All H&K Guns Explained – When Innovation Drives Excellence
Also known as Heckler & Koch GmbH, H&K is a German defense company specializing in all kinds of weapons, from pistols and rifles to grenade launchers and submachine guns. It’s also famous for its innovative ideas and a few appealing prototypes.
The German company has subsidiaries all over the world, including the USA and the UK. The group consists of more companies and has a simple motto, no compromise. In other words, one can only expect quality from a superior German engineering manufacturer.
Some HK models are used for military and paramilitary purposes. Some others are used by local law enforcement officers, not to mention a broad category of guns for civilians. Established in 1949, it’s relatively new compared to other giants in the industry, but one of the leaders in terms of quality.
Some of the most popular innovations coming from H&K include the use of polymer in firearms, a concept that is widely used by numerous brands now. It’s also worth noting the integral rail for flashlights, polygonal rifling for extreme accuracy, and a rifle shooting caseless ammunition.
With these thoughts in mind, here is a detailed HK weapons list with all the firearms ever produced.
Like other firearm manufacturers, H&K has had a primary focus on pistols. With quite a few models released over the years, it’s quickly become one of the leading names on the market. Here is a full list of all HK pistol models.
- HK4 is considered a pocket pistol due to its compact size. It was introduced in 1967 and felt like a replica of Mauser HSc. 12,000 units were given to the government in the .32 ACP caliber. Marked as P11, the government pistol was considered a variant of the original one.
- VP70 is also known as Volkspistole, which means people’s pistol. Introduced in 1970, it came with a series of features that brought innovation back then. It had a polymer frame and a double feed magazine, which is still unusual these days.
- P9 is a semi-automatic unit made in a few different time frames. It came in .45 ACP, 9x19mm Parabellum, and 7.65x21mm Parabellum calibers. Its top variants include P9S and P9K, with slight differences in the actual operation.
- P7 was made between 1979 and 2008. It came in a wide variety of cartridges. On the same note, it has more variants than other pistols on the H&K gun list, with PSP, P7M8, P7M13, and P7M10 being some of the most popular ones.
- USP follows the same rules. The semi-automatic pistol has been in production since 1993 and came as an upgraded version for the P7 series. Its variants are extremely varied and include Compact, Tactical, Expert, and Elite, among others.
- Mark 23 is one of the most aggressive HK gun models. It’s larger than other pistols and comes in the .45 ACP caliber. It has been in production since 1996 and can be paired with numerous accessories, including suppressors and laser aiming modules.
- P2000 has been made since 2002. It's one of the most comfortable and reliable H&K pistols and was particularly designed for law enforcement, police, and military forces. It has a different variant, too, the P2000SK, which is more compact.
- P30 has been made since 2006. Featuring a polymer frame, it’s chambered for .40 S&W and 9x19mm Parabellum cartridges. It has more variants, such as P30L, P30SK or P30S. It’s currently used by police forces in more countries.
- HK45 was designed as a requirement for police forces in the USA. Made since 2006, it failed to become popular because the program to rearm forces was simply too expensive. It’s still used by some official agencies in the USA, Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore.
- VP9 is a striker fired pistol available in the 9x19mm Parabellum caliber, as well as .40 S&W. There are more HK VP9 models out there, with VP40 being the most popular variant. The pistol was introduced in 2014, and it's still in production.
HK gun models seem to go in the pistol and rifle direction, but the German manufacturer has also touched the submachine gun market with a few reliable models. Some of them became world renowned for their capabilities and reliability.
- MP5 has been made since 1966 and relies on the 9x19mm Parabellum caliber. The submachine gun is among the most popular ones, being used by dozens of different countries. There are more than 100 clones and variants, many of them unofficial.
- MP7 is a personal defense submachine gun using the HK 4.6x30mm cartridge. It was built with NATO requirements in mind and has the primary goal of penetrating the modern Kevlar body armor. In production since 2001, it has a few different variants.
- UMP stands for Universale Maschinenpistole and represents a lighter version of the MP5. Made since 2000, it has a few variants, and it's in use by military forces in multiple countries, including the USA, Australia, Canada, Brazil, or Romania.
Sniper rifles have never really been a top priority for firearm manufacturers, and H&K makes no exception either. From all H&K guns out there, the German manufacturer has only introduced one sniper rifle in its collection.
PSG1 is a semi-automatic sniper rifle made since 1972. It was used in a series of tactical wars, including the War in Iraq and the Yemen Civil War. Apart from H&K, it's also made by SEDENA, but under an official license.
The sniper rifle uses 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition and has a few different variants, PSG1A1, MSG90, and MSG90A1.
H&K didn’t pay much attention to the shotgun market, mainly because the brand was busy meeting requirements from different governments with other types of firearms. However, its two shotguns gained quite some notoriety for their power.
- FP6 is a pump action shotgun produced since 1998. It’s not a proprietary firearm for H&K. In fact, it’s produced by Fabbrica Bresciana Armi S.p.A. in Italy, but sold by H&K. It’s chambered for 12 gauge and uses 2¾ and 3 inch shells.
- CAWS stands for Close Assault Weapon System and was designed as a prototype. It’s automatic and produced by H&K along with Winchester/Olin in the 1980s. The bullpup shotgun also has two different firing modes.
With just four different units, H&K hasn’t drawn too much attention on this specific market segment. However, each of its machine guns took innovation to another level with their unique specifications.
- 21 relies on the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, but it’s available in multiple other varieties. On the same note, it has been in production since 1961, so it’s obviously seen plenty of variants. The gun is a primary choice for armed forces in a few countries.
- MG4 is in production since 2005. It’s a belt fed machine gun, relatively light for its size. It uses the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge and offers reliability and comfort. Practically, it works wonders in all kinds of conditions.
