Haenel MK556 History

The MK556 is a military market AR-style assault weapon manufactured by C. G. Haenel of Germany and based on the company's earlier law enforcement-minded CR223 product (introduced in 2017). Base qualities include selective-fire modes (semi- and full-automatic fire, a finger-grooved ergonomic pistol grip, and perforated heat-dissipating forend. More modern features are Picatinny rail sections over the frame (full length) and under the forend, full optics support, and an M4-style adjustable shoulder stock. The rifle comes in four distinct barrel lengths: 10. 5", 12. 5", 14. 5", and 16".

The series was introduced by Haenel in 2020.

The action is of gas-operation (short-stroke piston with rotating bolt) and the weapon feeds from 30-round STANAG spring-loaded hard magazines in 5. 56x45mm NATO. A 100-round detachable Beta C-Mag can also be used for the fire support role. Rate-of-fire reaches 900 rounds-per-minute. The charging handle is the AR-style pull-back located at the upper rear of the frame.

The buttstock can be adjusted to six positions for operator customizability. A horizontally-slotted flash hider is set over the muzzle to control recoil and limit muzzle flash. The forend sports a tool-less removal feature and had a pair of NAR and KeyMod rails for the mounting of tactical accessories such as night-vision optics, magnifiers, laser aimers, and flashlights. The safety mechanism consists of a firing pin safety and controls are ambidextrous. The back-up iron sights are foldable and can be retained alongside the mounted tactical accessories fitted.

The MK553 was the final selection of the German Armed Forces in September of 2020 to succeed an aging like of G36 assault rifles (detailed elsewhere on this site). However, issues related to the rifle's procurement, as well as charges of patent infringement, led to the selection being withdrawn in March of 2021. The selection of the G36's replacement has now fallen to long-time German arms supplier Heckler & Koch.

Haenel MK556 Specification

BASICS

Service Year

2020

Origin

Germany

Classification

Modular Assault Weapon

MANUFACTURER(S)

C. G. Haenel GmbH - Germany

OPERATORS

Germany (police); Poland (police)

ROLES

Automatic Function

Features a mechanical function to automate the firing action.

Special Forces

Qualities of this weapon have shown its value to Special Forces elements requiring a versatile, reliable solution for the rigors of special assignments.

NOTABLE QUALITIES

COMPACT NATURE

Compact nature allows for relatively easy concealment.

SEMI-AUTO FIRE

Internal action allows release of single round per trigger pull, actuating a semi-automatic loading mechanism for successive shots.

FULL-AUTO FIRE

Internal action allows release of multiple rounds with a trigger pull in quick succession.

REPEAT-FIRE CAPABLE

An automatic, or pseudo-automatic, function is built into the system, allowing for repeat firing to be achieved.

SCOPE-CAPABLE / SIGHTING ASSIST

Supports mounting of optics (scopes) to aid in accuracy for ranged fire.

IRON SIGHTS

Supports 'iron sights' allowing for inherent accuracy in ranged fire.

CUSTOMIZEABLE

Design allows for user adjustability of certain components for customization.

ADAPTABLE

Design offers mounting points for external, after-market hardware including laser aimers, flashlights, scopes, and grips.

DIMENSIONS & WEIGHT

Overall Length

923 mm

36. 34 in

Barrel Length

408 mm

16. 06 in

Empty Wgt

7. 94 lb

3. 60 kg

Sights

Supported Optics; Back-Up, Optional Iron Front and Rear.

ACTION

Gas-Operated; Short-Stroke Piston; Selective-Fire.

Short-Stroke Piston

Type of gas operation typically found in rifle-type arms; relatively short amount of piston movement with reliance on sudden blow for quick acceleration of said piston; lever connected to the bolt is actuated, taking on the resultant energy, subsequently passing it on to the awaiting bolt.

Gas-Operated

Gas-operated system is featured, typically involving a gas cylinder and rear-driven piston directing energy to the bolt component.

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)

CARTRIDGE & FEED

Caliber(s)*

5. 56x45mm

Sample Visuals**

Rounds / Feed

30-round detachable box magazine.

*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources. **Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.

PERFORMANCE

Rate-of-Fire

900

rds/min

VARIANTS

MK556 - Base Series Designation.

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