French Army: FAMAS to HK416F videos

As previously reported, the French Army’s new service rifle will be the Heckler & Koch HK416F.

The HK416F replaces the rather old FAMAS, and you can sense the depression in the air as this happens, they are letting go of an old friend.

5 000 units are supposed to be delivered in 2017, and the first units seem to have arrived already.

The “Armée de Terre” (French Army) are releasing various videos to introduce the new rifle, and there are two attached below which includes fully automatic shooting, taking the 416F for a swim and all sorts of other abuse as well as explaining the different versions they have bought.

Unfortunately, you see a lot of “baguette holding” of the HK416F so I hope the soldiers get the proper training how to shoot.

FAMAS to HK416F morph.

To be replaced by Heckler & Koch HK416F.

I can understand that they keep the grip to “morph” in the video, but I seriously hope they develop their rifle holding skills once they get warm in the clothes with the 416F. Please use the full length of the hand guard when shooting like this.

Below: The HK416F takes a swim. Note the HK metal magazines. This is one of the best magazines ever, works in an AR15 too. Worth the price? Yes.

Below: Rare picture of a HK416 with a bayonet.

Magazines, bipod, sling, bayonette, protection cap, blank firing parts etc. is part of the package from HK and demonstrated in the video.

Not sure which bipod the French Army has selected, but here it’s clearly visible. Again, not the best way of holding a rifle.

Below: Four reasons why the French Army chose the 416F

  1. Reliability
  2. Precision
  3. Robustness
  4. Easy to use

Below: EOTech:ed HK416F. Again, that’s not a great way of holding a rifle, and I would not have the stock extended that far. Note the HK original Generation 2 magazine which TFB reported about in a recent article.

I ordered a few, and it’s a very nice, high quality (very expensive compared to Magpul) magazine.

The short version below has a note: “Will have the same performance as the standard version up to 200 meters. No possibility to use a 40 mm grenade launcher.” (simply because there’s no space on the rail).

Money wise, the total contract with Heckler & Koch is worth EUR 168 million (USD 177 million).

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, so the HK factories will be very busy with this and similar orders.

The breakdown of deliveries will be 38 505 units will be the HK416F Standard version and 54 575 units will be of the HK416F Short version.


H&K 416F (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

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.

Now, for the videos:

And the second one, how to assemble and disassemble the rifle.

HK 416 F : Démontage, entretien et remontage

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.


  • Michael Lubrecht

    It can swim, and it’s “robust” – but specifically, has it been drop-tested?

    • NotAFrenchGuyJustaHistorian

      Remember the defense of Dunkirk…how many Frenchman died to save what was left of the British Army? They basically did all the fighting while the Brits made their getaway.

      • FT_Ward

        Most people don’t most of the thousands of French soldiers rescued opted to return to France where the French Army continued to exist during the German occupation (ditto for the Danish Army). The French Army also has the distinction of fighting the US, British and Australian armies later in the war.

        • mig1nc

          I recently read an article about the Madagascar operation. Very interesting stuff.

      • Kivaari

        Very true. Had it not been for the spirited defense, the British Army would have been destroyed.

    • John

      It’s based on the AR-15. It’s one of the non-polymer products Heckler and Koch make that won’t break apart under a stern glare.

    • Snafu

      Don’t you feel stupid ?

  • KestrelBike
    • TheNotoriousIUD


    • Bucho4Prez

      Kepi Blanks…amiright!?

  • Bean Guy

    Can we get CAI to reimport some FAMAS’ please? Pretty please? It isn’t the 80’s anymore – military rifles are cool to have now!

    • TDog


  • gunsandrockets

    If I was shooting an 11″ barreled 5.56mm, I would also extend the stock to its maximum length! Ouch!

  • Isn’t the FAMAS more like an old frenemy? I thought French troops weren’t especially fond of it, especially if they ever had to clean it.

    • tsubaka

      for french troops it’s mixed feeling
      some of the rifles are older than the guys that use it (and are busted)hence the “piece of junk” other (the luckiests) use 10 years old rifles who work just fine.
      for ex. i’ve met a French Para who said : “Best rifle of the world”

      and for cleaning it?
      take 2 front pins off – take the carry handle
      take rear pin – take stock off
      take fire control group and bolt off
      and voila
      not an Ar15 but not an L85 neither
      since there’s no gas system to field strip nor clean and it use takedown pin like G36/G3

      Repairing is another thing
      if the FGC,trigger assembly or trigger bar doesn’t work, give it to your unit armorer

  • Phillip Cooper

    There is nothing wrong with holding the rifle that way. Perhaps they just don’t felate Costa .

    • Paul Joly

      you just have less control over your rifle by doing so. You take more time to aim and get back on target.

