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Heckler and Koch, the famous arms manufacturer from the German state of Baden-Württemberg, has been having a rough patch lately. As reported last year, the company has been having a rocky time financially. Then the Bundeswehr announced that it was ditching H&K’s G36 rifle (hitherto its main battle rifle) due to accuracy issues in combat situations that were traced back to flaws in the gun’s design . . .

Alas, more trouble is brewing for the corporate leadership in Oberdorf am Neckar. Deutsche Welle reports:

Heckler & Koch may face a heavy fine for sending thousands of G36 rifles to Mexico….

[The company] delivered a total of 9,472 G36 assault rifles to Mexico between 2003 and 2011. The company has been suspected of illegally supplying arms to crisis regions on several occasions.

Exports of the rifle…are currently permitted across most of Mexico with the exception of the states of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Guerrero and Jalisco. Export restrictions were implemented there due to suspected police corruption.

A…report from the Customs Criminal Office (ZKA) in Cologne alleges…that Heckler & Koch delivered some 4,767 G36 guns to the prohibited states.

In the town of Iguala in Guerrero, where 43 students were last year abducted by the police and later allegedly assassinated by gang members, 36 of the…rifles were discovered.

The ZKA reportedly concluded that Heckler & Koch was responsible for “bringing about, encouraging, or at least approving” the illegal exports.

The criminal office therefore recommended that five former officers and employees of the company should be indicted on grounds of “offenses” against war weapons control and the foreign trade law. The ZKA also urged for Heckler & Koch to be stripped of its 3 million euros of illegal profits made from the exports.

You have to hand it to the Bundesrepublik: at least when they say exporting arms to (parts of) Mexico is illegal, they actually mean it. Not like some governments I could mention.

Between the official corruption in the Mexican state of Guerrero, and the fact that the government of Mexico doesn’t even bother pretending that its subjects citizens have rights, the export ban makes sense. The crassly left-wing New Internationalist points out:

The authorities in Guerrero are routinely linked to corruption and human rights abuses. In 2011, photographs and witness testimonies emerged, which indicated the police had turned H&K rifles on a student protest, killing 2 innocent people in the process.

The abuses have got even worse since then. 2014 saw the kidnapping and murder of 43 students in an event that prosecutors believe was carried out by gangsters with the full knowledge and complicity of the police.

Officers have been accused of rounding up the students and handing them over to the Guerreros Unidos drug gang, which slaughtered them and incinerated their bodies.

No doubt there’s a lesson somewhere in there about the right to keep and bear arms as well as exporting arms to corrupt and oppressive governments.

Anyway, could the news get worse for H&K? Well, yes, it turns out that it can.

In a separate incident on Thursday…”Der Spiegel” [reported] that a senior German [government] official had written a letter to the military intelligence service MAD, asking it to try to find the source of leaks about the G36 assault rifle.

According to the report, the official wrote the letter at the demand of Heckler & Koch, which feared recent media reports on the assault rifle’s shortcomings could damage the company’s reputation….

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen said on Thursday she found it “very strange” that Heckler & Koch had approached the ministry about the issue and that it was “completely unacceptable” that the civil servant supported the initiative.

Nick pointed out in an earlier post that H&K appeared to have eschewed civilian sales, instead betting the farm on military and government business. That strategy hasn’t worked out well for Colt. With all of the other news piling up, it looks like that wasn’t the only bad decision they’ve made recently.

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  1. I had to look up Sturm Und Drang, I thought it would mean something like [Operation] Fast and Furious. Wonder if any other mfr’s supplied our southern border with full-auto weapons? Wonder what other countries? If herr Prez, or our Prez/AG/Justice Dept./State Department learned we were being massed upon by Mexicans/Central_South Americans with full-auto weapons, they would likely send them ammo.

  2. perhaps h&k will change its model and sell to us plebs and if the german military ditchest the g36 what are the chances of getting some parts kits?

  3. If you depend on the government for your survival, you are almost sure to fail sooner or later. You can lose out if the competition greases the palms of the right politicians or government workers and lose the business. If you don’t support the politics of the party in power (that changes) or bribe the proper parties, you can be left in the cold. Both they and Colt made the same decisions and it could well put them out of business and/or cause them to sell out to someone. It is a result of poor management.

