Hate the HK G36? Us too. (OCONUS Week: Spain Pt. 2 of 2)

g36 bolt
| January 8, 2015
Categories: Assorted Ramblings


Today we bring you part 2 (would it be dicked up if we just called this part 3?) of our, ‘Hate the Hk G36’ OCONUS piece. Jorge Tierno Rey continues with more details made from actually using the rifle, rather than just playing Call Of Duty or echoing bum scoop found on forums. Disagree with his conclusions? Let us know in the comments. Or don’t. Whatever. Mad Duo

Continued from Part One.

1. HK G36 E bolt retainer

This Marine from the Spanish Marine Corps doesn’t like the G36. Here’s why.


A G36 feature that I think is a serious problem is the lack of a bolt release latch. So anytime you need to release the bolt, for example in an emergency/fast reload, you will have to reach the less than easily accessible charging handle. It wouldn’t be a big deal if it had a good charging handle, but it doesn’t. I can’t understand why the G36 has no bolt release latch, as in any other military rifle.

2. Bolt catch lever, extended, 233596

There is a remedy for this, but I don’t like it. Because it requires you to use your trigger finger to push down on a small L-shaped piece of plastic inside the trigger guard in front of the trigger (this is an aftermarket accessory, not issued with the weapon). It could pose a safety problem more than a solution.

Regarding the magazine release lever, located in the rear of the magwell under the trigger guard, I would prefer a button at the right location as with the AR-15 style rifles. In fact, the original G36 magwell can be replaced with a magwell adapter for AR-15 magazines. Then you would have a magazine release button and you would use AR-15 mags. But actually the lever is not a big problem. You can get used to pushing the lever with your weakside thumb at the same time you grab the empty mag with your weak hand for an emergency/fast reload. In the case of a tactical reload, it won’t be so easy to reach the magazine release lever with a full magazine in your weak hand, but it’s feasible with a bit of practice.

5. Magazine release lever, extended, 202962

There is an aftermarket extended magazine release lever that extends under the trigger guard so the shooter can push it down with the trigger finger. Again it could pose a safety problem more than a solution, because the finger is pretty close to the trigger.

And what can I say about those fucktastic original G36 magazines with their characteristic retainers on the sides and that rim all around? Plainly and simply expensive and bulky! They cost 3 or 4 times more than an AR-15 mag. They are quite squared shaped, rather than rounded shaped as with other AR magazines, such as the MagPul PMAGs. They have a couple of retainers on each side so you can join mags together. But what’s the usefulness of that feature? Are you going to load 1.1 lbs more on your G36 for a long dismounted patrol? Those retainers make mags way bulkier and they are great to get mags hooked all around, even inside any mag pouch, what doesn’t facilitate reloads. And you have that damn rim all around the mag to cause more problems during reloads.

Another feature of original G36 mags I don’t fully understand is their translucent body. For sure it’s cool but its usefulness is relative. That’s good to know how many rounds are left in the mag. Period. You know, a small window on the sides would do the same in a more discreet way, as in the MagPul PMAGs.

7. HK G36 magazines

B5 Systems2

If you hate the mags as much as we do, fortunately you have at least one aftermarket option: the MagPul PMAG 30G. Those mags are cheaper and rounder, without any retainers on the sides or that disgusting rim but with an opaque body and with a small window to show how many rounds are in the mag. It seems that even HK became aware of those problems with the original G36 mags and now you can find other mag models in their catalog: without retainers, without retainers and without rim. But coming from HK I would bet prices are crazy.

9. Magazine comparison

However, probably encouraged by the abundance of cheap AR-15 mags in the market, there is a magwell adapter that replace the original G36 magwell so AR-15 magazines can be used. Not only does HK offer this magwell adapter in its catalog, but it’s now included with new models (even civilian models: in Europe it’s the HK243, in USA the HK293). You can also find a great quality magwell adapter from others such as Spuhr. The magwell adapter isn’t cheap, but switching to AR-15 mags will still save you money. Let’s do the math: Spuhr G36 magwell adapter for AR-15 magazines $350, MagPul PMAG GEN M3 AR-15 magazine $14.95, original HK G36 magazine $49.95; the magwell adapter and 10 PMAG mags will cost you the same as 10 original G36 mags. Easy choice! Besides, the magwell adapter will allow you to share AR-15 mags with, or borrow them from, any other AR-15 mags user (which includes many, many allied users). That could be pretty useful in combat and would ease logistics.

3. Magwell adapter for AR-15 magazines

What I consider a huge flaw of the HK G36 is the lack of any rail in the handguard. I am not talking about a quad-rail handguard, but at least a rail in which to mount a flashlight. I can’t understand how an assault rifle can neglect the chance to have a weapon mounted light. No excuses!

