Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

Heckler & Koch MG5 (HK121)

General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) [ 2015 ]

The Heckler and Koch MG5 is the new standard-issue GPMG of the German Army - succeeding an aging line of MG3 types.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 01/26/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The modern German Army currently relies on three different General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs) to field alongside their MG4 Light Machine Gun (LMG) and Browning M2 Heavy Machine Gun (HMG) types. The trio is made up of the MG3, G8, and the new, all-modern MG5. The MG3 has roots in the World War 2-era MG42 while the G8 is the form typically used by German special forces elements - leaving the MG5 as the newest entry into the service's inventory. The MG5 is intended to succeed the aging line of MG3 machine guns in the same GPMG role for the German Army.

With design work spanning 2001 to 2018 (under the designation of "HK121"), Heckler & Koch began serial quantitative production of the new machine gun in 2010 with evaluations by the Army had from 2013 onward and the type subsequently entered operational service in 2015.

At its core, the system is chambered for the proven 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge while fed through disintegrating DM60/M13 type belts of 50- or 120-round count. It is a gas-operated weapon with an internal rotating bolt action. Rate-of-fire reaches between 640 and 800 rounds-per-minute with muzzle velocity ranging from 2,575 to 2,756 feet-per-second. Effective range is out to 1,000 meters while maximum range exceeds 3,500 meters. Sighting is through a Diopter arrangement.

The gun's arrangement is largely conventional. The changeable barrel is capped by a slotted brake with the gas cylinder residing under the assembly. The hinged bipod is attached to the cylinder while the barrel showcases the forward sighting device. Over the receiver is a length of Picatinny rail which allows for the installation of various accuracy-aiding accessories. The rear sight is positioned at the extreme rear of the receiver. The pistol grip and trigger unit are set under the receiver in the usual way.

As a "general purpose" weapon, the MG5 can be fired from its traditional bipod support (making it semi-portable), mounted on a tripod (as a more fixed defensive measure), or vehicle-mounted for mobility to better suit the mission need. This versatility is required of all GPMGs today making them a critical component to any war machine. As such, the weapon can be used as a troop suppression solution at the squad level or ranged attacker/defender when vehicle-/tripod-mounted. Additionally, such weapons can engage low-flying aircraft when needed, adding yet another element to the repertoire of the weapon.

The notable variants in the series are the base MG5 followed by the specialized MG5A2, MG5A1, and the MG5S. MG5 designates the "universal" form meant to tackle most any role and comes with a folding stock for compactness in travel. The MGA1 is the vehicle-/aircraft-mounted derivative showcasing a full shoulder stock while the MGA2 is the lightened (5.5lb) infantry-level model sporting a fixed shoulder stock. MG5S is a special forces issue type offering the shortest available (unfolded) overall length (39.8") despite its fixed shoulder stock.

The MG5 has been taken into service with the forces of Albania (Army), Germany (Army), Chile (Marines), and Malaysia (Special Forces) as of August 2020. The MG5 will be acquired by the German Army in the thousands - as many as 12,700 are expected to be procured.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Germany national flag graphic


General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG)

Heckler & Koch GmbH - Germany
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Albania National flag of Chile National flag of modern Germany National flag of Malaysia National flag of Portugal Albania; Chile; Germany; Malaysia; Portugal
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Fire Support
Capable of suppressing enemy elements at range through direct or in-direct fire.
Ability to engage low-flying aerial threats.
Special Forces
Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.

Overall Length
1,160 mm
45.67 in
Barrel Length
550 mm
21.65 in
Empty Wgt
24.69 lb
11.20 kg

Diopter Sighting Arrangement.


Gas-Operated; Rotating Bolt Action

Rotating Bolt
System utilizes internal mechanism to lock the breech or rear barrel assembly prior to firing.
Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.
(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)


7.62x51mm NATO

Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 7.62x51mm / .308 Winchester rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

50- or 120-round disintegrating belts.
Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
3,280 ft
(1,000 m | 1,093 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
2,660 ft/sec
(811 m/sec)

MG5 - Base Series Name; base operating model; folding stock; 1,160mm length; 550mm barrel length; 24.7lb weight.
MG5A1 - Mounted variant; fixed stock; 1,055mm length; 663mm barrel length; 22lb weight.
MG5A2 - Infantry variant; fixed stock; 1,160mm length; 460mm barrel length; 21.8lb weight.
MG5S - Special forces variant; fixed stock; 1,012mm length; 550mm barrel length; 26.7lb weight.

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the Heckler & Koch MG5 (HK121)
Image from official Heckler and Koch marketing materials.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. No A.I. was used in the generation of this content; site is 100% curated by humans.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons.

View day-by-day actions of the American Civil War with CivilWarTimeline.net. View day-by-day actions of World War II with SecondWorldWarHistory.com.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)