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