More details of the Heckler & Koch HK416F for France

As TFB has reported before France will phase out the FAMAS rifle, of which they have about 400,000 pieces of in the F1 and upgraded G1 variant. The FAMAS has been in service for over 30 years.

For a period of over 10 years France will phase in the Heckler & Koch HK416F, in two different versions, to soldiers in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

The HK is referred to as the “Arme Individuelle Future (AIF)”, which roughly translates to Individual Firearm for the Future.

According to the French Ministry of Defense 93 080 pieces of Heckler & Koch 416F will be delivered between 2017 and 2028.

By 2022 half of the H&K firearms should have been delivered.

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The total contract with Heckler & Koch is worth EUR 168 million (USD 177 million)

The breakdown of deliveries is as follows:

38 505 units will be the HK416F Standard version.

54 575 units will be of the HK416F Short version, with the note; “Will have the same performance as the standard version up to 200 meters. No possibility to use a 40 mm grenade launcher.” (there’s no space)

So the majority will be the HK416F (Court) Short, with an 11″ barrel, which might come as a surprise.

The picture mentions that out of the 38 505 HK416F Standard, 14 915 pieces will be “Felinaized“.

“FÉLIN” (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés) translates to about “Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications”, which is the French Infantry Combat System. I’m not sure exactly what that means in terms of specification for the HK416F, but my understanding is that this is a higher grade, potentially with Night vision capability, or a batch going to special units.

5 000 units are supposed to be delivered in 2017.

Other accessories and various components, as well as training and services will run for some 15 years as well.

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Above: Magazines, bipod, sling, bayonette, protection cap, blank firing parts etc. is part of the package from HK.


H&K 416 Française – Specifications in short:

Based on the HK416 A5 with a cold-hammered barrel, six grooves and a right hand spin

HK416F Standard <90 cm (14.5″ barrel)

Weight: 4 kg

HK416F Short <80 cm (11″ barrel)

Weight: 3,7 kg

The color will be black, with the option of RAL8000.

France will also get 10,767 pieces of the HK269F (40 x 46 mm) grenade launchers, which most likely equates as one per group. The grenade launcher can be seen on the picture below.



In terms of optics, the information states that it will be possible to re-uses the current optics used on the FAMAS rifles.

In other words, like many other armies, the French also have to run lean and re-use what is already available.

That would be the French Scrome J4 optic, which is a 4× magnification scope. More details here.


“The J4 F1sight is designed to equip the FAMAS and MINIMI assault rifles used by the French Army.
The integrated NATO interface and the large eye relief provide ideal shooting configurations using
either rifle, in any situation. The reticle allows for both types of shooting, instinctive and precision,
up to 600 metres, and bears markings to facilitate observation. Optionally, the reticle can be illuminated.”

The Aimpoint for the FAMAS is also mentioned. I’m unsure which version, but looks C4 COMP like.


There’s also an optic called “Pirat”, but I’ve been unable to find any details. There’s also pictures of the FAMAS with EOTechs on them.


Unknown optical sight on the FAMAS.


HK416F Short 11″ barrel.



HK416F Standard 14.5″ barrel.

The stock is available with the concave recoil pad as well.




The other candidates for the French tender apart from the HK416 A5 were the FN Herstal SCAR-L, the VHS and VHS K-2 from HS Product (Croatia), the SIG Sauer MCX and the ARX from Beretta.


I think the reason why the French Army went for the shorter 11″ barrel is because they’re used to the smaller size, having lived and fought with the bullpup FAMAS for over 30 years. With the picture below as a reference it’s perhaps easier to understand why. I have never shot the FAMAS, but I have a feeling that it’s not the best rifle on the market for distances over 200 meters, so even the HK416F Short will outperform it.


From the HK Press Release in 2016.

With France (HK416F), Germany (G36), Great Britain (SA80), Norway (HK416) Spain (G36) and Lithuania (G36), Heckler & Koch supplies many Armies across Europe with their standard assault rifles.

As noted in the Press Release, things seem to develop rather well for the HK sales department.

What surprises me is the long delivery time for the HK 416F. Without insight it’s impossible to know, it could be the wish of the buyer to be able to phase in a new system.

