German Bundeswehr Selects CG Haenel’s MK556 Carbine As Replacement For H&K G36


Well, well. The German Army has selected the CG Haenel MK556 carbine to replace the G36.

This ends the service’s years long search for a replacement for the the G36 . The program to purchase around 120,000 new rifles began in 2017. The G36 has been in service since 1997 and underwent two upgrades during its service. Apparently neither being very helpful.

The MK556 beat out the new Heckler & Koch 433 developed specifically after the German government told H&K that their existing HK416 was too expensive. Laugh. Out. Loud.

Ready for the rest?

Haenel is part of the Merkel Group, under Tawazun Holding (United Arab Emirates) (Caracal). So the Bundeswehr is essentially getting a lower cost HK416.


  1. Holy fuck.
    A previously civilian-only company winning against H&K. Here I thought the whole competition was over once Steyr-Rheinmetal left…
    I guess miracles still happen, even in 2020.

    • As a footnote, modern Haenel is descended from the original C G. Haenel company that designed the Sturmgewehr 44 so they have a longer pedigree in the assault rifle business than you would think

        • More along the lines of CZ UB versus CZ Brno. According to the German Wikipedia post 1945 the old Haenel factory became the Ernst Thallmann werke and made a mix of military and civilian guns for the DDR and the current Haenel started in Suhl making sporting arms before diversifying into military rifles. They still have more originality than the modern Schmeisser company which just relabels oem products. As an aside Hugo Schmeisser spent his pre 45 career working for Haenel.

    • The politics ment that HK entry was a long shot. The out going defense Minister seemed to be actively going after them.

      Also, it was going to be an AR of some kind. No matter how good the 433 might be; the AR has become ubiquitous. The fact that that give them the ability to use the vast US parts and accessories market probably helped.

  2. I’d lay long odds that the decision was more political than it was based on the technical merits or quality of the weapons.

    Also, that Haenel of today bears nothing more than the name from the original company.

    Should be interesting to observe, whatever the outcome.

    Hadn’t heard that the HK433 had issues. I’d like to know more about that.


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