The HK433: Up Close and Personal at [AUSA 2017]

At the 2017 Association of the United States Army annual meeting, Heckler & Koch brought out a weapon much talked-about but not seen on a US show floor until now: The HK433 rifle. Designed on the heels of the G36 controversy and intended to add a modern, inexpensive modular rifle to the Heckler & Koch lineup, the HK433 melds the features of the HK416 and G36 together into a single platform. From the G36, it takes its basic operating mechanism, polymer lower receiver, and basic disassembly procedure, while from the HK416, it takes the AR-15-compatible magwell, barrel design, aluminum receiver construction, and AR-15 fire control group.

Speaking with Heckler & Koch representatives, TFB learned several detals about the new rifle that had not previously been published. First, the rifle, like the HK416, uses AR-15-compatible trigger elements, but these are assembled into a pack that drops into the receiver, similar to the G3 or MP5. Second, the receiver is extruded like an FN SCAR, not forged like an HK416. Third, two elements of the rifle were dictated by Bundeswehr requirements: the 45 degree safety, and the AR-pattern magazine well. The safety configuration is determined by the Bundeswehr’s doctrine of flicking the rifle off safe with the thumb, and flicking it back on with the index (trigger) finger, which thereby removes the trigger finger from the trigger guard. Also, the Bundeswehr apparently requested the use of AR magazines, though with the same style of magazine release as the G36. This suggests HK433 will not be offered with G36 pattern magazines, or at least not unless that is requested by a customer.

There will be more coverage of both the HK433 and AUSA, so stay tuned!

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


  • CA

    Can you guys please post REAL pictures instead of teaser small teaser pics??? I click on a pic, and I can’t enlarge it. This isn’t the early 2000’s.

    • This works good for me, man:

      • Michael Valera

        Just link the pictures to the full version and open in a new window. Insead of linking them back to the same artice, which is a total waste. Not doing anything for your SEO.

  • TDog

    The rifle certainly looks cool.

    Yeah, that’s all I care about. Call me shallow, but for me looks are everything. I even choose my beer based upon the art on the can.

    • Rasputin

      At least you admit it. Unlike some of the other high speed, low drag characters on here. 🙂

    • Evan

      That can lead to some very poor beer purchasing decisions.

      • RocketScientist

        ABV>5%? That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

        • Evan

          I’ll take a 3% Berliner Weisse over an 8% malt liquor any day.

        • Ebby123

          Exactly. I’m all about efficiency.
          Higher ABV = Less time spent drinking pointless calories and more time having a good time.

          • John Smithy

            if that was true you wouldn’t be drinking beer in the first place!

      • Uniform223

        And whiskey

  • 22winmag


    No bullpup?

    • Shouldn’t you be saying something about how TFB isn’t supposed to cover defense expos, or something like that?

      • DW

        “Firearms, not unobtainium teutonic superiority”

    • Stuki Moi

      I know… Just another boring rifle, right?

      What happened to the 4mm Case Telescopic bullpup hitting 5000fps and penetrating bunker walls, form a rifle with a total length of 25 inches……

      Ever since they started selling Glocks under license (or without), their motto has changed to “You Suck, and We’re going to bore you to death!”


  • Great to have more info on the new HK. Definitely one of the more handsome rifles to come out in recent memory.

    Curious what the cost will be vs the 416.

    • Frank

      It was developed to be specifically less expensive than the 416.

      • Hence my curiosity at how much of a cost difference there is between them.

  • LCON

    They are feeding more XM8 then standard G36 features in there.
    Although the XM8 used the same charging handle, bolt and gas system the magazine release and bolt release were different. very much like what we see here. The stock is much closer to the late XM8 types then the G36 to.

  • TangledThorns

    Doesn’t look expensive at all.

    • Travis

      Nah! H&K is known for being so cost effective. haha. I just hope they bring it out to the civilian market at all.

  • Brett baker

    Product Improved SCAR.

    • mig1nc


  • Raoul O’Shaughnessy

    Im fascinated that you can use the term ‘inexpensive’ in an article about an HK product..

