The HK416F assault rifle has become the main weapon of the French army.

A few days before Christmas, in a tweet the French army’s procurement agency, the French Army procurement agency (DGA) tweeted that it intended to order a further 12,000 5.56 mm HK416F assault rifles.

It was known for some time that the Heckler and Koch assault rifle will become the French army’s primary small arms weapon of choice replacing the current 5.56 mm FAMAS, which has been in service for nearly 48 years.

According to available preliminary information, the French military will need 117,000 HK416F assault rifles, with Heckler & Koch already having delivered around 45,000 HK416F assault rifles.  The information was disclosed by the DGA.

In October 2016, France had decided to replace the FAMAS with Heckler & Koch equivalent.

Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch introduced the HK416A7 variant with 14.5″ pipe length, under the designation G95K and was designed for special forces.

German armed forces use the variant HK416A5 11″ pipe which is called the G38.

The rifle has also been selected by the Norwegian army as well as and French army as an orderly weapon.

The HK416 ranks as the fifth best assault rifles in the world.

Featuring a gas pressure charger with a short stroke and rotating headlock. With this system, the impulse required to unlock the rotary headlock is taken from the gas extraction hole on the barrel and transmitted to the lock by a pulse forcer. Thanks to this operation, there is hardly any contamination of the mechanics from powder gases and combustion residues, thus improving the functional reliability compared to systems with direct action on the bolt carrier such as the M16.

This system however increases the recoil and the barrel cannot swing free entirely. It features a cold-hammered barrel with the fore-end being able to swing freely and is equipped with four Picatinny rails arranged all-around to accommodate accessories.

The HK416’s shoulder rest can be pushed in by about 10 centimeters so that the weapon can be adapted to the shooter’s arm length; the feature allow makes the assault rifle a less of a hindrance in confined spaces. It’s magazine is also widened at the bottom making it easier to insert a magazine.

A closing aid can also be operated manually by the shooter with the pushed forward feature ensuring that the lock does not move forward by itself. The magazine release button is on the right-hand side in front of the trigger; to ensure that it is not accidentally pressed, it is encircled by rounded ribs. If the button is pressed, the magazine gets dislodged from the slot automatically.

The HK416’s two-handed cocking slide, located on the weapon housing, does not move during operations. It also features a sliding catch on the left side.

Other features including a pressure point trigger, double-sided controls, and other barrel lengths can be customized on request.

An AG36 grenade launcher can also be attached under the barrel.

Weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch also offers an economic incentive with its “Minimum Upgrade Package”  wherein existing components of other assault rifles can also be integrated.

The assault rifle also has a dust protection flap on the right side. Behind the ejection window is a sleeve deflector that prevents the ejected cartridge cases from hitting the face of left-handed shooters.