Germany adopts new HK 437 rifle for Special force operations

Germany adopts new HK 437 rifle for Special force operations

The Bundeswehr (Germany army) has awarded Heckler & Koch, a small arms manufacturer, with the production and delivery of the special weapon called “silent special weapon for special forces.” The weapon, based on the HK437 and chambered in .300 Blackout (7.62 x 35 mm), will be introduced into the Bundeswehr under the designation G39. According to the German media outlet Hardpunkt, the contract was awarded in mid-February 2024.

The acquisition project was launched in the fall of 2022 and aimed to replace the silent variant of the MP5 – used among others by special forces and long-distance reconnaissance troops – with a more modern and efficient weapon. The tender called for a weapon with accessories and ammunition (softcore, supersonic, and subsonic) for engaging unarmored and protected targets up to 200 meters. It required a semi-automatic capable of operating “over the beach,” without a silencer or signature reduction, equipped with a handguard, mechanical sights, an adjustable-length stock, and an empty magazine inserted, not to exceed a total weight of 3,300 g.

The HK 437, in .300 Blackout caliber, enables the German special forces to respond to increasing threats. The .300 Blackout caliber offers better stopping power than the 9mm, which is the caliber of previously used weapons. The ammunition is particularly suited for use with silencers, thus making the operators’ progress particularly discreet.

For feeding, the HK437 uses a magazine mechanism, with a standard capacity of 30 rounds, providing a good rate of fire before needing to reload. Available firing modes include single fire or single fire/sustained fire, allowing the user to quickly adapt to different combat situations. The trigger pull ranges between 25 and 35 N, offering a balance between safety and responsiveness.

The rate of fire can reach 850 rounds per minute, an impressive feature that, combined with the magazine capacity, makes the HK437 particularly effective in close or prolonged engagements. The barrel profile is designed with a groove/land profile featuring 4 grooves and an 8-inch (203 mm) right-hand twist, optimized for accuracy and projectile stability over long distances.

The HK437 features advanced ergonomics, with a safety/fire selector lever that moves 45° for quick switching between firing modes. The weapon’s width varies from 73 mm to 106 mm, depending on the configuration, and it has an adjustable stock with 84 mm of travel and 7 locking positions, as well as an adjustable cheek rest with 21 mm of travel and 4 locking positions, allowing the user to customize the weapon for optimal comfort and shooting precision.

The height of the weapon with a 30-round magazine is 242 mm, and 210 mm without the magazine, indicating a compact and manageable design. The sight radius on the receiver is 332 mm, and the sight rail length on the receiver is 375 mm, providing ample space for mounting various optical accessories. The barrel bore axis position at 43 mm above the mounting plane ensures a low sight line, reducing parallax and improving accuracy. The empty 30-round magazine weighs 158 g, highlighting the design effort to minimize the overall weight of the weapon and facilitate user mobility.

In the G39 variant, the HK437 features a 9-inch (229 mm) barrel and is presented by Heckler & Koch at the Enforce Tac trade show equipped with an A-TEC silencer. The companies from Oberndorf and the Norwegian signature reduction specialist A-TEC had already formed a partnership in 2022 for the development and distribution of their respective product portfolios. Signature reducers, commonly called silencers, are used to mitigate both the noise of the shot and the muzzle flash when using the weapon. This aims to reduce the risk of hearing damage to users, facilitate communication in combat, and make the shooter’s detection by the enemy more difficult.

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