BOTH HK416 and HK433 Submitted to Bundeswehr Rifle Trials, H&K Confirms [AUSA 2017]

Representatives of the German gun manufacturing company Heckler & Koch confirmed today that the company has submitted both the HK416 assault rifle and the new HK433 modular assault rifle to the Bundeswehr’s System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr (SSB) rifle trials, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

The decision to submit both rifles to the trials makes some sense, as there is some pressure for the German government to adopt a common rifle with the French, who just selected the HK416F as the winner of their AIF rifle program. This means that, if the HK416 performs well in trials, it could potentially have an additional edge over other competitors in the eyes of German politicians. If the race is a close one – and it seems like it might end up being one – that advantage could prove decisive for Heckler & Koch.

The HK433, though, offers some other potential advantages versus the HK416. It is ergonomically much closer to the existing G36 than the HK416, having been designed from the ground up with the Bundeswehr in mind (the HK416 was not). Also, it is reportedly more reliable than the HK416, which could prove important as – for all its faults – the G36 is widely considered to be a tremendously reliable weapon. The Bundeswehr is unlikely to be happy with a new weapon that is less reliable than their existing rifle, and if  there is concern that the HK416 may not meet this standard the HK433 may be a hedge against that possibility. Finally, the HK433 is supposed to be much cheaper than the HK416, and more likely to win in a competitive bidding war between similarly-performing candidates.



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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  • Twilight sparkle

    The hk 433 looks really good on paper but… I also thought the arx 100 looked good on paper and seeing it in person was kinda mehhh
    It would be cool to see how H&K got the weight so low, I wonder if ergonomics were sacrificed like they were with berettas gun

    • Uhm

      wasnt it rather heavy?

      • Chi Wai Shum

        ARX160 is not heavy at all. It just looks bulky.

        • Yep, the ARX160 is actually one of the only 5.56 piston guns to weigh less then 7lbs.

        • Uhm

          I did not even mean the ARX160…

      • Twilight sparkle

        The hk web site said it was just over 7 lbs… but I suppose that could be for the 11 inch barrel version

    • LazyReader

      The same way the gun industry always saves weight. By shaving metal away somewhere.

    • Rasputin

      What part of the ARX did not fit your operating needs? Did it jam while on a classified mission, so you were like… “meh”?

      • I locked one up at SHOT Show once. So… Yeah, “meh”.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Nope, if I had grown up in a country like England or Italy where I hadn’t been exposed to many forearms I probably would love it, I just hated the ergonomics compared to pretty much any other modern battle rifles. I’ve like beretta as a companie but they haven’t made anything appealing since the 80’s

      • Uniform223

        The “charging handle” (If you want to call it that) is a joke. I don’t have the biggest hands but the thing is too small. Any time I ever handled one I never good get a positive grip/feel on that thing.

    • The weight on the 433 is pretty average tbh. ~7.5lbs unloaded.

      • Twilight sparkle

        I thought I read somewhere that it was right at 7lbs, neither weight is excessively light but it seems like most of the newer comparable rifles are well over 8lbs

      • Jonathan Ferguson

        I got hands on briefly – it ‘felt’ about that, sans optics etc.

  • DW

    Please allow Steyr to also submit the AUG for the trial.

    • Shlom Shekelsteen

      Steyr is not going to compete with the AUG again. During the trials for the G3 successor the AUG beat the G36 in almost every test that matters, yet wasnt adopted. The corruption between H&K and the MOD in Germany are legendary, H&K is going to win the contract. This is why they build the 433, it fits all the criteria of the Bundeswehr to the letter.

      When it gets introduced soldiers will find out that the gun they have was not build to specifics determined by their use in combat, but to those determined by some bureaucrat who has never spent a day in the field and wanted H&K to win that contract.

      • venku

        Did it also beat the G36 in price? Because that is what really matters to the DoD.
        Last I heard, the G36 was dirt cheap compared to most of its rivals.

      • Jason Culligan

        Steyr has partnered with Rheinmetall this time around though, so anything they put forward has a better chance than if they went it alone.

