Germany Officially Ditches H&K G36, States Accuracy Issues as Main Complaint


A German newspaper is reporting that the German military has officially decided to drop the G36 as its main infantry rifle. We’ve been covering the kerfuffle with the G36 for damn near a year now, and after last week’s proclamation by the German military that the reported accuracy issues are completely true and the entire firearm is to blame, it looks like they’re throwing in the towel and changing guns. There’s no word on exactly which firearm will be the new choice, but it seems that H&K might get another bite at the apple if they submit a “fixed” version… along with everyone else’s submissions.

From the story:

Germany’s military was likely to get a replacement for Heckler & Koch’s G36 rifles after Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen declared on Wednesday that the weapon had “no future in the German army in its current state of construction.”

The Defense Ministry would now work towards replacing the gun as soon as possible, von der Leyen said after she met with representatives of the parliamentary Defense Commission in Berlin.

Special Forces deployed in conflict areas were to receive replacement weapons immediately, the minister added. However, she did not exclude the possibility of the army adopting a new version of the G36, produced by weapons company Heckler & Koch.

Heckler & Koch have been in financial trouble for some time, flirting with bankruptcy not two years ago. The company has bet the farm on the military market, only selling very few firearms on the civilian market and focusing on contract work instead for their daily bread. The loss of a major contract like the G36 rifle might be enough to push them over the edge if they can’t recover quickly.


  1. avatar lurker_of_lurkiness says:

    Germany to hk: “You suck, and we hate you”

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      …which is why we’re replacing the HK G36s with HK 416s.

      1. avatar Texsylvanian says:

        Ha! I tip my gin and tonic to you Sir.

    2. avatar Bob hope says:

      It’s damn good their guns don’t shoot straight after a mag, those fuckers wanna start a war every 20 years, then they lose, and do it again, their damn good at killing but can never win. Their self distructing ignorant dogs! Check out their anthem! Germany’s the best!! 12 or so times.. I call it a suicide chant!

  2. avatar AllAmerican says:

    It will be interesting to see what the replacement is.

    1. avatar jay says:

      Likely the HK 416, which is a more reliable m4 type w/ a piston system instead of DI

  3. avatar Warren L says:

    Imagine that, a company that excludes the civvie market is in trouble..

    1. avatar pod says:

      Which is sad, because their current “star” civilian product, the VP9 is probably one of the best striker-fired pistols on the market now. Maybe this G36 debacle will get them to think about us mere mortals more.

      1. avatar Texsylvanian says:

        Glock 19 or GTFO you pleb.

        1. avatar Excedrine says:

          Glock what? M&P or go home, you filthy casual. 😛

        2. avatar TravisP says:

          M&P? Do you even CZ bro?

    2. avatar Scrubula says:

      There are stupid german laws banning the sale of any military style weapons to foreign civilians.

      They can produce rifles in america and sell them to us but not produce the G36 in germany and export, hence the problems with their business model.

  4. avatar Roy says:

    This is actually quite the financial opportunity for HK. Germany will tend to favor HK designs no matter what, so now HK get’s to resell guns to Germany again. This is good for American consumers too because I just have a feeling we’re going to see a crap ton load of used G36 part kits flooding the market soon. And since G36 uses the same barrels as SL8s, the kits will come with whole barrels.

    1. avatar Xanderbach says:

      I approve of this. Since I won’t be running them hot like the military does, the accuracy issue won’t be a problem. Maybe.

      1. avatar Roy says:

        I was aware of this ATF letter, but re-read it. I think my position still stands. HK SL8s are importable weapons and use the same barrels as G36, albeit the G36 barrels are typically thinner and chrome lined. Because the barrels are suitable for importable weapons, I think they may be importable with the parts kits.

        1. avatar Surly Old Armorer says:

          There are plenty of AKs being imported, where are the imported AK barrels?

    2. avatar SurfGW says:

      You’re spot on. Don’t underestimate union pressure to buy German (AKA HK). Whatever they buy, it will be HK.

    3. avatar Jeff says:

      I’m pretty pessimistic about that. German government is under pressure to no longer export parts kits or individual “assault weapon” parts. The days of Germany flooding the world with their obsolete firearms is probably over. A few may make it out but not many.

    4. avatar Surly Old Armorer says:

      “Machine gun” barrels are not importable, so you won’t be seeing any G36 barrels. Note the lack of imported AK barrels, G3 barrels, FAL barrels, etc, with parts sets.

  5. avatar stateisevil says:

    Won’t miss their overpriced stuff at all.

  6. avatar Tsn4 says:

    Hmm…no I feel a lot less annoyed about not being allowed to buy on of these. Thanks US gun laws. Even a broken clock is right sometimes.

  7. avatar mpow66m says:

    The should buy a boatload of RemDef ACRs.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Beretta gave the finger to MD over it’s anti-gun laws and, coincidentally, its M9 is booted by the US military. H&K was accused of bribing Mexican officials to sell guns to Mexican police, and, coincidentally, the German military is booting the G36.

    I don’t believe in coincidence very much. I’ll bet that Beretta and H&K don’t either. But I do believe in vindictive governments.

    1. avatar seans says:

      So the fact that both of these guns had major issues has no bearing on the weapons being? The M9 and G36 are both weapons that have low satisfaction rating, have major issues, and are outclassed by many other weapons on the market currently.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        The M9 has been used effectively since 1985, so yeah, I find it highly “coincidental” that just now the G finds it problematic. The G36 has been the Bundeswehr’s gun since 1995, so yeah, I find it “coincidental” that it’s taken 20 years for the German Army to find that the gun is inaccurate.

