Hamburg Police having issues with their new AR15s and ammunition

In November last year we reported that the Police in Hamburg (Germany) were getting Haenel CR223s (AR15) in 5,56 NATO as a response to the increased threat levels.

You can find the background in this TFB article.

The first rifles from the manufacturer Haenel (Suhl, Germany) were delivered as loaners in 2016, in order to train the Police and show them at the press conference.

In June, during training, the Police encountered more and more problems. The issues are the feeding and ejection of the ammunition, and the problems have intensified. The firearms have now been taken out of service.

Below: The semi-automatic CR223. (Photo by C.G. Haenel)

According to the manufacturer Haenel, the ammunition used by the Police does not correspond with what was specified in the tender.

My understanding is that the ammunition specified was a FMJ bullet, and the Police are now using a hollow point instead.

I think the reason why the Police want to use a hollow point is to avoid collateral damage, if a 5,56 NATO takes a detour where it shouldn’t.

Haenel have sent experts to Hamburg to investigate the problems and possibly modify the firearms.

The target is to get the firearms “back in business” as soon as possible.

I have never really experienced any strange stoppages with any AR15, and I shoot hollow points for all my long range. However those are more long range specific match bullets, with 69+ grains.

Unfortunately there is no mentioning of the brands and types of ammunition used, which could have given some more clues.

For Defense and Police I have seen some strange hollow points, which possibly could cause some problems. Please share your experience below.

For more information on the Haenel CR223 check here:

The Police in Saxony (Germany) have chosen the same rifle, it would be interesting to see if they have the same issues? See previous article TFB here.

Source to the original article (German):

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.


  • Vhyrus

    I can buy an AR 15 today for $400 that will run any round I put into it flawlessly, and one of the greatest manufacturing nations in the world can’t even deliver a few dozen ARs on a government contract that run properly with more than 1 type of ammo.

    You disappoint me, Germany.

    • Audie Bakerson

      If the government is your customer, why build a functional product for 400 when you can build a non-functional product for 600 and get paid 200 extra to “fix” it?

    • .45

      I wasn’t aware it was traditional to have teething problems with ARs and mismatching ammo, but apparently they are following the US’s footsteps in Vietnam with the M16.

    • flyingburgers

      >one of the greatest manufacturing nations in the world

      You never owned a Volkswagen I see.

      • Vhyrus

        I do actually.

        ….and now I’m very nervous about it.

      • Frank

        2016 GTI with 42k miles. No problems.

      • Longhaired Redneck

        Only air-cooled pre 1966 VW’s, and any problem that presented itself was almost always an easy and straightforward fix. Water cooled and/or front wheel drive VW? Good fakkin luck!

      • Longhaired Redneck

        Only air-cooled pre 1967 VW’s, and any problem that presented itself was almost always an easy and straightforward fix. Water cooled? Good fakkin luck!

      • Rogertc1

        Volkswagen got a big ass law suite for cheating on milage and had to buy a lot of them back..

        • sth1d

          VW got caught. If you think no other car manufacturers do exactly the same thing I’ve got a big bridge in Arizona I can sell to you cheap!

          • Rogertc1

            VW was hit hard for cheating the USA customers. A London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. You selling it?

          • Timmah_timmah

            I’ve owned 5 VWs from 98 to 2015. Well over 500k on them combined. No problems outside typical maintenance. And mine were modified for increased boost as well. If you haven’t owned a VW since the 70s you really have no idea what you’re talking about with the modern cars. As for the emissions scam I say GOOD! SCREW THE EPA & THEIR USELESS REGS! LOL

    • .45

      Out of curiosity though, which brand of AR at $400 is flawless? I don’t own an AR myself, but others I have talked to with the cheapest of ARs haven’t exactly used such words to describe them…

      • Vhyrus

        I bought a radical firearms AR for $440 shipped about three weeks ago. Ran 200 rounds without a single malfunction right out of the box.

        • Twilight sparkle

          Was that one of the ones that was built with an Anderson lower?

          • Vhyrus

            The lower says ‘radical firearms’ on it but I don’t know who actually made it. I believe anderson lowers use non standard grip screws and this one uses a mil spec grip screw.

          • Twilight sparkle

            Ah okay, it’s not the one I was thinking of, I remembered primary arms having a sale on radical firearms rifles with Anderson lowers that seemed way low.

            ETA: I don’t remember seeing an Anderson lower that took a nonstandard grip screw.

          • Jared Vynn

            Anderson lowers now use shorter grip screws. They use 3/4″ rather than 1″ now.

          • milesfortis

            Among the several ARs I’ve built with civilian lowers, I have put together two using Anderson lowers and I can state that standard mil-spec/mil-issue grip screws work just fine.

