H&K PSG1 Sniper Rifle Overview

    The Heckler and Koch PSG1 has been touted at the most accurate semi-automatic rifle in the world, even decades after its introduction. The iconic gun has been seen in the hands of counter-terrorist groups the world over, and it was truly a trailblazer when introduced in the 1970s (as precision rifles had typically been bolt action). So what makes the PSG1 unique? How is it different than a regular G3 rifle? In this installment of TFBTV, we take a look.

    Transcription …

    This looks like a pretty large, older briefcase. However, any man who ever toted this to work most likely had a very stressful and important job.

    This is the Heckler and Koch PSG1, which is perhaps the most iconic semi automatic sniper rifle of all time, and often heralded as the most accurate semi auto in the world.

    The PSG1 was developed after the German government’s failure at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

    A terrorist act resulted in 17 people being killed due to a very bungled response, as The West Germans recruited marksman who were not professionally trained, but rather police officers and hobbyists who shot recreationally on weekends, and equipped them with G3 rifles with iron sights. The men selected even declared that they were not sharpshooters, but regardless they were placed several hundred yards away and a lot was expected of these individuals.

    After the Munich Massacre, the Germans realized they needed to be better prepared for something like this in the future and out of the ashes of this tragedy, the PSG1 emerged.

    Contrary to popular belief, the PSG1 was not developed as a military rifle, but rather a tool for elite counter terrorism units like GSG-9 or precision shooters in law enforcement. It was designed to be placed in a static position rather than be placed in the hands of someone who would run around with it.

    When introduced, the price tag of $10,000 prevented all but the most elite and well funded organizations from acquiring them. Because of this, only about 400 of these rifles exist in the United States.

    So what makes this rifle unique?

    Well, for one, HK’s minimum accuracy requirement was 50 shots into a 3 inch circle at 300 meters (or 1 MOA). If even one of the 50 rounds fired deviated, the rifle was rejected.

    You may also notice the large, steel reinforcement rails located on the sides of the rifle to reduce receiver flex.

    The kit also includes a Garbini tripod that is easily assembled. It can be locked or unlocked to tilt side to side, and of course raised and lowered.

    Bipods were also included, and it all comes down to the individual shooter’s preference.

    The stock is fully adjustable. Included with the kit is a small key that allows the shooter to raise and lower the cheek rest, and alter the length of pull.

    The PSG1 uses a permanently mounted Hensoldt 6 x 42 optic that even has “PSG1” in the model name.

    The crosshair is simple, and distance settings range from 100 to 600 meters.

    A button on the side of the scope also allows the reticle to light up for approximately 2 minutes before shutting off, and you can adjust the brightness.

    The hand rest on the bottom of the rifle’s pistol grip is also adjustable.

    There is a t rail under the handguard that will allow the user to mount a traditional bipod, or a sling if you feel like lugging around a boat anchor.

    Controls are relatively similar to a regular G3 rifle, with the front mounted charging handle. However, if the user desires stealth, one can ride the handle forward and make use of the silent bolt closing device.

    The barrel is 26 inches long and quite thick, and almost .9 inches.

    It is also polygonally rifled with a stated barrel life of 15,000 rounds.

    The trigger is unique in that it breaks at about 3 pounds, but has a second hammer spring that engages halfway through to allow it to move faster and cut down on lock time. This brilliant system allows for a light pull and an incredibly fast lock time.

    The trigger also features a small adjustable shoe.

    When stripped, the PSG1 has an incredibly beefy extractor relative to a run of the mill G3.

    You will also notice the serrations for the silent bolt closing device.

    Noting that roller delayed blowback does not allow for the most consistent lock up, HK created special crescent shaped titanium rollers that function a bit like flaps on a flapper locked firearm.

    These of course fall into the recesses on a special extended trunnion that contains the firearm’s massive barrel.

    So all of this results in an very heavy gun, weighing in at almost 16 pounds unloaded.

    So we have given you a basic rundown on the PSG1, a gun that HK’s new sniper rifle cannot even match. I personally find it funny that on HK’s website, the new G28 rifle is stated as being capable of 1.5 MOA, but this relic from the 1970s is guaranteed to shoot 1 MOA or better. Of course it is heavier and more costly, but funny nonetheless.

    The PSG1 was purpose-designed for accuracy and speed of engagement with no cost spared, and to many still represents the apex of what a sniper rifle should be with the newer PSG1A1 rifle.

    We here at TFBTV promised you something special since we started doing these overviews of famous sniper rifles, and we hope that this one alongside its cousin the MSG90 we showed have you anticipating our upcoming shooting videos. I must say, I don’t think I have ever been so excited to get behind something with an optic.

    This is Alex C. with TFBTV, special thanks to Ventura Munitions for providing our ammunition for our upcoming shooting videos, and a big thank you to you, our viewers for tuning in. We hope to see you next time.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.