The German firearms maker Heckler & Koch (HK) recently unveiled its next-generation assault rifle – the HK433 – to compete for the Bundeswehr’s G36 replacement program.
As per HK, the HK433 is an “indirect gas-operated with a short-stroke gas piston system.” The rifle’s upper receiver and handguard are made of “high-strength” aluminum. In the 6 o’clock position, the HK433 has a MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail. The upper-receiver of the HK433 has a rail built to NATO’s STANAG 4694 standards. The HK433 is compatible with a wide set of commercially available accessories.
The HK433 will be offered in numerous barrel sizes: 11”, 12.5”, 14.5”, 16.5”, 18.9” and 20”. The HK433’s lower receiver is ambidextrous, enabling both left and right-hand users to operate the HK433. The H Key interface is present in both 3 and 6 o’clock positions.
Although the default configuration of the HK433 is 5.56×45 mm (like the G36 and HK416), the HK433 can be re-chambered as a 7.62×51 mm battle rifle and 7.62×39 mm assault rifle. A .300 BLK variant will also be offered. HK is marketing the HK433 to special operations forces and infantry alike.
The Firearm Blog reports that HK designed the HK433 to be more affordable than the HK416 and HK417.
Notes & Comments:
In December 2016, Reuters reported that HK will exclusively focus on the NATO market, thus leaving many prospective clients – including current HK users Germany and Pakistan – to other competitors.
The clear focus on modular/different calibres aligns with current industry trends, following the FN Herstal SCAR, Beretta ARX-160/200, Česká zbrojovka CZ-805/806/807 and Fabryka Broni (FB) Radom MSBS. If narrowed to just NATO, the competition may be intense, especially with several large markets (e.g. Italy and Poland) already invested in a domestic player (Beretta and FB Radom, respectively). However, HK has succeeded in recent months. For example, HK won a USD $180 million contract to supply 90,000 HK416F to the French Army, and it is possible that new requirements (e.g. Canada, the U.K, U.S., etc) will emerge.