        • Scott Wagner

          I’m going to guess the bolt will break in some way in the next….500 rounds.

          • Brett baker

            I dunno, if you don’t play SAW gunner, some of the cheap ARs will last longer than you think.

          • Scott Wagner

            Some of them will, yes. Radical will not. To get to Radical’s price point, cuts have to be made to the quality of materials.

        • int19h

          Radical doesn’t have a good reputation. Of course, a single data point isn’t telling much either way.

      • Twilight sparkle

        You’re not going to find any flawless ar but the price for a good milspec ar that hit most of the marks on “the list” has certainly gotten cheaper

      • n0truscotsman

        Im talking a little bit more money (5-600) but I had a stupid M&P and Bushmaster test gun duo be utterly reliable until they soiled the bed at 10k rounds (which was a easy fix).

        Note I didn’t replace parts during the first barrel on each. After I did, they became comparatively reliable with a few differences from the high quality ones, but not as much as i anticipated. And consider that I also run military spec replacement parts on them so they’re hardly original.

        • Mikial

          Two observations.

          1. The Bushmaster semi-only SBR I was issued while on a DoD contract in Iraq was a total POS, and each unit probably ran $1200+ (They issued the Kurdish gunners AKs and PKMs to lay down suppressive fire, and the expats semis to pick off people the Kurds couldn’t hit).

          2. My M&P I bought for $700 with a special deal that included rails, a light, and Magpul magazines will shoot anything I load it with without any issues. So, it’s the gun and the brand.

          Frankly, I wouldn’t pick a Bushmaster up off the street, but since the guns in the article were supposed to be government contract models in use by supposedly highly skilled polizei it boggles the mind that they can’t make them work.

          • n0truscotsman

            Some of them I’ve run were also completely unsat. Improperly staked gas keys, broken bolt lugs, etc.

            BCM, Daniel Defense, and others are more expensive, but the peace of mind is worth it.

    • Haulin’ Oats

      As a former late model Mercedes Benz owner, I second that. They just can’t build stuff like they used to. 1980s and earlier were super reliable benz cars.

      • Sean

        MB seems to throw every bit of possible technology in their cars, in an effort to be the leaders in tech. Whether it works or not.

        • Haulin’ Oats

          And most of that Tech wizardry is from a 3rd party source. It seems MB Doesn’t put real engineering in to their vehicles like they used to.

    • James Young

      I guess Germany should’ve bought American.

      • Frank

        Yeah. US police departments haven’t had big issues ordering guns from Switzerland or Germany. Why wouldn’t they just buy some BCMs, Colts, or something when they’re KNOWN to work.

        • Zack mars

          Not made here syndrome

          • Timmah_timmah

            Yup. Sad but true. Why didn’t Trump broker a deal? Haha right

    • Ruger Shooter

      I have MUCH experience to back up this statement; I have NO confidence on anything made in Germany. Everything is made too complicated to function properly; seems their line of thinking is if it’s more complex, it must be better. Not.

      • UpChuck.Liberals

        I’m somewhat inclined to agree with you. I’ve got a preloved Audi SQ5, the thing is a computer on 4 wheels. Literally there are over a hundred fuses in this thing. And all over the place and good luck finding them, panels under the hood, on the left and right of the dash and in the back. If the computer burps, all sorts of weird things happen.

        I have a 300BLK that once I figured out the buffer spring was too stiff, it should have had a pistol length tube, now eats everything.

        • Timmah_timmah

          So has your audi been unreliable? Or you are simply intimidated by electronics? Their really nothing to be afraid of.

      • Timmah_timmah

        While I agree that simple is better, generalizing about an entire industry in an entire country is ignorant. Do ALL German guns suck? Of course not. Do all German cars suck? Only if you are mentally stuck in 1985. Carburetors are gone…just like bell bottoms buddy! Watch the broad sweeping generalizations. You only sound foolish in doing so.

    • Ark

      Ever owned a German car? “German quality” is a myth. Their stuff breaks constantly. They are fundamentally incapable of producing a mechanical system that can run for a sustained length of time without going down.

      • Timmah_timmah

        I call bullshit. See my post above. I’ve owned American Japanese and German. All had similar breakage rates in my experience.

    • CavScout

      Most of the ones you can buy for $600 or less will have enough troubles with just high quality 5.56, let alone shooting more than 500 rounds.

  • Brett baker

    Probably the ammo.

    • Paul Prochko

      YUP second on the ammo

      • Timmah_timmah


  • Joshua

    Is that a knock off HK416? It looks like it, gas system looks similar to.

    Lol, it’s kinda like how the 416 is having so many issues with M855A1.