    • Frank

      I bet you this is cheaper than the SCAR. Doesn’t look like cheap extruded aluminum like the SCAR either.

      • marine6680

        But it is extruded…

      • BFG-9000

        It is extruded, if you look closely, you can see fastener holes that hold rails inside. If it was machined, they wouldnt be able to make it at competitive price. Remember this should be cheaper alternative to 416.

    • Kaban

      But it probably is, as in “compared to 911 Turbo, Boxer is inexprensive car” 🙂

    • It’s intended to be inexpensive on the military market. If they sell it to civilians, I am sure it will be ludicrously pricey. The same situation exists with the SCAR, which routinely retails for over $3,000, but which is supposedly only about $1,000 – $1,200 for military customers.

    • KestrelBike

      Mp5s and UMPs were really cheap for LE to buy back in the early 2000s when I looked and AR-pattern SBRs weren’t just yet in vogue for LE depts. A select-fire mp5 was like $1,000 new, UMP was $900?

      HK fully has the logistical ability to sell their products at competitive prices to the US civilian market. They just lack the moral/political will.

      • BFG-9000

        MP5’s were never cheap. UMP’s were in fact downgrade from MP5 to make something cheaper.

  • Gabriel Owens

    This makes muh worm wiggle.

  • noob

    It would be interesting to see the barrel trunnion. They’ve surely fixed the issues of heat by mating it to proven aluminium, but is there any quick change feature they’ve snuck in there?

  • Big Daddy

    Looks like a very nice firearm. Is that standard Keymod? I actually like keymod but maybe under military conditions it would have issues. It did not test well. I sure would have rather carried this than the M16A1 I did. That folding stock makes a big difference to mech troops which are much more common these days. Try getting out of any vehicle with a M16. Overall it looks like a gun that will sell in foreign markets if the cost is within reason. I also wonder if it’s M855A1 compatible?

    • No, it’s HKey. Has to be, due to ITAR (yes, it’s dumb).

  • ShootingFromTheHip

    I hate HK for a couple of reasons, but damned if i don’t think they have the best looking AR grips. I’ll have to order one for an upcoming pistol build.

  • Blurb

    Me like.

  • plumber576

    Too bad the Bundeswehr didn’t require an ACR stock because it sure would look pretty on that rifle.

  • marine6680

    I’m not sure you can call it a mash-up of a G36 and the 416…

    Requiring a STANAG magazine doesn’t mean it’s taken from an AR or derivative. Nor is the use of aluminum in the upper receiver… Many rifles have similar polymer lower and aluminum uppers… The SCAR and Bren 805 are examples. The multi-lug bolt locking system is getting common in many designs, which I am guessing it has. And how else is the barrel the same as the 416 type rifle and did that design differ greatly from an AR DI rifle?

    Keeping the AR compatible fire control group is a good idea, simply because of all the advancement in triggers for the platform.

    It seems more like an updated G36 than anything. Adding metal where needed, and stiffening up the design.

    I wonder why they didn’t try to make it ambi, with a selectable ejection? Seems the modern trend. Maybe to make it cost less. Not necessary if the deflector works well though, more a nice to have thing.

    On the whole, the rifle does look awesome, and it looks like a solid rig. If it weighs the same as an AR does… Then it would be a good contender. It may not have all of the latest whiz bang features… But it looks solid and that it does away with some shortcomings of the AR pattern. Has a folding stock, piston system… Not that DI is bad, but a piston does simplify cleaning and maintenance in the field. It’s probably not perfect, what rifle is though…

    I would like to own a semi verion, so long as pricing is not crazy. $1500 and it would be tempting.

    • Evan

      Selectable ejection is pointless for a non-bullpup rifle. As a lefty, I’ve fired any number of rifles with right side ejection, and never had a problem. Brass deflectors work very well and are very simple. Selectable ejection seems to me like a way to add more potential points of failure while letting dirt into the receiver, for a benefit that’s negligible at best. It would be useful on bullpups, but for anything else, it’s just not necessary.

      • marine6680

        Yeah, that is why I said it’s not needed. Some may find it a nice to have feature though.

