French Army Adopts Hornady Rapid Rack

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
Image source: French government

The French military has signed a contract for more than 90,000 of Hornady’s Rapid Racks for use with their new HK416Fs. The Rapid Rack, which TFB reviewed back in 2016, is an empty chamber indicator / load-assist device, it allows operators to charge the weapon with a chamber indicator. The French government has requested that the Rapid Racks be black, rather than red, in colour.

The French Army's new black handled Rapid Rack, produced by Hornady (Image Source: Hornady)

The French Army began receiving its first HK416Fs back in May 2017, the first delivery of a contract worth as much as 400,000,000 Euros or $470,800,000, to replace the FAMAS. The French Ministry of Defence is set to purchase as many as 93,340, potentially one for each of their new Heckler & Koch rifles. the contract is likely worth just over $1 million and is said to be handled by Hornady’s French distributor, Sidam SAS.

Steve Catlett, Hornady’s International Sales Manager, said:

This purchase confirms that Hornady is recognized throughout the world as a supplier of not only top-of-the-line ammunition but also innovative accessories, We’re just as proud to help the French armed forces defend their nation as we are to help U.S. law enforcement agencies stay cruiser ready with our Rapid Rack.

Predominantly marketed towards the US Law Enforcement market, the Rapid Rack is available in 5.56x445mm and 7.62x51mm, it remains to be seen how French troops will deploy their Rapid Racks. The Rapid Rack allows a rifle to be carried with a loaded magazine and an empty chamber but also allows the weapon to be charged quickly in a single fluid motion.

Here’s a video from Hornady explaining how the Rapid Rack works:

One potential use for the French Army’s new Rapid Racks might be for policing deployments. In recent years the French Army has deployed to France’s major cities to bolster local and national police forces to protect civilians. After the 2015 Paris Attacks, as many as 10,000 French troops were deployed and more recently some have become the target of attacks such as at the Louvre in February 2016. The Rapid Rack might be the answer to getting troops quickly into action while ensuring safety around civilians.

Sources: 1 2 3

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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  • Fds Fds on Jun 12, 2018

    We dont want accidental discharges when surrounding weapons.

    • Fds Fds on Jun 13, 2018

      @fds "Surrending" Sorry, i rised in a socialist/marxist school here in Europe and we had english class but only because the law forced it,you can imagine the teachers effort.

  • Joel Joel on Jun 12, 2018

    I'm reading lots of comments about how this is a band-aid for poor training, but we need to remember that the French Army operates very differently than the US Army. The French Army has 3-man patrols in major train stations, airports, major monuments (Eiffel Tower for example). In those applications where you have soldiers with rifles in their hands walking through crowds it makes sense. They aren't using these on combat operations in Mali or Afghanistan, these are currently used for domestic security patrols.