The French General Directorate of Armaments (Direction générale de l’armement, DGA) has just received the last 1,000 HK416F rifles out of 12,000 due for the year 2022. The HK416F assault rifle has been selected to gradually replace all FAMAS rifles currently in service in the French Armed Forces (Forces armées françaises). The first 4,000 were ordered on June 30, 2022. To date, 69,340 rifles have been delivered to the armies. In addition, the DGA has also placed an order for the last 8,660 rifles out of the 12,660 to be ordered in 2022, for an amount of 12.5 million Euros. A total of 117,000 rifles will be delivered to armies by 2028, including 94,000 by 2025.
The Heckler & Koch HK416 is a gas-operated assault rifle chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge. It is designed and manufactured by the German company Heckler & Koch. Although the design is based on the AR-15 class of firearm (specifically the Colt M4 carbine family issued to the U.S. military), it uses a proprietary short-stroke, gas piston system from Heckler & Koch’s earlier G36 family of rifles. The HK416 is the standard assault rifle of the Norwegian Armed Forces. Other users of the HK416 include the German Army and the Irish Army Ranger Wing, as well as the US Navy’s SEAL Team Six, who used it to kill Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
The French Armed Forces conducted a rifle evaluation and trial to replace the FAMAS (Fusil d’Assaut de la Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Étienne), and selected the HK416F as its primary firearm in 2016. The HK416 F for the French armed forces is available in two versions including the HK416 F-S (Standard) and HK416 F-C (Compact). The HK416 F is based on the design of HK416A5 and can be used by left and right-handed shooters. The new French army standard assault rifle HK416F is a gas pressure loader system that is similar to the American-made AR-15 manufactured by Colt.
The HK416 uses a HK-proprietary short-stroke gas piston system that derives from the HK G36, forgoing the direct gas-impingement system action that is standard in AR-15 rifles. The HK G36 gas system was in turn partially derived from the AR-18 assault rifle designed in 1963. The reduction in heat and fouling of the bolt carrier group increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. The HK416 has an adjustable multi-position telescopic butt stock, offering six different lengths of pull. The HK416’s barrel is cold hammer-forged with a 20,000-round service life and features a 6 grooves 178 mm (7 in) right hand twist.