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Heckler & Koch HK416

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Norwegian Army Heckler & Koch HK416N with an Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight and a vertical foregrip.
Type Assault Rifle
Place of origin  Germany
 United States
Service history
In service 2005–present
Used by See Users
Wars Iraq War, War in Afghanistan
Production history
Designer Ernst Mauch
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
Produced 2005–present
Variants D10RS, D14.5RS, D16.5RS, D20RS, MR223, HK417
Weight D10RS: 3.02 kg (6.7 lb)
D14.5RS: 3.490 kg (7.69 lb)
D16.5RS: 3.560 kg (7.85 lb)
D20RS: 3.855 kg (8.50 lb)
Length D10RS: 797 mm (31.4 in) stock extended / 701 mm (27.6 in) stock collapsed
D14.5RS: 900 mm (35.4 in) stock extended / 804 mm (31.7 in) stock collapsed
D16.5RS: 951 mm (37.4 in) stock extended / 855 mm (33.7 in) stock collapsed
D20RS: 1,037 mm (40.8 in) stock extended / 941 mm (37.0 in) stock collapsed
Barrel length D10RS: 264 mm (10.4 in)
D14.5RS: 368 mm (14.5 in)
D16.5RS: 419 mm (16.5 in)
D20RS: 505 mm (19.9 in)
Width 78 mm (3.1 in)
Height 240 mm (9.4 in)

Cartridge 5.56x45mm NATO
Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire 700-900 rounds/min (cyclic)
Muzzle velocity Varies by barrel length and type of round used.
Feed system 20, 30-round STANAG magazine or 100-round Beta C-Mag
Sights Rear rotary diopter sight and front post, Picatinny rail
The HK416 is an assault rifle designed and manufactured by Heckler & Koch. It is an improved version of the M4 carbine with many changes, most notably a new gas operating system from the G36.
The US Army's Delta Force collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine. Delta replaced its M4s with the HK416 in 2004 after tests revealed that the piston operating system significantly reduces malfunctions while increasing the life of parts.[1]
The project was originally called the HK M4, but this was changed in response to a trademark infringement suit filed by Colt Defense. The weapon has been tested by the United States military and is in use with some law enforcement agencies and special operations units. It has been adopted as the standard rifle in two NATO nations as well.

Design details

The HK416 uses a proprietary gas system derived from the HK G36, replacing the direct impingement gas system used by the standard M16/M4. The HK system uses a short-stroke piston driving an operating rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear. This design prevents combustion gases from entering the weapon’s interior, a shortcoming with direct impingement systems. The reduction in heat and fouling of the bolt carrier group increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. It also reduces operator cleaning time and stress on critical components. The SA80 bull-pup assault rifle used this system long before the HK G36 was developed. According to H&K "experience that Heckler & Koch gained during its highly successful 'midlife improvement programme' for the British Army SA80 assault rifle, have now borne fruit in the HK416.".[2]
The HK416 is equipped with a proprietary accessory rail forearm with MIL-STD-1913 rails on all four sides. This allows most current accessories, used on M4/M16-type weapons, to be fitted to the HK416. The HK416 rail forearm can be installed and removed without tools by using a bolt locking lug as the screwdriver. The rail forearm is of the 'free-float' variety; it does not contact the barrel and improves accuracy.
The HK416's barrel is cold hammer-forged with a 20,000 round service life and features a 6 grooves 178 mm (7 in) right hand twist. The cold hammer-forging process provides a stronger barrel for greater safety in case of an obstructed bore or for extended firing sessions. This includes "OTB" (Over-the-beach) capability; the HK416 can be safely fired after being submerged in water and not completely drained.[3]


In July 2007, the US Army announced a limited competition between the M4 carbine, FN SCAR, HK416, XCR, and the previously-shelved HK XM8. Ten examples of each of the four competitors were involved. Each weapon was fired for 60,000 rounds in an "extreme dust environment." The purpose of the shoot-off was for assessing future needs, not to select a replacement for the M4.[4][5] The XM8 scored the best, with only 127 stoppages in 60,000 total rounds, the FN SCAR Light had 226 stoppages, while the HK416 had 233 stoppages. The M4 carbine scored "significantly worse" than the rest of the field with 882 stoppages.
The Heckler & Koch HK416 on deployment in Iraq (center).
The HK416 was one of the weapons displayed to U.S. Army officials during an invitation-only Industry Day on November 13, 2008. The goal of the Industry Day was to review current carbine technology prior to writing formal requirements for a future replacement for the M4 carbine.[6][7]
In December 2009, a modified version of the HK416 was selected for the final testing in the Infantry Automatic Rifle program, designed to replace the M249 light machine gun at the squad level for the United States Marine Corps.[8] It beat the three other finalists by FN Herstal and Colt Defense.


The HK416 is currently available in four different barrel lengths: the D10RS model with a 264 mm (10.4 in) barrel, the 368 mm (14.5 in) barrel length D14.5RS, the D16.5RS fitted with a 419 mm (16.5 in) and the 505 mm (19.9 in) length barrel of the D20RS. The HK417 is a larger version of the HK416 chambered for the full-size 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge. Civilian variants of the HK416 and HK417 were announced in 2007, named MR223 and MR308.[9] Both are semi-automatic rifles with several 'sporterized' features. At the 2009 SHOT Show, these two firearms were introduced to the American civilian market renamed respectively MR556 and MR762.[10]

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