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Type GmbH, Private Industry Defense Founded 1949 Headquarters Oberndorf am Neckar, Germany Key people Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch, Alex Seidel, founders Products Firearms, weapons Employees 600 (2011) Website (USA)

Heckler & Koch GmbH (HK) (German pronunciation: [ˈhɛklɐʔʊntˈkɔx][1]) is a Germandefense manufacturingcompany that produces various small arms. Some of their products include the MP5submachine gun, G3automatic rifle, the G36assault rifle, the HK 416, the MP7 personal defense weapon, theUSP series ofhandguns, and the high-precision PSG1sniper rifle. All firearms made by HK are named by a prefix and the official designation, with suffixes used for variants.

HK has a history of innovation in firearms, such as the use ofpolymers in weapon designs and the use of an integral rail for flashlights on handguns. HK also developed modern polygonal rifling, noted for its high accuracy, increased muzzle velocity and barrel life. Not all of its technologically ambitious designs have translated into commercially successful products (for instance, the advanced but now abandoned G11 assault rifle, which fired caseless high-velocity ammunition). HK produces a whole range of small arms, from pistols to grenade launchers and machine guns. In its extensive product range, HK has used most of the operating systems for small arms:blowback operation, short-recoil, roller-delayed blowback, gas-delayed blowback, and gas operation.


HK was founded by engineers Edmund Heckler, Theodor Koch, andAlex Seidel in 1949[2] from the remnants of the Mauser company; the company was registered in 1950.[2] Initially the company manufactured machine tools, sewing machine parts,[2] gauges and other precision parts, but this changed in 1956 when the company proposed the G3 automatic rifle for the Bundeswehr (German Federal Army).[2] Since then HK has designed and manufactured more than one hundred different types of firearms and devices for the world's military and law enforcement organizations. In 1991, in the wake of the cancellation of the G41 and G11 rifles, HK was bought by British Aerospace's Royal Ordnance division.[2] During that period of ownership they were contracted to carry out the modification programme to the SA80 series of rifles for the British Army, needed to address a number of reliability issues. Also, H&K developed the lightweight carbon fiber–reinforced G36 polymer assault rifle, the current (2008) service rifle of the Bundeswehr[2] and numerous other military and police forces. In 2002 the renamed BAE Systems resold HK to a group of private investors, who created the German group holding company (HK Beteiligungs-GmbH).[2]The company is located in Oberndorf in the stateof Baden-Württemberg, but also has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom,France and the United States. The company motto is "Keine Kompromisse!" (No Compromises!).[2] HK provides firearms for many military and paramilitary units, like the Special Air Service, U.S. Navy SEALs,Delta Force, FBI HRT, the German KSK and GSG 9 and many other counter-terrorist and hostage rescue teams.[3][4][5]

HK was contracted by the U.S. Army to produce the kinetic energysubsystem[6] (see: kinetic projectiles or kinetic energy penetrator) of the Objective Individual Combat Weapon, a planned replacement for the M16/M203 grenade launcher combination. The OICW was designed to fire 5.56 mm bullets and 25 mm grenades. The kinetic energy component was also developed separately as the XM8, though both the OICW and XM8 are now indefinitely suspended.

HK is also contracted to refurbish the SA80 range of weapons for theBritish Army, mainly because at the time the contract was put out to tender HK was part of BAE Systems.[7]

Recently, HK developed a modified version of the United States issued M4, called the HK416.[8] HK replaced the direct impingementsystem used by the Stoner design on the original M16 platform with a short-stroke piston operating system. At this date, there is no indication that the rifle will be adopted by the United States Armed Forces. However, the elite Delta Force and other special operationsunits have fielded the HK416 in combat,[9] and Oklahoma SenatorTom Coburn has called for a "free and open competition" to determine whether the army should buy the HK416 or continue to purchase more M4 carbines.[10] Incoming Secretary of the ArmyPete Geren agreed in July 2007 to hold a "dust chamber" test, pitting the M4 against HK's HK416 and XM8, as well as the rivalFabrique Nationale's SOF Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) design. Coburn had threatened to stop Geren’s Senate confirmation if he did not agree to the test.[11] The XM8 and SCAR had the fewest failures in the test, closely followed by the HK416, while the M4 had by far the most.[12] The Norwegian Army in 2007 became the first to field the HK416 to be its new standard issue rifle.[13]

HK sells its pistols in the United States to both the civilian and law enforcement markets. The company has locations in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Georgia. In 2004, HK was awarded a major handgun contract for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, worth a potential $26.2 million for up to 65,000 pistols.[14] This contract ranks as the single largest handgun procurement contract in US law enforcement history.[15] Many HK civilian rifles that were briefly sold in the United States now have a high value on the secondary market.

The UK headquarters of HK are based within the Easter Park Industrial Estate Nottingham.


HK has been accused of shipping small arms to conflict regions such as Bosnia[16] and Nepal,[17] and has licensed its weapons for production by governments with poor human rights records such asSudan, Thailand and Burma.[18] It has been argued that the company effectively evaded EU export restrictions when these licensees sold HK weapons to conflict zones including Indonesia,[19]Sri Lanka[20] and Sierra Leone.[21]

HK abbreviations

  • Format: Abbreviation = German Text ("English Text")

    • A = Ausführung ("version")[22]
    • G = Gewehr ("rifle")[23]
    • K = Either Kurz ("short") for pistols and submachine guns orKarabiner ("Carbine") for rifles and assault rifles.[24]
    • AG = Either stands for Anbau-Gerät ("attached device") orAnbaugranatwerfer ("attached grenade launcher")
    • GMG = Granatmaschinengewehr ("grenade machine gun")[25]
    • GMW = Granatmaschinenwerfer (automatic grenade launcher)[26]
    • MG = Maschinengewehr ("machine gun") [25]
    • MP = Maschinenpistole ("submachine gun" or "machine pistol")[27]
    • PSG = Präzisionsschützengewehr ("precision sharp shooter rifle")[28]
    • PSP = Polizei-Selbstlade-Pistole ("police self-loading pistol")[29]
    • SD = Schalldämpfer ("sound dampener", "suppressor");[30] In the case of the MP5 having an integral suppressor, in the case of the USP, an extended threaded barrel for attaching a suppressor.
    • SG = Scharfschützengewehr ("sharpshooters rifle") [31]
    • SL = Selbstlader ("Autoloader") [32]
    • UMP = Universale Maschinenpistole ("universal machine pistol")[33]
    • UCP = Universal Combat Pistol
    • USC = Universal Self-loading Carbine
    • USP = Universale Selbstladepistole ("universal self-loading pistol")[34]
    • ZF = Zielfernrohr ("telescopic sight")[35]

See alsoEdit

[1] Companies portal


External linksEdit