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Heckler & Koch MG4

Light machine gun

MG4 machine gun

The HK MG4 was developed to compete with the FN MINIMI

Caliber 5.56 x 45 mm
Weight (unloaded) 8.15 kg
Length 1 050 mm
Length (with folded stock) 830 mm
Barrel length 450 mm
Muzzle velocity 920 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 880 rpm
Practical rate of fire 100 rpm
Magazine capacity Belt-fed
Sighting range 1 000 m
Range of effective fire ~ 600 m


   The MG4 light machine gun was developed by a Heckler & Koch company (HK) during the late 1990s to compete with the Belgian FN 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 countries.

   In the 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 FN 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.

   This light machine gun has a polymer pistol grip and side-folding buttstock. A field cleaning kit is housed within the buttstock.

   This machine gun fires in automatic mode only.

   Ambidextrous 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 ammunition containers.

   The folding carrying handle also serves for quick replacement of hot barrels. So there is no need for protective gloves.

   This weapon 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 HK G36 assault rifle. So the iron sights are used only in case of emergency.

   This machine 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 bipod.




   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 these weapons.

   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.

   Vehicle 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 device.

   HK MG5 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.


MG4 machine gun

MG4 machine gun

MG4 machine gun

MG4 machine gun

MG4 machine gun

MG4 machine gun

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