Military Times semi-confirms reports that Heckler and Koch supplied the rifles that the Navy SEALs used to kill terrorist Osama Bin Laden. Word is that the bullet(s) that ended his life was a Black Hill’s 77 grain Match round. The cartridge is part of the continuing process to “fix” the 5.56 x 45 mm rounds for greater lethality. I prefer the new 6.8 SPC round that Special Forces are trying out in a Jacketed Hollow Point, a la Silver State Armory-but so be it. The big news here: the AK-47 style piston drive is catching on in a big way.
H&K describes their system as basically self cleaning, a piston and pusher rod system rated for over 20,000 rounds before minimal degradation. The standard 416 options run from barrel lengths of 10.39 inches to 19.98″. Weight with a 20-30 round magazine runs from 7.21 to 9.05 pounds.
Operation is semi and full auto, suppressor enabled and running up to 900 rounds per minute. A grenade launcher is optional, and special water enabled models are available.
A newer model, the 416C, is on the scene, with a 9″ barrel and a collapsible stock like its predecessor, but differing design. Rate of twist in rifling is apparently hush-hush.
There is a civilian model on the scene, MSRP is bordering $3000, 1 in 7 twist, 8.91 lbs with a 16.5 ” barrel. Magazines that are “maritime able” are in the $40 range, and the model is designated as the MR556A1.
Personally, I found it to be very similar to my $1800 Ruger SR556 in 6.8mm-also piston driven. I can’t help it; I was not impressed firing the H&K UMP in comparison to my familiar MP5.
Despite this, the 416 did the job. But with all the experimenting with the 5.56, I can’t help but wonder why we just don’t go to the excellent 6.8 SPC. Then again, I feel all troops should have 9mm +P+ JHP in their Berettas.