    • Colt just needs a new dynamite product, maybe something that shoots .410, 45 colt, 45 acp, 454 casull, 460 Rowland, 45 gap, 45 win mag, and 45 super. They should call it the Termigovnerjudgeinator. A little forward thinking and they will be in the black for the first time…..ever.

        • They should include all those different calibers in different guns, all under 1 serial #, call it the “Fast and Furious Pack” its Holder Approved!

      • That is the problem. Colt hasn’t had a new product in a century. The refused to keep up with modern firearms design.

    • Meh, it’s been my experience that just a few well placed shots can get you your own crew served weapon free of charge.

        • [URL=]

        • You sound like you’re used to the drones overhead being ‘ours.’

          Once you own space, you own everything underneath it NASA can’t launch a wet fart and China (AGAIN, thanks to Bill Clinton thru LORAL) got multi-stage to orbit capability and they have a space program, We have an unmanned Air Force spyplane.

  4. You overlooked the obvious differences between the HK deal with Mexico and Fast & Furious. One was carried out by seemingly corrupt arms dealers working with corrupt Mexican government officials. The other was carried out by American government officials who knowingly broke the law by sending guns to corrupt Mexican drug gangs. I’m not surprised the German government went after HK. It’s not the government’s butt that’s in a sling this time. Now if we find out that HK bribed German officials so their schlock rifles would be bought by them, then I’d be curious to see how effectively their government investigates and incarcerates its own.

  5. Kind of a shame because other than what I’ve read about the G36 all my other interactions with their products have left a distinct impression of top quality.

    On the other hand, if you duck out on the civilian market and throw in with the state, this is what you’re going to get.

    • “top quality” in a rifle has, frequently, not worked with “drop in mud then pick up and fire”.

  6. Well HK certainly fucked up over Mexico…

    I mean they could somehow gotten their head outta the noose by claiming that they told the mexicans not to bring the rifles in those provinces, but they even sent instructor for the maintenance of the rifles into those provinces.

    Well… be greedy as a pig…die like one.

    Hilarious part about the MAD is the answer they gave HK to their request:
    TLDR version: Fuck you guys, we are a military agency and we see no soldiers involved.

    Also Bw droppin the G36 -> possible
    Bw droppin HK -> N E V E R

    Our whole damn arsenal is HK-made

    I ask myself why that is…but hey I don’t need to know. I’m just some random grunt.

  7. I was at my LGS yesterday and they had one of th civilian 416s for sale. 3400 bucks. No thank you.

  8. Interesting point of German law… you can’t hold a company liable for anything. Instead, you have to show that some employee didn’t do their job.

    The fact that the German government has decided to charge these people means they’re in for a corporate-liability kind of judgement. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes.

  9. IMHO, H&K could revive it’s fortunes (at least in my eyes) by resurrecting their one truly innovative pistol, P7M8. If they would sell it for $700 or less. I’d be on it like a duck on a junebug. I think others would too.

  10. Opertion Schnell und Wütend, busted. Just a bit too late for those 43 students. But the whole premise of the German ban is that while guns shipped to the “bad” Mexican states will go to the cartels or bad cops, the ones sent to “good” Mexican states won’t end up with the cartels or bad cops. Does anybody aside from me find that premise absurd?

    It’s Mexico.

  11. You mean our government lied? The Mexican drug cartels buy full auto rifles by the container like the multi billion dollar companies they are instead of 2 at a time from Bass Pro Shop’s?

    I mean every politician knows Walmart sells full auto G36’s and M16’s.

  12. [The company] delivered a total of 9,472 G36 assault rifles to Mexico between 2003 and 2011. All of the guns were purchased by the Mexican Agents at the Indianapolis Gun Show, without back ground checks, and shipped across the border by Fast and Furious ATF agents. Once again, Every Town for Gun Safety has stated that the gun show loop hole needs to be closed to prevent a river of iron flowing across the border.

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