    • Chris22lr

      Not really a knock-off since Haenel was owned by HK during the development and production of early HK416. I guess that after being sold to Merkel/Caracal, they’ve retained rights to some elements of HK416 design (there are several differences between Haenel and HK). Also Haenel was producing the SLB2000 self-repeating hunting rifle, which also have similiar gas system.

  • Vitsaus

    I got a chance to handle some of these, as well as a few other German made AR15’s. They looked like they wouldn’t be fully interchangeable with US made stuff. The bolts and some other parts seemed dimensionally different to me. I got the impression that they were reverse engineered rather than being direct copies.

    • Frank

      The technical documents for the AR-15 are publicly available aren’t they?

      • MSG1000

        If they are I can’t find anything but the lower schematics.

    • Max Müller

      That is a pure politics thing. In germany you are allowed to own a full-auto lower with a built in 3 position selector and trigger because the lower isn’t considered a gun or registered part. You are not allowed to buildt it onto a functioning upper because that would be manufacturing a machine gun (evil weapon of war and mass destruction according to german law).
      In germany they register any part that contacts the bullet and case since they are considered the hardest to manufacture since they must deal with the pressure and heat. You register the barrel and the bolt. And you aren’t allowed to have a regular M16-bolt but need one that is specifically built to not work with a full-auto sear or in a M16 while your upper cannot allow a M16 bolt.
      So yes, the govt forces you to have out-of-spec parts so that they aren’t interchangable.

      • Sebastian

        You are wrong on that. Only the bolt head is regulated. The M16 bolt carrier is legal to own. There is a Feststellungsbescheid (same as an ATF letter) from the federal police.

  • Stand Your Ground

    I see the problems: the clipazine holds too many shotslugs and there is a shoulder thing that goes up

    • Mnor

      since we’re doing comedy:

      How do you break a blonde’s nose?

      you wave you’re d*ck around under a glass table.

      Thank you, I’ll be here all week….

      • Jared Vynn

        Thankfully the week is almost over.

      • .45

        I’m heightist, I look down on short people.


        • MNOR

          Call a woman fat once and she’ll remember it for the rest of her life.

          Thats because elephants never forget.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Spot on

  • Bert

    Kraut gov ammo is sheiße.

    Their troops told us they won’t use US ammo for running too “hot,” whatever that means.

    Their ammo was anemic in our gats. I bet that is the real issue.

    • MeaCulpa

      I doubt that the issue is with the German army’s ammunition. The army is probably not running hollow points.

    • Herb Freeman

      Sp. scheisse !

      • Robert

        But you have to admire his use of the s-set character

        • Herb Freeman

          I am impressed! Sehr gut!

    • Timmah_timmah

      What a bunch of idiots. Why would you slow down 556? wouldn’t want to injure terrorists I guess? Just buy some 22 subsonic why don’t you? 😉

  • john huscio

    Shouldve bought LWRCs

    • Haulin’ Oats

      Daniel Defense, POF, FN-15, SIG MCX, or even a plain old colt. All of those cost the same or less than the malfunctioning Haenel.

      • n0truscotsman

        yeah no kidding. Colt or FN couldve given them good price and they would’ve actually *worked*.

        • Disgruntled

          Better buy those colts before they go bankrupt. Again.

      • john huscio

        I wouldnt trust the MCX to work properly or sig to fix it…… long as they remain infected with the cohen sickness, their guns are suspect.

  • Lee Attiny


  • Jim_Macklin

    I wonder if they have M4 feed ramps? What make of magazine? What buffer, H2 or H3 will fix many issues.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Or run real 556 instead of socialist happy bullets

  • Realist

    Article was succinct and to the point given the lack of 411 on the ammo used…thanks for providing the additional links too.

    • Timmah_timmah

      I don’t think it would be hard to find info on the ammo but I’m not wasting my time to do it as I’m not a writer

  • DetroitMan

    So they changed the ammunition from what was originally specified in the contract? Sounds like a failure to adequately test the new service ammunition. The same thing was partially responsible for the M16’s early failures in Vietnam. You would think people would have learned by now.

    • Timmah_timmah


  • I’m not a machinist but there are variables in the AR build-out that can cause hick-ups with certain ammunition. For instance there are standard feed ramps and M4 feed ramps. There are different types of buffer tube springs that can effect cycling. And the proper gas system for barrel length must be matched. Then, if you add in tolerances closer to match-level rather than looser Mil-Spec you’ve set yourself up for a potentially very finicky system.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Or just don’t run weak hippie anmo maybe

  • EHW2

    Hopefully they get everything fixed up in time to hunt Antifa after the G20 riots.
    Bag a black bloc member, save a local business.

  • 300 wm

    A quad rail huh? Good to know 2007 is still alive in Germany.

