Heckler & Koch G3

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G3
H&KG3A3.png
G3A3 Battle Rifle
TypeBattle rifle
Place of originGermany West Germany
Service history
In service1959–present
Used bySee Users
WarsPortuguese Colonial War
Rhodesian Bush War
Six Day War
Carnation Revolution
Iran–Iraq War
Salvadoran Civil War
Northern Ireland Troubles
Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Sierra Leone Civil War
Ethiopian Civil War
War in North-West Pakistan
Operation Enduring Freedom/ISAF - Afghanistan
Second Gulf War
Mexican Drug War
Production history
DesignerMauser, CETME, Heckler & Koch
Designed1950s
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch, Rheinmetall, SEDENA, Defense Industries Organization, FBP, Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfabrik, Husqvarna Vapenfabrik, Hellenic Arms Industry, Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk, MAS, Military Industry Corporation, MKEK, Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Royal Ordnance
Produced1964–present
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications
Weight4.1 kg (9.04 lb) (G3A3)
4.7 kg (10 lb) (G3A4)
5.54 kg (12.2 lb) with optic (G3SG/1)
4.1 kg (9.0 lb) (G3K)
Length1,025 mm (40.4 in) (G3A3)
1,025 mm (40.4 in) stock extended / 840 mm (33.1 in) stock collapsed (G3A4)
1,025 mm (40.4 in) (G3SG/1)
895 mm (35.2 in) stock extended / 711 mm (28.0 in) stock collapsed (G3K)
Barrel length450 mm (17.7 in)
315 mm (12.4 in) (G3K)

Cartridge7.62x51mm NATO
ActionRoller-delayed blowback
Rate of fire500-600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity800 m/s (2,625 ft/s)
Effective range500 metres (550 yd), 100–400 m sight adjustments
Feed system20-round detachable box and 50-round drum magazine
SightsRear: rotary diopter; front: hooded post
 
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G3
H&KG3A3.png
G3A3 Battle Rifle
TypeBattle rifle
Place of originGermany West Germany
Service history
In service1959–present
Used bySee Users
WarsPortuguese Colonial War
Rhodesian Bush War
Six Day War
Carnation Revolution
Iran–Iraq War
Salvadoran Civil War
Northern Ireland Troubles
Kurdish–Turkish conflict
Sierra Leone Civil War
Ethiopian Civil War
War in North-West Pakistan
Operation Enduring Freedom/ISAF - Afghanistan
Second Gulf War
Mexican Drug War
Production history
DesignerMauser, CETME, Heckler & Koch
Designed1950s
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch, Rheinmetall, SEDENA, Defense Industries Organization, FBP, Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfabrik, Husqvarna Vapenfabrik, Hellenic Arms Industry, Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk, MAS, Military Industry Corporation, MKEK, Pakistan Ordnance Factories, Royal Ordnance
Produced1964–present
VariantsSee Variants
Specifications
Weight4.1 kg (9.04 lb) (G3A3)
4.7 kg (10 lb) (G3A4)
5.54 kg (12.2 lb) with optic (G3SG/1)
4.1 kg (9.0 lb) (G3K)
Length1,025 mm (40.4 in) (G3A3)
1,025 mm (40.4 in) stock extended / 840 mm (33.1 in) stock collapsed (G3A4)
1,025 mm (40.4 in) (G3SG/1)
895 mm (35.2 in) stock extended / 711 mm (28.0 in) stock collapsed (G3K)
Barrel length450 mm (17.7 in)
315 mm (12.4 in) (G3K)

Cartridge7.62x51mm NATO
ActionRoller-delayed blowback
Rate of fire500-600 rounds/min
Muzzle velocity800 m/s (2,625 ft/s)
Effective range500 metres (550 yd), 100–400 m sight adjustments
Feed system20-round detachable box and 50-round drum magazine
SightsRear: rotary diopter; front: hooded post

The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K) in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME (Centro de Estudios Técnicos de Materiales Especiales).[1]

Contents

History

The early Mauser Gerät 06H prototype assault rifle.

