Heckler & Koch HK416

Heckler & Koch HK416
Norwegian Army Heckler & Koch HK416N with 419 mm (16.5 in) long barrel, an Aimpoint CompM4 red dot sight and a vertical foregrip.
Type Assault Rifle
Place of origin  Germany
Service history
In service 2005–present
Used by See Users
Wars War in Afghanistan, Iraq War
Production history
Designer Ernst Mauch[citation needed]
Manufacturer Heckler & Koch
Produced 2005–present
Variants D10RS, D14.5RS, D16.5RS, D20RS, HK416C, MR223, HK417, M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle
Weight HK416C: 2.950 kg (6.50 lb)
D10RS: 3.020 kg (6.66 lb)
D14.5RS: 3.490 kg (7.69 lb)
D16.5RS: 3.560 kg (7.85 lb)
D20RS: 3.855 kg (8.50 lb)
M27 IAR: 3.600 kg (7.94 lb)
Length HK416C: 690 mm (27.2 in) stock extended / 560 mm (22.0 in) stock collapsed
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
M27 IAR: 940 mm (37.0 in) stock extended / 840 mm (33.1 in) stock collapsed
Barrel length HK416C: 228 mm (9.0 in)
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)
M27 IAR: 420 mm (16.5 in)
Width 78 mm (3.1 in)
Height HK416C: 236 mm (9.3 in)
HK416 and M27 IAR: 240 mm (9.4 in)

Cartridge 5.56×45mm NATO
Action Short-stroke piston, 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 a modified version of the American M4 carbine with many changes, most notably a new gas operating system from the Heckler & Koch G36. Customers have the option of purchasing a new upper receiver, buffer and drive spring to refurbish M4s or buying a completely new build HK416.



The United States Army's Delta Force collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine. During development, Heckler & Koch capitalized on experience gained developing the Bundeswehr's Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, the US Army's XM8 rifle project (canceled in 2005) and the modernization of the British Armed Forces SA80 small arms family.[citation needed] The project was originally called the HK M4, but this was changed in response to a trademark infringement suit filed by Colt Defense.

Delta Force 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 HK416 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 of the Norwegian Armed Forces as well.

A modified variant is undergoing testing by the United States Marine Corps as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. After the Marine Corps Operational Test & Evaluation Activity supervised a round of testing at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, Fort McCoy, and Camp Shelby (for dust, cold-weather, and hot-weather conditions, respectively), limited fielding began for 458 IARs to four infantry battalions (one per each Marine Expeditionary Force and one reserve) and one light armored reconnaissance battalion; all are slated to deploy to Afghanistan in 2011.[2]

Design details

A Norwegian soldier in Afghanistan, armed with the HK416N.

The HK416 uses a proprietary gas system derived from the HK G36, replacing the direct impingement gas system used by the standard M16/M4.[3] The HK G36 gas system was on its behalf derived from the AR-18 assault rifle designed in 1963.[4] 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.[5] 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. 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".[3]

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 the bolt locking lug as the screwdriver. The rail forearm is "free-floating" and does not contact the barrel, improving accuracy.

The HK416 has an adjustable multi-position telescopic butt stock, offering six different lengths of pull. The shoulder pad can be either convex or concave and the stock features a storage space for maintenance accessories, spare electrical batteries or other small kit items.

The trigger pull is 34 N (7.6 lbf). The empty weight of a HK416 box magazine is 250 g (8.8 oz).

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.[6]


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 fired 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.[7][8] 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.[1]

A member of the AWG armed with a Heckler & Koch HK416 in Iraq (bottom right).

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.[9][10]

In December 2009, a modified version of the HK416 was selected for the final testing in the Infantry Automatic Rifle program, designed to partially replace the M249 light machine gun at the squad level for the United States Marine Corps.[11] It beat the three other finalists by FN Herstal and Colt Defense. In July 2010, the HK416IAR was designated as the M27, and 450 were procured for additional testing.[12]

The Norwegian Army made an extensive evaluation before selecting the HK416 as its new primary firearm.


