Heckler & Koch MG5

The Heckler & Koch MG5 (in the development phase also known as the HK121) is a belt-fed 7.62×51mm NATO general-purpose machine gun manufactured by German firearm manufacturer Heckler & Koch. The MG5 resembles the 5.56×45mm NATO Heckler & Koch MG4 light machine gun, which was adopted into German military service in 2005.

Heckler & Koch MG5
Heckler & Koch MG5 general-purpose machine gun
TypeGeneral-purpose machine gun
Place of originGermany
Service history
In service2015–present
Used bySee Users
Production history
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch
Unit cost16,000 EUR
VariantsSee Variants
Cartridge7.62×51mm NATO
Caliber7.62 mm
ActionGas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire640/720/800 rounds/min
Muzzle velocityMG 5 A1: 840 m/s (2,756 ft/s)
MG 5 & MG 5 S: 810 m/s (2,657 ft/s)
MG 5 A2: 785 m/s (2,575 ft/s)
Effective firing range100–1,000 m (109–1,094 yd) sight adjustments
Maximum firing range600–1,000 m (656–1,094 yd) (bipod)
1,200–1,500 m (1,312–1,640 yd) (tripod mounted)
3,750 m (4,101 yd) (terminal)
Feed systemDisintegrating DM60/M13 belt in 50-round belt bag or 120-round in separate belt box
SightsDiopter sight[1] or optical sights


Work on the MG5 began, under the HK121 designation, shortly after the development of the MG4 light machine gun, that Heckler & Koch for the first time presented as the HK MG43 at the MILIPOL 2001 trade show in Paris. A prototype of the HK121 was presented to a larger public by Heckler & Kochthe on the 14th day of the infantry in July 2010 in Hammelburg.

In June 2013, it was announced that Germany was testing and evaluating 65 samples and planned to buy at least 7,114 of the machine guns for the Bundeswehr during 2014–2017, in a deal that over time could grow to 12,733 HK5s.[2]

The MG5 is intended as and started replacing the Rheinmetall MG3 in German service since 2015. According to the Bundeswehr the MG5 is more accurate than the MG3. The effective range on bipod is therefore greater. The MG5 reduced cyclic rate uses less ammunition and the user can adjust the stock to individual ergonomic preferences.[3] By 2022 the MG5 should have replaced the MG3 in the Bundeswehr.[4]

For the development and use of a special bolt for training cartridges the German Federal Government has allocated a budget of 7.3 million Euro.[5] The costs to integrate the MG5 in various tripod and weapon stations mountings in German use are estimated around 60 million Euro.[6]

Design details

The MG5 is gas-operated and chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO. The weapon's operation is almost similar to that of the MG4 light machine gun. The safety is ambidextrous, the butt stock is field adjustable for length of pull and features a user height adjustable cheek-piece and can be folded depending on the variant. Three-position adjustment of the gas port allows selecting the cyclic rate of fire (640, 720 or 800 rounds per minute) and subsidiary can adjust the gas system for various types of cartridge loadings or use in the presence of heavy fouling. The gas port can be field adjusted by sliding the base of a 7.62×51mm NATO cartridge into machined slots to select one of the three possible settings. The MG5 features STANAG 4694 NATO Accessory Rails that are backwards-compatible with the STANAG 2324/MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails allowing installation of optical sights and other accessories. The quick-change cold hammered hard chrome plated barrel is an integral part of the barrel assembly and has a heat shield and a carrying/barrel exchange handle, gas port and front sight attached. After around 300 rounds of rapid fire, the gun operator has to replace the hot barrel with a new cool(er) one. Non-observance of this technical limitation renders the barrel prematurely unusable. A hot barrel can be replaced with its carrying and barrel exchange handle without using protective gloves or other heat protection. The MG5 takes zero shifts between barrel assemblies into account by making the front sight of the assemblies mechanically adjustable. In its standard form, the MG5 is equipped with closed type iron sights with range settings on the compact rear sight element up to 1,000 m (1,094 yd) in 100 m (109 yd) increments. The folding self-illuminating front sight element is mounted on the barrel assembly and is adjustable mechanically for both windage and elevation. The sight line radius is 602 millimeters (23.7 in). Optical or night sights or laser pointers can be mounted on a length of STANAG 4694 NATO Accessory Rail located on the receiver feed tray cover.

Bundeswehr models are generally equipped with Hensoldt ZO 4×30 Intermediate Range Targeting Optic combined with a red dot as optical day sights with 4× magnification to promote accuracy of fire.[7] The ZO 4×30 Intermediate Range Targeting Optic can be augmented by night-vision attachments. For the light machine gun role a quick-detachable user adjustable folding bipod weighing 0.70 kg (1.54 lb) is provided. Alternatively a "Grip Pod", a type of vertical grip that has a deployable bipod inside the handle, can be mounted to increase mobility. In a stationary, heavy machine gun role the MG5 can also be mounted on the MG3 Feldlafette buffered field tripod by using additional adapters.