The origin of this rifle can be traced back to the final years of World War II when Mauser engineers at the Light Weapon Development Group (Abteilung 37) at Oberndorf am Neckar designed the MKb Gerät 06 (Maschinenkarabiner Gerät 06 or "machine carbine device 06") prototype assault rifle chambered for the intermediate 7.92x33mm Kurz cartridge, first with the Gerät 06 model using a roller-locked short recoil mechanism originally adapted from the MG 42 machine gun but with a fixed barrel and conventional gas-actuated piston rod.[2] It was realized that with careful attention to the mechanical ratios, the gas system could be omitted.[3] The resultant weapon, the Gerät 06H (the "H" suffix is an abbreviation for halbverriegelt or "half-locked") was assigned the designation StG 45(M) (Sturmgewehr 45(M) or assault rifle) but was not produced in any significant numbers and the war ended before the first production rifles were completed.[4]

The CEAM Modèle 1950, a French effort to put the StG 45(M) concept into mass production. Chambered in .30 Carbine

The German technicians involved in developing the StG 45(M) were taken to work in France at CEAM (Centre d'Etudes et d'Armement de Mulhouse). The StG 45(M) mechanism was modified by Ludwig Vorgrimler and Theodor Löffler at the Mulhouse facility between 1946 and 1949. Three versions were made, chambered in .30 Carbine, 7.92x33mm Kurz as well as the experimental 7.65x35mm French short cartridge developed by Cartoucherie de Valence in 1948. A 7.5x38mm cartridge using a partial aluminium bullet was abandoned in 1947. Löffler's design, designated the Carabine Mitrailleuse Modèle 1950, was retained for trials among 12 different prototypes designed by CEAM, MAC, and MAS. Engaged in the Indochina War and being the second NATO contributor, France canceled the adoption of these new weapons for financial reasons.

In 1950, Vorgrimler moved to Spain where he created the LV-50 rifle chambered for the Kurz cartridge and later, the proprietary 7.92x40mm CETME M53 round.[5] At this point, the rifle was renamed the Modelo 2. The Modelo 2 drew the attention of the West German Border Guards (Bundesgrenzschutz), who sought to re-equip the newly formed national defense forces. Not willing to accept a cartridge outside of the NATO specification, the Germans asked CETME to develop a 7.62x51mm version of the rifle. The resulting CETME Model A was chambered for the 7.62x51mm CETME cartridge which was identical in chamber dimensions but had a reduced-power load compared to the 7.62mm NATO round. Further development of the rifle with input from H&K produced the CETME Model B which received several modifications, including the ability to fire from a closed bolt in both semi-automatic and automatic firing modes, a new perforated sheet metal handguard (the folding bipod had been the foregrip in previous models), improved ergonomics and a slightly longer barrel with a 22 mm rifle grenade launcher guide. In 1958, this rifle was accepted into service with the Spanish Army as the Modelo 58, using the 7.62x51mm CETME round.

In 1956, the Bundesgrenzschutz canceled their planned procurement of the CETME rifles, adopting the Belgian-made FN FAL (G1) instead. However, the newly formed West German Army (Bundeswehr) now showed interest and soon purchased a number of CETME rifles (7.62x51mm NATO chambering) for further testing. The CETME, known as the Automatisches Gewehr G3 according to German nomenclature, competed successfully against the Swiss SIG SG 510 (G2) and the American AR-10 (G4) to replace the previously favored G1 rifle. In January 1959, the Bundeswehr officially adopted the CETME proposal. The West German government wanted the G3 rifle to be produced under license in Germany; purchase of the G1 had previously fallen through over FN's refusal to grant such a license. In the case of the G3, the Dutch firm Nederlandse Wapen en Munitiefabriek (NWM) held production and sales rights to the CETME design outside of Spain. To acquire production rights, the West German government offered NWM contracts to supply the Luftwaffe with 20 mm ammunition. Production of the G3 was then assigned to Rheinmetall and H&K. The latter company already had ties to CETME, and had worked to further optimize the CETME rifle for use with the full-power 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge (as opposed to the downloaded CETME variant). In 1969, Rheinmetall gave up production rights to the G3 in exchange for H&K's promise not to bid on MG 3 production. Later in 1977, the West German government ceded ownership of G3 production and sales rights exclusively to H&K.

