BREAKING NEWS: G36 Cannot Hold Accuracy, Bundeswehr Report Confirms

    German news media have been on fire over the past couple of days over a report that is expected to be released to the public soon. It is apparent that the audit report of the G36 rifle, conducted by the Ernst Mach Institute and Bundeswehr’s Technical Center for Weapons and Ammunition, is especially damning. A report summary from is replicated below, first in machine-translated English, then in native German:

    After months of testing a group of experts appointed by the Ministry of Defence has the G36 assault rifle now officially certifies lack of accuracy.Both at high ambient temperatures and at a heating of the gun by duration Fires set the experts precision problems fixed. “The reason for the declining impact probability is not one of the components, such as ammunition or weapon, but the whole system,” says the report.

    At the 372-page report of the Federal Court, the Ernst-Mach-Institute of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, a Technical Center of the Army and the Bundeswehr Research Institute for Plant and supplies have contributed. Set in the following problems:

    • Heating with continuous fire:By design, the G36 will significantly hotter than fire at continuous comparison weapons. “This leads to a decrease in the hit probability when G36 occurs even at low numbers of shots with all the studied types of ammunition and -losen.”

    • Outside temperatures:When changing the outside temperatures hit probability Decrease “in partially significant”. The precision problems are most pronounced in the range 15 to 45 degrees Celsius.

    • Humidity:“The change between dry and humid environment leads the G36 to such restrictions as a change in the ambient temperature.” The problem, however, presented a significantly slower.

    • Sunlight:For side solar radiation forgave the weapon housing and shift on the meeting point of the rifle.

    • Ammunition:The accuracy differs between the munitions from, although in some cases by 35 percentage points. The precision problem admit it but even with the best cartridges.”

    Nach monatelanger Prüfung hat eine vom Verteidigungsministerium eingesetzte Expertengruppe dem Sturmgewehr G36 nun auch offiziell mangelnde Treffsicherheit bescheinigt. Sowohl bei hohen Außentemperaturen als auch bei einer Erhitzung der Waffe durch Dauerfeuer stellten die Fachleute Präzisionsprobleme fest. „Ursächlich für die sinkende Treffwahrscheinlichkeit ist nicht eine der Komponenten, z.B. Munition oder Waffe, sondern das Gesamtsystem“, heißt es in dem Bericht.

    An dem 372 Seiten starken Gutachten haben der Bundesrechnungshof, das Ernst-Mach-Institut der Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, eine Wehrtechnische Dienststelle der Bundeswehr und das Wehrwissenschaftliche Institut für Werks- und Betriebsstoffe mitgearbeitet. Sie stellen darin folgende Probleme fest:

    • Erhitzung bei Dauerfeuer: Konstruktionsbedingt werde das G36 bei Dauerfeuer deutlich heißer als Vergleichswaffen. „Dies führt dazu, dass eine Abnahme der Treffwahrscheinlichkeit beim G36 bereits bei geringen Schusszahlen mit allen untersuchten Munitionssorten und -losen auftritt.“

    • Außentemperaturen: Bei einer Veränderung der Außentemperaturen verringere sich die Treffwahrscheinlichkeit „in teilweise erheblichem Umfang“. Die Präzisionsprobleme seien im Bereich 15 bis 45 Grad Celsius am stärksten ausgeprägt.

    • Feuchtigkeit:„Der Wechsel zwischen trockener und feuchter Umgebung führt beim G36 zu vergleichbaren Einschränkungen wie eine Änderung der Umgebungstemperatur.“ Die Probleme stellten sich allerdings deutlich langsamer ein.

    • Sonneneinstrahlung: Bei seitlicher Sonneneinstrahlung verziehe sich das Waffengehäuse und verlagere sich der Treffpunkt des Gewehrs.

    • Munition:Die Treffgenauigkeit unterscheide sich zwischen den Munitionen zwar teilweise um 35 Prozentpunkte ab. Das Präzisionsproblem gebe es aber auch mit den besten Patronen.”

    Earlier this week, we covered the weaknesses of the G36 rifle that have sparked the recent controversy. However, even knowing what I had about the rifle’s construction, I did not fully realize the problems were as bad as they appear to be.

    The audit reportedly concluded that G36 rifle receivers were being made in whole or in part from polyethylene plastic (a very common, very cheap plastic of the kind used to make milk jugs and bags), rather than the polyamide plastic specified:

    According to the Court of Auditors’ report and the Bundeswehr Research Institute of the Bundeswehr found evidence of oddities. In the plastic mixture of the housing of the series rifles, the additive polyethylene could be detected, which could promote the deformation of the hot weapon.

