Der Spiegel published a report this past weekend outlining some of the problems the German army is seeing in its issue Heckler and Kock HK-36 rifle and its performance in the real world.

The problem?  It’s made with a lot of plastic parts, apparently, and the plastic doesn’t like it when the sun shines on it.

It really doesn’t like it when it gets hot from sustained firing.

How bad is it?  The fancy HK rifle is shooting 60-72 minutes of angle when it gets warm, which is similar to the pattern on an improved cylinder barrel on a Mossberg shotgun.  Nice job, HK.  Frankly, it mirrors some of the issues I saw from one of these in a carbine class taught by John Farnam back in ’05.

The Germans are complaining this shotgun-like accuracy isn’t inspiring their troops.  Well, ya think?

Oh well, it’s an HK product.

We’re sure the arrogant bastards at H&K will fix the problem.

This was an brochure distributed (briefly) by the rocket surgeons at H&K at a trade show or NRA convention some years ago.
Note how the rounds are loaded into the magazine.
“No compromise”? Yeah.  We suspect they have problems with reliability as well when loading mags like this.


Heaven knows they aren’t busy providing customer service and/or support to American gun owners.  HK’s reputation of poor treatment American civilian consumers is so pervasive and entrenched that there’s an unofficial motto for HK’s view of American civilians:   HK:  Because you suck.  And we hate you.

I used to have five HK products, ranging from an HK-91 to an SP-89 to a USP.  I asked them for assistance with an issue at the NRA convention and they literally looked down their nose at me.

My current inventory of HK products?  Nada.  And I didn’t lose ’em in a boating accident.

Here’s the link to the article.

We’ve posted the English translation for our non-German speakers.

The Bundeswehr has obviously serious problems with their rifles and pistols, which are in use in Afghanistan. A confidential report of the relevant Defense Department confirms that the G36 standard rifle loses when heated by sunlight and fire precision. Also another internal document that exists in the mirror speaks of a “significant deficiency”.

After the submission of 90 rounds from a hundred feet away the gun pointed on a spreading circle of 50 to 60 centimeters. “Here is to ask the question how far a soldier in a firefight with hot-shot weapon can ever meet.” The final report has identified the parts of the gun made of plastic as reason lose already at 23 degrees Celsius to stiffness. The gun in the Sun lying down, or will she heated from one side, the meeting place of the rifle will shift as a result.

The “first-hit probability” sinke, get the ammunition requirements, the soldier will lose “confidence in his shooting ability”, so the final report of the weapon inspectors from July of last year. The manufacturer of Heckler & Koch the mirror explained the observed phenomena was “understandable for the layman” normal physical processes.


One thought on “German Army HK-36s exhibit “significant shortcomings” in real world conditions”
  1. A few comments on the given report:

    1. “Der Spiegel” is known to have a hit-or-miss reputation, so not everything they say is to be assumed fully credible.

    2. The G36 and its various permutations have been in production and active service since 1996, including service with the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. It has a reputation as a reliable, well-built weapon, and news of these serious deficiencies is definitely a surprise. Unless it is shown there has been a systematic cover-up of its real-world performance for upwards of 17 years, it’s more likely a defective batch of rifles or components. Hell, numerous US law enforcement tactical teams, including the US Capitol Police, have been using G36s for years with no reports of such catastrophic failures.

    3. I’ll concede HKs product and customer support does suck, and their American consumer PR could use a SERIOUS improvement. That said, there’s a reason weapons like the G3, MP5, and USP are as popular around the world as they are – their price may be a little more than what most people would pay given what it gets you, especialy relative to weapons like Sigs and Glocks, but they’re still solid, reliable weapons. Top this off with their overt support of third-party bastardization of their SL8 sporting rifles to create the closest G36 clones the American consumer can get, and H&Ks about broke even in my book.

    Also, for the record, my preferred sidearm is a Para-Ordnance. Just sayin’ 😛

    Hope these allegations prove to be exaggerated, or at least a production anomaly!

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