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Haenel MK556

Modular Assault Weapon [ 2020 ]

The Haenel MK556 was initially selected as a replacement for the G36 for Germany - this selection late revoked.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/23/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

The MK556 is a military market AR-style assault weapon manufactured by C.G. Haenel of Germany and based on the company's earlier law enforcement-minded CR223 product (introduced in 2017). Base qualities include selective-fire modes (semi- and full-automatic fire, a finger-grooved ergonomic pistol grip, and perforated heat-dissipating forend. More modern features are Picatinny rail sections over the frame (full length) and under the forend, full optics support, and an M4-style adjustable shoulder stock. The rifle comes in four distinct barrel lengths: 10.5", 12.5", 14.5", and 16".

The series was introduced by Haenel in 2020.

The action is of gas-operation (short-stroke piston with rotating bolt) and the weapon feeds from 30-round STANAG spring-loaded hard magazines in 5.56x45mm NATO. A 100-round detachable Beta C-Mag can also be used for the fire support role. Rate-of-fire reaches 900 rounds-per-minute. The charging handle is the AR-style pull-back located at the upper rear of the frame.

The buttstock can be adjusted to six positions for operator customizability. A horizontally-slotted flash hider is set over the muzzle to control recoil and limit muzzle flash. The forend sports a tool-less removal feature and had a pair of NAR and KeyMod rails for the mounting of tactical accessories such as night-vision optics, magnifiers, laser aimers, and flashlights. The safety mechanism consists of a firing pin safety and controls are ambidextrous. The back-up iron sights are foldable and can be retained alongside the mounted tactical accessories fitted.

The MK553 was the final selection of the German Armed Forces in September of 2020 to succeed an aging like of G36 assault rifles (detailed elsewhere on this site). However, issues related to the rifle's procurement, as well as charges of patent infringement, led to the selection being withdrawn in March of 2021. The selection of the G36's replacement has now fallen to long-time German arms supplier Heckler & Koch.©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.

September 2020 - The MK556 has been officially selected by the German Armed Forces as the direct successor of the storied G36 assault rifle.

March 2021 - The German Federal Ministry of Defence has excluded the MK556 design from further participation in the G36 replacement program due to possible patent infringements on the part of the Haenel design.


Service Year

Germany national flag graphic


Modular Assault Weapon

National flag of modern Germany National flag of Poland Germany (police); Poland (police)
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Automatic Function
Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.
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.

Compact nature allows for relatively easy concealment.
Internal action allows release of single round per trigger pull, actuating a semi-automatic loading mechanism for successive shots.
Internal action allows release of multiple rounds with a trigger pull in quick succession.
An automatic, or pseudo-automatic, function is built into the system, allowing for repeat firing to be achieved.
Supports mounting of optics (scopes) to aid in accuracy for ranged fire.
Supports 'iron sights' allowing for inherent accuracy in ranged fire.
Design allows for user adjustability of certain components for customization.
Design offers mounting points for external, after-market hardware including laser aimers, flashlights, scopes, and grips.

Overall Length
923 mm
36.34 in
Barrel Length
408 mm
16.06 in
Empty Wgt
7.94 lb
3.60 kg

Supported Optics; Back-Up, Optional Iron Front and Rear.


Gas-Operated; Short-Stroke Piston; Selective-Fire.

Short-Stroke Piston
Type of gas operation typically found in rifle-type arms; relatively short amount of piston movement with reliance on sudden blow for quick acceleration of said piston; lever connected to the bolt is actuated, taking on the resultant energy, subsequently passing it on to the awaiting bolt.
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)



Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a 5.56mm intermediate rifle cartridge
Rounds / Feed

30-round detachable box magazine.
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.

MK556 - Base Series Designation.

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Images Gallery

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Image of the Haenel MK556
Image from official Haenel marketing materials.

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