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For 70 years, based in Oberndorf am Neckar small arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch is the armed and Sicherheitskräften from Germany, NATO and NATO-associated countries aside. The German company as HK known and its products enjoyßs world a radicallyären reputation.

HK headquarters Oberndorf has the most modern infrastructure and machinery (Photo: HK)

The birth Heckler & Koch struck on 28 December 1949 was registered as a company in the commercial register. Company founders were Edmund Heckler (1906 - 1960), Theodor Koch (1905 - 1976) and Alex Seidel (1909 - 1989). A high engineering and weapons technology skills drew Heckler & Koch from its foundation, just as the proverbial Swabian inventor and entrepreneur spirit. All three founders began their career in the famous Mauser-Werke in Oberndorf. In the metalworking industry for her as her armory famous city Heckler & Koch to date is established.

Turbulent history

Heckler & Koch initially produced parts for sewing machines and bicycles, but received early permission of the French occupation authorities to hand weapons production. Customers were police, Federal and allied forces. With the establishment of the Bundeswehr and the rearmament of Germany from 1955 to HK then walked to a defense contractor. In 1959 the company acted as prime contractor for the assault rifle G3. The MP5 submachine gun produced from the mid-1960s, which known as the weapons with the family of G3, comes highly reliable supported roller shutter, turned out to another big success. To worldwide fame, the MP5 was the British SAS in the Iranian embassy (Princes Gate, London) by Operation Nimrod, the hostage rescue operation in May 1980th

The MP5 submachine gun is one of the world successes from Oberndorf - here a silenced version (Photo: Jan-P Weisswange.)

During the Cold War developed together with HK Hensoldt and Dynamit Nobel on behalf of the Bundeswehr the assault rifle G11 with caseless ammunition. When the order was revoked at the end of the Cold War, the company ran into financial difficulties. 1991 HK part of Royal Ordnance, a subsidiary of the British defense company BAE Systems. During this time some large orders fall: Starting in 1997, delivered to the German Army HK G36 assault rifle and the pistol P8. In addition, the company revised the originally developed by British Enfield standard weapon SA80 / L85.

The assault rifle G11. (Photo: Jan-P Weisswange)

2002 took over the private investors Andreas Heeschen and Keith Halsey Heckler & Koch. They organized the company new and established it as an international defense company headquartered in Oberndorf. The product portfolio has been diversified, internationalized the sales and invested in headquarters and production site Oberndorf. Infrastructure and machinery were modernized. 2007, a new, advanced logistics center was built. Since 2010, Heckler & Koch is also equipped a new training center.

HK today

For H & K AG Group today subsidiaries Heckler & Koch GmbH and the Heckler & Koch belong (both in Oberndorf) GmbH, the Heckler & Koch France SAS in Saint-Nom-La-Bretèche / France, the Nottingham Small Arms Factory Limited Nottingham / UK and the Heckler & Koch, Inc. (Columbus, Georgia / USA) and the Heckler & Koch Defense Inc. and the Small Arms Group Holding Inc. (both in Ashburn, Virginia / USA). The H & K AG Corporate Headquarters is located in Oberndorf am Neckar. Since 2018 leads Dr.-Ing. Jens Bodo Koch the company as managing director. Koch is not related to the company founder Theodor incidentally. The position of CFO Dr. Björn Krönert held.

blankTo the ever-evolving needs of the armed and security forces comply worldwide, maintains Heckler & Koch extensive capabilities in research and development. Both through its own projects involved as new and also on behalf of the German government and other NATO countries is HK as a leader in the development of improvement of existing weapons and weapons systems.

Heckler & Koch strict internal compliance and security rules form a pillar of the business model. Key components - produced exclusively in Oberndorf - even with licensing. The company and its quality assurance system are certified to EN ISO 9001 and comply with the requirements of the NATO AQAP quality standards for the 2110th

family thought

Even during the Cold War, it was one of the strengths of Oberdorfer armory to think in families. To the assault rifle G3 around an entire weapon family originated from the machine gun until gurtgeladenen assault rifle.

The extremely reliable short-stroke gas piston system of the G36 made not only from the Enfield SA80 a field-grade assault rifle, but was released together with the basis for the highly successful assault rifle family HK416 / 417th

The MG5 alias HK121 is currently a new standard MG of the Bundeswehr (Photo: Bundeswehr)

The machine guns MG4 and HK121 / MG5 stand out despite different manufacturing processes by similar operation and logistical equality. In the Bundeswehr currently the MG5 replacing the MG3 as a standard MG, the MG4 and MG5 stocks will be further harmonized.

In the field of handguns a whole range of products on the basis of a firing pin lock pistol Striker Fired Pistol 9mm x 19 (SFP9) recently emerged. The SFP 9 serves meanwhile in numerous German state police departments - about Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony and Saxony - as a service pistol.

The SFP9 Optically ready with silencer and jet Funnel - concept for a special forces pistol (Photo: Weisswange Jan-P.)

HK416 / 417 weapon family

The development of the HK 4516/417 family started this millennium beginning. It connects the world's widely used and field-proven operating concept from Eugene Stoner's AR assault rifle architecture with the legendary reliable short-stroke gas piston system of the G36. Series production of the HK416 and the "big brother" HK417 in caliber 7.62 mm x 51 ran in February of 2005. Quickly followed by the first procurements. Among the first customers the US SOCOM belonged. This was followed mainly special forces, among others from France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, Czech Republic and Germany recently.

The first major order was received already of 2007. The Norwegian Armed Forces procured the HK416 as a new standard assault rifle. Another great success overseas was 2010. The US Marine Corps introduced a version of the HK416 with 5.16-inch drive as Infantry Automatic Rifle M27 one to replace a portion of the light MG M249 and make the Infantry Automatic Rifleman flexible. In September 2016, the French defense procurement agency ordered Direction Générale d'Armament (DGA), the assault rifle system HK416 as new French standard hand weapon "arms Individual Future (AIF)".

Also in Germany the weapons family walk could hold. The HK417 is used in the armed forces as G27, the HK416A5 in various security agencies as G38. Among the biggest users of the police Hesse counts. It leads the G38 with 14.5 "run and slim-line Hand protection coverage as a modern middle-distance weapon (MDW) a. The agent Ranged Weapon Set 1 has an Aimpoint Comp M4 Reflex sight. Up to 1,614 weapons to be delivered in this release. The Mitel Ranged Weapon Set 2 will have a Steiner M5Xi riflescope special model Hesse. From this Konfigurtaion are up to 391 weapons come. Other achievements of the 416/417 family with military customers have taken place in Germany and the USA. So the updated version HK416A7 comes as assault rifle special forces G95K in the German special forces of the army and navy. The US Army announced in July 2019 to acquire several thousand semiautomatic G28E as M110A1 Semi Automatic designated marksman rifle.

G95K alias HK416A7 with mounting grenade launcher HK269 (Photo: Weisswange Jan-P.)

The HK416 is currently reported to be in conjunction with the newly developed modular assault rifle system HK433 in the race for the new system assault rifle Bundeswehr.


Particularly with regard to national and Alliance defense provide development, production and sustainable technological support by hand weapon systems key technologies. On this line of business Heckler & Koch is one of the European manufacturers with worldwide success.

Author: Dr. phil. Jan-Phillipp Weisswange works as a public relations officer in the defense industry. This article expresses his personal opinion.