATO’s influence because it has become too difficult to obtain government approval for such deals, news agency DPA reported on Monday.

The company, one of the world’s best-known gunmakers, will in future only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption and that are members of NATO or NATO members’ partners, DPA said, citing company sources.

It said this change in strategy would rule out deals with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Brazil, India or even NATO member Turkey.

 

In 2014 the German Minister for Economic Affairs announced they the Government was determined to cut arms exports. The following year former employees of the company were arrested for exporting firearms to Mexico. Earlier this year a German court ordered a halt to firearm sales and transfer of technical information to Saudi Arabia.

Countries that neither are NATO Members or Partners include all of South America, Central America, Africa (excluding a few Mediterranean states in North Africa), most of the Central Asia and the Pacific region (including Philippines, India and China). This creates substantial opportunities for Chinese, Russian and Israeli small arms exporters who have been competing with H&K.

What is not clear is if civilian sales are included in this ban. H&K has previously exported consumer firearms to countries such as South Africa



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • BattleshipGrey

    Is it because the government thinks HK sucks and therefore hates them?

    • HSR47

      No, they think FREEDOM sucks, and they hate it.

      • jerseydave

        The NRA has been trying to work with similar organizations in Europe for some years now, and I hope that they can pull it off, that would be huge.

      • Rocketman

        Right on!

    • kyle893

      It’s because they are corporatists that feel the need to have a complete marriage of corporations with the state. Europe will put you in jail for saying Nazi things but they sure love replicating their government in every way.

  • Stan Darsh

    “…Only selling to countries that are democratic AND free of corruption.”
    In other news, H&K Gmbh has ceased all production and closed its doors today after new regulations placed upon them meant they could no longer sell products to any country, including their own.

    • grayishbyrd

      Well, Good luck them, I doubt there is any country in this world that is “free of corruption”…

      • WLF

        I can’t wait for the US to withdraw from NATO…….Go f**k yourself HK.

        • Chi Wai Shum

          It is not really HK’s problem. It is the German government.

        • Kivaari

          Read the article again. HK wants to sell to many nations and many nations want to buy HK products. With the German government not giving export licenses to HK, they pretty much are screwed.

          • Reginald Pettifogger

            HK should move themselves to Sweden.
            The Swedes have never had any moral blindness about selling armaments to all sides.

          • squareWave

            The Swedes refused to sell arms to the USA during the Vietnam War. That was the origin of the Smith & Wesson M76 submachine gun. It’s a copy of the Swedish m/45, because Sweden refused to sell any more of them.

          • Reginald Pettifogger

            Vietnam: Yet another “Progressive” war known for the political meddling of the White House. Just think what would have happened if the Swedes had declined to sell us Bofors Guns during WW2?

        • rocky

          I do know some great people at HK. This is not their policies. O’Commie and Stasi Merkel worked together on this. Perhaps, Trump can move them to the States. More jobs !

          • Rocketman

            I was thinking the same thing Rocky. Bringing a gun manufacturer to the U.S. would really tick off the liberals!

    • KestrelBike

      This is music to the ears of corrupt(er) states like China and Russia who now have a better opportunity to enrich themselves selling arms to non-NATO states.

      If Germany had a brain, they’d realize that those states are going to arm themselves no matter what, and in fact will be able to probably buy themselves MORE guns for the same price as they would buying HK.

      If Germany thinks themselves so socially superior, they’d have tried to get those arms dollars and put them to better humanitarian use than China or Russia ever would, but I guess that’s the limitation of socialist, hand-wringing thinking. The road to hell…

      • Friend of Tibet

        corrupt(er) states includes not only China, Russa but USA and all major global powers just saying…….

        • rocky

          You are correct to name the USA. DC has now become the most corrupt criminal government around. Only the US Constitution and the Christian Religion stand in their way of becoming a full on Soviet Politburo.

      • Kurt Akemann

        True, but Germany’s political and media classes don’t care. They’ve decided that ” clean hands” have priority over having a viable defense industry.

