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In a report released Friday by the German Army’s technical team, the ongoing accuracy issues with the H&K G36 rifle (the main battle rifle of the German armed forces) have been officially confirmed. The report states that not only do the accuracy issues crop up after sustained periods of rapid fire, but even the ambient temperature and humidity can negatively impact the rifle’s accuracy such that it no longer functions within the required parameters . . .

Rather than blaming a single component such as the ammunition or the barrel, the team concluded that the problem is inherent in the system and the entire weapon is flawed from the ground up. The German army stopped purchasing new rifles only a few months ago, and has subsequently accepted the HK416 as a suitable firearm. No word yet on if they will make a wholesale swap, but it seems likely.

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    • Not for H&K. Oh, our G36 doesn’t work as well as advertised? We think you should buy a whole new rifle from us instead to replace all the faulty ones…….

    • On the upside, we may find ourselves with a ton of surplus German rifles in the states. All we would have to do is sit back and wait for the aftermarket to address the flaws and issues.

  1. HK spokesman replies: “Der is keine problema mit der G36 Gewahr. Du bist idioten! Und vier hassen dich!”

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    • …and it didn’t help when it was discovered HK was ‘stepping on’ the polyamide with polyethylene as they produced the German army versions, a polymer much less resistant to heat.

      • Adulterating would be the more appropriate term in this case, in my opinion. I’d wager a 100% polyamide receiver would work as advertised.

        I think the repercussions for H&K will be quite severe, once all the shouting is done.

        • The use of the drug dealers’ term (to “step on” means to cut or dilute) was intended to reflect HK’s ethics in the matter.

  2. What, no opportunity for HK to respond? Maybe they can fix it? Maybe military politicians want to switch to the 416 and they just need a reason.

    • Speak for yourself. I was very happy with my FN M4 and my 240. The caliber left something to be desired but as far as an overall weapon platform I was very pleased.

        • Maybe he doesn’t like the AR because it was a POS when he got it? Maybe because some people he knew died because it failed? Crazy thing but peoples personal experience with something affects how they look at that thing. + note that he used the past tense ,I believe, which doesn’t discount that the new rifles aren’t so bad.

          Though I am not changing my AK out for an AR anytime. Though that MSBS rifle looks attractive.

        • Perhaps he spends too much time absorbing the blather of internet commandos spewing from their mother’s basements.

        • The AR has served us well, but it is 60 years old and sub par by modern standards. The problem is we are so trained to accept it’s issues that we ignore them instead of looking for improvements.

        • Yes, my hate is based on my personal experience. But let me clarify a small point. As a range toy on a clean stateside range I think the m16, especially with giggle switch, is nearly perfect. The ergos of the controls coupled with decent peeps make it a fun toy to use. Add mild recoil and fairly cheap food and what’s not to like?

          But 4+ decades ago in the real world the m16 was universally hated by those of us that had to carry it and depend on it for our lives and the lives of our buddies.

          Never used an FN model. I could be lumping it in unfairly with the rest. I’ll take that chance on being unfair.

          I see guys to this day that make excuses for Stoners design. Comments like”Just make sure you change all the widgets and soak it in super + silicon sex lube and spend 4-6 hours a day tuning it up and it works just fine.”

          As for serving our country well for decades. This is the country that sent it’s boys off to war with equipment like the Brewster Buffalo, unarmored humvees, sherman tanks and the list is endless.

          Being kept in service for decades by corrupt politicians whose sons/daughters will never walk point is not a glowing recommendation.

          As you were, troops, I’ll be in the area all day.

        • And you’ll never admit we shouldn’t stay with the same gun forever because “it will cost too much,” even though the reality is the firearm makers are minuscule in comparison to the large Military Industrial Complex that is spending trillions of tax payer dollars on a “stealth” F-35 that is already known that it will be shot down by the S-400 system that’s over a decade old.

        • The modern M-4 is a completely different beast for the Vietinam era M-16. And much of the issues with the M-16 came from two huge errors.

          1. Changing powders to one that it was never designed to use (a cost saving measure to use up existing powder stocks)
          2. Confusing the self cleaning nature of the gas tube (no gas piston to remove and clean), with that the gun is completely self cleaning.

          Once those two were recited much of the issues were fixed.

          As far as stealth being defeated by a single missile system, you obviously don’t understand how stealth operates. You can never design an aircraft that is stealthy to all wavelengths or from all aspects. And the enemy can also flood the area with so much energy that it is possible to not be detected (but it can detect a lost of false readings).

          But the S-400 reads like most Russian hype of their weapon systems. Take the claims of any Russian missile and subtract 50% and you get closer to the truth. Most of the articles I’ve read are the same old rhetoric that has been proven wrong, or taken out of context.

