Germany’s Special Forces – The requirements for a new assault rifle are out

The BAAINBw (Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support) has released an order for new assault rifles for Germany’s Special Forces.

They will purchase a total of 1 705 rifles between September 2017 and June 2019.


The requirements are setup as follows:

  1. 5.56 x 45 NATO Caliber
  2. Fully automatic gas pressure charger
  3. Two-sided, ambidextrous operation
  4. Signature damping (in other words compatible with Sound suppressor)
  5. STANAG 4694 Rails on hand guard and top of receiver.
  6. Length without signature damper (suppressor) max. 900mm
  7. Use in areas with climatic categories A1-3, B1-3, C0-2 and M1-3 according to STANAG 4370 without restriction of functionality.
  8. Life of the receiver (house) at least 30,000 rounds; Lifetime of the barrel at least 10,000 rounds.
  9. Maximum weight of 3.8 kg without magazine and without optics
  10. Accessories such as laser module, flashlight and other supporting equipment possible.

(Please excuse any translation mistakes)

The current list of rifles and equipment used by the German Army can be found here at Wikipedia.

One of the units to receive this rifle would most certainly be the German SOG, KSK Kommando Spezialkräfte (Special Forces Command), with handpicked elite soldiers.


My conclusion is they are in need for a quick replacement for the current HK G36, and they need it “tomorrow”. September is only 8 months away, so there’s not much chance to be too picky and start re-designs of current models.

Looking at specification above, I’d say that the BAAINBw just specified the Heckler & Koch 416 A5, but there are a few other rifles that might comply.

1HK416A5-GermanyYou can match the HK416 A5 here:

Try the 14.5″ version for best success.


Other contenders could be the FN Herstal SCAR. The new RS556 from Steyr Mannlicher and Rheinmetal is probably too new and untested, plus the weight is too high at 4,2 kilos.

SIG Sauer MCX or the German Haenel CR223 could also make it. Bear in mind that Haenel have won a few contracts recently, for instance with the German Police as well as the new G29 Sniper Rifle.

Even the B&T APC556 could make the specification. And the new Surefire Composite Carbine (not named at point of writing, but about to be released at SHOT Show 2017) would with a large margin pass the weight requirements.

There are a few M4 rifles as well. Remember that the Swedish SOG have chosen the LWRCI IC-A5, as discovered by TFB very recently:

BREAKING: Swedish SOG now confirmed with LWRCI and HK MP7


In addition to the larger batch of service rifles, five “samples” and a further 40 “reference models” are needed.

For companies based outside of the EU, BAAINBw included the following phrase in the tender documents:

For companies not based in the EU , The application for participation must also contain the following information: 1. A certificate or documentation proving that the applicant can fulfill the obligations relating to the execution of the contract with regard to the export, transit and transit of goods, including supporting documents from the competent authorities of the Of the Member States concerned. 2. The information on all restrictions on the obligation to notify, ship or use the goods and services applicable to the contracting entity as a result of export control or safety restrictions or on the definition of such goods and services.

This will be a very interesting tender to follow. Stay tuned and place your bets.

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.


  • Anonymoose

    The MCX has a folding stock. I can see them going for that.

    • Rob

      The MCX does seem to picking up a little momentum despite some setbacks.

      As with anything to do with the German armed forces this is HK’s contract to lose. Supposedly they have something they haven’t revealed yet for this.

      • Anonymoose

        Maybe they’re bringing back the 416C?

        • Rob

          HK 433. Looks like someone leaked it.

          • Anonymoose


    • Johnsmyname

      Meh, not a lot of real world testing. It would be hard for the MCX to beat the old tried and true, and as Rob said, it is HK’s contract to lose.

      • FarmerB

        Well wouldn’t MCX be cheaper? But H&K would be silly if they didn’t give these away (assuming they can afford it).

  • l124530

    “Surefire Composite Carbine”? WTF is that? SHOT Show 2017 ended four days ago.

    • Johnsmyname

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • Aono

      And does it have anything to do with Jim Sullivan?

    • Joshua

      Surefire made a polymer lower.