      • AHill

        So I guess Germany has dropped the whole “racially superior” thing and decided to go with “Socially superior”? It was probably for PR reasons no doubt.

    • Schadavi

      “Only a small shack with two gunsmiths and a service desk is to be set up to supply the population of iceland”

      • Sticky-eye Rivers

        Yeah, uuh, about that… Iceland has had some rather egregious corruption scandals in recent years.

      • albaby2

        A service desk would be new to H&K.

    • Minuteman

      I hope your comment reaches the 50 upvotes mark.

    • old44

      The Hutu’s murdered 800,000 Tutsi’s in 3 months using $2 Chinese machetes, who needs guns

  • jono102

    Ah well, there goes the apparent Small Arms world dominance the H&K “I’ve never actually used it” groupies predicted with Uber super rifles cause the interwebz said so

  • Bart

    Honestly? It’s just a way to avoid German regulations. That’s why such entities as HK USA or NSAF Ltd. exists. Most probably they will deal with the countries now excluded.

    • FulMetlJakit

      This. HK may be cocky, and cautious, but they are not dumb. A subsidiary will be sure to keep those Tuetonic Tupperweapons moving to any conflict zones with enough funds. This is just politics and PR.

      • mig1nc

        Yeah, I was going to ask about that. I guess if HK-USA were to manufacture here at their US based plant, it should be ok, right? Or otherwise license manufacturing deals could probably be had.

        • Reginald Pettifogger

          Except they’d have to get export licenses issued by the Euroweenies that infest the Dept. of State.
          Talk about a swamp that needs draining…..ever since Joe McCarthy’s time.

          • Rocketman

            McCarthy was right. He was just too soon.

      • Anonymoose

        Watch it. SIG Sauer is going to steal all of their business.

        • That is just not going to happen. SIG Sauer already moved all production to the US and kept only 50 gunsmiths in Germany to manufacture the X-Series pistols.

          Before HK, the German government already brought SIG Sauer to its knees. They got raided, like, 15 times in a year by Police. And Walther is next.

          What happens, to the best of my knowledge as an Italian gunwriter, the German Minister of Economic Affairs is Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of the German Social Democrat Party, who is on a political mission to end all gun manufacturing in Germany with the very small exception of the very little small arms that are necessary for the armament of the German Army and Police.

          • Minuteman

            Exactly, SIG Sauer nowadays is pretty much an American outfit.

          • Kivaari

            Remember SIG moved buildong and sales to Germany because of Swiss export restrictions. Now Germany is following suit, so HK will need to relocate to a friendly-to-gun-business nation. That could be the USA under Trump.

          • Minuteman

            Yep.
            I don’t think HK GmbH will disappear though because the Bundeswehr heavily relies on HK and they have very short lines of communication. In a worst case scenario assets would be moved to HK USA.

          • John Wisch

            I HOPE SO, I WANT A NEW HK-94.

          • Kivaari

            I HAD two HK94 SBRs. What an idiot I was to sell them. I made good money buy couldn’t replace one with what I earned on the sale of both.

          • john huscio

            So are they expecting haenel to be the main vendor of small arms to the bundeswehr now?

          • No. The long-term plan for the pacifists is a disarmed Germany and the disbandment of the Bundeswehr altogether.

          • Reginald Pettifogger

            When Germany becomes an ISIS state, they will rearm –
            and not in a good way.

          • Blue Centurion

            Gabriel wants Germany out of the arms industry entirely. Pathetic. HK will set up manufacturing in the USA.

          • Except we in Europe do not want that. We want to keep our guns and be able to buy more. You have no idea of the kind of fight we’re putting up against the European Commission.

          • Reginald Pettifogger

            Italexit, etc.

          • Aaron E

            Germany’s loss, is America’s gain! We’d love to add HK to our healthy list of manufacturers.

            In fact, if HK does move to America I would imagine that sales would take a huge jump. Not only from hungry American buyers (that could get HK products a little cheaper being home grown), but the sales they’re losing from non-NATO countries would (for the most part) go back to normal.

