HK HEAD FIRED: Heckler & Koch Chair and CEO Norbert Scheuch Forced Out

According to a press release issued earlier today by Heckler & Koch, the Chairman of the Executive Board and Chief Executive Officer of parent company H&K AG Norbert Scheuch has been terminated from his position by the supervisory board. The release also stated that Wolfgang Hesse, the current sole Executive Board member, would be taking over operations for Heckler & Koch until Scheuch’s replacement can be appointed.

This news comes at a fairly delicate time for the German gunmaker. The company is building a new factory in the US, as it seeks to penetrate further into the US military and civilian gun markets. As part of this aggressive push, H&K’s product lineup has been significantly revised, as well, with the introduction of the HK433 and several other new models based on the HK416 and G36. On the other hand, the company has also had persistent financial difficulties to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, coupled with serious management issues. The failure to deliver XM25 CDTE weapons to the US government due to a company officer decisions, as well as the firing of experienced HK USA President Wayne Weber, both point to  deeply buried threads of management shortcomings within the company itself. Whether Scheuch’s firing will be good or bad for the company in the long run remains to be seen, but it does seem to mark a turning point for the company. What is clear is that Heckler & Koch cannot afford any more management issues moving forward. Whoever steps into Scheuch’s shoes will need a sound strategy and a steady hand to guide the company through both its new endeavors and its current obstacles.





Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Ben Scott

    Since they want to push into the american market more could we possibly see cheaper HK’s?

    • Joshua

      No.

      The government price of a HK416 barrel alone costs more than a brand new M4A1($628). Civilian market will not be getting cheap HK’s.

      • john huscio

        “Civilian market will not be getting cheap HK’s.”

        P30sk costs $530. Vp9 costs 499, p2000 costs $580………its a few products, but its a start…

        • Joshua

          Rifles are a different story.

          • Klaus Von Schmitto

            They certainly are. When you’re talking quality.

          • Wow!

            There is basically nothing H&K brings to the table quality wise that isn’t overshadowed by other options in the market. At least H&K has started fixing their weapon control placements, especially their irritating selector.

    • Trotro

      HK makes some really nice stuff; it should be expensive. They’ve got to learn though that there is a difference between expensive and overpriced. They are falling into the latter group in many peoples eyes right now.

    • James Young

      If they could get the price to reasonable levels they could sell a lot of guns in the US. Imports from other companies are sold at reasonable prices (Walther, CZ, etc.). Obviously HK can still sell their guns at a premium over those, but so many of their guns are in the “only if I win the lottery” price range.

      • Ben Scott

        I own an HK 91, I know how high they can get I just think the prices are a tad bit exuberantly high. I notice they have prices all over the board too which is a little silly seeing as you can get a VP9 for under 600$

        • Klaus

          Owning a few 90series rifles myself their elevated value is strictly related to supply and demand. There were only so many 91s,93s and 94s imported before 1989. They were fairly cheap rifles when they first came in.I paid less than $500 for my first new 91 in1980 I think it was.

      • Herr Wolf

        And yet FN sells so many of their overpriced SCARs

        • Vitsaus

          You nailed it Herr Wolf. FN has made sure that current gen military rifles will stay at top shelf boutique AR prices for the foreseeable future.

          • No one

            Yes, It’s FN’s fault that H&K has decided to massively overcharge for their products for decades now!

            Brilliant correlation!

    • Stuki Moi

      Their pistols are already being sold at competitive prices. VPs aren’t any more expensive than Glocks. Which was certainly not the case back in the P7, nor even USP, days.

      Rifles are harder to compare directly, as they come with an almost infinite variety of features and quality. Unlike pistols, where the Glock is pretty much considered the standard for how good a pistol needs to be, before “improvements” are primarily of the subjective variety.

      But their +- roundoff price competitiveness in pistols, that show no indication of being systemically objectively inferior to the Glock nor the rest, does indicate they have efficient and reliable design and production processes in place. No more reliance on 30 year experienced Herr Doktors, hand fitting components machined to unobtanium tolerances, in order to make their guns run.

      Assuming this transfers over to the rifle side, while they may still choose to focus on the high end of the market, they shouldn’t be doomed to be “overpriced” for what they are. Assuming they care about buyers without unlimited pockets, instead of just hating them :), which it sounds as if they now do.

      • Geoff Timm

        The VPs aren’t made by HK, at least the booth people wouldn’t state it was made by HK. Geoff Who notes the Umarex .22s, from nearly everybody.