      • Aono

        That is literally the lamest possible explanation. Gross.

        • Joshua

          I hear Google is hard to use.

          • Rob

            That Surefire is not the surefire you are thinking of.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            I’m surprised the author did also mention the new Keltec carbine, at least it would have more relevance than a polymer lower.

    • Eric B

      Due to SHOT and all the articles then, this article was moved hence the timing in the article is a bit wrong. Made sense at point of writing.

  • xebat

    This is probably just a way to pressure H&K to offer a lower price for the HK416A5. It is a no brainer which of these rifles meets all the criteria WHILE having the longest/best track record.
    Example : Delta Force currently using HK416A5

    • Anonymoose

      dat walrus-stache tho.

    • A bearded being from beyond ti

      Does Old Snake there in the middle have a magwell on his glock?

      • Anonymoose

        Yep, but I can’t make out what it says on the side.

        • Rob

          It is an ALG

      • CommonSense23

        But I thought the internet said Delta uses 1911s!

        • Lysenko

          They did use 1911s up until at least 2009 or 10 (I know you were being sarcastic, but it’s worth noting). They started switching over at that point, AFAICT, and for much the same reason as the the MEUs and other units: excessive cost per pistol and excessive armorer time and maintenance requirements.

          I’ve seen it also reported that doctrine for pistol shooting has shifted from headshots and double-taps center mass to emptying rather more rounds into the pelvic girdle. If you’re going from “One shot, one kill” to “If someone’s worth shooting once, they’re worth shooting a bunch of times” as doctrine (and given modern understanding of pistol lethality, this makes a lot of sense), the traditional argument of better per-round stopping power for .45 ACP becomes pretty irrelevant. That said, that bit about training is entirely unconfirmed hearsay.

          • CommonSense23

            I always love hearing the to expensive to run 45s argument. Do you really think at the time the unit was the most funded and supported in history, that they went to a Glock as a cost cutting measure. If cost was a factor why did they try a even more expensive pistol out in between the Glock And 1911.
            One of the things I have always liked about Delta is they do a amazing job of keeping mistakes and screwups in house.
            And I have yet to hear anyone suggesting to shoot people in the groin when S Vest were and still are a legitimate threat.

        • Uniform223


          They use what ever they damn F-ing want LOL

      • Porty1119

        That is a truly magnificent operator mustache.

    • Dr Zarkus

      The dude with the stache don’t need no rifle, he’s bad ass enough.

    • Lt M

      Those aren’t A5s – straight magwell and no ambi bolt release are the giveaways. Just regular 416s with Geissele forends.

    • Joshua

      Just a fyi, Delta also uses M4A1s.

  • Sid Collins

    Und it shood appearinz lik zee M16-gewehr….. yah.

  • Johnsmyname

    What does “Fully automatic gas pressure charger” mean, gas operated and full auto?

    • LH

      I think this is from the german “vollautomatischer Gasdrucklader”, which means fully-automatic gas-operated self-loading rifle. “Lader” is more like loader than charger.

  • BSK

    We know that it will be H&K 416.

  • Joshua

    I hope it’s anything but the 416….Just because I want to watch internet heads explode.

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      Lol. When you put it like that…

  • John

    >“For companies not based in the EU, the application for
    participation must also contain the following information: A
    certificate or documentation proving that the applicant can fulfill the
    obligations relating to the execution of the contract with regard to the
    export, transit and transit of goods, including supporting documents
    from the competent authorities of the Member States concerned.”

    I kind of want Kalashnikov Concern to throw an AK-102 at them and say
    “yeah, sure, we can make half a million of these in 30 days for you” just to freak everyone out.

    • iksnilol

      That would be a good rifle for them to be honest. Only needs a threaded barrel and railed handguard.

    • Porty1119

      I mean, I’m pretty sure that a 5.56 AK would meet all of those requirements. Sounds good to me.

    • Wang Chung Tonight

      But how well does the ak102 run suppressed? And then there’s the “Fully automatic gas pressure charger” requirement. Which I’m thinking is a self-regulating system.