          • Edohiguma

            It goes hand in hand with the EU Commission right now trying to disarm all EU citizens. The current German government is in bed with the EUSSR, just look at how the Eurocrats cater to Merkel.

        • Minuteman

          LOL

  • Glock

    So… they don’t sell to civillians (in any real numbers or variety) and now they can’t sell to any government in the world because they are all corrupt, brilliant business model!

    • Schadavi

      They only have problems exporting their rifles to the USA, here in Germany they are easy to get.
      Last time I asked, delivery time on a MR223 opr MR308 was 4-7 business days, same for accessories.

    • Kivaari

      Blame US laws for the inability for HK to sell rifles in the USA. It is OUR laws that prohibit importation of guns like the HK91.

      • Russel aka ‘Rusty’ Shackleford

        There are easy ways around that. Likely to get even easier. Steyr and the Israelis have no problem getting their rifles sold here.

  • DW

    You want more knockoffs? This is how you get more knockoffs .

    • AC97

      What are they going to do, pull an India?

      • DW

        Except HK clones made in military facilities (and some civilian ones) outside India usually work very, very well.

  • GD Ajax

    They should have thought of that before selling guns to rogue states like Turkey the Neo Ottomans or the Philippines.

    • MoonStar

      Turkey rogue state? Nonsense…

      And Turkey doesn’t need HK guns. Already producing MPT-76 and MPT-55

      • GD Ajax

        It is to every who isn’t sympathetic to Islamic dictators.

        The MPT already is a knock off of the HK416/417.

      • john huscio

        Turkey is headed down the path to an Islamic state. Its Erdogan’s endgame.

    • Bierstadt54

      In other words, the German government has decided that only IT should sell (out) to Turkey. Merkel wants to reserve the right to morally questionable deals for herself.

    • b0x3r0ck

      I think this has less do with sell to 3rd world nation and more to do with banning sells to nation leaving in the brixit.

    • Giolli Joker

      Philippines aren’t a rogue state… just a country with a government no longer fully US aligned and now trying to get rid of massive amounts of corruption… corruption that never bothered US or its allies so far.
      AFAIK in the Philippines so far most guns were supplied by USA, most likely payed by American taxes… in the future they may be Russian, I’m not aware of HK guns there.

      • GD Ajax

        They have the G36K and the (Presidential Security Group) G36C.
        It may as well be, Deash has major inroads there.

        • john huscio

          There are more Tavors and many more m4s/m16s than there are of any kind of HK in the Philippines…… also I wouldn’t say ISIS has a major presence there…. there are a few among the Moros, but no active movement to establish an IS-style caliphate there.

        • Giolli Joker

          There are islamic rebel groups that recently started raising Daesh black flags… they are actively fought by the government, though.
          I think the common definition of rougue state has the government supporting somehow terrorist activities.

    • john huscio

      Glock and steyr don’t sell to turkey anymore

      • MoonStar

        Good news for Turkish companies. Turkish police buy huge amount of Canik TP9 recently. Canik should send a bottle of Champagne to Steyr…one of its rival.

  • Geoff Timm

    Moral of the story, never buy a German gun. Geoff Who just made that mistake, I wonder how long it will take before the neo-nazis ban all export guns.

    • iksnilol

      What has HK to do with the German govt cracking down on them?

      I mean, it’d be like me saying to never buy American gun stuff due to ITAR, it ain’t the fault of the producer.

  • Ark

    Because you all suck, and we hate you.

  • john huscio

    More opportunities for LMT, Daniel Defense, ect, to market their products internationally.

  • Ambassador Vader

    The real mystery here is how any of those countries could afford rifles made out of gold and coated with unobtainium.

  • TW

    So I see more opportunities for US companies. It would be nice to see some other nations running around with Daniel Defense rifles.

  • DroneAlone

    So, Obama and Kerry (previously Clinton) have a monopoly on providing HK weapons, bought and paid for by American taxpayers, to hostile nation states…

  • Anomanom

    Well, there goes the Marines plan to equip with IARs.