  • Docduracoat

    H and K makes a nice product
    The only problem is everything they make has a less expensive alternative that is just as good
    If not better

    • john huscio

      Not all that many companies make a pistol as bombproof as the usp.

      • Jared A. Faber

        Do you have formal testing to back that up, or is this more HKPoo machismo?

        • MiamiC70

          I have yet to clean my 1994 H&K USP .45 full size and it is as accurate as day I got it and has never failed to go bang. Good as bombproof in my opinion.

          • Gun Fu Guru

            Had mine for six years til someone stole it. Shot like a dream. More accurate than my CZ Czechmate.

          • No one

            Yes, that pistol based on the Tactical Sport which is one of the most accurate pistols ever made and used in high end competition shooting all the time as opposed to the basically never of the USP!

            Just as accurate! wait, No it isn’t.

        • Gun Fu Guru

          The USP is a derivative of the Mk23 SOCOM pistol. Can you name another handgun that has successfully completed the testing that weapon system did?

          (I used to own a HK USP45 for six years. Twelve thousand rounds, no parts breakages and no pistol-related malfunctions. I’d still have it if it wasn’t stolen. Now, I don’t have any HKs.)

      • Black Dots
        • Xerxes036

          Show a modern pistol that hasn’t had a catastrophic failure.

          • Black Dots
          • Xerxes036

            Bwhahaha

          • supergun

            Is this a Hi Point? damn that is a ugly gun.

          • Core

            Tried one of these at the range, it was accurate and it didn’t malfunction. But man it’s heavy and it feels like the slide is going to fly off and hit you in the face.. It cycles as smooth as a low grade BB gun. I can’t get past the weight and the horrible trigger. On a positive note it makes a great hammer.

          • mac12sam12

            I love the squirt gun look!

      • Kurt Ingalls

        bomb-proof……as in your a “operator” in some undisclosed hell on earth place and you’ve seen ACTION!!!!!……right, bombproof……..Docduracoat is 100% correct, GI joe…..and you know that…..just sayin’……

      • mac12sam12

        The next step up, the HK45.

    • Wow!

      I for one have never been a fan of H&K products. It gets a lot of attention because it is the “gov exclusive” kind of company but there were and ar much better alternatives to their products. Even their roller locking mechanism has nearly faded away, which I never thought was very good due to maintenance and that it forced the designs to lack an automatic bolt hold open due to fear of debris getting in the mechanism.

    • supergun

      You hit the nail on the head.

  • No one

    So are we going to get NewMan’s thoughts on being fired is the real question?

  • tony

    I will be glad to take his place.

    • DW

      Do you even hate us?

  • Brett baker

    WE all know the new president will be required to hate us.

    • Not Worthy

      Because we suck

  • Big Daddy

    Think of this revelation, make what people want and they will buy it. Amazing isn’t it? The thought, the idea of making what people want and them buying it. Now will they buy it? Yes if the price is right. That is why you have a tier system. Premium, mid priced and streamlined less expensive. You can bypass the cheap crap and make your less expensive line still good enough. Most people will run to buy a product that they want that says HK yet not be considered good enough to run by a dedicated military group. You don’t need CHF barrels in a sporting gun that might get shot a few times a month if that. But you can get a FN AR15 double chrome lined CHF barrel for under $300.

    People want MP5s, especially now with the whole brace thing solved. How about one in 10mm you already have the tooling. UMP pistols with a brace in 9mm, .40 cal and 45ACP. They will sell but not at $2000.

    • Grant

      I agree. Many are willing to pay a premium for HK guns. There is a difference between paying a premium and being raped. $80 MP5 magazines, $3k for an SP89 when you can buy a gun with more features for over $1k less from Zenith. You could make a list a mile long.

      Their current pistols are selling for reasonable prices. Their rifles are either unavailable or so overpriced they should not even bother to sell them.

  • TwoThirtyGr

    Nathaniel F, *seem
    Thanks for the articles!

  • NanoSuitUser059 .

    I just want a USP in 10mm and a MR433 for Christmas, Santa.

    • uisconfruzed

      USP 10. yessir!

  • Gregory

    H&K, you will never be relevant in the US market unless you stop charging insane prices for your weapons.

  • LGonDISQUS

    150 mil in debt is theoretically three military contracts away from solvency, no?

  • Black Dots

    I bet this guy is one…sour kraut.

    • dlh0

      SO non-PC’………Hahahahah!