        I have a big pile of money to wager that whatever replaces the two firearms will be the source of constant complaints from soldiers who will be crying for their old weaponry. Because that’s what soldiers do — complain. And I say that with affection.

        1. avatar int19h says:

          It didn’t take 20 years. The problems first surfaced in late 90s in regular training sessions (after which they basically told recruits not to fire full auto), but became really obvious as soon as the guns were actually used in combat extensively in Afghanistan. It took 20 years for the top brass and the politicians to stop being defensive and finally acknowledge that they have screwed up.

          For what it’s worth, that this gun would have problems was foretold by people who know how things work even before it was originally adopted. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that a polymer upper interfacing with a steel barrel is a horrible idea, and the connection point will start melting as the gun heats up.

      2. avatar seans says:

        Lets see the M9 is showing its age, it doesn’t compare well to modern pistols, its a large pistol, and its safety conflicts with modern pistol TTPs. A large amount of M9s are at the end of their life cycle. And it still hasn’t been officially replaced. The G36 has a documented problem of large POI shifts after not even that much shooting. This comes from its design which people have been stating for a while now was going to be a problem. If you thing its politics that the German Army wants a new rifle that doesn’t experience up to a 20MOA shift after a few mags, well I doubt I can convince you otherwise.

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      Beretta is going to be selling some version of the M-9 for many years to come and when budgetary realities set it the A3 is going to be the winner.

    3. avatar Surly Old Armorer says:

      The M9 has not been “booted” by the US military. The Army is trying to put together a request for a new pistol, but that is not going to go anywhere. There’s no money available, and no compelling reason to replace the M9. All the talk about a change in caliber, the return of the M1911 in some form, etc, are just gun shop bullshit. US troops will be carrying 9mm pistols for decades.

      The only “booting” that has occurred was the Army telling Beretta that the Army wasn’t interested in the “M9A3” that Beretta wanted to supply instead of M9A1s.

  9. avatar El Mac says:

    They should never have left the FN FAL.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      You mean G3?

      1. avatar Texsylvanian says:

        Meh who cares both rifles = awesome

        1. avatar CentralIL says:

          Except the FAL isn’t so hard on brass.

        2. avatar int19h says:

          Why would the army care? They don’t reload. And mechanically, G3 is a bit simpler than FAL, and generally considered to be somewhat more reliable.

      2. avatar Roy says:

        Maybe he didn’t mean the G3. The Germans adopted the FN FAL as the G1 a couple years prior to adopting the G3.

    2. avatar Deuce says:

      No, they should have never left the AKM47 for their plastic fantastic gun.

      1. avatar int19h says:

        Bundeswehr used G3 before they switched to G36, not an AK.

        And there’s no such thing as “AKM 47”. It’s just AKM.

  10. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    German Engineering at its finest. Das Wunder Waffen.
    So many good rifle designs out and about…..

  11. avatar Texsylvanian says:

    You know… A long time ago under a different poster name here at TTAG I recall HK fan boys being FURIOUS at the suggestion that this gun was a turd. I seem to remember how urgently the defended it even though most of them had never fired let alone owned one. Funny how people can be about their pet brands. At present those frantic HK fanboys are conspicuous by their silence.

  12. avatar Dracon1201 says:


    1. avatar int19h says:

      They already use G3s in Afghanistan. They were revived after they realized the need for some sort of DMR weapon, similar to how US reconfigured its remaining M14 rifles for DMR duty.

  13. avatar JSIII says:

    They will go with the H&K 416 or some variant and no one will question it, would be cool to see them go back to a battle rifle like the 417 though. IMO they never should have ditched battle rifles.

  14. avatar nynemillameetuh says:

    If the Weimar Republic breaks up with HK and HK goes belly up, does that make my VP9 a collectible?

  15. avatar ghost says:

    The photo looks like the military Goldie Hawn was talking about.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:



  16. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Rifle made of compressed Cheez-Whiz sucks rocks off the ground.

    I’m shocked. This is my shocked face.

  17. avatar bruce thomas says:

    Next choice…the AR-18 or…. the MG-42

  18. avatar PavePusher says:

    So, Germany’s version of Colt.

    Quel Surprise….

  19. avatar Tim says:

    So xm8 will live on than?

    1. avatar Surly Old Armorer says:

      The XM8 is as dead as the Macarena.

  20. avatar Silver says:

    Story is false. I played CoD last night and the G36 was plenty accurate.

    Seriously though, wanna see how lots of gun companies are making boat loads of cash? Take the selector off the G3, G36, MP5, and so on, and ship them over here.

  21. avatar Chris Dumm says:

    Will the German army actually buy the H&K 416?

    Ein Amerikanischer Waffenentwurf für die Bundeswehr? Nur wenn Schweine fliegen!

  22. avatar Whatever says:–wAM

    There is nothing wrong with G36 accuracy wise. The whole story is just someone’s agenda to drop that model for some alternative or incompetence of the people who did that so called test that stated the rifle was bad..

    1. avatar Surly Old Armorer says:

      A fanboi’s Youtube silliness is hardly a reliable source to be cited when talking to grown-ups.

      The G36 has never been anything more than an AR-18 redesigned to be even cheaper to manufacture. The problems are real, and turn out to be exactly what competent gun designers had predicted years ago.

  23. avatar Mattias Nilsson says:

    I think the German made a seal with some else & that is why their getting rid of the g36. I bet you it has nothing to do with accuracy problems. Think about don’t you think they H&K thoroughly tested its accuracy before selling the rifle. And don’t you think the military did to. There’s something fishy about the whole thing. Doesn’t H&K use polygonal rifled barrels as well and aren’t they suppose to be very accurate. Why don’t they just replace the barrels?

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email