13. Handguard, aluminium, 234236

B5 Systems2

I am sure HK is aware of that unpardonable shortcoming, so they now offer handguards that allow you to install rails. And you can get an aftermarket railed handguard. The main manufacturer of upper rails and railed handguards for the HK G36 is the Swiss Brügger&Thomet. Not cheap but high quality.

12. Retractable buttstock with adjustable cheek rest, 211117

Other distinctive feature of the HK G36 is its non-adjustable folding stock. Oh, yeah, you can fold the stock over the right side! And what’s the usefulness of this feature? For sure it isn’t any help in combat. The HK G36 doesn’t become better by having a folding stock. However, you will miss an adjustable stock so you can adjust the length of pull. Again HK realized this and now offers an adjustable folding stock in their catalogue.

11. HK G36A11

There are three versions of the HK G36 with different barrel length, and different overall lengths. The HK G36 has a barrel of 18.89” and an overall length of 39.44”. The HK G36K has a barrel of 12.52” and an overall length of 32.8”. The HK G36C has a barrel of 8.98“ and an overall length of 28.19“. Though some units have a few HK G36Ks, our issued model is the HK G36, the longest one. In the XXI century, who in the hell utilizes a 5.56 NATO AR with an 18.89” barrel length? It is said the only reason why that model was chosen is it’s the only model that accepts a bayonet, and a bayonet is needed for the parades. If that were true, I would be very upset and embarrassed, because a military rifle is for fighting, not for parading.

6. HK G36KA4

The HK G36 is long, very long, and you will pay for it. It weighs 9.17 ounces more than the G36K. Despite its overall length the G36 is not bad for CQB, but no doubt the G36K is a better choice and doesn’t sacrifice too much in terminal performance.

Lastly, the fact of having an uncommon issued rifle implies you won’t have too many manufacturers offering spares or accessories, and prices will be high. That’s the case with the G36.

Those are the reasons I don’t like our issued rifle, the HK G36. If I could choose, I would get an HK 416 A5 with 11” barrel.

4. HK 416 A5 11

Men With Beards shirt 3

Spanish Translation:

Otra característica del G36 que creo que solo supone perder tiempo es la ausencia de una palanca para liberar la retenida del cierre. De forma que toda vez que necesites liberar el cierre, cuando está retenido atrás, por ejemplo en una recarga rápida/de emergencia, tendrás que alcanzar esa palanca de montar que puede ser de todo menos fácilmente accesible. No supondría un gran problema si hubiera una buena palanca de montar. No entiendo por qué el G36 no tiene una palanca de retenida del cierre para liberarlo, como en otros FUSAs.

Hay un remedio para esta carencia, pero no me gusta demasiado, porque implica utilizar el dedo del disparador para presionar hacia abajo una pequeña pieza de plástico con forma de L dentro del guardamontes delante del disparador, que se adquiere e instala aparte. Podría plantear un problema de seguridad más que una solución.

En cuanto a la palanca de la retenida del cargador, situada en la parte de atrás del brocal del cargador, bajo el guardamontes, preferiría un botón en el lugar correcto, como en los fusiles estilo AR-15. De hecho, el brocal del cargador original del G36 se puede sustituir por un adaptador del brocal del cargador para cargadores de AR-15. Entonces dispondrías de un botón de retenida del cargador y utilizarías cargadores de AR-15. Pero realmente la palanca no es un gran problema. Te puedes acostumbrar a accionar la palanca con el dedo pulgar de la mano menos fuerte al mismo tiempo que agarras el cargador vacío con la mano menos fuerte durante una recarga rápida/de emergencia. En el caso de una recarga táctica, no será tan sencillo alcanzar la palanca de la retenida del cargador con un cargador lleno en la mano menos fuerte, pero resulta viable con un poco de práctica.

Existe una palanca de la retenida del cargador extendida, que se adquiere e instala aparte, que se prolonga por debajo del guardamontes de tal forma que el tirador pueda pulsarla hacia abajo con el dedo del disparador. Nuevamente podría plantear un problema de seguridad más que una solución, porque el dedo está bastante cerca de disparador.

