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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 requirement.
  Since 1956

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 handgun manufactured.

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 department.

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 semi-automatic rifles.


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 department.


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.