- MG5 is similar in design, but uses the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber. It's in production since 2015 and has seen a few variants already, such as MG5 A2, MG5 A1, and MG5 S. It's a top choice in countries like Albania, Chile, Germany, Indonesia, or Malaysia, among others.
- M27 IAR stands for Infantry Automatic Rifle. The 5.56mm select fire automatic rifle is used by military forces in more countries and has been made since 2010, with more than 14,000 units so far. In some military forces, it replaced the M16A4 and M4 guns.
The M27 is categorized as both a machine gun and a rifle, as it carries characteristics from both categories.
Apart from pistols, H&K has focused on rifles as well, and it excelled at this chapter. Here is the HK rifles list, with particularities for each model in the current or past production.
- A2 is practically a variant in the SA80 series, which basically comprises small arms for the 1980s. The rifle represented a serious upgrade from Heckler & Koch and was in service for nearly two decades, until 2020.
- HK416 is a gas operated rifle working with the 5.56x45mm cartridge. It’s based on the AR-15 type of firearms, but it does have a few particularities too, such as the gas piston mechanism developed by the German producer.
- HK417 is a battle rifle based on HK416. It's bigger and more powerful too, and it works with the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge. It was designed for more intense operations where HK416 wasn’t effective enough.
- G3 uses the same caliber and was initially produced in 1958. It’s still being made today and uses a modular design, hence its impressive popularity. It’s been exported to numerous countries and it’s used by military forces from all over the world.
- HK33 was specifically produced for export. It's chambered for the 5.56mm cartridge. More variants have been produced, and the more recent ones are still being made today. Some of them rely on the .223 Remington cartridge.
- G36 is an assault rifle designed as a lighter alternative for G3. It’s gas operated, yet its success has been hampered by some discoveries in terms of accuracy, especially when the rifle goes hot. For this reason, it was abandoned by some military forces.
- G41 was only produced between 1984 and 1996. It was a limited edition assault rifle using the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. Variants are quite varied and include G41, G41A1, G41A2, and G41A3, among others.
- G11 was designed over a few decades. However, it never made it to mass production. It’s still a prototype using a few different types of cartridges, such as 4.73x33mm or 4.73x25mm, among a few others.
From many points of view, Heckler & Koch can be associated with armed conflicts, as many of its firearms have been used in wars all over the world. The German manufacturer has a range of grenade launchers in its portfolio too.
- 69 is suitable for more than just grenades, as it also works with smoke grenades and even illumination flares. It can shoot up to 350 meters away and has a few variants, such as MZP-1 or GL-40-90.
- AG-C/EGLM uses the 40x46mm cartridge and can be attached to various assault rifles for even more convenience. It's used by military forces in the USA, Mexico, Portugal, or Norway, among others.
- AG36 follows a similar profile. It was initially produced to go on the G36 rifle. Using 40x46mm grenades, the launcher is a single-shot unit with exquisite versatility. Apart from attachments, it also works as a standalone weapon.
- GMG is an automatic grenade launcher with incredible productivity. It works with 40x53mm grenades, and believe it or not, it can take around 340 rounds per minute. It's also known as GraMaWa.
While many of the weapons developed by Heckler & Koch can be used by civilians as well, the truth is most of them were designed for official uses only. However, the German brand has also released some rifles for civilian uses only.
- 270, mainly used for sporting purposes.
- 300, made as a deluxe variant of 270.
- 630, usable with two different calibers.
- 770, designed with style and sporting purposes in mind.
- 940, a sporting carbine with excellent performance.
- SLB 2000, a semi-automatic sporting rifle introduced in 2000.
- MR556, known for the fast followup shots.
- MR308, the civilian version of the HK417.
- 41, with more variants and designed as a reservist rifle.
- 43, based on HK33.
- SL6, a shorter version of 630.
- SL7, mainly marketed as a hunting rifle.
- SL8, the civilian version of G36.
- SR9, aimed at target shooters and hunters.
- 4.6x30mm is a cartridge developed by HK in 1999. Its role is to reduce the recoil and weight.
- EFL is a flare device, quite difficult to find these days due to limited production.
- P2A1 is a single shot flare device, mainly recommended for illumination and signaling.
- Saluting Gun M635 is a ceremonial saluting gun used in different cultures or for particular events.
- P11 is an underwater pistol with an unusual shape, similar to a pepperbox firearm.
- P46 is a prototype pistol that has never made it to the production line.
- SMG I and SMG II were two submachine guns, also stopped at the prototype stage.
- MP5 PIP is a variant of the classic submachine gun, but stopped as a prototype.
- MP2000 was an attempt to boost the MP5 series, also a prototype.
- 32 was designed in collaboration with a Spanish company, but left as a prototype.
- 36 was an experimental rifle using the 4.6x36mm caliber.
- G11 was an innovative assault rifle with an unusual shape, but it was abandoned early.
- WSG2000 was a prototype rifle, a mix between snipers and bullpups, made in 1990.
- HK123 was another technical innovation, but the rifle has also been abandoned.
It’s worth noting that over its history, Heckler & Koch has also operated as a contractor and contributed to a few different designs.
- XM29 OICW relates to prototype assault rifles, able to shoot 20mm HE air bursting bullets.
- XM8 is an assault rifle produced since 2003, used in a few different countries.
- XM25 CDTE is an airburst grenade launcher that allows programming ammunition.
Bottom line, despite being established just after World War II ended, Heckler & Koch has gained a quick reputation through its innovative projects and reliability, many of its guns being in constant use all over the world, especially in military and police forces.
All H&K guns out there have had their fair share of popularity, with some of them still dominating certain segments of the industry today.