¿Y qué puedo decir sobre esos fantásticos cargadores originales de G36 con sus característicos enganches en los lados y ese reborde alrededor? ¡Simple y llanamente caros y voluminosos! Cuestan 3 o 4 veces más que un cargador de AR-15. Tienen una forma bastante cuadrada, en lugar de redondeada como en otros cargadores de FUSA, tales como los MagPul PMAGs. Llevan un par de enganches en cada lado para que puedas unir los cargadores entre sí. Pero ¿cuál es la utilidad de esa característica? ¿vas a cargar con medio kilo más en tu G36 durante una larga patrulla a pie? Esos enganches hacen los cargadores mucho más voluminosos y son ideales para que los cargadores se enganchen en todas partes, incluso dentro de cualquier bolsillo portacargador, lo que no facilita las recargas. Para ayudarte aún más tienes ese dichoso reborde alrededor del cargador.

Otra característica de los cargadores originales de G36 que no entiendo del todo es su cuerpo translúcido. Por supuesto que mola, pero su utilidad es relativa. Bueno es saber cuántos cartuchos quedan en el cargador. Punto. Ya sabes, una pequeña ventana a los lados haría lo mismo de una forma más discreta, como en los MagPul PMAGs.

Afortunadamente para eliminar esas características tienes una opción en el mercado, al menos una: el MagPul PMAG 30G. Esos cargadores son más baratos, de forma redondeada, sin enganches en los lados ni ese desagradable reborde alrededor, con cuerpo opaco, y con una pequeña ventana para saber cuántos cartuchos hay en el cargador. Parece que incluso HK se dio cuenta de esos problemas con los cargadores originales de G36 y ahora puedes encontrar otros modelos de cargador en su catálogo: sin enganches, sin enganches y sin reborde. Pero viniendo de HK apostaría que los precios son de locos.

No obstante, fomentado por la abundancia de cargadores de AR-15 en el mercado, supongo, existe un adaptador del brocal del cargador que sustituye al brocal del cargador original del G36 de forma que puedan utilizarse cargadores de AR-15, que están por todas partes en grandes cantidades por un precio mucho más barato. No sólo HK tiene este adaptador del brocal del cargador en su catálogo, sino que además viene incluido en los nuevos modelos, dicen que incluso en los modelos civiles de G36 (en Europa HK243, en EE.UU. HK293). También puedes encontrar un adaptador de gran calidad de otros fabricantes tales como Spuhr. Aunque el adaptador del brocal del cargador no es barato, si te compras unos cuantos cargadores de AR-15 incluso te ahorrarás dinero. Hágamos cuentas: adaptador del brocal del cargador del G36 para cargadores de AR-15 Spuhr $350, cargador de AR-15 MagPul PMAG GEN M3 $14.95, cargador original de HK G36 $49.95; el adaptador y 10 cargadores PMAG te costarán lo mismo que 10 cargadores originales de G36. ¡Fácil elección! Asimismo, el adaptador te permitirá compartir cargadores de AR-15 con, o tomarlos prestados de, cualquier otro usuario de cargadores de AR-15 (muchos muchos usuarios aliados). Eso podría resultar muy útil en combate y facilitaría la logística.

Lo que me parece un fallo enorme del HK G36 es la ausencia de ningún raíl en el guardamanos. No me refiero a un guardamanos de cuatro raíles, pero por lo menos un raíl en el que montar una linterna. No comprendo cómo un fusil de asalto puede negar la posibilidad de llevar una linterna montada en el arma. ¡No hay excusas que valgan!

Estoy convencido de que HK es consciente de este imperdonable error, por lo que ahora ofrecen guardamanos que te permiten la instalación de raíles. Además, en el mercado puedes hacerte con un guardamanos con raíles. El principal fabricante de raíles superiores y guardamanos con raíles para el HK G36 es el suizo Brügger&Thomet. No es demasiado barato pero si de alta calidad.

Otra característica distintiva del HK G36 es la culata plegable no ajustable. ¡Oh, vaya, puedes plegar la culata sobre el lado derecho! ¿Y cuál es la utilidad de esta característica? Seguro que no es de ninguna ayuda para combatir con este FUSA. El HK G36 no se convierte en un FUSA mejor por tener una culata plegable. Sin embargo, echarás en falta una culata ajustable de forma que puedas ajustar la longitud de culata. Una vez más HK se da cuenta de eso y ahora ofrece en su catálogo una culata plegable ajustable.

Existen tres versiones del HK G36 con diferente longitud de cañón, y por tanto diferente longitud total. El HK G36 tiene un cañón de 48 cm. y una longitud total de 100’2 cm. El HK G36K tiene un cañón de  31’8 cm. y una longitud total de 83’3 cm. El HK G36C tiene un cañón de 22’8 cm. y una longitud total de 71’6 cm. Aunque algunas unidades disponen de unos cuantos HK G36K, nuestro modelo reglamentario es el HK G36, el más largo. En el siglo XXI, ¿quién diablos utiliza un FUSA 5’56 OTAN con una longitud de cañón de 48 cm.? Dicen que la única razón por la que se eligió ese modelo es que es el único modelo que admite bayoneta, y la bayoneta es necesaria para los desfiles. Si eso fuera cierto, me sentiría muy dolido y avergonzado, porque un FUSA es para combatir, no para desfilar.

