Ukraine gets 5,000 German MK 556 assault rifles, 305 delivered

The German administration has pledged to provide Ukraine with a sizable amount of 5,000 MK 556 assault rifles, to bolster their defense capabilities. To date, 305 such units have been successfully sent over, leaving a balance of 4,695 rifles yet to be dispatched. The financing for these arms is sourced from the industrial stocks of the German security capacity-building funds. 

Ukraine gets 5,000 German MK 556 assault rifles, 305 delivered
Photo credit: Gunsweek

The German Ministry of Defense shared a statement confirming the successful delivery of the initial batch of 305 assault rifles. Parallelly, a report by Hard Punkt affirms that this generous gesture of providing 5,000 assault rifles is an integral part of the German military’s aid to Ukraine. 

Sources indicate that the batch of MK 556 assault rifles that have reached Ukraine is armed with a high-precision red dot MPS sight manufactured by Steiner Optik GmbH. The optic kit is affixed onto the USL [Ultra Slim Line]. However, there is no clarity at this point if the same optic kit setup will be provided for the remaining rifles still to be dispatched.

About MK 556

Straight from Germany, the Haenel MK 556 is a formidable 5.56×45mm NATO assault rifle, designed by the eminent firearms manufacturer, C.G. Haenel. This gas-operated, selective-fire rifle, operational since September 2020, is an automatic upgrade of the CR 223. The latter is a veteran weapon of choice for numerous law enforcement agencies since 2017. 

The layout of the MK 556 mirrors the user-friendly ergonomics of the AR-15 platform. However, it trades the AR-15’s original piston-operated gas impingement system for a robust, user-friendly short-stroke gas piston operating system. 

Ukraine gets 5,000 German MK 556 assault rifles, 305 delivered
Photo credit: Defense Express

This intelligently designed rifle also features a user-adjustable gas system. You can modify the settings, allowing it to perform optimally under different conditions, like varying propellant and projectile types or different environments. Safety-wise, there’s a firing pin safety system in place to mitigate the risks of slam-firing. As well as a cold hammer-forged barrel with a 178 mm [7.0 in] twist rate, accompanied by a standard A2-style flash suppressor. 

Similarities to the CAR 816

Interestingly, the Haenel MK 556 shares several architectural elements with the CAR 816 assault rifle. The latter is manufactured under license by C.G. Haenel, under the banner of its parent company Caracal International, part of the EDGE Group. Even the civilian-friendly Haenel CR 223 semi-automatic rifle shares these similarities. These rifles have been designed for use by civil, police, and law enforcement users. 

All these rifles showcase an impressively modular design for hassle-free part replacement. They are compliant with furniture and other add-ons that abide by the AR-15/M16/M4 standard. The MK556, along with the CR 223, have undergone rigorous “over-the-beach” testing. This means that these rifles can safely fire almost immediately, even after crossing through water.


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