4.6×36 mm

The 4.6×36 mm is a cartridge developed by Heckler & Koch for its experimental HK36 assault rifle of the 1970s. When the rifle was not taken into service by any military force, its ammunition was not used for any other weapon design. The main feature that set the bullet apart from its contemporaries was the use of a so-called "spoon tip" (German: Löffelspitz): the tip had a concave area on one side[1] which was intended to make the bullet "tumble" after hitting a target, in order to give it greater stopping power than such a small, high-velocity bullet would otherwise have.

4.6×36 mm
Place of originWest Germany
Production history
DesignerGunther Voss
Designedearly 1970s
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch
Case typeRimless, bottleneck
Bullet diameter4.7 mm (0.19 in)
Base diameter8.9 mm (0.35 in)
Case length36.0 mm (1.42 in)
Overall length49.5 mm (1.95 in)
Maximum pressure353 MPa (51,200 psi)
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
2.70 g (42 gr) FMJ 857 m/s (2,810 ft/s) 976 J (720 ft⋅lbf)
3.5 g (54 gr) FMJ 780 m/s (2,600 ft/s) 1,065 J (786 ft⋅lbf)
Test barrel length: 381 millimetres (15.0 in)
Source(s): Jane's Infantry Weapons 1975 [1]


In the 1970s, ammunition for military rifles saw a reduction in calibre, largely inspired by the American 5.56×45mm round used in the M16 assault rifle. In an effort to create a weapon with low recoil, low weight, a flat trajectory and a high chance of incapacitating its target,[1] Heckler & Koch designed the HK36 rifle together with the 4.6×36 mm ammunition.

Cartridge TypesEdit

Two variants of the round were developed, one with a soft core and another with a hard core, the former being intended for use against personnel, the latter against hard targets and to penetrate cover. Both were full-metal-jacketed rounds, the soft-cored bullet having a lead core while that of the hard-cored bullet was made from tungsten carbide.[1]



  1. ^ a b c d Hobart, Major F.W.A. (1975). Jane's Infantry Weapons 1975. London: Jane's Yearbooks. pp. 239–241.