Initial production G3 rifles differed substantially from more recent models; early rifles featured closed-type mechanical flip-up sights (with two apertures), a lightweight folding bipod, a stamped sheet steel handguard, a wooden buttstock (in fixed stock models) or a telescopic metal stock.[5] The weapon was modernized during its service life (among other minor modifications it received new sights, a different flash suppressor, and a synthetic handguard and shoulder stock), resulting in the most recent production models, the G3A3 (with a fixed polymer stock) and the G3A4 (telescoping metal stock). The rifle proved successful in the export market, being adopted by the armed forces of over 40 countries.[5] The G3 was and in some cases continues to be produced under license in: France (MAS), Greece (Hellenic Arms Industry), Iran (Defense Industries Organization), Luxembourg (Luxemburg Defense Technologi), Mexico, Myanmar, Norway (Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk), Pakistan (Pakistan Ordnance Factories), Portugal (FBP), Saudi Arabia, Sweden (FFV), Thailand, Turkey (MKEK) and the United Kingdom (Royal Ordnance).[5]

Design details

A schematic of the G3 roller-delayed blowback mechanism
The Heckler & Koch G3A4 (top) and G3A3 cutaway (bottom)
A Bundeswehr G3 fitted with a FERO-Z51 night vision optic
Disassembled G3A3 rifle. Note: modular design.

The G3A3 (A4) is a selective-fire automatic weapon that employs a roller-delayed blowback operating system. The two-piece bolt assembly consists of a breech (bolt head) and bolt carrier. The bolt is held in battery by two sliding cylindrical rollers that engage locking recesses in the barrel extension. The breech is opened when both rollers are compressed inward against camming surfaces driven by the rearward pressure of the expanding gases upon the bolt head. As the rollers move inward, recoil energy is transferred to the locking piece and bolt carrier which begin to withdraw while the bolt head slowly moves rearward in relation to the bolt carrier. As the bolt carrier clears the rollers, pressure in the bore drops to a safe level, the bolt head is caught by the bolt carrier and moves to the rear as one unit, continuing the operating cycle. The bolt also features an anti-bounce mechanism that prevents the bolt from bouncing off the barrel's breech surface. The spring-powered claw extractor is also contained inside the bolt while the lever ejector is located inside the trigger housing (actuated by the recoiling bolt).[5]

The rifle is hammer fired and has a trigger mechanism with a 3-position fire selector switch that is also the manual safety toggle that secures the weapon from accidentally discharging (fire selector in the “E” or “1” position – single fire mode ("Einzelfeuer"), “F” or “20” – automatic fire ("Feuerstoß"), “S” or “0” – weapon is safe ("Sicher"), trigger disabled mechanically). The weapon can be fitted with an optional 4-position safety/fire selector group illustrated with pictograms with an ambidextrous selector lever. The additional, fourth selector setting enables a 3-round burst mode of fire.[5]

The firearm was equipped with iron sights that consist of a rotary rear drum and hooded front post. The rear sight, mechanically adjustable for both windage and elevation, has an open notch used to fire up to 100 m and three apertures used for: 200, 300 and 400 m.[5] The receiver housing has recesses that work with HK clamp adapters used to mount day or night optics.

The rifled barrel (contains 4 right-hand grooves with a 305 mm twist rate) terminates with a slotted flash suppressor which can also be used to attach a bayonet or serve as an adapter for launching rifle grenades. From the G3A3 the barrel had polygonal rifling.[6] The barrel chamber is fluted, which assists in the initial extraction of a spent cartridge casing (since the breech is opened under very high barrel pressure).[5]

The G3A3 (A4) uses either steel (260 g) or aluminium (140 g) double-stacked straight box magazines, or a 50 round drum magazine. Original H&K drums are rare and command high prices, a reproduction is available at much less cost from Allied Armament. H&K developed a prototype plastic disposable magazine in the early 1960s, but it was not adopted as aluminum magazines were just as light and proved more durable, as well as easier to produce.