  • Kevin Michael Collins

    H&K makes products that people want because they start with law enforcement, government, and military solicitations. Their products don’t start as commercial offerings. A lot of time, money, and testing goes into each product. H&K will make small changes to their existing products to ensure they will meet the solicitor’s requirements.

    I spent a week at the H&K factory in Germany last fall. There are several buildings on its campus. The R&D building has at least four floors. The company makes most of its own parts so it can have close control over it’s quality and technology secrets.

    Continuous R&D and extensive manufacturing capability is very expensive to maintain. These are two reasons why their products are expensive. Exporting firearms from Germany to the USA also has associated costs.

    Dealing with military contracts can be very expensive. Sometimes a company wins, and sometimes they don’t. Companies can only profit from them when they win the contracts. Contracts generally fix pricing, so commercial consumers don’t get to buy “mil spec” parts for less than what the military pays. If the US government pays $2400 for a HK416, then a US citizen will not be able to get a MR556 for less. FN Herstal, FN America, and Knight’s Armament Co. has to deal with the same issues. This is why official SR-25 or M110 magazines cost at least $100 each.

    H&K is having some financial troubles, but so are other companies that have high overhead costs and deal so much with government and military contracts. Colt has had financial problems for over 20 years, and Remington was $250M in debt 10-12 years ago. H&K has a lot of good products, and some of them are being heavily tested by our military. The US Marine Corp. is adopting the M27, the US Army adopted the M110A1 CSASS, and H&K is one of the few companies that can compete for the Interim Service Combat Rifle and the Squad Automatic Rifle. All of this work with the US military can get H&K in much better financial shape.

  • Joe

    I’m holding my breath (lol, not really) for the HK433 to sell for $2000, which is still hundreds more than I can afford, but at least relatively reasonable for a German Masada.

  • Nick

    Don’t get me wrong. I love HK pistols. They make a great product. But it always seemed to me that they were always too willing to go along with “liberal” shenanigans because they thought that government contracts would be their bread and butter. For example they never made a “civilian legal” MP5’s in quantity. They never tried very hard to capitalize on their obsolete but none the less legendary G3. They also never made civilian legal G36’s in quantity. There’s several other examples of this playing out. Low and behold governments just don’t buy a lot of guns. IF they had made civilian legal copies of what quite frankly have gone on to become legendary firearms, they’d likely not be in the financial trouble they’re in now. Look at FN who not too long ago was very similar. It used to be very difficult to find a Civilian market FN, now they’ve made their military collector line and are selling semi-auto M249’s for 8k apiece and they DO sell. Their M4 and M16A4 copies also SELL. Fact of the matter is playing along with liberal BS policies hoping to get that next government contract comes at a price. All the companies that did this, S&W, Colt, HK, etc in the end have all ended up firing the CEO that was willing to play political patty cake with liberals and making a better civilian product line. I’m sure HK will end up having to do the same.

    • Wow!

      H&K actually was pretty pro citizen back in their heyday. If you look at some of the old H&K commercial tapes they had some pretty good visions for the civilian market. Big names in the US like Ruger, S&W, and Colt sold us under the table in hopes of currying favor with the government, only to later realize that without the private market, they would be dead at the governments whim (or lack of interest). Ruger and S&W changed their tune, but Colt seems doomed (a shame, because I loved Colt). At this point H&K kind of was soured by the American market.

      That said, I don’t like H&K because I don’t think their products are really that great compared to the plethora of better offerings not just here in the US, but around the world.

    • HKfan

      A big part of this has to do with where the guns are made. H&K manufactures very few products stateside, a few HK45s and thats about it. If H&K or any foreign player wants to sell successfully sell firearms to civilians in the US, especially higher priced guns like ARs, they must be made in the USA to get the prices down and encounter less red tape. When Sig set up manufacturing in the USA, their popularity skyrocketed, their product line went from like 7 guns to 40+, and their rifles are now comparable in price to LWRC, DD, and S&W Competition rifles. FN did the same exact thing, their ARs are made in SC and are pretty affordable and the quality is better than a S&W. Just try getting your hands on a Belgian-made SCAR or Five-Seven, they are hard as hell to locate and gun shops only get a few in ever few months.

      I do know that HK is currently building another factory, maybe in Georgia?, and hopefully they can begin small scale production of the products that they know can sell very well in the USA especially if they are priced appropriately. Imaging the HK433 going for the same price as a SIG MCX. THAT WOULB BE TERRIFIC and a lot of people will buy them. They could even make a US made 416 for civilians and price it at what LWRC and DD price their competing models at.