          Regardless of how well it performs in reality, it will just mean that stealth aircraft can’t fly with impunity and that the targeting of these radars would likely be a high priority of the SEAD mission.

          Now back to carbines, the Army isn’t saying that it costs too much. They are saying that it costs too much for the benefit provided. For example the reliability rate of the M4 in testing was 98.56-99.51% (two tests were done), while the reliability rate of the AR magazine completes, which costs several times more, is about 99.64%. So the Army is saying that the performance increase to cost ratio isn’t there.

          The rest is about even with the two, with one exception the M4 platform is a known quantity. It has close to 50 years of service, so we know it’s quirks and have eliminated major issues. The same can’t be said for the competitors.

    • The M16 and M4 work fine when hot. But if my a$$ was on the line in the battlefield, I’d want 300 BLK for CQB and an AR-10 variant for distance.

      My Sig M400 loaded with 60 grain Winchester PDX .223 is a decent patrol rifle. But if I had my choice, my patrol rifle would have a stainless steel 16″ barrel chambered in 300 BLK and probably the 110 grain TTSX load.


      As far as they HK situation, looks like a dirty coverup.

    • I carried the M16, M16A1, and the M203 in service to my country for 7 years during and after the Vietnam thing. I mocked it during the early years but came to love it later in life. The original weapon was designed for the 7.62×51 NATO round but was scaled down when the government decided to go smaller. Some of the early problems were due to the use of extruded powders instead of the ball powders for which it was designed. Other problems were poor fitment of magazines so we always held the weapon under the magazine to make it feed better. The jungle was hard on brass left in the chamber so ejection was s problem with corroded brass but chrome lining changed all that. The M16 and its variants has seen continuous service in our military since 1965, longer than any other rifle this country has ever used in combat. I got rid of my piston actuated AK variant because I got tired of the bolt becoming locked up due to a rusty piston. Twice, I had to run a rod down the barrel and hit it with a hammer to drive the bolt rearward. You cannot even field strip it when the bolt is frozen. Those who claim that our weapon is inferior to Warsaw Pact weapons just don’t have much real world experience. I have no problem with a gas operated automatic.

      • How on earth do you rust an AK to that point? Much less twice?

        I’ve literally never heard of that happening outside of rifles being dug up from buried arms caches in former conflict zones, and most of those would work if you just kicked the charging handle really hard.

        • Only way I can imagine would be shooting corrosive ammo (say, 7n6 out of a 5.45 AK-74 variant) and then not cleaning it properly, or an individual gun (poor metallurgy and finish combined with humid climate) that has issues, and bad luck haha.

          I owned an AKM variant, then an AK-74 variant, then an AR, then a better AR, in that order, one after the other. My go to gun is AR, but if I was stuck with a *decent* AK I’d be happy with it for 0-300 yards/

      • So you bash the entire AK system because YOU could not figure out how to keep the piston from rusting up?


        I consider myself pretty lazy and hate cleaning guns but even an issue like that is laughable at how easy it could be taken care of if one cared. Does not even require that much work to do nor any tools for that matter.

        And I have plenty of experience with Warsaw Pact weapons at least enough to not let an issue as simple as that affect me and most people in general considering how mind-numbingly simple they are. Plus all guns rust so it is not just unique to them.

        But hey our Western guns are so superior and the Russians are just a bunch of pushovers!! Yea go ask the Germans, with the most technologically advanced military/training/tactics of the time how not only were they mauled but ended up copying many of the concepts those “backwards, subhuman, untermensch’s” did including us to this day! In fact why haven’t we just marched on Moscow and ended the Ukrainian crisis already you know since the Russians are backwards with crappy equipment?? This should be easy right?

        Like JWM said above don’t drink too much of that ‘Merica Kool-Aid now.

  3. One of the investigation’s findings was that the plastic in production models was not the same formula used in the prototypes submitted for government acceptance testing (read cheaper and much more likely to deform). Given how the guns are made this pretty much rules out any sort of straightforward rebuild fix. Add to that allegations that HK applied inspection markings on its own and things don’t look good for the company.

  4. And the worn, poorly maintained, antique, AK’s they were shooting against kept working, maintained better accuracy, allowing the illiterate, under-equipped, Pastun fighters . . . to actually hit what they were aiming at with more frequency than their German opponents?

    • When Germany reunified, they had two excellent service rifle designs – the G3 series, and the East German Stg-940, a modernized 5.56 AK-74 variant. East Germany was forced to scrap their rifles (many ended up parted out to the US) and not long after the G3 was replaced with the G36.

      Germany traded two great rifle designs for a piece of junk, and fortunately they went several decades without having to stake their lives on it.

