5.56 x 45 mm
1 050 mm
Length (with folded stock)
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
1 000 m
Range of effective fire
~ 600 m
light machine gun was developed by a Heckler & Koch company (HK)
during the late 1990s to compete with the Belgian
MINIMI. It was first introduced in 2001. Initially it was known
as MG43. In 2005 it was adopted by the German military as a standard
platoon level support weapon under the designation of the MG4. Since
then the Heckler & Koch company dropped the MG43 name and markets
this weapon as the MG4. This light machine gun has been adopted by
Malaysia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and possibly some other
German army service the MG4 replaces the 7.62 mm
Rheinmetall MG3 general purpose
machine gun in the squad support level and partially replaces it in
other roles. However the MG3
is a lighter weapon, chambered for a less powerful 5.56 mm cartridge.
Bundeswehr switched to a lightweight and compact machine gun concept
with high firepower that could be carried by one soldier and would
be more mobile in difficult terrain and urban environment. However mounting interface of the
MG4 is compatible with the older MG3. So it can be used on the same
tripods and vehicle mounts, that are already in service.
The MG4 is a
quantum leap from the earlier Heckler & Koch designs. utilizes
recent trends of the small arms development, including polymer
furniture and Picatinny-type sight and accessory interfaces. In
concept it is similar to the Belgian
MINIMI light machine gun.
The MG4 is a
conventional gas operated weapon. Barrel is locked using typical
rotating bolt design. It seems that Heckler & Koch company abandoned
its perfected mechanism with roller delay blowback action, present
on the earlier light machine guns.The MG4 is chambered for a
standard 5.56 x 45 mm NATO round.
machine gun has
a polymer pistol grip and side-folding buttstock. A field cleaning
kit is housed within the buttstock.
gun fires in automatic mode only.
safety switch is located on the pistol grip. Also there are internal
automatic safety features that prevent accidental firing.
The MG4 is a
belt-fed weapon and uses disintegrating belts. It can use clamp-on
carrying handle also serves for quick replacement of hot barrels. So
there is no need for protective gloves.
comes with iron sights with a flip-up front post. These have a
righting range of 1 000 m. There is a Picatinny-type scope rail on
top of the receiver. It accepts various sights
or night vision scopes. Model of the MG4 adopted by the Bundeswehr
comes with telescopic 3x magnification sight, built into the
carrying handle. It is similar to that of the
assault rifle. So the iron sights are used only in case of
gun is fitted with an integral bipod. There are Picatinny-type rails
mounted on the foregrip for mounting various accessories.
The MG4 has
an effective range of around 600 - 1 000 m, when fired from the
MG4E is a
slightly modified export version. The letter "E" in the designation
stands fro "Export". It is slightly lighter and has reduced rate of
fire to 770 rpm. In 2007 Spanish Army adopted this weapon as a
standard light machine gun. Spanish MoD ordered 1 800 - 2 000 of
MG4KE is an
export version with a shorter barrel, intended for the special
forces. Also this weapon is slightly lighter. As well as the MG4E it
has reduced rate of fire to 770 rpm. This weapon has an effective
range reduced to around 900 m.
mounted version of the MG4. It can be used as a main or coaxial
weapon. This light machine gun can be fitted with remote firing
is a general purpose machine gun, chambered in 7.62 x 51 mm
ammunition. It is based on the MG4, however few parts are
interchangeable due to different calibers and sizes of these weapon.
The MG5 has been adopted by the German military.