    • AFAIK those are built by HK-USA, being an American military contract.

      • Minuteman

        And we’re still part of NATO -for now…

        • Anomanom

          Exactly. For now.

          • Minuteman

            I want for us to pull out of the international stage. I’m not a fan of NATO, the UN, the G20 etc. No foreign envolvement. Isolationism. Anyway, fire arms not politics….

    • Kivaari

      The USA IS a NATO partner. So if HK can only sell to NATO nations, it sure wouldn’t exclude the USA.

  • aweds1

    Hard to believe this is the same country that required nearly the entire planet to beat down twice in 30 years.

    • milesfortis

      Well, when you end up killing mass quantities of the people in that country and execute most of the military/political leadership, I would speculate that you do make an right mind concentrating example for the survivors and their progeny.

    • GhostTrain81

      There is some minor deviation on the statistics, but it’s safe to say (and generally agreed upon by historians) that the vast majority of German losses in WW2 occurred on the Eastern Front fighting the Soviet Union. So it is inaccurate to state that it took the “entire planet.”

      In fact you could have just very well renamed the second world war to the “Soviet German War” and it would not have been inaccurate. By any measure (# of troops, # of casualties, sheer brutality, # of armor/aircraft deployed) what was going on the Eastern Front eclipsed anything else going on in other theaters.

      I am not in anyway trying to diminish the courage and heroism of men from the other Allied nations that did their part in destroying evil, but it’s factually accurate to state that the Soviets contributed most in subduing the German war machine.

      • GD Ajax

        Quiet man, less you’ll piss off the mental retards known as wehraboos.

      • NukeItFromOrbit

        Without the US and UK in the fighting the Soviets would have lost or been forced to a stalemate.

        And “Soviet-German War” forgets the entire Pacific theater. The scale of operations on the Western front was nothing to scoff at either.

      • Russel aka ‘Rusty’ Shackleford

        And the Soviets would have collapsed due to running out of oil, gunpowder and severe food shortages in 1941 if it weren’t for lend-lease. No less an authority as Field Marshal Zhukov admitted as much.
        Soviet manpower would have failed without the backing of American industry.

  • Andrew Miller

    Perhaps HK should relocate to the US.

    • They have already …

      • Andrew Miller

        They have a “subsidiary” in the US.

  • datimes

    It’s obvious H&K don’t know what is good for their company. As a result the government finally had to step in an order them to “do the right thing”. This was an act of compassion to help an organization get headed in the proper direction.

    • It’s not exactly like that. The German Ministry of Economic Affairs and the German Ministry of Home Affairs are hell-bent on a mission to end all gun manufacturing in Germany. They brought SIG Sauer to its knees by raiding it 15 times in one year, so much indeed that the Company moved all production to the US and currently keeps only 50 gunsmiths working in Germany on the X-Series competition pistols. Now it’s HK turn. Next will be Walther, then the smaller ones (Schmeisser, Haenel, HERA, etc.) will follow suit. Pretty soon no gun manufacturing will be permitted in Germany except classic hunting gunmaking and the manufacturing of small arms destined only to the local military and Police.

  • lostintranslation

    H&K will not need firearms sales “to countries that are not NATO Members or NATO Partners.”
    416 accepted recently by France and perhaps, favoured as the NATO standard.
    Possibly, the situation satisfies the acceptance, for replacement of the M4?

    • User

      No, that would be the biggest waist ever. An Ar clone that is outdated since over 3decades adopting for million over millions of dollars, waisting money so it have to be kept for decades. Thats just purely stupid. You literally gain nothing and just waist enourmous amounts of money. Metal bottlenecks and theyr insanly spacewaisting mechanism will soon be over for military use.

      • HKGuns

        Seriously? “Waist?” Go back to school. AR clone? OMG.

      • Kivaari

        What guns are you talking about?

  • Shayne

    Pretty sure Germany will never let H&K go out of business (or be free from their control) so the company will just continue on. Now what 3rd world country can afford this rifle is better question, I see this as just political posturing since they just stated they can’t sell to countries that couldn’t afford to buy their product.

