First Practical Test of the Heckler & Koch HK 433 Assault Rifle

Nearly four months have passed since the HK 433 assault rifle was introduced at the Enforce Tac 2017 trade fair for law enforcement, security, and tactical solutions. At the time, the pilot series model of the modular assault rifle was still concealed behind a glass case.

The time frame for tendering for the new and prestigious German Armed Forces assault rifle is narrowing more and more. The German Armed Forces are planning to replace the previous standard G36 rifle with a more modern system, starting from 2019. It seems certain that Heckler & Koch will be relying on the new HK 433, which is designed to perfectly amalgamate the strengths of the G36 and the HK 416.

Characteristics of the HK 433 assault rifle from Heckler & Koch

The upper receiver of the HK 433 is made of a light alloy, which turns out to be even more torsion-resistant than the G35 plastic one. In addition to the black model that we were provided with, there are also plans for a green-brown version – more commonly known as “Flat Dark Earth.”

The shooter will have a choice of 6 different barrel lengths: 280 mm (11"), 318 mm (12.5"), 368 mm (14.5"), 421 mm (16.5"), 480 mm (18.9"), and 503 mm (20"). The various barrel lengths can be easily changed over by the user.

We had the pleasure of testing the universally useful 14.5" / 368 mm barrel length, which represents a good compromise between ballistic performance and ease of handling, resulting in a firearm weight of about 3,400 grams. The total length is about 93 cm, and around 63 cm with the stock folded. It is still possible to shoot the assault rifle in an emergency when in this condition, as the folding stock does not cover the ejection port.

In the firearm we tested, the magazine release was a lever on the magazine well – as in the G36. As an option, the in-house metal HRM (highly reliable magazine) can also be operated by pressing a button on the magazine well.

Right side of the HK 433
The HK 433 we tested relies on a universal purpose barrel length of 14.5" / 368 mm. The stock length can be adapted to the user’s body size and protective equipment.

There are five different settings for the stock length, depending on body size and protective equipment. The height of the cheek rest can also be adjusted, which – along with the considerable number of available sights and their different heights – is certainly a valuable feature.

In every case, the selector level, bolt catch, and magazine release are designed for being used by both left-handers and right-handers.

Loading lever of the HK 433 assault rifle from Heckler & Koch
The cocking handle of the HK 433 assault rifle can be easily moved from right to left, without using a tool.

An HK employee showed us how easy it was to move the cocking handle from right to left without using a tool. Handling safety is emphasized as well: It is possible to have the firearm in safe condition in any situation, and the weapon complies with NATO AC 225/D14 drop resistance, both with safety on and off.

The HK engineers have also provided the HK 433 with a maintenance-free shot counter, which will later be able to provide information on the shots fired and associated preventive maintenance as well.

Practical test with the Heckler & Koch HK 433

The small group of professionals who were taking part in the Special Forces Workshop were naturally curious: what is it like to shoot with the new HK assault rifle?

The rate of fully automatic firing has been reduced to 700 rounds per minute (compared to around 850 round/minute for the HK 416). Along with the straight recoil movement, this reduces muzzle climbing.

We found the trigger to be particularly good. According to factory specifications, it is supposed to break at around 2,400 g, but it proved to have a very short reset, making it possible to quickly fire a follow-up shot in semi-automatic mode.

Another plus was the fact that the trigger has a positive reset force that made a good impression. Moreover, there were no malfunctions when emptying several 20 to 30-shot magazines.

Conclusions on the HK 433 from Heckler & Koch

In our opinion, the HK 433 is characterized by both a high level of finish as well as adjustable ergonomics stemming from time-tested technology. For this reason, the modular HK 433 from Heckler & Koch could well be one of the best candidates for the new assault rifle for the German Armed Forces.

Left side of the HK 433 assault rifle
The operating principle of the magazine release lever on the HK 433 is the same of the G36 from Heckler & Koch. As an option a button release on the magazine well is also available. In this way the user has a choice, depending on the training concept.

Technical Data of the Heckler & Koch HK433 assault rifle

Manufacturer:Heckler & Koch
Caliber:5,56x45 mm NATO
Operating principle:Gas-operated
Modes of fire:Single fire/full auto
Magazine capacity:30 rounds
Rate of fire:approx. 700 rpm
Barrel length:11" / 12,5" / 14,5" / 16,5 " / 18,9" / 20"
Weight:3.250 g - 3.650 g
Buttstock :

You can find more information on Heckler & Koch military firearms directly on the website of the German company.

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