The HK416: Heckler & Koch's Improved Fighting Rifle

posted on March 5, 2022
USMC photo soldier snow white camouflage rifle shooting gun Heckler & Koch 416

Heckler & Koch specifically designed its HK416 to meet the demands of America’s elite armed forces. Development began sometime in the 1990s, and in 2004, it replaced the M4s carried by Delta Force. The firearm’s most famous appearance to date was likely 2011 with SEAL Team 6, when Osama bin Laden’s compound was successfully raided.

Other nations have adopted the gun—or one of its many variations—for use by select members of their armed forces. It's more compact than the M4 it’s largely based on, while providing reduced component wear, improved reliability, enviable accuracy and the ability to deliver fully automatic fire.    

It is gas-operated and chambered in 5.56 mm NATO, but operates on a short-stroke piston system similar to that employed by the H&K G36. In 2010, the U.S. Marine Corps announced it was adopting the HK416 as its Infantry Automatic Rifle. The firearm was given the military label M27, and the branch entered into a full contract with Heckler & Koch the next year. Plans announced at the time were for every four-man fire team to have one of the guns, three in each squad and 28 per company. That comes to more than 4,000 across the Corps and replaces the heavier M249 SAW.

Law-enforcement and military can order a new-and-improved HK416 A5 from Heckler & Koch. It features a tool-free gas regulator, complete ambidextrous operation and optimized magazine compatibility. The firearm is available with 11", 14.5", 16" and 20" barrels, in black or brown/green.

There are no factory-fresh, semi-automatic versions available commercially. Heckler & Koch did introduce a rimfire version (seen below) of its HK416 in 2019, however. Working in partnership with Umarex, it’s chambered in .22 LR, and all fire controls are identical to its bigger brother. The budget-friendly approach is ideal for practice and building an intimate familiarity with the design, as well as a great addition to any enthusiast’s collection.

The blowback-operated semi-auto comes with a 16.1" threaded barrel with a six-groove, 1:13.75" right-hand twist. It features an M-Lok handguard and upper and lower receivers constructed from anodized aluminum. Sights are folding, the stock is six-position adjustable and magazines have a profile that reflects those used in the 5.56 mm NATO versions. Capacity is either 10 or 20 cartridges, depending on model selected. Thirty-round aftermarket magazines are also available from Heckler & Koch. MSRP for an HK416 .22 Long Rifle is $529. 

right side HK416 rimfire rifle carbine gun firearm black metal plastic steel
Heckler & Koch Model 416B in 22 Long Rifle.


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