Heckler & Koch Gets the Nod to Replace German Army G36 Rifles
Keeping a tradition established in 1959 alive, the German military will continue to call on HK to deliver its primary infantry rifle.
As reported first by a variety of German language publications and then confirmed by the gunmaker's domestic social media page, the German Army's new Basiswaffe System Sturmgewehr, or "basic weapon system assault rifle," will be the HK416 A8. Adopted in two different lengths as the G95A1 and G95KA1, with the "G" standing for "Gewehr" or rifle, for the Bundeswehr, or German armed forces, the new guns will replace the HK-made 5.56 NATO-caliber G36, which had been adopted in 1997.
Prior to the G36, the West German military's standard battle rifle was the HK-made G3 in 7.62 NATO, which had won a federal government tender in the late 1950s.
While the HK416 family may look like any old AR15, they are piston guns rather than the more traditional gas impingement system familiar to the Stoner design. Ironically, the proprietary short-stroke gas piston system is derived from the G36 family, which, in turn, owes a lot of groundwork to Stoner's AR-18 design. The 416 has proven popular enough to be selected as the main infantry weapon for the French and Norwegian militaries as well as to be fielded by the U.S. Marines as the M27.
Importantly, the Bundeswehr's elite KSK commandos have already been using a variant of the HK 416 A7, dubbed the Sturmgewehr G95K, since at least 2017. A version of the rifle's 7.62 NATO big brother, the HK 417 (HK241), has likewise been adopted by the Germans as the G28 marksman rifle.
The win reverses a controversial 2020 decision by the Bundeswehr to go with the firm of CG Haenel GmbH in Suhl for some 120,000 of the company's MK556, a select-fire 5.56 NATO carbine, to replace the G36.