  • Oregon213

    I expect that decades of training and soldiering with the FAMAS might lead to some training challenges in adopting a new style of grip overnight.

  • SP mclaughlin

    Wonder if they’ll still use rifle grenades on the 416F.

  • tony

    I see nothing wrong with how they grip; not everyone is into magpul style

  • Tim

    Does H&K hate the French, too

  • valorius

    A lot of people like the magwell grip. When your rifle gets hot enough, everyone likes the magwell grip, I can tell you that much.

    • int19h

      I’ve seen a lot of military vets grip it that way. One explanation that was given to me, is that when the rifles are used in combat, they often have a bunch of other crap on and around the forend – light/IR, grenade launcher etc – so it’s hard to find enough place for a solid hand grip there. Whereas gripping the magwell works.

      • valorius

        That is definitely part of it.

      • M

        The magwell grip is also usually the center of gravity for the rifle. It is less tiring overall to grip it when you’re holding up the rifle for long periods of time

  • valorius

    What round will they be using in 5.56mm? Most 5.56mm ammunition is thoroughly worthless when fired from an 11″ barrel.

    • James Kachman

      I think the French are just using M193 and M855 lookalikes, though their 55gr round could still be steel cased for the older rifles.

      • valorius

        The FAMAS was 1:12, so I’m guessing they’ve been using a french equivalent to M193 all along. M193 exhibits extremely limited fragmentation at the velocity range an 11″ barrel delivers (about 2500ish fps)

        • James Kachman

          FAMAS G2 has a barrel twist sufficient for 62gr SS109, and is used by “Fusiliers Marins” and “Commandos Marine.” The French manufacture and issue 62gr SS109 pattern ammo for the G2.

          • valorius

            And the rest of them?

          • James Kachman

            A 55gr M193 lookalike, except in steel case, like I said.

          • valorius

            OK, gotcha.

  • NukeItFromOrbit

    Wish they had chosen the Mk.16 SCAR L just to be different from everybody else adopting the HK416 these days.

  • NukeItFromOrbit

    Why the heck are they ordering more of the short 11″ barrel version than the standard length 14.5″ barrel version? That seems to make no sense.

    • Sean

      The barrel profile of the 416 is what adds a considerable amount of weight to the gun since the barrel is so thick. An 11″ barrel is more than adequate for short and medium range combat and is a big plus for maneuverability . The 416 is one of the most accurate ARs to start off with, regardless of barrel length

      • int19h

        Barrel length is not about accuracy, it’s about muzzle velocity. 11″ barrel does not exactly result in impressive terminal ballistics with M855. What kind of ammo are French using?

        • Per Rifle Shooter’s excellent testing, M855 averages 2579 fps from a 11″, 2808 fps from a 14″, 2992 fps from a 16″, and 3060fps from the old 19″ FAMAS barrel.

          Meanwhile from Small Arms Defense’s testing, the muzzle pressure is 11,000PSI from a 11″ barrel, vs 8,150PSI from a 14.5″, vs 6,000psi from a 19″ barrel.

          So they are getting a gun with roughly twice the blast and 481fps less velocity by transitioning from the FAMAS to the 11″ 416.

    • jimmy craked corn

      You are talking about the French here.

    • Jon Doe

      Because only infantry units will be equiped with the 14.5″ version.
      Artillerymans, vehicles crews, logistic guys, etc, will get the 11″ version, as those will only use it as self defense weapon, and thus, don’t need the extra killing power from the long version. A more compact and lighter gun is better for them.

      So all the frontline guys that will use this rifle in combat on a regular basis will get the long version.

  • 54,500 11″ models.

    I guess they wanted to retain the length of the FAMAS, without the ballistics.

  • mosinman

    why do you say the HK made M-4/16 magazine is the best magazine?

  • Pete Sheppard

    The highlighted lettering on the mag well–a bit of ‘Rub It In’??

  • Does anyone know what optics they will be issuing with the 416?

  • Mud

    That bipod is fracking made of plastic. :O

    Oh the irony of the French buying a German rifle.

  • Core

    Nothing wrong with holding the carbine like that from a static position, it reduces fatigue. I would advise against holding the magazine for several safety reasons. For CQD a forward hold would be beneficial to allow the operator to drive the gun and maintain a higher degree of control. The whole over-lock forward hold, I think I had first seen Costa do and has been determined to be excessive and prohibit movement and cause other issues. The tension hold also causes a reverse effect. It’s better to hold forward and utilize a hand-stop with your hand and butt-stock adjustment in a natural and comfortable position while avoiding rolling your shoulder up. I think folks are finding that a slightly forward canted hold and properly adjusted and setup carbine is the way to go. Travis Haley has several videos that explain both holds/stances and setting up your carbine, it’s pretty informative.

  • How well does the Felin work?