Heckler & Koch G11 – Assault Rifle (Prototype Weapon)


The H&K G11 series started development in the late 1960s when the West German government decided to replace the G3 series of rifles. They would be intended for the Bundeswehr and other NATO partners. G11 prototypes were developed and field tested in the 1970s and 80s, with final production models finished in the late 80s and early 90s. The rifle was created by Heckler & Koch, while its unique caseless ammunition was developed by Dynamit Nobel, and target identification optic systems by Hensoldt Wetzlar. The shape is unconventional, and the design as a whole is very complex. The action of the G11 is a piece of fine German engineering. The action rotates 90 degrees after firing, and accepts the new round before rotating back 90 degrees to lock and fire again. The rifle has 3 fire modes – semi-automatic, 3-shot burst and fully-automatic. For full-auto, the rifle would shoot at a controllable rate of 600 rounds per minute, while for 3-shot burst the rate of fire would increase to 2000 rounds per minute. This high rate of fire would allow three shots to be fired before the recoil hit the shooter, and allowed for greater hit probability. The 4.7mm caseless ammunition was a solid block of powder propellant, with the bullet set inside. This block was covered in a flammable coating and had a primer glued onto the rear. There were some speculations during testing that the caseless round could crack or chip during combat, which would cause malfunctions. The rifle and its caseless ammunition were abandoned by the German government after the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990. Only 1000 units were ever produced, some of which were used by the Bundeswehr, and testing by the US Army in 1990 in the ACR program. In the end, the G36 was chosen as the replacement for the G3, and as of 2000, all development and testing of the rifle have ceased. Subscribe to our channel for more animated history videos! Get Simple History: The Cold War out today! Thank you for all your support on the Simple History YouTube channel! If you enjoy the channel, please consider supporting us at Patreon.

100 thoughts on “Heckler & Koch G11 – Assault Rifle (Prototype Weapon)

  1. The most interesting thing about this rifle is how you loaded it. You put the magazine where the barrel normally is, only it’s more complex than I can fully explain, so I’m sorry if I offend someone by not knowing or by some other reason

  2. Also a fun fact: the G11 is still in use by the German Police. Obviously not everyone gets one, all the time, everywhere, but I’d say there’s a good 100 of them in use.

  3. The Bundeswehr took the G36 instead, which turned out to have problems when used over longer time in hot environment.

  4. I saw this gun in the Wehrtechnischen Sammlung in Koblenz. It is in my eyes coolest rifle in the whole world and it is an absolute shame it didn't get adopted by the Bundeswehr.

  5. Such a shame… this is one of my favourite weapon designs. And the concept of caseless ammunition was a great one as the battlefield would no longer be littered with spent bullets. I'm hoping caseless weapons would get a time to shine again…

  6. This thing is SHOCKINGLY COMPLICATED inside. Often called "the clock that was taught to shoot". Honestly it would take a clock maker to fix one of these things.

  7. This is really awesome but one thing that American solider has his flag on backwards it’s supposed to have the stars face to the Chest and the stripes facing to the back as if it were flying in the wind as the solider runs

  8. Ahhh man the good old call of duty history
    like this comment for me to return back to call of duty instead of battlefield

  9. I was inside The Grey Room and got to fondle the G11 variants they had on display. Very odd yet somewhat comfy ergonomics, but still VERY (and unnecessarily) bulky/awkward to handle.

  10. If you’ve seen the actual inner-workings of the G11, it’s the deadliest clock ever made lmao 😂.

  11. The G11 looks like something that Nintendo would make like the Zapper or people like The Angry Videogame Nerd would call it the gun

  12. The US & probably the rest of the world have no idea what secret weapons Germany it’s still secretly manufacturing to this very day.

  13. You forgot to mention that the last version could put 2 additional magazines besides the one in use and makes it possible to have 150 rounds on the gun

  14. Shut up gaming nerds. Try loading, firing and actually hitting a target without pissing down the front of your And1 shorts. Don't forget to make sure that your man bun is tied off properly. Generation Queefs.

  15. Kraut space magic. As an armorer, I don't even want to think of the maintenance necessary to keep such fine clockwork running in the harsh conditions of the battlefield.

  16. 1:09 similar situation with Russian AN-94 “Abakan”, the rate of fire in auto mode of AN-94 is 600 rounds per minute and the rate of fire in burst auto with cutoff in 2 bullets is 1800 rpm

  17. The US Army took a really good look at the G11, among other rifles, to replace the M16. A soldier could carry almost four times the amount of ammunition for the same weight. Ammo is heavy and the more you carry the more it slows you down. Caseless ammo is extremely compact.

    One problem came from not being able to reload bricks of caseless ammo in the field. All caseless ammo is factory compressed and you can't load individual cartridges in emergencies. The worst obvious aspect as stated above is the firing mechanisms were very difficult to field strip and clean. The M16 can be field stripped in a minute with training and is very easy to clean once disassembled.

    Ultimately, the US Military chose to stick with the M16 and later it turned in to the M4 platform with much more customization.

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