The history of HECKLER & KOCH began during the difficult
postwar period. The three engineers, Theodor Koch, Edmund Hecklers,
and Alex Seidel jointly opened an engineering office. Influenced
by the events of World War II, they first concentrated on the
manufacturing of goods that were most needed at that time,
including spare parts for the bicycle and sewing machine. In
the aftermath of World War II, the new firm would eventually
help rebuild a nation destroyed by war. Founded in an engineering
office of the former air-raid protection of the Fire Brigade
warehouse, the firm opened in January 1950, under the name
HECKLER & KOCH GmbH.
With the incorporation of the Federal Republic of Germany into
the Western Defence Alliance, the Federal German Armed Forces
was set up as a modern army with the correspondening equipment
HECKLER & KOCH decided to participate in a bid for the
new Federal German Armed Forces Infantry rifle. HECKLER & KOCH
won the rifle development called the G3, which was a milestone
in weapon development. The G3 was the standard issue assault
rifle for all German forces by the Bundeswehr of the Federal
Republic of Germany. The G3 used the unique delayed roller
locked bolt system, an operating system widely hailed today
for its strength, reliability and low recoil. It is used by
the militaryin more than fifty nations and some three million
G3’s have been produced to date.
||In the mid-1960s, HECKLER & KOCH gained
international prominence with the design and the manufacture
of the 9mm Machinenpistole
5 (MP5), soon to become the world’s most popular submachine
gun, embraced by special operations forces worldwide. A variety
of models have been added over the past thirty years but the
MP5 remains the preeminent arm of its class. During this time,
HECKLER & KOCH also perfected the polygonal profile barrel.
Deemed superior to conventional "lands-and-grooves" rifling,
the polygonal bore profile effectively seals propellant gases
behind the bullet—increasing bullet velocity. An added
advantage to the polygonal profile barrel is that it will outlast
a "lands-and-grooves barrel" by thousands of rounds.
In 1969, due to the increased need for handgun development,
a reworking of the delayed roller locked bolt system was introduced
in a pistol—the P9S. Acclaimed for its accuracy, the
P9S was officially embraced by several elite military units,
including the US navy SEALS. The most radical feature of the
P9S was its design. The receiver was designed using a newly
developed high-tech plastic composite called polymer, which
molded around a steel frame. With the development of another
polymer HECKLER & KOCH handgun, the futuristic VP70, these
models predated by more than fifteen years the introduction
of polymer framed handguns by competing firms. Also during
this time, HECKLER & KOCH proved excellent competence,
not only in weapons manufacturing, but also in other fields.
There are numerous examples of this including, the development
of the first automobile airbag, free of harmful materials.
This was accomplished with technologically new machining centers
and machining centers of new design in the metal working industry.
Also, complex electronic control units and handling systems
were used for problem materials.
||Starting from 1970
In the 70s, numerous states equipped their police and military
forces with weapons from HECKLER & KOCH. In order not
to depend on suppliers from other countries for army equipment,
many countries signed licensing contracts in cooperation
with the Federal Government.
The HECKLER & KOCH Industrial Plants Department, which
at the time operated under the title "Manufacturing under
licence", was in charge of planning and the implementation
of complete manufacturing plants. At the international level,
manufacturing shops were set up. These shops equipped soldiers
in their countries as licensors, independent of HECKLER & KOCH.
In the mid-1970s, HECKLER & KOCH received an order from
the Federal Republic of Germany, Ministry of Defense to develop
a weapon system utilizing "caseless ammunition" technology.
The breakthrough technology pioneered by HECKLER & KOCH
on the G11 and Advanced Combat Rifle was successfully tested
throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s but not adopted
for reasons related to the end of the Cold War.
HECKLER & KOCH innovation continued and, in the late 1970’s,
the HK P7 was introduced into the U.S. and international markets.
The P7 was considered quite radical in design and technology,
and today it remains the fastest and most accurate production
Starting from 1980
The 80s with HECKLER & KOCH were marked with diversification.
Due to internal requirements, the various corporate departments
had developed in the course of time. An example of this is
the department in charge of design of special tooling, or the
mechanical engineering department. Until that time, both of
these departments had successfully worked towards the HECKLER & KOCH
Manufacturing Shop. Restructuring takes place to place the
firm into a wider foundation and make it a little less dependent
on the defense material market. HECKLER & KOCH affiliate
firms, the HECKLER & KOCH Machinen and Electronic GmbH.
HECKLER & KOCH Machines, with their mechanical engineering
and industrial plants department, act as a machine tool manufacturer
with the added scope of the Industrial plants department. HECKLER & KOCH
Electronic GmbH designs and manufacturers electronic control
units for the HECKLER & KOCH Machine tools and for other
machine tool manufacturers. HECKLER & KOCH GmbH is divided
into the defense technology sector, precision technology (formerly
the special tooling design department), and the automation
During the 1980’s, the precision accuracy found on the
HK91 and its related variants, the SR9T, the SR9T and PSG1
enabled target shooters to achieve performance unmatched in
Research and development personnel
worked on the development of a new caseless rifle system for
the Federal German Armed Forces and other NATO countries. However,
the technical success of this development did not translate
into economic success. The overall economic circumstances and
the surprising non-procurement of the G11 for the Federal German
Armed Forces placed HECKLER & KOCH in a difficult situation.
In early 1990, the renowned Universal Self-loading Pistol (USP)
debuted. This was considered Heckler & Koch's first pistol
designed especially for American shooters, the USP incorporates
many traditional handgun design elements with advanced materials
and engineering technology.
HECKLER & KOCH GmbH became part of the international British
Aerospace/Royal Ordinance technology concern.
Within the scope of management buy-outs, the affiliate companies,
Machanical Engineering and Electronics, as well as the Precision
technology department, were separated from HECKLER & KOCH
GmbH. The Industrial Plants Department again became a HECKLER & KOCH
Upon exhaustive testing within the scope of their competition
for the adoption of a new standard armament, the Federal German
Armed Forces decided in favour of the two HECKLER & KOCH
products. The P8 Service Pistol and the G36 infantry rifle
were the latest security contributions "made in Oberndorf".
HECKLER & KOCH GMBH is taken over by private investors,
but the former management is maintained.
Within the scope of new structures, the Board of Shareholders
of the new owners resolves to consistently divide the economic
activities of Heckler & Koch into civilian sector and a
defense/authorities sector. The HECKLER & KOCH Jagd and
Hunting and Target weapons was founded and began its business
activities on July 1, 2003.