      • One factor that they neglect to mention in the reporting of that testing is that they used the provided magazines. And that the issue magazines were traced to the primary cause of a third of the M-4s stoppages. If they used the same magazine as the Hk416 the stoppage rate likely would’ve been much lower.

        Finally there was an issue with the overall validity of the testing, in that similar random sampling of M-4s had a dramatically lower stoppage rate on the previous round of testing (where they were testing lubrication levels vs stoppages). In fact in the previous round of testing the high lubrication M4 had a lower stoppage rate than the Hk416 in the third round of testing (where competitor guns were brought in).

        And don’t read this as someone purely defending the M-4, these are conclusions derived from the tests. They were concerned enough to point that out in their reports, as the Army testers believe very heavily in repeatable scientific tests.

        • Very accurate statement: the difference between the M-4 and the 416 in reliability is the mag.

          M-4s with HK mags would be much more reliable.

          From what I hear, the 416 heats up and seizes quicker than the M-4 due to the piston, but it is less water sensitive.

      • HK416 uses the gas block design from G36. And it’s also bad (not as bad as melting receivers, I’ll grant you, but…). I’m not a fan of DI, but I’d take a regular M4 over HK416 any day.

  5. I want to give you a few pieces of information, since I am somewhat (german soldier) close to the issue…

    HK claims it is still the ammunition, which causes the problems…

    My own experience:

    In normal training I didn’t see any problems, so there is not much I could have said unitl 3 weeks ago…

    I was responsible for medium and long range at a training day for officers/ officer candidates on a shooting range.

    We had targets from 100-600m.

    In a break one of my instructors and myself grabbed ourselves two random rifles and some magazines and put the gun to the test.

    With a cold gun 500 m targets (normal running shooter ~1.2m high, 50cm wide) were completely doable if you put your mind to it.

    After 5-6 magazines shot over a timeframe of around 5 minutes we tried 200m targets.
    We both needed 5-6 shots per target.
    After 3 more magazines even 100m targets needed 4-5 shots.

    The dispersion was ridiculously big. I’d guess sth along 2x2m on 200m or even more.

    Needless to say involved soldiers lost a little bit of confidence in their weapon system.

    • I’ve seen it guessed that the collar attaching the barrel to the stock is the point where heat melts the stock and affects accuracy. So barrel gets hot, collar gets hot, collar melts bedding and barrel becomes loose.

      Could you do us a favor and inspect these rifles, to see if the stock shows signs of melting around that collar?

      • I doubt that I would be able to find those specific rifles.
        They were loaned to us by a different unit and have already been returned.

        But after shooting we did inspect the rifles and around the nut/collar that is holding the barrel in place there were no visible signs of melting.

        If there was material gettin soft, it could’ve been behind the nut.

    • I’d be interested in hearing more about the pattern of dispersion. Was it vertical stringing, horizontal stringing or the groups just opened up all around?

      After getting away from issues of melting composites, my next area of investigation would be driven by any pattern I saw in the expanded groups. There are two areas which I would examine closely:

      1. The barrel, probably hammer-forged, is heating up and warping due to unresolved stresses. The solution to this problem could be as simple as putting on competently made barrels that are button broached and stress relieved.

      2. A failure in the gas system. Gas driven semi-auto rifles’ accuracy are more sensitive to changes in the gas system than many would like to believe. A gas system that is merely fouling might see vertical stringing, but a gas system that is suffering from damage or changes due to temperature could see a oval-type dispersion of shots.

      If it is as simple as something made of composite melting, well… then that’s going to be an expensive remediation for H&K.

      There comes a point in weapons design when one has to say “No more cheez-whiz squirted into molds. We need to bring the machinists back into the shop and have them make stuff out of metal… and heat treat it.” Today’s manufacturing CEO’s hate to hear this, because it means paying skilled people real money. Oh well.

      • POI was all over the place, but from what I saw it seemed to be worse vertically.

        But don’t nail me to it. What we did was hardly scientific.
        Just enough for two landser to find out there is a problem.

    • I have read two reports of tests which found the hot gun POI could deviate from POA by as much as 20 inches at 100 yards, which would accord with a comment above citing 1 meter either way at 200 meters.

  6. I don’t know what all the kerfuffel is about. The G36 was more than accurate enough for my needs in Battlefield 4. *dodges thrown fruit*

  7. G36 – I think the Germans should buy them. Its not like they are going to fire them anyways.

    Kind of like that UK photo of the UK soldier with the rusty barrel.

  8. So after finding that a weapon platform is thoroughly flawed despite the claims of the designing company (H&K) the government may have to replace all of them- a massive expense. Wow, that sure doesn’t inspire confidence in the company, which will be replaced by one that responds better and can be counted on. Wait, this is confusing, they’re thinking of going to the “HK”416? I’m surprised H&K hasn’t sued whomever makes the HK416 for trademark infringement!