El HK G36 es largo, muy largo, y pagarás por ello. Pesa 260 gramos más que el G36K. A pesar de su longitud total el G36 no supone un problema para CQB, pero sin duda el G36K es una mejor elección y no se sacrifica demasiado en rendimiento terminal.

Por último, el hecho de contar con un FUSA reglamentario poco habitual implica que no dispondrás de demasiados fabricantes de los que conseguir piezas o accesorios y los precios serán elevados. Ese es el caso del G36.

Esas son las razones por las que no me gusta nuestro FUSA reglamentario, el HK G36. Si pudiera elegir, me quedaría con un HK 416 A5 con cañón de 28 cm. (11”).

Jorge es infante de marina desde 1999. Es un experto en la materia en nada y muy probablemente normalmente hable de lo que no sabe. No tiene ninguna experiencia real en combate. No ha asistido a ningún curso de formación con armas de fuego y se entrena a sí mismo según lo que lee/escucha/ve. En 2011 fundó un Blog (tirotactico.net) cuyo principal propósito es compartir información en español sobre el combate con armas de fuego.


About the Author:

Jorge Tierno Rey has been a Marine in Spain’s Marine Corps since 1999. He claims to be “an SME in nothing,” but rather is just passionate about learning as much of the Noble Profession of Arms as possible and training when he can. According to him, he “very likely talks about what he doesn’t know, has no real combat experience, has not attended firearms training courses and trains by himself based what he reads/hears/watches.” He’s just damned passionate about what he does and about improving himself. Rey edits El Blog de Tiro TácticoYou can read more there



  1. lince

    De acuerdo con respecto a elementos de puntería ,cargadores y culata, lo demás pienso es cuestión de adiestramiento.
    recargas tácticas y de combate no suponen problema alguno, de hecho la palanca de reten del cargador es mas accesible que los botones (scar-m4, etc). Creo que comprar estos fusas fue algo con tintes políticos (acercamiento a Alemania). Respecto al largo del cañón se decidió así teniendo en cuenta la doctrina de aquel momento, todavía no se había pasado al combate cercano y a las unidades con un adiestramiento intensivo en esa distancia ,andábamos con la doctrina de combate desarrollado a medias distancias y en áreas abiertas.
    Resumiendo buen fusil , seguro,fiable,eficaz para un soldado con adiestramiento medio.
    los alemanes al parecer la queja erasobrecalentamiento sobre todo de cañon y guardamanos, al parecer y por una vez en los mencionados la fabricacion de los cañones no era del todo correcta, los fabricados en España no tienen ese problema , al menos en mi experiencia utilizo distintas unidades en cada despliege no se da ese caso en los ejercicios, tambien es cierto que solo he llegado a disparar cinco cargadores consecutivos.
    un saludo.

  2. Jake

    Uh…does the writer realize that once he adds an optic to his dream gun, it’ll weigh more than the G36 he so strongly dislikes? And that’s the G36 with railed handguard, collapsible stock, etc.

  3. Jorge Tierno Rey

    Guys, thanks for the comments.

    I am aware of 5.56 terminal ballistics. Indeed bullet velocity implies nearly no fragmentation when velocity is maybe under 700 m/s or something like that. That happens both with the 19″ bbl and the 12″ bbl by a small difference according to the chart (I haven’t measured velocities by myself), but I don’t pretend hitting targets farther than 200 meters with an AR in 5.56.

  4. Cristian

    Un artículo fantástico, con muchos datos objetivos que dejan de lado caprichos personales( este me gusta porque sí, este no me gusta porque no).

    Solo añadiría que la bayoneta no es para desfilar sino para combatir.

    Un saludo desde Bilbao.

    • Toni

      Que la bayoneta es para combatir? En el siglo 20, no?

  5. Daniel

    The mag release lever can be easily triggered by extending the middle finger of the firing hand, without losing grip of the rifle, and while doing other things with the left hand (like getting a new mag from the vest). This technique is actually very easy to master if you practice just a little bit (I’m talking of less than 1 hour).

  6. Henry

    I think, the stock version is a pain in the ass, though it has some major improvements compared to – e.g.- the HK G3. Unfortunately it is standard issue for regular troops, other versions are mostly in use by special forces or PMC I would prefer a HK G36C with some custom attachements, sth like shown above, though it is not recommended for long range engangements but serves well for CQB. Personally I don’t think the future combat will take place mainly on wide open plains as stated in the basic training courses.

