German military loses lawsuit to H&K over faulty rifles that don’t shoot straight

A German army soldier from the 472nd Logistics Battalion looks through the scope of his G36 assault rifle at an improvised explosive device during a training exercise at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, June 27, 2012. U.S. Army and NATO forces conduct pre-deployment training in support of the International Security Assistance Forces of Afghanistan.

Sticking true to their market-adorned unofficial motto of “because you suck, and we hate you”, Heckler & Koch has received the nod of the German court system to stick it to their latest victim who complained about their products- the German military.

According to Zeit Online, the Bundeswehr has lost to the gun manufacturer in the court of law after complaining that their G36 rifles became inaccurate to the point of unusable when exposed to hot weather or overheating from constant firing, prompting the Ministry of Defence to demand compensation or warranty work for the subpar rifles.

However, in the Koblenz courtroom, HK was declared the winner based on their assertion that because the Defence Ministry did not make its specifications for the weapon clear enough, the gun company provided a “lowest bidder” rifle and is not responsible for compensation or repair.

The G36 -which is made famous outside of Germany due to its inclusion in countless video games- has since been dumped by the Bundeswehr, who decided in 2015 that it no longer has a place in their arsenal.

“This weapon, the way it is now constructed, has no future in German armed forces,” said von der Leyen after a parliamentary defence meeting discussing the assault rifle’s accuracy.

The G36 has been in production for around 20 years in southwestern Germany, becoming a standard issue with militaries around the world. In usage by the German military since 1997, the G36 rifle costs around $1,200 each.

The G36’s inaccuracy under high temperatures went unnoticed until German forces were deployed to Afghanistan, as they had never had to use their rifles all that intensely- let alone in hot combat conditions.

However, when accuracy became an issue after heating up barrels, the Bundeswehr complained, resulting in the dumping of the G36 and the following lawsuit.

The G36 is but one tinge of a much larger headache when it comes to Bundeswehr woes with their equipment. Of their 114 Eurofighters in stock, only 38 are operational. In the ground-attack role, only 29 of their 93 Tornado swing-wings are able to perform missions- and some of them only in the daytime due to faulty cockpit lights. Of the 22 Sea Lynx helicopters, an astounding 4 are ready to go at any time.

For Heckler & Koch, the victory in the legal proceedings stands to avert damage to their image. However, the Bundeswehr could appeal the decision- and likely will.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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