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Heckler & Koch G3

Automatic rifle


The G3 automatic rifles are still used by more than 60 countries around the world

Country of origin Germany
Entered service 1959
Caliber 7.62 x 51 mm
Weight (without magazine) 4.4 kg
Length 1 025 mm
Barrel length 450 mm
Muzzle velocity 800 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 600 rpm
Practical rate of fire 30 - 90 rpm
Magazine capacity 20 rounds
Sighting range 400 m
Range of effective fire 400 m


   In the mid 1950s German MoD was looking for a new automatic rifle, chambered for a standard NATO 7.62x51 mm round. A number of designs were considered and the Spanish CETME Model B was eventually selected. In 1957 German government acquired production license of this weapon and handed it over to their Heckler & Koch (HK) company. After some local modifications this weapon was adopted by the German armed forces (Bundeswehr) in 1959 as a standard issue infantry rifle. It was used until the mid 1990s, when it was replaced by the G36 assault rifle. Production in Germany ceased only in 2001. Some variants of the G3 are still used by the German border guards and police forces. A large number of these rifles are kept in storage. The German G3 battle rifle was widely exported. At some point it was used by more than 75 countries worldwide. It saw action during numerous military conflicts. This weapon is still in service with more than 60 countries. So actually the G3 is as popular as the Russian AK-47 or American M16. In some countries it is still used as a standard issue infantry weapon. However numbers of the G3 are gradually reducing, as it is being replaced by modern designs. Currently the HK company proposes its new HK417 battle rifle, which can be seen as a follow-on to for the venerable G3.

   The HK G3 was, or still is produced in Bangladesh, France, Greece, Iran, Luxembourg, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway (AG-3), Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Sweden (Ak 4), Turkey and the United Kingdom. There are numerous derivatives of the basic G3.

   Design of the G3 can trace its origins to the final years of World War II. This weapon is chambered for a standard NATO 7.62x51 mm (.308 Win) ammunition. It employs a roller-delayed blowback operating system. The G3 proved to be a successful and reliable design. This weapon is also easy to maintain. The G3 is cheap in production, as it uses a number of stamped steel parts.

   The G3 is capable of semi-auto or full-auto firing. Fire mode selector is conveniently located over the pistol grip and has a safety setting.

   This assault rifle is fed from 20-round capacity magazines. It is also compatible with a 50-round drum magazine.

   Early production versions of the G3 have simple iron sights. Later these were replaced by diopter-type sights. The rear sight post has a rotating drum with range settings for 100, 200, 300 and 400 meters. Furthermore this automatic rifle can be fitted with scopes or night sights.

   First production version of the G3 had a fixed wooden buttstock. Newer models have plastic buttstocks. Also there are versions with a telescopic metal stocks.

   This weapon can launch riffle grenades. Furthermore it is compatible with HK79 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher. This automatic rifle can mount other accessories, such as silencer or bayonet. Later production models can be fitted with a bipod.




   G3 is an original model with a wooden buttstock and foregrip.

   G3A1 is a version with a folding telescopic stock. It was adopted alongside the baseline G3.

   G3A2 is a version with a fixed wooden buttstock and dioptric sights. The rear sight post has a rotating drum.

   G3A3. This version was produced in large numbers. It has a fixed plastic buttstock and a foregrip. This weapon comes with dioptric sight.

   G3A4 is a version with a telescopic stock.

   G3KA4 (Karabiner) is a version with a telescopic scope and shorter barrel. It was designated L100A1 by the British Army.

   G3A5 is a version of the G3A3, produced for the Danish armed forces.

   G3A6 is an Iranian license-produced version of the G3A3.

   G3A7 is a Turkish license-produced version of the G3A3.

   G3/SG1 (Scharfschutzengewehr) is a designated marksman rifle. This weapon is usually used by sniper teams. It was developed in 1973. It is based on the G3A3, but is fitted with a scope and bipod. Its stock is fitted with a cheek. For the G3SG1 conversion the most accurate examples of the G3A3 rifles were hand-picked in the factory.

   AG-3 is a Norwegian license-produced version.

   G3P3 and G3P4 are versions of the G3A3 and G3A4 produced under license in Pakistan.

   Ak 4 or Automatkarbin 4 is a Swedish license-produced version.

   HK41, HK91, PTR91F, SAR-3 are semi-automatic versions of the G3 for law enforcement use and civil customers.


   The successful G3 automatic rifle also paved the way for other weapons, produced by the Heckler & Koch company, such as the MP5 submachine gun, HK33 assault rifle, PSG-1 sniper rifle, HK21 general purpose machine gun, and other.




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