The Bundeswehr use a RAL 8000 green brown surface finish on their MG5s and has chosen to use a 550 mm (21.7 in) barrel instead of a 663 mm (26.1 in) barrel for their mounted guns to promote parts uniformity.


Variant Overall length[A 1]
Barrel length
Weight[A 2]
MG5 (Universal) 1,160 mm (45.7 in) (960 mm (37.8 in)) 550 mm (21.7 in) 239 mm (9.4 in) 120 mm (4.7 in) 11.20 kg (24.7 lb) (3.00 kg (6.6 lb))
MG5 A2 (Infantry) 1,160 mm (45.7 in)[A 3] 460 mm (18.1 in) 285 mm (11.2 in) 9.90 kg (21.8 lb) (2.50 kg (5.5 lb))
MG5 A1 (Mounted) 1,055 mm (41.5 in)[A 3] 663 mm (26.1 in) 195 mm (7.7 in) 10.00 kg (22.0 lb) (3.24 kg (7.1 lb))
MG5 S (Special Forces) 1,012 mm (39.8 in)[A 3] 550 mm (21.7 in) 239 mm (9.4 in) 171 mm (6.7 in) 12.10 kg (26.7 lb) (3.00 kg (6.6 lb))
  1. Overall length: Stock unfolded (Stock folded)
  2. Weight: Weapon (Barrel assembly)
  3. Fixed stock


  •  Germany: Fifteen Bundeswehr pre-production guns designated as MG5.[8] First batch of 1,215 MG5s ordered on 15 March 2015 for about €20 million.[9] The procurement process of 12,733 units, with a price tag of about €200 million, has been delayed due to accuracy concerns.[10] In September 2018 about 4,400 MG5s were delivered to the Bundeswehr[11]. By the end of 2019 nearly 7,000 MG5s are expected to be delivered.[12] Bundespolizei designated as MG5 A1 used on 42 ordered FLW 100 remote weapon stations for its armored vehicles.[13][14][15]
  •  Chile: Chilean Marine Corps.[16]


  1. Weisswange, Jan-Phillipp; u. a (April 2010). "Handwaffen, Kampfmittel und Ausrüstung für den infanteristischen Einsatz". Wehrtechnischer Report 4/2010 (in German). Bonn und Sulzbach: Report Verlag.
  2. "...will der Bund von 2014 an bis zum Jahr 2017 mindestens 7114 Gewehre des Typs MG5 im Wert von 118 Millionen Euro kaufen. ... Später kann die Order laut Rahmenvertrag sogar auf bis zu 12.733 Maschinengewehre in einem Gesamtwert von rund 240 Millionen Euro anwachsen."
    "Heckler & Koch-Gewehre für die Bundeswehr" Wiwo.de. Retrieved 2013-07-27.
  3. Video: Das MG5 – das neue Maschinengewehr der Bundeswehr (in German)
  4. MG5 soll bis 2022 das betagte MG3 ersetzen (in German)
  5. Archived [Date missing] at dipbt.bundestag.de [Error: unknown archive URL], Beschaffung der Gewehre MG5 und G27, (online-PDF 829 KB) abgerufen am 20. März 2018 (in German)
  6. Lafetten fürs neue Maschinengewehr: Noch ein bisschen teurer (in German)
  7. Maschinengewehr MG5, www.deutschesheer.de (in German)
  8. Karin Zeger (15 July 2013). "Heckler & Koch: Großauftrag für Bundeswehr". Schwarzwälder Bote (in German). Retrieved 20 July 2013.
  9. "H&K Troubles Continue: MG5 Under Scrutiny By German MoD". The Firearms Blog, 2015-06-10.
  10. "BREAKING: Delays Beset German MG5 Program, 7.62mm GPMG May Lack Accuracy". The Firearms Blog, 2015-09-09.
  11. Neues Maschinengewehr MG5: 4.400 Stück an die Truppe ausgeliefert (in German)
  12. Video: Das MG5 – das neue Maschinengewehr der Bundeswehr (in German)
  13. Archived [Date missing] at dipbt.bundestag.de [Error: unknown archive URL], Berichte über Materialmangel bei der Bundespolizei, (online-PDF 829 KB) 9 March 2019 (in German)
  14. Fernbedienbare leichte Waffenstationen für die Bundespolizei (in German)
  15. German Federal Police to install 7,62 mm Machine Guns in vehicles
  16. "Exhibición equipos de desembarco anfibio cuerpo de infantería de marina de la armada de Chile" (in Spanish).

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