    The delivered by the company’s flagship model, the so-called Abnahmedemonstrator of 1993, with the German army was convinced of the practicality of the weapon, on the other hand, no polyethylene contained.


    Beyond the audit report, a former Federal Office of Technology and Procurement (BWB) engineer alleges that Heckler & Koch forged Bundeswehr acceptance marks on rifles:

    In December 2006, reported an engineer of the BWB-range “Quality Assurance weapons” of the BWB-tip, Heckler & Koch Concerning operative in the work – against all the rules – through a laser software with the official seal of approval, with which the company could mark his weapons themselves tested as officially , The company therefore amounts “this ‘Sovereign measure’ with its own counterfeit seals” from.The permanent presence of a BWB employee was “according to the statements” of the Institute of certification Oberndorf “because of the trusting relationship” with Heckler & Koch “unnecessary”.


    Heckler and Koch has reportedly called for a new investigation to be conducted:

    The manufacturer calls for a new investigation

    How to deal with von der Leyen, the tips is open. The ministry intends to examine consequences. “It is surely not proper to describe this rifle in the lump unfit,” mentioned von der Leyen speaker. Below typical conditions, the G36 behaving properly within the limits of “what one particular would count on from this kind of a rifle.” The rifle was created in the 90s not automatically scenarios for how extended fighting in Afghanistan, even if such situations should not be neglected.

    The Greens have referred to as rapidly conclusions from the report. “Ursula von der Leyen need to now not much better than the fantastic enlightener stage,” explained defense analyst Tobias Lindner. “You missed it to respond promptly to comprehensively cover the troubles with the gun.” A much more stringent action would sooner can lead to the examination result.

    In the past twenty years, the Bundeswehr has bought virtually 180,000 G36 assault rifles in the arms producer Heckler & Koch, in accordance to Defense Department are nonetheless 166,619 used. Heckler & Koch fears the globe since of the defects to his track record. Improved heating of the rifle does not disturb its function, it mentioned in a multi-webpage opinion of the firm.

    The Group’s management also calls for a new, independent investigation of the “allegations and alleged skills obtainable via the Federal” as the members of the earlier Part of the Bundeswehr stood also close.

    The company certainly has an uphill battle to fight, at this point.

    UPDATE: Christian Thiels posted the executive summary of the EMI/WTD 91 audit report to his Twitter page; it is replicated below, in German:

    2015-04-19 08_45_30-Christian Thiels on Twitter_ _Munition, Waffe, Wetter - kurze Zusammenfassung de 2015-04-19 08_45_48-Christian Thiels on Twitter_ _Munition, Waffe, Wetter - kurze Zusammenfassung de 2015-04-19 08_46_01-Christian Thiels on Twitter_ _Munition, Waffe, Wetter - kurze Zusammenfassung de 2015-04-19 08_46_18-Christian Thiels on Twitter_ _Munition, Waffe, Wetter - kurze Zusammenfassung de


    UPDATE: Reader Manuel has graciously provided us with his translation of the above Executive Summary of the report. Many thanks to him for his hard work:

    “Short report:
    the results of the testing shows two basic factors which influence the accuracy:

    Factor 1: temperature rise caused by shooting the gun and its influence on the weaponsystem (gun, optics, ammo)

    Factor 2: changes of the ambient climatic cir‎cumstances (temperature, humidity) and their influence on the weaponsystem.

    consindering factor 1 and 2, the results of the testing in relation to the requestet performance by the working group “G36 in use” (customer and user requested a weaponsystem, (gun, optics, ammo) that is capable of hitting a target under changing climatic enviroment, out to 300 meters with an accuracy of 90%) have to be evaluated as follows:

    Factor 1: The current weaponsystem does NOT meet the requestet standards. Accuracy improvements are achievable by the use of different ammo. But the requested standards by the customer will still not be met, no matter what ammo is used. however other weaponsystems tested, prove that the requested standards can be met.

    Factor 2:
    The current weaponsystem does NOT meet the requested standards. Under changing climatic circumstances the influence by the type of ammo used is almost non existend. because of this, the requested standard is not achievable. other weaponsystems tested prove that the requested standards concerning ambient temperaturechanges can be met.

    Project description:
    during the research in the matter “rifle G36 german army” by the federal court of germany‎ (see report of 23. june 2014 according to paragraph 88/2 BHO), the federal court recommends further ‎research concerning this matter. The german department of defence followed this recommendation.

    The workinggroup G36 in use (short: AG 36 iNu), was nominated as the leading authority of the research and testing. The technical part of the testing was outsourced to the Frauenhofer Ernst-Mach-Institut, located in Freiburg (short: EMI), the Wehrwissenschaftlichen Institut für Werk- und Betriebsstoffe, located in Erding (short WIWebB) and the Wehrtechnischen Dienststelle für Waffen und Munition, located in Meppen (short: WTD 91). The goal of the research was the clear, unequivocally and complete identification what is causing the accuracy problems. the first phase of this research programm is followed by a second one, focusing on the combination gun+ammo under factor 1 and factor 2. The results of this second phase will have direct influence on the further decision making process.