    • Just look at our(Bw) damn inventory.

      It’s like a damn Heckler & Koch advertisement show.

      Pistol: HK USP 9mm
      MP: HK MP 7
      Assault Rifle: HK G36
      DMR: HK G28
      HK G3
      MGs: HK MG5
      HK MG4

      Notice a trend yet?

      What did people expect to happen, when going into a negotiation about a new gun, when the other side already knows you are gonna buy and you don’t care about money.

      Yesterday it was reported, that HK lasered the “seal of approval” on the G36s without there even being a single engineer of the german forces in the vicinity.

      If the german DoD wanted to get fucked that bad, HK seemed to have been pleased to deliver.

      • It’s not illogical to stick to a manufacturer that is actually in the country. Though I suppose you could just buy proven designs from your neighbors with a license to manufacture on your own… say, SIG 551? Or at least force HK to do their homework.

      • If it is true that H&K created counterfeit Bundeswehr acceptance marks, shouldn’t that be the end of H&K? They would give shoddy rifles to their own country’s soldiers? What a betrayal of trust!

        And what foreign country will have faith in H&K products, if they did this even to the army of their own native Germany?

  9. I thought H&K’s douchey attitude towards civilian firearms ownership and customer service horror stories were bad, but putting not so honest inspection markings on weapons that weren’t even built using the proper plastics first proposed is an atrocity. Sad to say, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this collosal POI issue was thoroughly swept under the rug, got more than a few good Deutsche Soldaten killed in Afghanistan, and then wasn’t brought to light until well after their presence there started to wind down. Given the complicity of politicians someone mentioned upstream, I wouldn’t be surprised. I wish they would just bring back the G3 as their standard issue rifle. It already fills their DMR role successfully and dammit at least the thing works as intended. I’m also just plain biased towards .30 caliber rounds anyway, but I may as well be dreaming at this point thanks to strict NATO regs.

  10. When testing for our German marksmanship badges, hardly anyone could get groups smaller than a dinner plate at 100m. These were with weapons that were obviously old and worn, and I specifically remember the barrel rattling around in the stock when I picked one up.

  11. This must make all the HK fanboys ultra butt hurt. Many have looked at the G36 as the ultimate rifle. Hk has not been a leader in the small arms world for years. In my opinion the P7 was the last interesting thing they made other than the experimental CAW and the G11. Neither of these were put into any kind of production.

    The G3 was great in it’s day, but was designed in the 50’s: Now we have the SCAR 17
    The MP-5 was and still is a great firearm, but is showing it’s age (designed in the 60’s)

    I have several HK’s, but have never really understood the love affair. People reading too much Tom Clancy I guess.

    • A HK spokesman has just announced there was a mixup in the distribution department with the Bundeswehr receiving rifles originally intended for a French contract.

      While externally identical, the French contract version differs by being designed to fire only the occasional warning shot and is further noted by the attachments near the muzzle for a white flag (not provided by HK).

      This version is also available to Islamic State militias via their preferred supplier as the rifle is only considered accurate to within a sub 10 metre range.

  12. H&K are not in the business of making guns. They are making money for their shareholders.

    There is no “cheating” on acceptance evaluations. It is called “performance optimized testing” (look up Pentagon Wars).

  13. Another German Engineering Surprise….

    After owning a few German cars, I won’t ever buy another one. Seems to be the way with guns as well.

  14. And this comes out JUST after H und K decides we plebs are deserving of near identical G 36 semi finally? I think they knew they were about to have a bunch of spare G36 parts in the pipeline.

  15. I only have -one- H&K. A USP .45 fullsize I bought in 2000. It’s accurate, works flawless, eats anything except that horrible winchester ‘clean’ ammo and has been fully reliable. I also got it for $600 NIB w/ 2 mags. Back in 2000 at least, they were still making good firearms. But it seems they have decided to go the same route as Remington and others, the path of laziness. Currently there’s no H&K Firearms I’d be willing to buy at even 1/2 their current market value.

    They are not alone in this, many companies first runs of products earn them reputation and respect. Which then then put straight down the toilet by going cheap on us.

    I suspect that my future pistols are likely to be from Springfield, as I’ve really enjoyed the 9mm XDM 3.8″ I bought as an IDPA/EDC gun. Sadly this gun has been stolen my by wife, who squee’d with happiness when I made the mistake of letting her shoot it at the steel plates at the range. It has now been claimed by her.

  16. Ah, now there’s a case of Nationalism at it’s finest. “This Geman made rifle performs so poorly that we have deemed the entire system flawed? That’s ok, let’s order another rifle from the same company that made the first one.

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