For the first time since 1959, the German military is planning to change over their primary infantry rifle to one not made by Heckler & Koch.
The Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, Germany’s combined ministry of defense, announced last week that the firm of CG Haenel GmbH in Suhl has tentatively won the €25 million ($29.6 million) initial tender for the country’s new Sturmgewehr Basiswaffe or Assault Rifle Basic Weapon, replacing the HK-made G36. While the model was not disclosed by the ministry and Haenel has not released a statement, firearms publications on both sides of the pond are confirming the model chosen was the company’s MK556, a select-fire 5.56 NATO piston carbine.
This is ironic because Haenel, which dates back to 1840, was the house of Hugo Schmeisser, the inventor of the StG44, the world’s first “assault rifle” and during its East German phase cranked out Kalashnikov-pattern MPiK/MPiKM rifles for the DDR.
So in a way, the Bundeswehr is just changing back to long-held family traditions.
Of course, the MK556 looks far more Stoner/Sullivan than Schmeisser/Kalashnikov.
More in my column at Guns.com.