Like the HK416, developed by HK with internal funding working directly with select US SOF personnel, the new 7.62x51mm NATO caliber HK417 Weapons System is currently under final development by Heckler & Koch as a Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) alternative to existing, competing 7.62mm semi-automatic and select-fire rifles, carbines and sniper rifle systems. The .30 caliber "big brother" to combat proven 5.56mm HK416 family of rifles and carbines, the HK417 shares the operating control location and functions, disassembly and maintenance procedures and ergonomics of the HK416 and other AR-15-based weapons, to include the US M16 and M4 rifles/carbines. This fact insures immediate operator acceptance and transfer from one weapon to another and retains the already learned muscle memory critical to proficient target engagements under stressed fire.
The HK417 utilizes the unique operating rod gas system pioneered by HK in the HK416 and G36 weapons systems. This system uses a solid "pusher rod" operating rod in place of the more common hollow gas tube normally employed in AR15-style rifles. This system improves reliability and reduces operator cleaning and maintenance as literally no carbon fouling or propellant gases are directed back into the weapon beyond the gas cylinder located above the barrel. Thus the cleaning intervals and heat transfer to bolt components are drastically reduced, while the service life of all parts as well as the barrel, is increased dramatically. The design goal of the HK417 is to guarantee no parts failures or stoppages in less than 10,000-15,000 rounds with little or no accuracy degradation. The HK417 gas system also makes the weapon less sensitive to ammunition and barrel length changes, or when sound suppressors are employed.
The HK417 will be available with 12, 16 and 20-inch barrels. To change length, the barrel is the only component needing to be changed and can be accomplished in under two minutes with simple tools. HK417 barrels are cold hammer forged with HK's famous proprietary process, are chrome-lined and utilize a conventional lands and grooves bore profile with 1/11 inch twist. All HK417 barrels are threaded for flash hiders, muzzle compensators and for sound suppressor attachment. A special M4-style multi-position retractable buttstock provides a comfortable sloping cheek piece, multiple battery storage compartments, and enhanced non-slip rubber recoil pad. Ambidextrous operating controls are standard on the HK417, to include the charging handle and an ambidextrous safety lever is also planned. Semiautomatic and fully-automatic modes of fire are available as a standard feature. A semiautomatic only option is also planned. All manner of existing accessories, to include sights, laser aimers, pistol grips, slings, etc. can be fitted to the common attachment points and/or MIL STD 1913 rail system found on the HK417.
A new 20-round translucent polymer box magazine being developed specifically for the new HK417 will actuate the M16-style bolt catch to lock the bolt rearward on the last round fired. The HK417 magazines will drop free and can be inserted into the beveled magazine well with a conventional upward motion and not the rocking motion common on some 7.62mm rifles.
During recent HK-conducted desert testing, a single HK417 prototype (2nd design stage) fired more than 15,000 documented rounds of assorted ammunition, to include M118LR, M80 ball, M993 AP and assorted commercial ammunition with bullet weights ranges from 125 to over 175 grains without a single parts failure or stoppage! Accuracy firing with a prototype 12-inch barreled HK417 "assaulter" carbine and 10X optical sight was conducted with user representatives using US M118LR ammunition. Firing multiple 3-shot groups at 100 - 500 yards lines, the average group size for all four shooters was 1.3 MOA from an HK417 carbine with 12-inch barrel!
The HK designed and patented, user removable, 4-quadrant free floating rail system for the HK417 mirrors that of the HK416 carbine and accepts the same quick-detachable 40x46mm HK AG-HK416 grenade launcher also used on the 5.56mm HK416. This COTS launcher, recently selected by the US Army as the "XM320 Grenade Launcher Module" to replace the US M203, can be installed and removed by the user in seconds with no tools or change in launcher or rifle zero. The AG-HK416 can be used off of the host weapon with a add-on retractable buttstock or as a grenade "pistol" without buttstock using a detachable folding vertical foregrip.
Modular user installed mounting adapters allow the same grenade launcher to be used on existing and newly emerging weapon systems, like the US M16 or M4. The HK free- floating rail system is removed without special tools by the operator and insures 100% return to zero for all mounted accessories. The HK416/417/GLM COTS family of weapons is now complete with the introduction of "HK417". Note: The HK417 is only planned for military and federal law enforcement agency purchase at this time. No individual sales inquiries please.