        If the port cover is made well, I don’t think it would be a problem with FOD ingress.

    • mig1nc

      The weight is posted on the HK website. Like most weight efficient pistons, it runs about a pound heavier than a similarly configured AR. Give or take. They list it as 230 grams heavier than an HK416A5, which is itself fairly heavy for an AR.

      • marine6680

        That sucks… A little extra weight is one thing, but not a significant amount.

        The 805 Bren, it’s a smooth shooting rifle, well made… But it is a heavy rifle. So I will be passing on it, even though I really wanted one, until I shot it and felt the weight for a more extended period.

        • James Young

          Guess you’re stuck with the ol DI AR. You can get them in the 5 lb range these days. Can’t beat that with a piston gun. If you really want, I’ve seen some 3 and 4 lb builds.

          • marine6680

            I have several ARs, with a red dot, or low power variable scope… Those are fine. No weight saving measures, standard barrel profiles and free float rail or standard clamshell handguards… The weight is fine with them. I think they average 6.5lb unloaded.

            Once you hit 7.5 and up, it feels heavy to me.

          • James Young

            Same. Standard ARs are right around 6.5 lbs which is a good weight. I want to try a lightweight build someday.

            I like the benefits of piston guns, but the weight bothers me. My issue is more with them being front heavy though.

          • marine6680

            DI has gotten to the point that reliability isn’t a concern… But ease of maintenance is better with piston guns.

            I don’t think the AR pattern works well with piston. Well, it works, but it’s less than ideal for the transfer of forces. A purpose built design is best.

        • iksnilol

          isn’t the 806 significantly lighter though?

          • marine6680

            It’s much heavier.

          • iksnilol

            No it isn’t. The original uses a design intended for polymer yet is made of aluminium.

            The improved version is made of polymer.

          • marine6680

            I can’t buy that version though… So how much it weighs is irrelevant.

          • James Young

            You’re right it’s lighter than the 805: 6.72 lbs with an 11″ barrel.

      • int19h

        > Like most weight efficient pistons, it runs about a pound heavier than a similarly configured AR.

        Kinda ironic, when you consider that AKS-74 is 7 lbs, and that has a steel receiver…

    • Uniform223

      If you’ve ever tried to clean and maintain a piston system… You would have a different opinion.

      • Kivaari

        I agree. There is more to clean on a piston gun. Also a few of them have a little part that is easily lost.

  • bj

    Acr and scar hybrid.
    It looks promising. I just hate the whole polymer folding stock fad. Short PDW stocks are far more functional.

  • Samuel Millwright

    I guess I’ll be the odd man out here and flat out say how disappointed i am in this gun. Especially now that we have these good enough pictures to see the several fit and finish issues that HK frankly can’t afford considering the prices they expect from us for their stuff….

    Also, yay i love hearing the piston pee poles beat the maybe this piston gun finally weighs less or matches DI in performance delusions of grandeur…

    No… Just no…

    It’s not gonna happen, let that dream and the delusions of superiority along with it rest in peace guys, i hate seeing you do this to yourselves over and over.

    • autofull– kevin horning

      great, more toys that we cannot own and more money wasted. i just feel that everyone should have an ak platform in any calber they desire. how accurate must a battle rifle be to hit a center of mass target. sorry, i hate war and it,s results. just my dream to go back to mayberry. kevin

  • jay

    That magwell bent backwards makes it look retarded. Reminds me of cheap 9mm carbines made to use glock mags.

  • Michael

    Well I have to say the curves on the sides of the receiver made me cringe… The bulge around the ejection port and the same place on the other side seems totally unnecessary to me.

    • Palmier

      Real guns have curves.

  • wicapiwakan

    if, after being sold a defective rifle by HK, germany picks another HK, i’m going to lol real hard.

  • jackalope

    All I would do is swap out is the HKey handguard for M-Lok. Looks good otherwise.

  • Geoff

    Oh yeah, dat looks hot.

    ISIS is gonna love these now toys when the Germanistani Caliphate gifts them these in a generation when Germany reaches peak vibrancy.

  • Sid