PARIS, (BM) – HK416F assault rifle became the main weapon of the French army. Shortly before Christmas, the French army announced its intention to order an additional 12,000 5.56 mm HK416F assault rifles, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, according to a statement on Twitter. The information is from the French Army procurement agency [DGA] at the Ministry of Defense of the French Republic.
It has been known for some time that Heckler and Koch assault rifles will become the French army’s primary small arms, replacing the current 5.56 mm FAMAS. FAMAS 5.56 mm are assault rifles that have been in service in the French military for nearly 48 years.
The HK416F’s order is not the first for the French. According to preliminary information, the French military will acquire 117,000 assault rifles of this model. Heckler & Koch already delivered nearly 45,000 HK416F assault rifles to the French army. This information is coming from the French Army procurement agency [DGA] as well. The French decided to replace their FAMAS four years ago – in October 2016.
The HK416 is an assault rifle from the weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch. The variant HK416A7 with 14.5″ pipe length was introduced in the Bundeswehr under the designation G95K for the special forces. The German customs use the variant HK416A5 11″ pipe under the model name G38. The Hessen police and various special forces are using the rifle and are selected by the Norwegian and French armed forces as an orderly weapon. HK416 entered our ranking of the best assault rifles in the world, ranking fifth.
The HK 416 is a gas pressure charger with a short stroke and rotating headlock. With this system, the impulse required to unlock the rotary headlock is taken from the gas extraction hole on the barrel and transmitted to the lock by a pulse forcer. This operation principle means that there is hardly any contamination of the mechanics from powder gases and combustion residues, which significantly improves the functional reliability compared to systems with direct action on the bolt carrier such as the M16.
This piston system slightly increases the recoil, and the barrel cannot swing entirely freely. The gun has a cold-hammered barrel. The fore-end is free-swinging and equipped with four Picatinny rails arranged all-around to accommodate accessories.
The shoulder rest can be pushed in by about 10 centimeters so that the weapon can be adapted to the shooter’s arm length or is less of a hindrance in confined spaces. The magazine well is widened at the bottom to make it easier to insert a magazine.
There is a dust protection flap on the right side, which is tensioning by leg springs and opens when the shutter moves backward. The flap can then be closed again manually. Behind the ejection window is a sleeve deflector that prevents the ejected cartridge cases from hitting the face of left-handed shooters.
A closing aid can be operated manually by the shooter (forward assist). This is pushed forward if the lock does not move forward by itself. The magazine release button is on the right-hand side in front of the trigger. So that it is not accidentally pressed, it is surrounded by rounded ribs. When the button is pressed, the magazine falls out of the magazine slot by itself.
The two-handed cocking slide is located on the weapon housing, and it does not move when shooting. The weapon has a sliding catch on the left side. For the gun, double-sided controls, a pressure point trigger, and other barrel lengths are available on request. The soldier can attach an AG36 grenade launcher under the barrel. Heckler & Koch offers an additional economic incentive to procure this weapon with the so-called “Minimum Upgrade Package.” Existing components of other assault rifles are integrating here.
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