Is the HK 293 Really Coming?

H&K, having decided that we don’t suck and they don’t hate us after all, is trying to bring a semi-automatic version of their G 36 rifle to the United States and worldwide market. To do this they have to leap two regulatory hurdles: authority to export the firearm from the Bundeskriminalamt, the “Federal Criminal Office” that manages the Federal Republic’s stringent weapons export laws, and then authority to import the weapon to the US, from the payroll patriots at the ATF.

Recently-delivered HK 243 of an overseas customer shows its G36 roots.

Recently-delivered HK 243 of an overseas customer shows its G36 roots.

It gets better, if you define “better” as a bigger headache for H&K officials: the US and German laws were written with no consideration of each other, and impose confusing, arbitrary, and contradictory requirements on someone trying to send a rifle from one nation to the other. Meanwhile, H&K officers don’t want to respawn the Ernst Mauch “Because You Suck. And We Hate You” era: they’re determined to make a gun worthy of their company’s good name, not the bowdlerized crap of the 1990s.

These incompatible laws result in H&K’s having to divide the small worldwide market for oddball >$2,000 semi rifles into two separate model numbers, the HK 243 for the rest of the world and the HK 293 for America. (Not sure which model goes to Canuckistan, if any).

As the situation stands now, the BKA has approved the German export license, but the ATF is the logjam. (It is possible that the H&K application is mired in the ATF’s newfound commitment to political partisanship). The weapon has all the same parts as the G36, but military G36 parts including barrels, trigger mechanisms, bolts and carriers don’t interchange (this is required by German law).

HK243_0002

The standard G36 magazine is not a NATO STANAG magazine; as you can see, it has a constant curve, better for feeding than the part-curved part-straight M16-derived NATO mag. But a clever interchangeable magwell converts the G36 (or its civilian equivalents, in the picture below an HK 243) to take the NATO magazine.

HK 243 in italy

The US model would probably hit the docks in an unsalable (but legal!) configuration and then be rebuilt for 922 (r) compliance at H&K’s Newington plant (or H&K’s partners, Wilcox) in much the way that the FN SCAR-S gets a makeover at FNH USA between its Belgian factory and its American customers. The US model is likely to be as much as $1,000 more expensive than the Euro-spec gun — think of it as a hidden §922 (r) tax.

A similarly high price has hindered the widespread adoption of the FN SCAR, an excellent weapon handicapped by having its manufacturing processes dictated by lawyers and politicians.

Correction

We were remiss not to link & credit an HK Pro thread from which we drew the pictures and distilled lots of the information this thread. It is here:

http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk-long-gun-talk/196906-hk243.html

No slight to the forum or its members was intended. The thread is a rich source of information (and speculation) about the 243 and 293.

13 thoughts on “Is the HK 293 Really Coming?

  1. Mike in Canada

    Canuckistan? Very good, sir. I’ll use that, if you don’t mind.
    I suspect strongly that the vaunted RCMP, in its finite and flawed wisdom, will take one look at a sample -293 and shortly thereafter deem it icky. There will be no gun sex for Canada (again!), at least in NR form.
    Most of us that want a semi-auto .223 (and can’t swing the Euro for a Tavor) have a Mini-14. Until the First Nations stop using them for their traplines, the Mini will never be banned here, nor even rendered Non-Restricted, lest the indians launch unseemly litigation…
    Thought you might like to know.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Funny how the guys we whites once dismissed as second-class have gotten pretty good at operating the machinery of our own governments in the interests of their freedom. Good for the indig!

      Like the USA, Canada seems to have a significant urban/rural or east/west divide on guns (or maybe it’s Torottawa/Civilization), but also has the Quebeçois/anglo divide, too. We’re building our own PQ problem down here, too, but ours is going to be the Partí Quezalcoatl that wants Anschluss with Mexico.

      The Tavor affordability problem is probably not Euro based. The Euro is weak now next to the dollar but the Loonie (that was stronger than the US one two years ago) is at a lows.

      All of these currency things are secondary. The guy who wants a Tavor or HK badly enough will find a way to get one. (The HK 243s in the article are all from an HK Pro thread and are in consumer hands or in retail stores in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Italy, of which only the first has libertarian gun control laws). I was mistaken not to link & credit the HK Pro thread. It is here:

      http://www.hkpro.com/forum/hk-long-gun-talk/196906-hk243.html

      On p. 32 or so there’s a Canadian (screen name Moe) who thinks the Mounties will bless it for import as long as HK makes it with an 18.5″ or longer barrel. (I didn’t think you lot used inches any more! I guess the RCMP has traditions to uphold, or something).

      1. Mike in Canada

        Just a note…
        The Torottawa/Civilisation divide is real and healthy and divisive as ever. If one more city person comes up here and asks if the skeet shooting will be indoors I’m honestly going to throttle someone.
        East/West is as ever the thing to watch for, since the Rockies protect BC from more than just the rest of the country.
        Inches are still used, in gun barrels, in construction, but we buy our Coke in 2L bottles like everyone else.
        Thanks for the Indig obs.

    1. Hognose Post author

      FN does, for some firearms. As I understand it the military puts some restrictions on them using their .mil stuff to make US-market civilian firearms. Probably for reasons of protectionism.

    2. gast13

      As far as I know the transfer of specialized knowledge to build weapons of war is also controlled by German export law. So you wouldn’t get around to make at least the adjustments to barrel and bolt that are required by German law.

  2. Jim Scrummy

    Hmmmm, after holding a VP9 in my hand over the Christmas Holidays, I have been saving my lunch money to buy one (about $550ish-on the web, plus shipping and FFL transfer comes to about $600 total). HK is now going to try take some more of my money? I’ll have to check in with my friend who was a German Paratrooper about his take on the G36? I like the MR556 (416) in the 3 gun configuration (and a little less price than the “regular” MR556), wonder if the 243 will be at that price point or higher?

  3. RobRoySimmons

    At first blush it looks to be a gun writer’s gun, “new, fantastic…… all groups around an inch.”

  4. Mike

    Interesting, considering the last thing we heard about the HK 243/293 was this:

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/10/22/rumor-hk-usa-sold/

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/10/22/hk-germany-export-licenses-approved/

    http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2014/09/24/germany-government-cut-arms-exports/

    Not to mention that H&K was under investigation by the german govt. for suspected arms proliferation.
    Because H&K has 100% control of what happens to them after they reach the original end user…

    1. Hognose Post author

      Horses for courses. Some will want it just because of the two letters emblazoned on it. Others, because it’s a semi version of a successful (?) military rifle. I don’t know how successful it really is. Even the Germans went AR for their precision / DMR rifle, the G28 [an accessorized 417], and their SOF have access to AR type weapons, albeit German-accented ones. I do not know which they prefer, the G36 or the 416.

      The piston system is an improvement if you’re going to run suppressed or run a very short (10″) barrel. On a 14-20″ ordinary AR barrel the DI system has the edge IMHO. I think Larry Vickers, who was involved in the early development of the 416, says the same thing.

      There are some neat little twists in HK’s ARs. Maybe that deserves a post some day.

  5. robroysimmons

    From the videos I have seen even the Brits run an AR when it counts, the Danes run an AR, the Canadians run one and for what ever reason our glorious allies in the ME run an AR, so are we close to declaring a champion yet? IMO the next champion of assault weaponry will be from the 40 watt plasma range, till then the model of free market civvy/.mil has produced the best personal weapon system.

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