Germany’s next Army Rifle cannot be American due to ITAR

    Die Welt (“The World”) is a German National daily newspaper, and according to their information the tender to replace the current Bundeswehr (Germany Army) HK G36 contains a peculiar detail that the replacement rifle must not contain any ITAR regulated parts.

    Of course I could be doing it wrong, but I can’t find any information about the tender online so it’s difficult to verify this information. However, and especially from a German standpoint, this requirement sounds very logical.

    The currently known entrants for the tender are very interesting, with the latest in German rifle-making like Heckler & Koch HK433, HK416, Steyr-Rheinmetall RS556, and SIG Sauer MCX.

    The MCX just recently had some success with the German Police, grabbing a contract for a few hundred rifles. For sure this will boost SIG Sauer’s self-confidence, but it is enough to land one of the biggest contracts in the World? The question is, will the MCX get around the ITAR, or will it be ruled out?

    Apart from these we might see some offers from CG Haenel, CZ and Beretta. Perhaps Poland wants a go as well?

    They will clear the requirements for the ITAR, but in my honest opinion they have no hope of winning. Participating may only give them some feedback from the procurement process.

    With the HK 416 most likely being too expensive, this theory only leaves the Heckler & Koch 433 and the Steyr-Rheinmetall RS556. This means there will be no unified firearms system between France (HK 416F) and Germany, and the question is how big of a matter that would be?

    And just by looking at these two rifles I can say that the HK433 would most certainly win, unless it has some serious design flaws or other errors.


    Customers in the US may not know, but ITAR or “The International Traffic in Arms Regulations” is a major issue for anyone wanting to buy almost anything related to firearms. You need spares for your competition AR15? Sorry, ITAR…

    ITAR is one of the reasons why a lot of customers turn to National suppliers like B&T, Spuhr and many others for accessories. Having said that, these suppliers make some really good products which would survive well both with or without these regulations, but people don’t like unnecessary bureaucracy.

    Remember that the HK G36 has no US technology inside of it, and was developed more than 20 years ago. Think back even longer, to the HK G3, which must have been a huge success in terms of export.

    And for their next service rifle, Germany doesn’t want any other country (read USA) to have a say where this technology should be exported, imported or manufactured – or who should be the end user.

    ITAR may have its benefits, but it also makes some suppliers less competitive.

    If you think about it, it’s common sense for anyone in that position.

    In terms of economics, the German Army’s needs is said to be around 120 000 rifles. for an estimated total cost of 245 million Euros, ex. VAT.

    This means that one rifle nets about 2 040 Euros, but this is likely a total cost not a price per rifle.

    According to very unofficial sources the price for a HK433 is around 600 Euros (could be inaccurate), but remember that the total price might include sight, options and training.

    Expect the first series of firearms to be delivered in the autumn of 2020, if the deployment tests are successful. The contract is supposed to run seven years from April 2019.


    YouTube: N24 “Sturmgewehr: Neue Bundeswehr-Waffe könnte die USA verärgern” i.e. “New Bundeswehr weapon could anger the US

    Source WELT Germany: HERE.

    It’s difficult to discuss ITAR without going political, but there are at least discussions to ease the ITAR restrictions. The reasons mentioned in this article might explain why.

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics, thermals and suppressors. TCCC Certified. Occasionaly seen in a 6×6 Bug Out Vehicle, always with a big smile.