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Heckler & Koch HK416

Assault rifle


The HK416 is an improved version of the M4 carbine

Country of origin Germany
Entered service 2004
Caliber 5.56x45 mm
Weight 3.86 kg
Length (with extended stock) 1 037 mm
Length (with collapsed stock) 941 mm
Barrel length 505 mm
Muzzle velocity 917 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 700 - 900 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range ?
Range of effective fire ~ 500 m


   The HK416 assault rifle was developed by Heckler & Koch company in the 1990s to meet US Army's Delta Force requirement. It is and improved version of the M4 carbine, that is widely used by the US military. However the HK416 is independently made and modified. Originally it was marketed as the Heckler & Koch M4, but the name was changed after Colt threatened H&K with legal action over trademark infringement. Still though this weapon is sometimes unofficially referred as HK M4, or German M4 carbine. In 2004 this weapon was adopted by the Delta Force, where it replaced the M4 carbine. Currently the HK416 it is used by more than 20 countries, including Australia, Francem Georgia, Indonesia, Irealand, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, the Philippines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. It is mainly by special forces, law enforcement forces and civilian government agencies. Despite that the HK416 is the primary service rifle of the Norwegian armed forces.

   It is worth noting, that a couple of years earlier the Heckler & Koch company successfully improved the British Army L85 assault rifle and cured a lot of its problems.

   In terms of appearance the HK416 resembles the M4. Due to similarity it has a familiar feel for soldiers, reducing the time needed for retraining. However the safety and reliability margins of the HK416 are significantly increased over the M4 and M16.

   The HK416 is a gas-operated automatic weapon. Internally it is similar to Stoner-designed weapons, such as the M16. However the HK416 uses a patented gas piston system, derived from the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, which is more reliable. This new operating system significantly reduced malfunctions and increased life of parts, comparing with the original Colt M4 carbine. During tests in 60 000 total rounds the HK416 had 233 stoppages, while the M4 had 882 stoppages.

   Due to the different operating system the HK416 can safely be fired when drenched with water, or even while fully-submerged. A water-logged M4 or M16 would explode if fired. It has also been reportedly demonstrated that the HK416 will safely fire even when dragged through fine sand and mud. In similar conditions the M4 is likely to jam before firing 10 rounds. While the M4 will not cycle ammunition efficiently (in some cases, not at all) at some angles, notably while upside-down, the HK416 will operate normally at any orientation.

   This assault rifle has a cold hammer-forged barrel. It has a 20 000 round service life. Four models with different barrel lengths are available, including full-size assault rifle with 505 mm (19.9 in) barrel, compact assault rifle with 419 mm (16.5 in barrel), carbine with 368 mm (14.5 in) barrel and sub-compact assault rifle with 264/279 mm (10.4/11 in) barrel. Special forces, including Delta Force, often prefer more compact assault rifles, that still retain full-auto firing capability.

   Fire mode selector has three positions for "safe", "semi-auto" and "full-auto".

   This assault rifle is fed from 30-round magazines. It is compatible with standard NATO 5.56 mm magazines.

   Weapon has a telescopic buttstock, that can be extended or collapsed to suit the shooter. It has 6 different lengths of pull. Also it has a new pistol handle, that is more ergonomic, comparing with that of the M4 carbine.

   The HK416 comes as standard with diopter-type iron sights. It also has a Picatinny-type scope rail and can be used with various scopes. Furthermore there is accessory rail on all four sides of the forearm. Most current accessories for the M4 and M16 can be used on the HK416, including a 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher.




   HK416C ultra-compact assault rifle with a 228 mm (9 in) barrel. It has a different side-folding buttstock.

   HK416D a modified variant. It was introduced in 2010. In 2011 it has been adopted by US Marine Corps as the M27. Marines initially ordered 4 748 rifles and planned to obtain a total of 6 500 of these automatic rifles. These partially replaced the M249 light machine gun.

   HK416N, a version for Norwegian armed forces. After extensive evaluation it was adopted as a standard issue rifle with Norwegian Armed Forces.

   HK416A5, a proposed version for the US Army to replace the M4 carbine. It has a different stock and some other modifications, such as ambidextrous fire controls. This weapon can be used with sound suppressor. It entered the US Army's Individual Carbine competition, however eventually the competition was cancelled and no weapon was chosen. Even though the HK416A5 has become the standard model that is being proposed for military and law enforcement use.

   HK417 is an enlarged version of the HK416, chambered for a standard NATO 7.62x51 mm ammunition. This weapon is a battle rifle, rather than assault rifle. It has a longer range due to its full-power ammunition.

   MR223, a civilian semi-automatic versions. It was introduced in 2007. Later it was renamed the MR556.




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