The New German Light Machine Gun – The MG4A3 (HK123)


    At first glimpse it may look like the German MG5, but we’re in fact looking at the brand new variant of the Heckler & Koch MG4, the MG4 A3 version.

    The Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (In German, Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr; BAAINBw) has commissioned the new version of the Heckler & Koch Machine Gun. With soldiers of the 26th (Saarland) Airborne Brigade (Luftlandebrigade 26) receiving them first.

    Their mission: Test the new light machine gun from every aspect!

    The MG4 is also known as the HK123. It’s a belt-fed 5.56x45mm light machine gun made by Heckler & Koch. The MG5 is called HK121, and is chambered in 7.62x51mm.

    If the logic behind the Heckler & Koch designation is a little confusing, check out TFB’s article on the Heckler & Koch Product Overview and New nomenclature (Warning! Potential for more confusion).

    You can find Heckler & Koch’s overview of the MG4 and the MG5 here: HK 121 and HK 123.

    Some of the MG4 A3 upgrades include a new color and it also has a new 4×30 riflescope.

    The total weight is now around 8.6 kilograms.

    You can find the link to the German Army’s “product page” for the current MG4 here.

    Below: Reference picture of the current MG4, with optional sight and Night Vision.

    Just as with the MG5, handguards and vertical grips can be installed as required.

    The 4×30 rifle scope has a switch-on red dot, which makes aiming easier. It does look like an improvement over the current MG4 3x sight (see reference at the bottom of the page).

    I believe that the 4×30 is made by Hensoldt / Zeiss.

    Above: Switching out barrels.

    MG3 MG5

    Above: Shooting out to 600 and 1,000 meters.

    Bundeswehr/Björn Kapfer

    Bundeswehr/Björn Kapfer

    The German Paratroopers have been using the new light machine gun for over three weeks in testing, and have fired over 7,000 rounds so far.

    The findings will now be concluded and the target is to have the new system delivered to the troops by 2021.

    All photos by the German Bundeswehr / Maximilian Schulz.

    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.