H&K G36: Germany Adopts the 5.56mm Cartridge

When the G11 program was cancelled and German reunified, the West German military was still using the 7.62mm G3 rifle, while the East German forces had AK-74 variants. Neither of these were suitable for a new unified German NATO-member Bundeswehr – a rifle in 5.56mm NATO was needed. Heckler & Koch had been working on just such a weapon, designated internally as the HK50.

The rifle is fundamentally an AR-18 derivative, with a multi-lug rotating bolt and a short stroke gas system of the G43 and SVT type. It is made with extensive use of polymer parts, and it extremely easy to strip. It is fitted for an integral optical sight, on the Bundeswehr model a combination laser, fiber-optic red dot, and magnified scope. The weapon was adopted as the G36 by the German military, and was also adopted by Spain to replace the CETME-L. A multitude of smaller police and security agencies have also adopted it, including the US Capitol Police.

Thanks to H&K USA for generously granting me access to bring there to you!