The HK416 is currently (2010) 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 7.62×51mm NATO rifle cartridge.

Civilian variants of the HK416 and HK417 were announced in 2007, named MR223 and MR308.[13] 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.[14] There is another variant of the MR556 called the MR556A1, which is an improved version of the former.[15] It was created with input from American special forces units.[16]

The HK416C ultra compact variant of the HK416 has been introduced in October 2010. The HK416C has a high degree of component commonality with the HK416 family though the HK416C has a new retractable butt stock and buffer system. According to its specifications the HK416C, with its very short 228 mm (9.0 in) barrel for the 5.56×45mm NATO chambering, can be expected to produce muzzle velocities of approximately 730 m/s (2,395 ft/s). The firearm's precision is specified as ≈ 4 MOA (12 cm at 100 m) by Heckler & Koch.[17][18][19] The philosophy behind the ultra compact HK416C variant has similarities with the Heckler & Koch G36C subcarbine, which was developed out of the G36 assault rifle, and the XM8 Compact Carbine design. The intended purpose of subcarbines is to provide operators with a weapon of (nearly) submachine gun or personal defense weapon size, but firing standard military rifle cartridges, for scenarios such as VIP protection, urban warfare, and other close quarters battle (CQB) situations.

Differences from the M4

The HK416 is a modified variant of the American carbine, the M4. It includes international symbols for Safe, Semi-Automatic, and Fully automatic, a redesigned retractable stock which allows the user to rotate the butt plate, a new pistol grip designed by H&K, made to more ergonomically fit the hand and, attached to the rifle is a new single-piece hand guard with a free floating RIS system, used for mounting accessories. The most notable internal difference is the short stroke gas piston system, derived from the HK G36. To compensate for increased pressure due to the new gas system, a thicker barrel was also integrated. Finally, the HK416 includes a folding front sight, and a rear sight similar in design to the G3. The HK416 system is offered as an upper receiver, separate from the rest of the rifle, as a replacement to the standard issue M4 upper receiver. It can be attached to any existing AR-15 family rifles, giving them the new gas system, the new hand guard, and sights, while retaining the original lower receiver. The Heckler & Koch 416 can also be purchased as a fully assembled, stand alone carbine.


Country Organization name Model Quantity Date Reference
 Australia Special Operations Command of the Australian Defence Force D10RS field testing _ [20][21]
 France Commando Parachutiste de l'Air n°10 of the French Air Force _ _ _ [22]
 Germany German Special Forces Command (Kommando Spezialkräfte, KSK) of the German Army _ _ _ [23]
 Indonesia Detasemen Jala Mengkara (Denjaka) counter-terrorism group of the Indonesian Navy _ _ _ [24]
 Ireland Army Ranger Wing _ _ _ [25]
 Italy Italian special forces _ _ _ [23]
 Japan Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force _ _ _ [26]
 Republic of Korea Republic of Korea Naval Special Warfare Brigade _ _ _ [27]
 Malaysia Pasukan Khas Laut (PASKAL) Counter-Terrorism unit of the Royal Malaysian Navy D16.5RS 180 2010 [28]
 Netherlands Korps Commandotroepen of the Royal Netherlands Army D10RS
_ July 2010 [31]
Unit Interventie Mariniers of the Netherlands Marine Corps _
Maritime Special Operations Forces of the Netherlands Marine Corps _
Brigade Speciale Beveiligingsopdrachten of the Royal Marechaussee _
 Norway Norwegian Armed Forces, replacing the AG-3 which has been in use since 1967 HK416N 8200 2010 [36][37]
 Poland GROM of the Wojska Specjalne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej D10RS, D165RS _ 2008 [38]
1 Pułk Specjalny Komandosów of the Wojska Specjalne Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej D145RS, D165RS _ 2009 [39]
Various Policja groups _ _ _ [40]
 Serbia Special Brigade HK416 _ 2010 [41]
 Slovakia 5th Special forces regiment _ _ 2010 [42]
 United States 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) of the United States Army _ _ _ [43]
Asymmetric Warfare Group of the United States Army _ _ _ [44]
Containment and Emergency Response Team (CERT) of the United States Capitol Police _ _ _ [45]
NASA Emergency Response Teams _ _ _ [46]
United States Marine Corps M27 IAR 450 _ [47]
Naval Special Warfare Development Group _ _ _ [48]