Standard accessories supplied with the rifle include: a detachable bipod (not included with rifles that have a perforated plastic handguard), sling, cleaning kit and a speed-loading device. Several types of bayonet are available for the G3, but with few exceptions they require an adapter to be inserted into the end of the cocking tube. The most common type features a 6 3/4 inch spear-point blade nearly identical with the M7 bayonet, but with a different grip because of its mounting above the barrel. The weapon can also mount a 40 mm HK79 under-barrel grenade launcher, blank firing adapter a straight blowback bolt (called a “PT” bolt, lacks rollers) used for firing 7.62x51mm ammunition with plastic bullets, a conversion kit used for training with .22 LR ammunition and a sound suppressor (that uses standard ammunition).

The G3 is a modular weapon system. Its butt-stock, fore-stock and pistol-grip/fire-control assembly may be changed at will in a variety of configurations (listed below). For example: by simply removing push pins the fixed butt-stock can be removed and replaced with a telescoping butt-stock.

Variants

G3A3
German sniper with G3A3ZF-DMR in Afghanistan

Apart from the G3A3 and G3A4 HK also built: the G3A3ZF (essentially a G3A3 with a Hensoldt 4x24 optical sight), the accurized G3SG/1 rifle (hand-selected G3A3’s, equipped with an improved trigger, Zeiss telescopic sight with a variable 1.5-6x magnification and a cheek riser) and the G3K carbine which uses an HK33 handguard and a short barrel (reduced in length to the base of the front sight post), that is too short for use with a bayonet or rifle grenades.[5]

The G3 served as a basis for many other weapons, among them: the PSG1 and MSG90 precision rifles, the HK11 and HK21 family of light machine guns, a semi-automatic version known as the HK91, a "sporterized" model called the SR9 (designed for the civilian market in countries where the HK91 would not qualify, primarily the US after the 1989 importation restrictions) and the MC51 carbine, produced by the UK firm FR Ordnance International Ltd. for special forces. The MC51 weighs 3.1 kg (6.8 lb), has a folded overall length of 625 mm (24.6 in), a barrel length of only 230 mm (9.1 in), which produces a muzzle velocity of approx. 690 m/s (2,263.8 ft/s) and a muzzle energy of 2215 J. The MC51 was allegedly manufactured for the British SAS and SBS, who required a compact but powerful weapon, for situations in which the stopping power and armor piercing capabilities of 9x19mm Parabellum round were inadequate. Only 50 weapons were produced, and all were reportedly shipped to the UK special forces. Most of them were soon replaced by the Heckler & Koch HK53 carbine. Another UK-based company called Imperial Defence Services Ltd. absorbed FR Ordnance and continues to market the MC51 standard variant.

Other military variants and derivatives

A Norwegian soldier takes cover behind a wall from simulated fire during a joint NATO exercise. The soldier is using the license-built AG3 model fitted with a Brügger & Thomet railed forend, vertical grip and Aimpoint red dot sight.
A Latvian soldier providing security for coalition forces with a Swedish-made Ak4 in Iraq, 2006.

Specialized G3 types

Law enforcement and civilian models

Users

Danish soldiers carrying the G3A5 variant.
Greek soldiers in NBC gear with Greek-made G3s.
Soldiers from the Portuguese Army, 2nd Mechanical Battalion in Bosnia-Herzegovina with INDEP-made G3s
Guyanese soldiers on exercise with various Caribbean countries, as well as American and British forces. The soldier on the right is carrying a G3A3 with a blank-firing attachment on the muzzle
A Saudi infantryman with the G3A4 rifle

