MANUFACTURER(S): Heckler & Koch GmbH - Germany
OPERATORS: Italy; Spain; Sri Lanka; Turkey; United States; West Germany
ACTION: Roller Delayed Blowback
CALIBER(S): 5.56x51mm NATO
LENGTH (OVERALL): 997 millimeters (39.25 inches)
LENGTH (BARREL): 450 millimeters (17.72 inches)
WEIGHT (UNLOADED): 9.04 pounds (4.10 kilograms)
SIGHTS: Rotary Rear Diopter Drum; Hooded Front Post
MUZZLE VELOCITY: 3,018 feet-per-second (920 meters-per-second)
RATE-OF-FIRE: 850 rounds-per-minute
RANGE (EFFECTIVE): 1,312 feet (400 meters; 437 yards)
Detailing the development and operational history of the Heckler & Koch HK G41 Automatic Assault Rifle.
Entry last updated on 6/18/2018.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The HK G41 was based in the existing HK G33E product by the storied German firearms concern of Heckler & Koch but introduced a handy three-round burst capability to compliment the full-automatic fire mode. Nearly replacing the aging G3 in German Army service, the G41 was instead dropped from production after a few short years to which the German Army trialed, and ultimately accepted, the HK G36 Assault Rifle (detailed elsewhere on this site).
To better comply with NATO-required modifications, the G41 was designed to accept magazines from other in-service 5.56x45mm chambered weapons including the Colt M16/AR-15 family. Sighting mounts were also built into the base design and a bipod could be fitted underneath the forend for fire support roles. A carrying handle was set over the left-hand side of the receiver and a high visibility selective-fire control lever was positioned within easy reach of the shooter's primary hand. The HK G41 was offered up in two distinct major production forms - the base assault rifle model (with fixed butt) as the "G41" and the shortened carbine model (with retractable butt) as the "G41K".
The series was chambered for 5.56x45mm NATO and fired through a roller-delayed blowback action. Rate-of-fire reached 850 rounds-per-minute. Feeding was through various STANAG-style detachable box magazines. The weapon could reach out to ranges of 400 meters and was sighted through a rotary diopter drum rear sighting device and a hooded front post.
Other variants were the G41A1 with different barrel rifling, the G41A2 with telescopic shoulder stock and the rifling of the original G41 production model, the G41A3 with the stock of the A2 but rifling of the A1, and the G41TGS and its support for the HK79 Under-Barrel Grenade Launcher (UBGL).
The weapon was to be brought into inventory by the West Germans with second line units assuming the in-development, "caseless" G11 assault weapon (detailed elsewhere on this site) passed its requisite tests for frontline unit use. Unfortunately, the costly G11 program failed to impress and was discarded before long. The G41 was re-evaluated for second line units but also dropped from contention in turn.
After all this, the West German Army would go on to select the G36 assault rifle in its place.
Production of the G41 lasted from 1984 until 1996. It is known to have been used operationally by elements of the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) and in the more recent Lebanon Conflict of 2007 (reportedly with Lebanese forces).
Rights to the G41 were eventually passed to the Italian concern of Luigi Franchi which has since produced the LF G41 and the LG Mod. 641. Both were trialed by the Italian Army but lost out to the Beretta AR70/90 (detailed elsewhere on this site).
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