When we think of Heckler & Koch in the 1980s we think of the famous G11, the iconic HK MP5 and the stylish P7 pistol. One rifle we don’t tend to think of is the G41, a 5.56x45mm chambered rifle designed to meet NATO’s new requirements. HK hoped the new rifle would be a hit with NATO countries looking to make the transition from 7.62x51mm to 5.56x45mm. Their hopes, however, were dashed and sales proved to be sluggish leading to the G41 to be one of HK’s lesser-known offerings and the company’s last roller-delayed blowback infantry rifle.
In 1980, NATO completed a series of trials that had tested arms and ammunition, with the final report recommending the standardization of the Belgian 5.56x45mm round, SS109. As a result, many European countries began to look for a new rifle to use the new standard ammunition. Heckler & Koch at the time were developing a number of rifles, with the G11 being their most expensive and time-consuming. Despite their focus on the G11 they saw the move towards 5.56 coming and began work on the G41.
Originally posted on The Firearm Blog