See also

References

Notes
  1. ^ Woźniak, Ryszard: Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej—tom 2 G-Ł, page 7. Bellona, 2001.
  2. ^ Senich, Peter: The German Assault Rifle: 1935–1945, page 153. Paladin Press, 1987.
  3. ^ Senich, 158
  4. ^ Senich, 160
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Woźniak, Ryszard. Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej - tom 2 G-Ł. Bellona. 2001. pp7-10.
  6. ^ "p. 164". Rifles of the World, 3rd edition. Oxford: Krause Publications, Inc.. 2006. ISBN 978-0-89689-241-5. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar Jones, Richard D.; Ness, Leland S., eds. (January 27, 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 9780710628695. 
  8. ^ |url=http://fuerzasespecialesgrupohalcon.blogspot.com.ar/
  9. ^ G3 Automatic Rifle. Retrieved on October 28, 2008.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gangarosa, 2001. pp. 76-77.
  11. ^ "Eesti Kaitsevägi - Tehnika - Automaat AK-4" (in Estonian). http://www.mil.ee/?menu=tehnika1&sisu=ak4. 
  12. ^ Hogg, Ian (2002). Jane's Guns Recognition Guide. Jane's Information Group. ISBN 0-00-712760-X.
  13. ^ Hellenic Defense Systems
  14. ^ a b http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Personal+infantry+weapons%3A+old+weapons+or+new+hardware+in+the+coming...-a09037642
  15. ^ ""Sóttu teppi í skotmark hryðjuverkamanna", 'Fréttablaðið', october 27, 2004, p. 12." (in Icelandic). http://timarit.is/view_page_init.jsp?pageId=3737869. 
  16. ^ http://www.diomil.ir/en/aig.aspx
  17. ^ http://kariuomene.kam.lt/lt/ginkluote_ir_karine_technika/automatiniai_sautuvai/automatinis_sautuvas_ak-4.html
  18. ^ Nigeria: Arms Procurement and Defense Industries. Retrieved on October 5, 2008.
  19. ^ http://www.hkd-usa.com/HKWebNews/byItemID///13//3/15
  20. ^ http://www.pof.gov.pk/products/autorifles.htm
  21. ^ http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+military+rifle+cartridges+of+Rhodesia+Zimbabwe%3A+from+Cecil+Rhodes...-a0234316416
  22. ^ Unwin, Charles C.; Vanessa U., Mike R., eds. (2002). 20th Century Military Uniforms (2nd ed.). Kent: Grange Books. ISBN 1840132763. 
  23. ^ Military Industry Corporation (MIC) Official Website
  24. ^ http://www.mil.se/sv/Materiel-och-teknik/Vapen/Automatkarbin-4/
  25. ^ G3 – A4 AUTOMATIC INFANTRY RIFLE.
Bibliography
  • (French) Les fusils d'assaut français "The french assault rifles" by Jean Huon, published by Editions Barnett in 1998, ISBN 2-9508308-6-2.
  • Gangarosa, Gene Jr. (2001). Heckler & Koch—Armorers of the Free World. Maryland: Stoeger Publishing. ISBN 0-88317-229-1. 
  • Gotz, Hans Dieter, German Military Rifles and Machine Pistols, 1871-1945, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. West Chester, Pennsylvania, 1990. OCLC 24416255
  • Senich, P. (1987). German Assault Rifle: 1935-1945. Paladin Press. ISBN 0-87364-400-X.
  • G. de Vries, B.J. Martens: The MP 43, MP 44, StG 44 assault rifles, Propaganda Photos Series, The Sturmgewehr, Volume 4, Special Interest Publicaties BV, Arnhem, The Netherlands. First Edition 2001.
  • Smith, W.H.B, Small arms of the world : the basic manual of military small arms, Harrisburg, Pa. : Stackpole Books, 1955. OCLC 3773343
  • Afonso, Aniceto and Gomes, Carlos de Matos, Guerra Colonial, 2000.
  • (German) Günter Wollert; Reiner Lidschun; Wilfried Kopenhagen, Illustrierte Enzyklopädie der Schützenwaffen aus aller Welt : Schützenwaffen heute (1945-1985), Berlin : Militärverlag der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1988. OCLC 19630248
  • Clinton Ezell, Edward; Small arms of the world, Eleventh Edition, Arms & Armour Press, London, 1977
  • (Polish) Woźniak, Ryszard (2001). Encyklopedia najnowszej broni palnej—tom 2 G-Ł. Warsaw, Poland: Bellona. ISBN 83-11-09310-5. 

External links