  1. ^ a b Newer carbines outperform M4 in dust test
  2. ^ Lamothe, Dan (August 9, 2010). "SAW replacement set for real world testing". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/08/marine_iar_080810w/. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Heckler-Koch.de - HK416". http://www.heckler-koch.de/HKWebText/detailProd/1928/337/4/19. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  4. ^ "A Historical Review of Armalite, page 6". ArmaLite, Inc. January 4, 2010. http://www.armalite.com/images/Library%5CHistory.pdf. Retrieved June 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ Animation of the gas system of the HK416
  6. ^ "HKD-USA.com - HK416". http://www.hkd-usa.com/HKWebText/detailProd/1928/337/4/19. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  7. ^ Lowe, Christian (2007-06-27). "Army Agrees to M4 Sand Test Shoot-Off". Military.Com. http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,143790,00.html?ESRC=army-a.nl. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  8. ^ "M4 to face new rifles in dust-chamber test". http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/07/army_rifle_070715/. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  9. ^ Army considers options in replacing the M4 - Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Army Times
  10. ^ Military Photos: military images, military pictures, Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines - Military Times
  11. ^ Lamothe, Dan (December 14, 2009). "Frontrunner chosen in IAR contest". Marine Corps Times. pp. 20. 
  12. ^ Lamothe, Dan (July 2, 2010). "Conway eyes additional testing for auto-rifle". Marine Corps Times. http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/07/marine_IAR_070110w/. Retrieved 2 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "The MR223, 416 Piston Drive for German Civilians". Archived from the original on 2008-07-03. http://web.archive.org/web/20080703112856/http://www.hkpro.com/mr223.htm. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  14. ^ "HECKLER & KOCH’s MR556 & MR762 Rifles". Tactical Life. http://www.tactical-life.com/online/products/heckler-kochs-mr556-mr762-rifles/. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  15. ^ Jorge Amselle. "HECKLER & KOCH MR556A1". Tactical Life. http://www.tactical-life.com/online/guns-and-weapons/heckler-koch-mr556a1/. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  16. ^ Jorge Amselle. "Sneak Peek: HK’s MR556A1". Tactical Life. http://www.tactical-life.com/online/exclusives/sneak-peek-hk%E2%80%99s-mr556a1/. Retrieved 2011-06-22. 
  17. ^ "HK416C - The new ultra compact assault rifle". Heckler & Koch. 2010-10-08. Archived from the original on 2010-10-12. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heckler-koch.de%2FHKWebNews%2FbyItemID%2F%2F%2F35%2F%2F3%2F15&date=2010-10-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  18. ^ HK416C
  19. ^ HK416c Ultra Compact Assault Rifle data sheet
  20. ^ "Contract Notice View - CN253784". AusTender. Australian Government. January 12, 2010. https://www.tenders.gov.au/?event=public.cn.view&CNUUID=2099A0BD-06B7-3FCD-6474ABBE079B638D. Retrieved 2011-01-30. 
  21. ^ "CQB weapon sought for Oz Special Forces". Australian Defence Magazine. 04 Aug 2009. http://www.australiandefence.com.au/C1416489-5056-8C22-C9356780A64017B9. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  22. ^ "L'armée de l'air abandonne (partiellement) le fusil FAMAS". 2009-06-06. http://www.lepoint.fr/actualites-monde/2009-03-06/l-armee-de-l-air-abandonne-partiellement-le-fusil-famas/1648/0/323185. 