    • Don’t bet on it. It makes no sense to kill H&K and be reliant on foreign gun makers … but they would if they got half the chance.

      • Shayne

        Sorry for the late reply, I still believe it is political posturing in an election year, even mentioning Turkey since they are letting the so-called refugees flood through into Europe. Has H&K even had a contract with anyone outside of N.A.T.O. in the last decade. My guess these countries would rather go with cheaper AK or AR and spend the rest of the money on F-16 or SU-27 or Leopard 2 MB tanks (which has been sold to none N.A.T.O. countries).

  • Minuteman

    So Sweden will basically get the door slammed shut in their face as soons as the AK5 needs to be replaced? Roger that (and will give Siwss Arms or IWI their business instead).

  • Frank Martin

    If they will only sell to NATO partners.. and refuse to sell to NATO member Turkey.. then that is a contradition…

    • Ian Thorne

      No, they said NATO countries AND free from corruption. Turkey is one of the most obviously corrupt countries in the world. So it’s not a contradiction if you actually read the whole thing instead of stopping half way though for no apparent reason whatsoever,

      • Frank Martin

        I have read the whole article.

        But I look at the issue and the statement for what it is. Despite the Government, Turkey has been a full member of NATO.. Guess what.. it was admitted in 1952. West Germany was admitted in 1955. Now, despite what Cold War Strategy created the admission.. it’s part of the Charter.

        What is Ironic is.. let’s say that Putin decides to simply invade Turkish Territory for what ever reason (Just an example).. By the Charter.. The Federal Republic of Germany would be obligated to provide forces and aid for the defense of Turkish Territory.. as well as the United States.

        I never stated that Turkey was a pristine government or if it was right in its actions or government.. I look at it for what it is.

        • Kivaari

          Turkey builds its own guns.

  • John

    HK probably got the word that the Bundeswehr wants to officially move to the 416 and 417 rifle, as well as some other European countries I’ve been following. They’ve very likely been told that they’ll become THE major small arms supplier of NATO and/or the budding EU defense force I keep hearing about.

    In additional, France probably wants more guns. Their FAMAS fleet is just shy of half a million in total, after all, and the entire thing needs replacement.

    So, this allows HK to drop all other business and a lot of other designs to solely concentrate on designing and building the 416 and 417. And if any police officers want an MP5, they’ll probably have that ready too. Business has very likely turned out swell for them.

    • tsubaka

      yup, especially since France want to reform it’s National Guard by grouping Police,Army,Navy,Airforce,Gendarmerie(“Military police”) Reserve forces and engaging some people willing to (like students)
      even if theses groups got assault rifles (Army+Airforce+Navy=Famas,Police=G36) thats not enough

  • John

    But they irreversibly melt after a couple of mag dumps, so it’s not a real problem.

  • int19h

    Every Western country needs to be doing it. Remember this?

    “Whatever happens, we have got
    The Maxim gun, and they have not.”

    Except they do. Because we sold it to them.

    Why? To make some little money on the side (to pay for Saudi oil)? Much good that money will do us when those guns are used against us.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      Eh, who cares about a few rifles? We have industrial capacity and PGMs.

      There’s lots of them but we have got
      the JDAM and they have not.

  • Longrange

    HK must cancel the deal with France as they are well known of corruption which goes up to the highest levels. If they follow their own rules.

    Sig founded Sig Sauer USA because they are not reliant of German government purchases. HK is VERY reliant on German Government support so they can not do what they want unless they want to leave EU military markets for good.

    No EU country will buy major volumes of low tech firearms for their military from outside EU. Yes, they will buy small batches of sniper rifles and /or SPECOPS gear from USA but not hundreds of thousands of assault rifles or tens of thousands of machnine guns. If you want to supply EU nations with military gear you have to manufacture them in EU. Just like if you want to supply US armed forces with anything in big volumes it must be manufactured in the USA.