      But considering how the 416 just became France’s new military carbine (100,000+ units) and even our Marines and Army are surely but slowly placing 416 orders, there is no rush on HK’s part to dive into the US commercial market. They are getting there though and their success with the VP and VP SK models are proof of this – innovative, quality commercial handguns prices slightly (SLIGHTLY) above the competition is a recipe for success for HK.

  • Seth Hill

    Ok, ok…. I will bite the bullet and take the position.

  • No one

    The sheer layers of irony in this post is simply exquisite.

    • JSmath

      You’re mistaking intricacy for irony. A person’s inability to process simple factual statements is not my problem, and that’s what seperates Glock fans from full-retarded Glock fanboys.

  • Jared A. Faber

    I’m no Glock fanboy, I don’t even own one, but I wasn’t familiar with the USP and I care about facts- not opinions. Every time someone says something is the “best” I want evidence of that, not (ironically enough) the opinions of fanboys.
    Anyway, thanks for providing the link. I wasn’t aware that it was used by the SEALs.

  • cieran58

    H und K to Norbert Scheuch : “You are Fired, because You Suck and We Hate You.”

  • supergun

    I love H&Ks. They are probably some of the best, no question about it. But if they priced their guns like the Walthers, I bet some of that debt. would be reduced. The Walthers may not be as good, but that Walther PPQ M1 9mm is one bad a** gun for the money.

  • Holland1953

    H&K, once briefly owned by British Aerospace, has a record of bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy. Apparently, they received many hundreds of millions of Euros when asked to solve the ongoing problems with the British army rifle, the SA80. Despite that, they still managed to remain in the red. There are no bad companies, just bad managers.

  • MichaelBolton

    . . . and yet none of our SOCOM shooters or SMUs use HK . . . wonder why that is?

    • HKfan

      I really suggest that you educate yourself and cut out your bias BS. SOCOM does in fact currently use the MP5 and was using the Mk23. HK products can be found among all US branches and as time goes one, our military just keeps adopting more and more HK products.

      Marines are placing large orders for M27 (HK416) to replace their ARs and SAWs.

      The Army chose a variant of the HK417 to replace their M110 for the CSASS program.

      The HK M320 grenade launchers are phasing out the 203.

      It is just a matter of time until the 416 is chosen to completely replace the M4. Specialized groups like Delta and DEVGRU already use the 416 and the Army and Marines have been buying the 416 slowly but surely to replace their M4s.

      Funny how you claim SOCOM doesn’t use HK when the MK23 was called the “SOCOM Mark 23.” I wonder why you can’t get your facts straight?

      Also funny how you selected that small division, SOCOM, that you THOUGHT doesn’t use HK and don’t mention the big players that do use HK like Delta, SEALs, and other divisions in the Army and Marines.

      • MichaelBolton

        I thought it was obvious that it was in reference to HK handguns. The Mk 23? What a joke. What was that, 20 years ago? Since then, has anyone used any HK handguns with any regularity? I’ve never heard of it. Heard plenty of Glocks, Sigs, heck even Berettas for Group guys. I have yet to hear of anyone in the GWOT using HK handguns.

        • TheChunkNorris

          I’ve worked with guys who had a HK45CT on various kit… really don’t understand where you’re going with your comments.

    • Zapped 02

      Come back when you actually know what you think you are talking about.
      Because your comment shows you dont know anything about this.

      • MichaelBolton

        Tell me of the HK handguns in use by US special operations.

        • HKfan

          HK45 Compact is used by NSWC. Some contractors are using USPs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

          But Zapped 02 is right, you really don’t know what you are talking about and we have yet to understand the point you are trying to prove.

          • MichaelBolton

            Wow, so some rando reports of the USP by Deals, and then crickets since the Mk 23 essentially. So I stand by my point that essentially no one has been using HK handguns for decades now, and apparently this makes me uninformed? Your fanboy crush is cute.

        • Zapped 02

          Heckler & Koch P11 (Underwater Pistol) (7.62×36mm rocket-propelled darts) (USSOCOM)
          Heckler & Koch Mk 23 Mod 0 (.45 ACP) (USSOCOM)
          Heckler & Koch Mk 24 Mod 0 (HK45 Compact Tactical) (.45 ACP) (NAVSPECWAR

          • MichaelBolton

            The fact that this is the list you came up with only asserts my point. Not sure why it’s so hard to admit that no one is being issued HK handguns with any regularity. This list is like the backup gun list for a JV 90s SOCOM team

  • Max Glazer

    That would be two of the most idiotic and braindead decision ever by ANY gun maker.