The Heckler & Koch G36 is a selective fire 5.56mm assault rifle, firing from a closed rotary bolt. The Heckler & Koch G36 has a conventional layout and a modular component design. Common to all variants of the Heckler & Koch G36 family are: the receiver and buttstock assembly, bolt carrier group with bolt and the return mechanism and guide rod. The receiver contains the barrel, carry handle with integrated sights, trigger group with pistol grip, handguard and magazine socket.
The Heckler & Koch G36 employs a free-floating barrel. The barrel is fastened to the receiver with a special nut, which can be removed with a wrench. The barrel is produced using a cold hammer forging process and features a chrome-lined bore with 6 right-hand grooves and a 1 in 178 mm rifling twist rate. The barrel assembly consists of the gas block, a collar with a bayonet lug that is also used to launch rifle grenades and a slotted flash suppressor.
The weapon can be stripped and re-assembled without tools through a system of cross-pins similar to that used on earlier HK designs. For cleaning purposes, the Heckler & Koch G36 disassembles into the following groups: receiver housing, return mechanism, bolt carrier group and trigger group.
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Heckler & Koch G36 Variants
G36E/V: Previously known as the G36E, it is the export version of the standard G36. The G36V has all of the characteristics of the standard rifle with the exception of the sight setup and bayonet mount. It is fitted with a 1.5x sight and lacks the integrated reflex sight; the bayonet mount is a standard NATO type. This version was produced for Spain.
MG36: light machine gun version of the G36 equipped with a heavy barrel for increased heat and cook-off resistance. The MG36 and MG36E are no longer offered by H&K.
G36K: carbine variant with a shorter barrel and a shorter forend, which includes a bottom rail that can be used to attach tactical accessories, such as a UTL flashlight from the USP pistol. The carbine’s barrel lacks the ability to launch rifle grenades and it will not support a bayonet. The weapon retained the ability to be used with the AG36 grenade launcher. G36Ks in service with German special forces are issued with a 100-round C-Mag drum. There are two variants of the G36K. The first and most commonly known has x3 scope/carry handle attached to the top. The second and highly preferred variant of the G36K is the one with the iron sights and rail. It allows for more customization of optics and is more portable than the other variant.
G36C: This subcarbine (C—compact) model is a further development of the G36K. It has a shorter barrel (than the G36K), and a four-prong open-type flash hider. The extremely short barrel forced designers to move the gas block closer to the muzzle end and reduce the length of the gas piston operating rod. The handguard and stock were also shortened and the fixed carry handle (with optics) was replaced with a carrying handle with an integrated MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rail. The dual optical sight found on the standard G36 and G36K models was replaced with a set of rail-mounted detachable iron sights that consist of a semi-shrouded front post and a flip-up rear sight with two apertures of different diameter. The short handguard has six accessory attachment points, one of which could be used for a vertical grip.
G36A2 with a Zeiss RSA reflex sight and an AG36 grenade launcher on display as part of Germany’s IdZ modernization program.
G36A2: This is an ordnance designation allocated to an upgraded variant of the G36 used by the German Army. The G36A2 is equipped with a quick-detachable Zeiss RSA reflex red dot sight mounted on a Picatinny rail that replaces the original red dot sight of the dual combat sighting system. The G36A2 upgrade kit also consists of a new handguard with three Picatinny rails and a handgrip with an integrated switch for operating an Oerlikon Contraves LLM01 laser light module.