        Rheinmetall and HK’s ancestor Mauser faced off frequently for German small arms contracts. It would be nice to see that dynamic return.

        • Evan

          Indeed. They look pretty nice too. I’d almost consider one. Can you imagine telling yourself in the early 90s, H&K and Steyr would be making ARs for German Army trials?

      • Gabriel Owens

        I read all that with a German accent. It was way more effective.

    • Mr._Exterminatus

      AUG would lose. The world is moving away from bullpups for the most part.

  • LazyReader

    Curse my dyslexia for thinking the Bundeswehr is a brand of beer

  • noob
  • FOC Ewe

    Sure, trust them to make another plastic rifle. Good luck with that 😆

    • Bullphrog855

      prob why hk put both the 433 and 416 into the comp haha

      • hikerguy

        That is what you call “hedging your bets”, which is smart on their parts.

    • venku

      As far as I know, there was nothing truly wrong with the G36 as it was/is deployed. The issues with accuracy were reportedly due to out of spec ammo (which the ammo manufacturer itself confirmed), not the gun. There have been no complaints about the G36 from the Spanish, Lithuanian nor Latvian armies, who use it as their main rifle. The Lithuanians even temporarily halted procurement, asked for clarification about the issues and apparently conducted their own tests, after which they concluded that the rifle is fine and thus continued to procure them.
      I know that our (Estonian) special forces group has been using them extensively in some of the most intense regions of Afghanistan – namely Helmand – and there hasn’t been a single hint that the guns were inadequate for the job. They wouldn’t still use them if that was the case.

      • Leroy Jenkins

        It went well beyond that, that’s why the Germans are replacing it. Go read the Wikipedia article on the G36, some one added what the Germans found when the temp rises above 86 degrees.

        The G36 while cool, has significant design issues. I don’t see why they couldn’t add some fixes and come out with a new version.

        • Evan

          They could, but they’ve decided to just design a new rifle package rather than re-redesign an old one.

          Keep in mind, the W. German Gov’t had the G41(HK33 that took AR mags) all set to go, but then the Soviet Union collapsed and German Reunification happened unexpectedly early before the end of 1989, and canceled that.

          The German Government then, in their infinite wisdom, went full-tilt cost and weight oriented on their new rifle. They also cheaped-out on the ammo it seems.
          Whatever they German Defense Ministry found in its late 20-teens testing, it wasn’t enough to convince a jury and they lost their suit against H&K, and additionally the court advised the Bundeswehr did not make its specifications for the weapon clear enough in the beginning of the procurement process.

        • venku

          From what I understood of HKs rebuttal, the issue was the thin barrel, not the plastic design itself. Their counter was that if the Bundeswehr wanted a gun that could handle more intense fire, it should have bought the MG36 or made the request clear in the original specifications. The court ended up agreeing with them.

          In any case, it doesn’t explain why the soldiers using the rifle are reportedly happy with them. They should be the first ones to sound the alarm.

      • Samuel Millwright

        Milk jugs = never acceptable to use as gun parts…

        It’s all about the milk jugs bro

        • Brett baker

          Worked pretty good on the AUG.

        • Old Tofu

          have you even heard of GLOCK

  • USMC03Vet

    Gotta look operator for the camera when you’re raiding citizen’s houses because they dare speak out about the destruction of the country online.

  • Brett baker

    May the best single-source provider’s entries win!

  • Starfish

    Interesting choice to put a bunch of little penis’s going down the length of the forend, but hey, to each their own.

  • Chris22lr

    On a side note, German SF – KSK and KSM – have chosen HK416 (A7 variant) for their Sturmgewehr Spezialkrafte weapon program. HK will provide them with 1740 guns, which have gotten designation G95. That’s actually second Bundeswehr designation for HK416 – in 2014 HK416A5 was designated as G38.

    This makes me think that Bundeswehr really wants to go with 416 and whole System Sturmgewehr program will be one big justification of chosing that gun and not the others.

  • Geoff

    Are these guns Halal-certified? We want our vibrant Mohamedan “New Germans” that will soon dominate the country and thus the political system and military to be sufficiently pleased with their new guns.