    Btw. I think, other rifle manufacturers have in their stock versions similar/other restrictions, so you can’t blame HK.

    Concluding – I love the G36!

  7. Juan


    I am a civilian amateur, but quite a focused one in small arms evolution in XXI century. I share part of your vision, but I don’t agree with every point. I think that the disagreements are more interesting:

    1. Barrel lenght. As Caleb said, it is quite important when using SS109. As you know, effectiveness of SS109 depends on tumbling AND fragmenting, above all the second one. Tumbling fragments the bullet if it is over certain speed, creating a greater permanent cavity and more tissue damage. Of course, that speed is related with barrel lenght. M4 14″ has this barrier approximatedly at 200m, sometimes even less. If the bullet don’t fragment, permanent cavity is almost as small as the bullet caliber, and because of that the % of incapacitation is quite small unless it hits central nervous system or heart. And you want the adversary incapacitated for firing you

    Besides that, the worst problems of G36 as far as German Government finally admitted are barrel lightness and, as you pointed out, permanent deformation of both trunnion and optics mount after firing a couple of magazines. I have read somewhere that this problem can be solved using a thermal shield and maybe with a heavy barrel (which AFAIK is not offered after dismal reception of MG36). This losing of zero is really a serious problem of the system, since the operator cannot always restrain himself to certain rate of fire.

    The deepest problem is ammunition. Even M855A1 has not solved the unsurmountable shortcomings of SS109, since it is too light both for effective fire at 600m and for obtaining satisfactory rates of incapacitation. The last projects and initiatives at ARDEC and other American agencies points to a replacement with a heavier, bigger caliber between 6.5 and 7mm, possibly using polymer cases and even maybe with telescoped cases technologies. Only with a real ammunition change could be achieved an actual improvement over the foreseable enemies.

    Congratulations for your paper,


  8. rufus

    Did a job overseas and was issued a G36K not a bad starting platform but trying to buy parts from HK was a no no.

  9. Kevin

    Just because the US Marine Corps and the Canadian Army are too cheap to do away with their broomhandle-length rifles does not mean that they are not too long ….

    • Caleb

      This is a recent study that lays out barrel length vs. velocity pretty clearly with 5.56: http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=1093

      The big takeaway is that short barrel lengths produce a velocity at the muzzle that barely make the required fps to reliably create a lethal wound channel. When you get into the hundreds of meters that velocity drops off very quickly. What may seem like a small number (40 m/s is what you quoted) actually buys a weapon with a longer barrel significantly more lethal range than a shorter rifle.

      Read the study. I think you’ll find it very informative 🙂

  10. Caleb

    In the XXI century, front line combat troops in US Marine Corps and the Canadian Army both use 20 inch barrels and generally are well served by them in Afghanistan.

    There is a LOT of difference in bullet performance between a 10-12 inch barrel and a 19-20 inch barrel with 5.56 ammunition. “Commando” style troops use the shorter barrels because they are specialists and it’s a specialist’s weapon. The average grunt would not be as well served by them.

    • Marcus Wagner

      All good points on the flaws of the G36. you have to Keep in mind it is a early 1990s design and was at the time of it’s first issue in the German amd Spanish armies a leap ahead from the G3 and CETME. It is head and shoulders above the SA80/FAMAS M16 A2 or A4 but Needs some Upgrades to stay relevant today! I started out with a G3 in Basic and loved it,especially the Mountain Infabtry/Airboren Version with the retractable stock (yeah I know most of you guys hate it, but it just fits me like a glove!) I did 3 KFOR tours in Kosovo and 3 Combat tours in Afghanistan with the G36 and it never crapped out on me. If you put a rail on the handguard for a light and VFG and replace the sights with your choice of Aimppoint /ACOG you are golden. The issue of the stock and troops wearing Body armor has been adressed by HK but most armies are to cheap to buy the Upgrades!Let me Close by saying that when I had a choice and got the Chance to carry a modified G3 (S&B 1-short dot,B&T rails and handguard,modified Retractable stock)on my last deplyoment As an ANA infantry Mentor -my G36 hardly ever left the base with me!7.62 is still the better round for mid range + Engagements!



  1. Hate the HK G36? Us too. (OCONUS Week: Spain Pt. 2 of 2) | Guns Ammo and Tactical Gear Blog - […] Source Article from https://www.breachbangclear.com/hate-the-hk-g36-us-too-oconus-week-spain-pt-2-of-2/ […]

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