At DSEI 2023, Heckler & Koch is revealing its latest creation, the HK 421 machine gun which is chambered in 7.62 mm x 51 NATO caliber.
HK is somewhat reserved about releasing comprehensive details at this stage. However, it is confirmed that the HK 421 operates on an indirect gas pressure system with a rotating bolt mechanism. The machine gun will be available in various barrel lengths to match different operational requirements. The HK 421 also offers multiple options for shoulder stocks, including the one used in the HK 416 or a telescopic variant. The weapon’s weight is slightly above 8kg, making it 2 to 3kg lighter than the infantry version of the MG5, another Heckler & Koch product.
The HK 421 is a belt-fed machine gun featuring a 3-position gas block for normal operations, sustained fire, and suppressed fire modes. The weapon can be set to ‘safe’ in any loaded state. As previously mentioned, it has been seen with different types of buttstocks, including a collapsible MP7 stock. The handguard module can be detached to expose a Picatinny rail for accessories. The HK 421 is offered in 13″ (8.3 kg) and 16.5″ (8.5 kg) barrel options. Heckler & Koch has also showcased a Sniper Grey version alongside the FDE (Flat Dark Earth) version.
The HK 421 is an evolution of the MG5, which was developed as a modern successor to the German military’s MG3. The MG5 is known for its modular design and numerous technical and ergonomic innovations. The HK 421 appears to build on these features while introducing its own set of advancements.