  23. ^ a b Kemp, Ian (2009). "A New 5.56mm Generation or a Changing of the Guard?". http://asianmilitaryreview.com - Asian Military Review. http://www.asianmilitaryreview.com/upload/200906161450071.pdf. Retrieved 2010-04-18. 
  24. ^ HK416, The New Denjaka Weapon
  25. ^ Tactical Weapons, May 2010 Issue. Guns of the Elite: Multi-Mission Warriors, page 92.
  26. ^ "「自動小銃固定用金具の製作以下3件」の契約希望者募集要項". 2009-04-22. http://www.mod.go.jp/msdf/bukei/y0/nyuusatsu/K-21-0075-4050.pdf. 
  27. ^ "‘아덴만 여명작전’ 참가 장병 수기". 2011-01-25. http://korea.kr/newsWeb/pages/brief/categoryNews2/view.do?newsDataId=148705382&category_id=subject&section_id=EDS0402005&call_from=extlink&subjectName=security. 
  28. ^ Abas, Marhalim (2009-05-06). "Tender of HK416". Malaysian Defence. http://www.malaysiandefence.com/?p=590. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  29. ^ Abas, Marhalim (2010-04-23). "DSA 2010 Part III". Malaysian Defence. http://www.malaysiandefence.com/?m=20100423. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  30. ^ Abas, Marhalim (2010-04-23). "DSA 2010: The biggest security and defence show in Asia". Malay Mail Online. http://www.mmail.com.my/content/35151-dsa-2010-biggest-security-and-defence-show-asia. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  31. ^ KCT operator krijgt nieuw persoonlijk wapen, Dutch Defence Press, 16 July 2010 (Dutch)
  32. ^ Elite operators of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, Dutch Defence Press, 9 October 2010
  33. ^ "Special Forces - Wapens - Heckler & Koch 416" (in Dutch). Netherlands Legermuseum: Collectie Informatie Centrum. http://www.collectie.legermuseum.nl/strategion/strategion/i008689.html. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  34. ^ HK416 nieuwe wapen commando’s, Dutch Ministry of Defence, 16 July 2010
  35. ^ "HK416" (in Dutch). Dutch Ministry of Defence. http://www.defensie.nl/landmacht/materieel/bewapening/(hand-)vuurwapens/hk416/hk416. Retrieved 2010-09-18. 
  36. ^ Watne, Monique (008-09-22). "Nye angrepsrifler i Afghanistan". Mil.no. http://www.mil.no/start/aktuelt/article.jhtml?articleID=166327. Retrieved 2010-02-04. 
  37. ^ "Norway selects the HK416". http://www.hkd-usa.com/HKWebNews/byItemID///13//3/15. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  38. ^ Wilk (REMOV), Remigiusz. "Nowe gromy GROM". http://www.altair.com.pl/cz-art-1660. 
  39. ^ Chloupek, Ireneusz. "Lubliniec". Special Ops (Oficyna Wydawnicza Medium). http://www.e-czytelnia.eu/md/home/book/283.xhtml. 
  40. ^ http://bip.kgp.policja.gov.pl/download.php?s=18&id=8523
  41. ^ Društvo : Najsavremeniji „hekleri” za Vojsku Srbije : POLITIKA
  42. ^ "Profesionál, 4. marca 2010". http://www.mosr.sk/17169/profesional-4-marca-2010.php. 
  43. ^ Cox, Matthew (March 1, 2007). "Better than M4, but you can't have one". Army Times. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/02/atCarbine070219/. Retrieved 2007-03-15. 
  44. ^ Army takes HK416s from special unit - Army News, opinions, editorials, news from Iraq, photos, reports - Army Times
  45. ^ HK Pro article
  46. ^ Andre M. Dall'au. "NASA ERT: Spaceport Protectors". Tactical Life. http://www.tactical-life.com/online/tactical-weapons/nasa-ert-spaceport-protectors/. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  47. ^ IAR What IAR: The USMC’s SAW Substitution
  48. ^ Senator Tells Army to Reconsider M4

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