    So if HK would relocate all manufacturing to USA they would lose their military market in EU for good. That would be a stupid move.

    Besides German government would probably make their life hell. My understanding is that German government owns the rights to several HK products (G3, MG3) and can decide whether HK can sell or license them and to whom they can sell them. G36 and HK416 are not owned by German government but G36 is getting out of favour and HK416 is getting a lot of traction in Europe. HK is not going to bail out from the most lucrative weapons deals they might get in the next decade in Europe.

    They do not hate US consumers but they do love money and there are lots to be made in Europe in the next decade. German politicians hate armed civilians anywhere.

    • rennsport4.4TV8

      This is in response to your first paragraph. If corruption in high levels of politics was the sole limiting factor there wouldn’t be any countries to sell guns to. You couldn’t even sell guns to the Pope.

      • Longrange

        I know. It is just rhetoric to please their German politicians without ANY meaning behind the words.

  • FarmerB

    What does ‘partners’ mean? For example, if you are talking about NATO “Partnerships for Peace”, Russia and Uzbekistan are members, but Australia and NZ aren’t. Good move!!!

    • Kivaari

      Australia and NZ are partners of NATO nations like the UK and Canada.

      • FarmerB

        Huh? UK and Canada are NATO *members*. Even a quick Google will show you that NATO has about 23,323 different sorts of partners, but the most commonly referred to is the “Partners for Peace” (who are actually former enemies rather than partners). My understanding is that Aust and NZ are part of the “Global Partners” which is informal and doesn’t mean very much at all. My questions stands – “what does partners mean?”

        • Kivaari

          Canada , Australia and NZ most likely have treaties going back 200 years regarding defense issues. So both the UK and Canada are NATO members and via treaty has partners from the commonwealth era.

  • Leigh Rich

    The Trump effect.

    • Wow!

      Definitely. The world is changing, for the better.

  • dntmkmecomoverther

    “…only sell to countries that are democratic and free from corruption.” Well, I guess that leaves out the USA too then. Germany has always had stupid leaders.

    • MichaelZWilliamson

      I guess they won’t be selling to France, Germany or Belgium, then.

  • Fb14352

    Another feather in Merkel’s hat after wonderful handling of refugees (read terrorists in disguise) … Germany deserves better government

  • rocky

    This was not HK’s doing. It was the doing of Merkel and her crowd and her legislation preventing H&K to sale to non-NATO partners. However, there were many countries licensed to manufacture the G-3’s. More than likely they will still have the machinery and tooling to jump in and feel the gap. They can also get their hands on the CETME.
    Merkel and her crowd that brought Islamic Jihad to Germany are pure terrorist loving idiots.

  • Kent San

    HK should move to the US

  • Archie Montgomery

    “…Only selling to countries that are democratic AND free of corruption.”

    With apologies to Mr. Darsh, this brings up the question of ‘which countries are [etc]?’ And ‘Just who determines such conditions?’

    This sounds like the workings of the American left in action. Chancellor Merkel’s comments to President-Elect Trump about being nice to Muslims is not encouraging.

    Undercutting the company’s profits? Well, that’s another item checked off the list in the ‘anti-capitalism/pro-socialism’ concept.

    Restriction of sales to ‘civilian’ markets seem likely, this being more of the elitist sort of thinking.

  • Max Glazer

    Idiocy of gargantuan proportions by German government. They shot themselves in both feet and knees with their utterly economically suicidal policies

  • Tim Foutz

    Just opend up markets to US, Russia and China. Nothing else.

  • Rocketman

    Merkel, who is nothing but a white female version of Obama has probably engineered this to weaken her country just like Obama has weakened ours. And just like Obama she can’t be out of office soon enough for all patriots, German and American.

  • Richard Lutz

    Seems to me Germany should also cut car exports as German cars could be used to run down people. Likewise, they should cut the exports of German sausages as they can choke people.

  • Carlos Villarroel

    Germans become mad.

    In its origin H&K grew making a version of Spanish CETME assault rifle. Now they can set a factory in Spain to make HK 416 for export.