HK G41Assault Rifle, HK G41A2, HK G-41K Assault Rifle, HK G-41KA2 Assault Rifle, HK G-41 INKAS Assault Rifle, HK G-41A2 INKAS Assault Rifle, HK G-41K INKAS Assault Rifle and HK G-41KA2 INKAS Assault rifle.
|HK G-41 Assault Rifle|
In appearance, the HK G-41 Assault Rifle is quite reminiscent of the HK-33 series (recognizably so), and yet also has enough differences that the two cannot be mistaken except at a glance. Internal differences between the G-41 and HK-33 series include bolt hold-open device after the last shot is fired, as well as a bolt catch (similar to that of the M-16A1). The ejection also has a hinged dust cover (the same idea as that on the M-16, but of course much different in appearance and design) and a forward assist which also acts as a brass deflector for left-handed shooters. Though the HK G-41 Assault Rifle can use older HK-33 magazines, the primary magazines are meant to be STANAG-compatible magazines. The sights are essentially the same as those on the HK-33, but have tritium inserts for night use. The HK G-41 Assault Rifle has a side-folding carrying handle at the center of balance (for the standard-length version).
|HK G-41A2 Assault Rifle|
The HK G-41 Assault Rifle may be fitted with a MIL-STD-1913 rail, a carrying handle, ladder-type sights or a radial drum sight for use if the HK G-41 Assault Rifle is fitted with an underbarrel grenade launcher, or any number of other mounts for optics. The lower receiver is of light alloy, but most of the rest of the metalwork is steel; the stock is either synthetic or a standard Heckler & Koch sliding stock. The barrel is 17.72 inches long and is tipped with a flash suppressor. The pistol grip is of high-impact plastic and is hollow. In 1986, the HK G-41 Assault Rifle series was further modified; a strengthening sub-frame was added to the synthetic stock and pistol grip, and newer, stronger synthetics were used. The fire controls became ambidextrous, and the markings were slightly changed.
Variants of the G-41 include the HK G-41A2 Assault Rifle, with the sliding stock mentioned above. The HK G-41K Assault rifle was also available; this is a short-barreled version (with a 14.96-inch barrel), normally with the sliding stock, but also available with a fixed synthetic stock. The HK G-41K Assault Rifle cannot take a bayonet, but can fire rifle grenades and mount underbarrel grenade launchers. The HK G-41 INKAS Assault Rifle and HK G-41K INKAS Assault Rifle are identical to their standard brethren, but have a standard IR laser aiming module mounted internally inside the charging handle tube.
This weapon was introduced in 1983 to replace the HK-33 on the export market, and was issued to German troops in 1987 in small numbers as an interim weapon to replace their G-3s until the G-11 (which never came to fruition) could be brought into full production. It is basically an updated and upgraded HK-33 assault rifle, made with more modern materials, and having the ability to use standard US/NATO magazines. As such, it was an interim design, never meant for general issue to the entire German Army, nor any of the other countries that were considering it. By the early 1990s, it was obvious that the G-11 was not going to ever be adopted, and the G-41 also became a casualty.
In addition, the worldwide glut of assault rifles (ranging to the ubiquitous M-16 and AK to the new designs coming out the former Soviet Union, China, and Eastern Europe) meant that there were already lots of assault rifles available at a much lower price than the G-41. The German Army went with the then-new G-36, and by 1996, Heckler & Koch was no longer including either the G-41 (or the G-11) in its military weapons catalogs. There are rumors that Mexico and India bought small numbers of G-41s, but I have not been able to confirm this; however, the San Marcos Marines and some special operations units (such as the Italian COMSUBIN, Israeli Col Moschin, and the Spanish NOCS) have small stocks of G-41s and G-41Ks. No country seems to be using them in large numbers. (In the US, in particular, the G-41 is an extreme rarity – there reportedly only 3 of them in the US).
The Heckler & Koch G-41 was rushed into production in late 1994 when the G-11 became to expensive to
produce and the G-36 was not yet ready. It was realized that the G-41 would serve as a stopgap measure to modernize the German military’s assault rifles to meet modern standards (including STANAG magazines and optical sight mounts). With the outbreak of the Twilight War, the G-41 saw service and proved to be an effective and reliable weapon. With the advent of the G- 36 design, the days of the G-41 seemed to be short-lived; only the use of nuclear weapons forestalled its replacement by the newer design. The G-41K, though not uncommon, is also not common. It was popular in the hands of rear-area troops as well as special ops types.
The only large-scale customers of the G-41 seem to be the military forces of El Salvador and Belize. This
was not enough to keep the productions lines for the G-41 open, though spare parts are still being manufactured. As with the G- 41, the only large-scale customers of the G-41K seem to be El Salvador and Belize. Their smaller-statured troops seemed to prefer this shorter version.