  • Dario B.

    What about a good sig 553?

    • john huscio

      Probably too heavy.

      • Dario B.

        maybe the weight is not the problem, but the cost

      • mig1nc

        The SG553-AL aluminum receiver version is only 3Kg.

  • Jim N Jenna SK

    Gas pressure charger? What is that?

    • Wang Chung Tonight

      I think it’s a self-regulating system

      • FarmerB

        No, it is a translation issue (machine translation of German is terrible). It’s probably just from the German Gasdrucklader which means gas operated self-loading rifle.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    3.8 kg is about 8.5 pounds. Yet another reminder that all of the people in the American gun community complaining about weight have no idea what they’re talking about.

    I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen people saying that they won’t buy a rifle because it weighs more than 7 pounds or a handgun because it weights over 28 ounces or whatever, even though they’re civilians who will be using these firearms for home defense and range shooting. It’s freaking ridiculous.

    Too many people have been brainwashed by Nutnfancy and the writers on this blog who are obsessed with light-weight firearms. Heavy firearms are perfectly fine for civilians. They absorb recoil and make shooting more pleasant.

    And stop treating soldiers like wimps. They’ll quickly get used to carrying a heavy firearm. It only takes a few weeks to grow the muscles needed to lug around a rifle that weighs around 8 pounds naked.

    • User

      The point is, you dont want quadrails on it and increase weight for nothing. If you get performance for weight (scope etc) than it actually makes sence.
      Nutnfancy isnt obsessed, he just wants performance for weight, which some does not offer.

    • CommonSense23

      How long does it take to grow the muscles needed to carry around 80 to 120 pounds of other assorted gear on top of that 8 pound rifle.

      • Porty1119

        A while. And it sucks carrying half that over rough terrain, trust me.

    • iksnilol

      Meh, a lighter rifle weighs 3.8 kg when loaded up with accessories. A 3.8 kg rifle when loaded up with accessories might weigh 5 kg.

      • roguetechie

        Lol .. Yes and even the most mentally challenged among us get this intrinsically…

        However, it’s completely pointless engaging and attempting to educate corgi…

        He’s sorta like the athletes foot causing scum smart people wear sandals in the locker room to avoid…

        Just like said scum… Always wear your sandals and step over the obviously scummy slick areas on your way through…

        • iksnilol

          BUuut… I forgot to add this: I am a skinny, tall guy and the rifle I use the most weighs 5.5 kg naked.

          Sooo… I dunno. I don’t have a problem with a rifle weighing much. I find AKs lightweight for instance.

          Though I do am a bit pedantic about length, I like my guns short.

          • roguetechie

            And as someone who pursues firearms as a hobby I can certainly understand why this may be ideal for you…

            Being a 5’8″ and 135 pounds on a good day… I have been relatively weight conscious of my guns from day one…

            After spending basically the entire first half of 2016 near deaths door in the hospital, this weight consciousness is even more crucial to me…

            Not only that but I’ve had to become extremely balance, OAL, and several other factors conscious to a near fanatical degree since my real crappy first half of 2016!

            This said though, even with the stark and very limiting effect my illness and recovery has imposed on me…

            I still don’t have to spend $400 on a bolt carrier group and $795 on ultralight lower receivers or any of the other expensive and gimmicky ultralight weight components some people feel the need for

          • iksnilol

            Oh, I’m a bit taller, I am 1.9 meters (maybe more now, haven’t measured in a while) and 75 kg.

            But I do see your point. And when messing around with settign up a weapon I do imagine utility for other folks. IE shorter stocks since I can live with a shorter stock but it is harder for somebody else to use the long stocks that work best for me.

            I always like to mess around like that, it’s easy for me to set up a gun for myself, not much of a challenge. To make it more flexible, usable for other body types? Now that’s a challenge. Especially in regards to recoil.

  • Ark

    So, 416.

    lol, Germany isn’t going to flip H&K the bird.

  • forrest1985

    I can just see it now- German government bad mouths H&K rifles and then purchases another from them, oh the irony!