The G38 is part of the HK416/417 assault weapon system developed and manufactured by HECKLER & KOCH at the beginning of the 21th Century, combining the globally acknowledged AR-15 design with the extreme reliability of the short-stroke gas piston system as found on the Company's own G36 rifle. Plans for other versions from HK include a G38K with a 14.5” barrel (386 mm) as well as a G38 with a 16.5” barrel (420 mm).
The Heckler & Koch G38 rifle is extremely easy to operate from both the left and the right shoulder. Along with HK's own translucent plastic or steel magazines, the G38 can also feed through third-party STANAG 4179 magazines. In addition, a grenade launching module can be underslung to the weapon. The G38 is available in black and green-yellow RAL8000 finishes.
Two other variants of the Heckler & Koch's HK416/417 system have also been adopted by the Bundeswehr. The 7.62x51mm caliber HK417 battle rifle was designed the "G27" by the German Federal Armed Forces; its semi-automatic version, known on the commercial markets as the the MR308, has been adopted as the "G28". Both the G27 and G28 are currently being fielded by the Bundeswehr at all levels. In addition, a marksman rifle version of the 5.56x45mm caliber HK416 has been considered and tested as part of the now-dropped trial for a short-range support weapon to be fielded by the Feldjäger (Military Police) and the KSK (Special Forces Command); if adopted, it would have been designed the "G26".
Elsewhere around the world, the Heckler & Koch HK416 serves as the standard service rifle of the Norwegian Armed Forces and as the infantry automatic rifle for the United States Marine Corps, which adopted it as the M27-IAR. It is also being used in a plethora of variants by military organizations, Police forces and special operations units throughout the globe.
You can find out more about the G38 and the rest of the story about the small arms of the the Bundeswehr in the newly revised and expanded reprint of the book, Handwaffen und Panzerabwehrhandwaffen der Bundeswehr – Geschichte, Taktik, Technik ("Small Arms and Hand-Held Anti-Tank Weapons") by VISIER author, Dr. Jan-P. Weisswange. The book is set to be released in October 2014 by the E.S. MITTLER & SOHN publishing house (Hamburg, Germany).