  • Rogertc1

    Manufacturer Haenel (Suhl, Germany) LOL

  • Mikial

    Keep in mind that we are talking about European police here. My wife is Austrian and I have spent a lot of time there and in Germany, not to mention that my profession is international security. European police rate below the Jordanian security police and really don’t have a clue. I have a 700 M&P AR that will shoot whatever I load into it. So, what’s the issue?

    • Timmah_timmah

      Weak ammo.

  • mig1nc

    Here in the United States we civil and LE shooters have access to lots of great all-copper expanding rounds. Lead-free. I personally have switched over to the TSX round in 5.56mm for defense. Not that I have anything against lead ammo. Just saying, they could have used that round and been fine.

    • Max Müller

      They COULD have. But they are politicians with no idea what guns and ammo are. They are a leftist eco party that wants to ban all guns and eventually disarm even the police. They bought some weird and expensive ammo. From what i have been told it is a bullet with a lead-replacing soft alloy core. Something like beryllium-zinc or whatever. But it has a non-bonded soft metal core.
      If they would have bought Lehigh ammo or any of the modern copper hunting bullets from the USA they would have been fine. But they didn’t.

      • Brett baker

        I get the impression that copper is going to get declared the next supertoxic metal, unfortunately.

      • Timmah_timmah

        You sir are too logical

  • Wes Nuttall

    No kidding I don’t know of any AR that you actually get out the door for under 500$.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Really? You don’t shop hard enough.

  • Voice_of_Reason

    Germans are famous – or perhaps infamous – for over-engineering stuff and making it finicky.

    • And they seem to have a *particular* problem with AR15 type rifles…

      • Timmah_timmah

        that’s true haha

    • Timmah_timmah

      Or they are tree huggers using weak green ammo. Simple really.

  • Core

    Sounds like the ammo is not loaded properly for the operating system specs. Solution: get 55-62g hollow points loaded to specs. Or go through the extremely expensive process of modifying the operating systems to facilitate a anemic cartridge..

    • Timmah_timmah

      Nailed it

  • andygoldusa .

    I realize this is NOT a VW thread, but….
    I owned VW Rabbits from ’77 to ’93. Some made in Germany and some made in Pennsylvania. Every single year for 15 years, one of my VWs would leave me on the road, dead. Typically fuse block, and relay issues (Bosch must have taken a cue from Lucas). One of my VWs also liked to start itself on rainy days (water running down antenna cable, through body grommet, dropping onto starter relay). But, compared to the American cars I owned, and drove in a fleet, during that time period, the VWs were faaaaarrrrr more reliable than the American cars. Now, I only buy Japanese, and typically get at least 100K miles before anything needs work, and I’ve never had a breakdown on the road with the Mazdas, Hondas, and Nissans I’ve owned. With that said, remember ARs had teething issues during Nam that were subsequently fixed by powder changes and whatnot…

  • armed bear

    I find it amazing that they are building and selling an AR that does not work. Typical of the socialist regime of germanistan. You can buy a sub$400 AR in America -Delton, Omni, PSA, and they all run on both 5.56 and .223. Maybe they should have bought a Chinese or S Korean import.
    Also, where are the HK, SIG, etc.?

  • A properly made AR15 will feed any crap ammo you care to feed it. However, it may not eject said crap ammo’s spent cases properly. But any military grade fmj (XM193 or M855) or commercially made match or hunting ammo ought to function just fine in an AR. I’ve fired all kinds of different bullet shapes and weights through my ARs with nary a hiccup. The one thing I avoid is lacquered steel case ammo, as I’ve seen too many stuck cases in other folks ARs running that stuff. Without more details, it is hard to figure out what actually happened here – a badly assembled AR, or crappy ammo. But bullet shape shouldn’t affect it at all.

    • Timmah_timmah

      Exactly. It’s lack of sufficient powder.

  • Rogertc1

    Germans made them..not the fault of US Manufacturers.

  • Timmah_timmah

    Wow what the hell was that about? Relax mate.

  • Timmah_timmah

    And THERE we have it!! SOLVED! Simple explanation. The author should have found this info with good old research. But this is the internet where speed is most important….

    It would seem this is a self induced problem nothing to do with the gun. Much like Vietnam teething issues with M16 anmo. (Which idiots still bring up today as though it’s relevant.)

    Love how the comments go off the rails into bashing all things manufactured in Germany. Meanwhile, There was a simple, straight forward explanation right in front of you all along. Haha you blokes crack me up really.

  • Timmah_timmah


  • Timmah_timmah

    Because they were full power 556! Weak ammo sucks.

  • Timmah_timmah

    Orrrr…. they are not using the right ammo… simple. Underpowered tree hugger ammo has no place in LE.