I have no idea of the capacity of HK and their factories, but one speculation is that they are close to maximum production. If true, it could be an issue for other countries looking to buy the HK 416 and other HK rifles.

With some math, the figures stated above give us that HK will deliver 23 270 rifles per year in the first 5 years which sounds more than doable. But that’s just one customer.

What happens if Germany also choose the HK416? The rumor is that at least the German Special Forces are out looking for a new carbine, more about that next week at TFB.

Possibly Sweden and other countries as well. For instance, the Swedish Ak5 has been in service for over 31 years and there is a program to replace it.

Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


  • tsubaka

    I have never shot the FAMAS, but I have a feeling that it’s not the best rifle on the market for distances over 200 meters
    with good ammo it works fine’

    • GD Ajax

      Very expensive steel brass ammo. The Famas will strip the brass right off of a lead 5.56 cartridge.

      • tsubaka

        it’s been years since berretta replaced the barrel of the Famas F1
        it can shoot 5.56mm Nato now
        And the Famas G2 (navy) was produced to fire 5.56mm Nato

        • AD Ajax

          But the French Army didn’t buy the G2 when they had the chance. So its either buy more expensive ammo or adopt a new rifle.

          • tsubaka

            The French Navy use the G2, I’ve used it during my Préparation Militaire Marine( Navy Summer Camp)

            And i probably didn’t explain myself wrong but berretta replaced the barrel of the Famas F1 it shoot 5.56mm Nato and begined since 2010
            it has and cited/translate : “avec son canon Beretta rayé au pas de 7 pouces peut tirer les balles de 5.56 OTAN ”
            “With its Beretta barrel stroked at 7-inch pitch can fire 5.56 NATO” (thanks google translate)
            i do apologize if i my writing does have grammar errors i’m french

          • mig1nc

            Thank you for posting. Your English is very good.

      • iksnilol

        It could always fire 5.56, its just that brass cases give it a bit of problems.

        Probably fixed that a long time ago. Since Bosnian special units used them, and I doubt they used only steel case (they had no problems with the rifles).

    • Alexandru Ianu

      Yeah, weird phrase since it’s a long barreled delayed blowback gun. Those tend to be pretty accurate.

  • Rocky Mountain 9

    Bad joke warning: looks like the Germans are providing their own battlefield pickups for the next war.

  • iksnilol

    But muh barrel length and frag range!?

    • Ben Loong

      Not to mention muzzle flash/blast.

      I wonder if they’ll stick to standard SS109/M855 or if they’ll go the American route and adopt new cartridges made for shorter barrel lengths.

  • gunsandrockets

    So the typical French rifle will be an 11 inch long barreled 5.56mm automatic?


  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    I’m confused, why exactly can’t the short one take a grenade launcher? The way this launcher attaches is onto the rail, which is the same, and is secured in place with a cross pin through the hole in the gas block, which is present and accessible through the handguard. These are the only two points of contact so I see no reason why it shouldn’t attach. Or is the problem just that the muzzle flash might singe the launcher?

    • Slight mistranslation, the infographic is about rifle grenades, not underbarrel grenade launcher.
      I think both rifles are able to accept a 40mm underbarrel grenade launcher, but only the long rifle is equipped with the APAV 40/AC 58 muzzle deice

  • Quest

    11″ barrel… bye velocity and flat trajectory -> hello, flash, blast, worse trajectory, wind drift, unburned propellant, etc

  • Mike Bear

    Will it be a case of infantry only that will get the longer barrel and all others the short barrel? A bit like US army WW2 Garand + Carbine?

  • Rob

    How do you figure?

    • GD Ajax

      Because Colt fanboi, that’s why.

  • tsubaka

    well this was because AD Ajax didn’t understood what i was trying to say: i said in my first comment that the F1 now shoot the 5.56 Nato and he answered with this : “So its either buy more expensive ammo ”

    still, thanks for the advice 🙂

    • GD

      I did but you didn’t state your reply correctly or in context. France also had no Defense Industry to speak of. Their not just going issue G2s when they have no way to build them.

  • Bland Samurai

    Did I miss something? They plan to replace 400k rifles with fewer than 100k??