    This report is based on the current results of the first phase. all results are evaluated based on the requested standards by the customer, mentioned earlier.

    considered factors for the investigation:

    In order to investigate the influence of temperaturerise on the weaponsystem during a defined course of fire, following factors were investigated:

    – ‎ testing of 304 rifles G36 in following variants: A0, A1, A2, and A3 as well as the variant G36K A4, all tested with the standard german army ammo 5,56mm x 45, DM11 FMJ.

    – the test showed significant differences in accuracy between single rifles WITHIN one variant. Therefore the testers choosed 3 rifles of each variant for their results: One with good accuracy, one with bad and one with average accuracy. Thats resulst in 25 G36 style rifles in total and an unknown nummber of rifles other manufactures and styles. All these rifles were tested for accuracy with 7 different kinds of ammo from different batches.

    In order to investigate the influence of changing climate circumstances on the weaponsystem, following factors were investigated:

    – the influence of changing ambient temerature on accuracy with standard issue ammo. the testing was done with the same 25 rifles and rifles of other manufactures and styles mentioned before.

    – the influence on accuracy caused by storing the rifles in an eviroment with high temperature and high humidity. rifles used for this test: two rifles of each variant A0, ‎A2, A3.

    – the influence of a single sided temperaturerise caused by an external heating source by eperimental and numerical methods.


    the investigation of effects and influences on the weaponsystem by temperaturrise through shooting the gun in a defined course of fire, lead to the following results:

    – the average results of all long barreled G36 variants (A0, A1, A2, A3) tested with standard issue ammo did meet the required standards of the customer on the first shot group. accuracy increasinlgy drops from shotgroups two to four with every variant of the rifle and does not meet the required standards any longer. Even the most recent variant, the A3, does not shoot any more accurate than the previous variants, when the gun heats up by shooting it. the shotgroups of the tested shortbarrel variant, G36K A4 do not meet the standard at any time.

    The decreasing accuracy is not caused by a single part of the weaponsystem e.g. the ammo, but is by the whole system itself. There ar four major factors within the weaponsystem, which are responsible:

    – used ammo. the average shotgroup (average group of all four shotgroups) differ between different kinds and batches of ammo by 35%. but the G36 does not meet the required standars with any kind of ammo. according to this, switching to a different kind of ammo does not solve the accuracy problem.

    -temerature of the system.
    accuracy decreases with all tested weapons, as they heat up during a course of fire. The G36 gets, caused by its design, substantial hotter inside the upper receiver than other comparable rifles.This causes a accuracy drop even after low shotcounts no matter what ammo was used.

    – different rifle designs and variants.
    depending which styles and variants are compared, other rifle designs show increased performance up to 50% with the same ammo used. One of the other rifles designs tested does fully meet the standards of the customer, proving that the requested performance can be achieved.

    – the tested rifle itself.
    Theres a difference between rifles of the same variant. the differences go up to 30% between two identical G36 rifles under the use of the same ammo/batch. The production date however does not influence the performance of single rifles.

    The investigations of effects and influences on the weaponssystems by changing ambient circumstances lead to following results:

    – Accuracy drops significantly if the G36 used with standard issue ammo, is exposed to increasing ambient temperatures. The requested standards by the customer are not met in the required temperature range. The rifle is affected the most in the range from +15 degrees celsius to + 45 degrees celsius. Different kinds of ammo have no effect on these results. Other rifles designs used as comparison showed that the required standards can be met under the exact same circumstances.

    – The change in humidity (dry air/high humidity) does affect the G36 the same way, as a change in ambient temperature does. ‎ But Increasing humidity does not affect the rifle as fast as increasing ambient temperature. These results were the same with every tested g36 rifle.

    – A single sided warming of the G36 caused by an external source as sunrays for example causes a recoverable deformation of the upper reciever affecting the barrel and by that a shift of point of aim/point of impact.


    The Firearm Blog has obtained a G36 rifle as a byproduct of a police request, and it is our intent to test the rifle. We will release our findings as soon as possible. 

    Because I do not speak German, I have to rely on machine translation to understand the articles linked above. Although I make every attempt to cross-reference the translations with other articles, as well as perform corroborative searches using terms in the native language, this method cannot provide 100% accuracy. If our readers find any errors in this article, please comment to let me know, and I will fix them soon as I can.

    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. He can be reached via email at [email protected]