Heckler & Koch HK33

  (Redirected from Type 11 assault rifle)

The HK33 is a 5.56mm assault rifle developed in the 1960s by West German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K), primarily for export.

Heckler & Koch HK33
HK33A2 Flickr (yet another finn).jpg
The HK33 SG1 with a Trijicon ACOG optical sight.
TypeAssault rifle
Place of originWest Germany
Service history
In service1968–present
Used bySee Users
Production history
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch,
Produced1968–2006 (H&K)
1999-present (MKEK)[1]
VariantsSee Variants
MassHK33A2: 3.65 kg (8.05 lb)[2]
HK33A3: 4.0 kg (8.8 lb)
HK33KA3: 3.9 kg (8.6 lb)
HK53: 3.05 kg (6.7 lb)
LengthHK33A2: 920 mm (36.2 in)
HK33A3: 940 mm (37.0 in) stock extended / 735 mm (28.9 in) stock collapsed
HK33KA3: 865 mm (34.1 in) stock extended / 675 mm (26.6 in) stock collapsed
HK53: 755 mm (29.7 in) stock extended / 563 mm (22.2 in) stock collapsed
Barrel lengthHK33A2: 390 mm (15.4 in)
HK33KA3: 332 mm (13.1 in)
HK53: 211 mm (8.3 in)

Cartridge5.56×45mm NATO
ActionRoller-delayed blowback
Rate of fireHK33A2: 750 rounds/min
HK53: 700 rounds/min
Muzzle velocityHK33A2: 950 m/s (3,117 ft/s)
HK33KA3: 880 m/s (2,887.1 ft/s)
HK53: 750 m/s (2,460.6 ft/s)
Effective firing range100–400 m (328–1,312 ft) sight adjustments
Feed system25-, 30-, or 40-round detachable box magazine
SightsRotary rear aperture drum, hooded foresight

Building on the success of their G3 design, the company developed a family of small arms (all using the G3 operating principle and basic design concept) consisting of four types of firearms: the first type, chambered in 7.62×51mm NATO; the second, using the Soviet 7.62×39mm M43 round; third, the intermediate 5.56×45mm calibre; and the fourth type, chambered for the 9×19mm Parabellum pistol cartridge.

The HK33 series of rifles were adopted by the Brazilian Air Force (Força Aérea Brasileira or FAB), the armed forces of Thailand and Malaysia where they were produced under a licence agreement. The rifle was also licence-built in Turkey by MKEK, and exported from France branded as MAS but actually made in Germany.

Design detailsEdit

Operating mechanismEdit

The HK33 is a selective fire weapon with Heckler & Koch's roller-delayed blowback system of operation. It employs a two-piece bolt consisting of a bolt head with a pair of rollers and bolt carrier. Upon firing, the two cylindrical rollers in the bolt head are cammed inward by inclined surfaces of the barrel extension and impart a rearward motion on the locking piece, which also propels the bolt carrier rearward. This built-in mechanical disadvantage delays the movement of the bolt head relative to the bolt carrier which is withdrawing at four times the velocity of the bolt. The rollers soon compress entirely into the bolt head, clearing the locking recesses of the barrel extension, and both parts now continue rearward together, opening the breech and actuating the extraction and feeding cycles. The chamber is opened under very high pressure, thus the chamber received a series of flutes in order to increase extraction reliability and prevent sticking of the spent casing to the chamber walls.


From left to right: receiver with barrel and sights; bolt and bolt carrier assembly; pistol grip/trigger pack; return spring; stock with sling; magazine; and hand guard.

The bolt also contains a spring extractor, an anti-bounce device (that prevents the bolt from being deflected after impacting the barrel breech) and a buffer. The ejector lever was installed in the trigger housing and is actuated by the recoiling bolt.

The HK33 has a conventional hammer-type firing mechanism. In the standard version, the rifle comes equipped with an ambidextrous trigger group with a selector lever that is simultaneously the weapon's safety (it has three positions: "S" or "0"—weapon is safe, "E"/"1"—semiautomatic fire, "F"/"25"—continuous fire). The "safe" setting mechanically disables the trigger. The trigger groups can be swapped out to meet the user's specific mission requirements. H&K offers several different trigger assemblies: a three-shot burst fire control group with selector lever/safety (selector settings: "0" weapon is safe, "1" single fire, "2" 2-round burst or "3" 3-round burst; the selector lever is ambidextrous); a "Navy" trigger unit (three settings: safe, semi and full auto fire) and a four-position trigger group (selector settings: safe, single fire, 3-round burst and automatic fire).

The rifle is fed from 20, 25-round steel magazines weighing 250 g or 40-round aluminum magazines (weighing 157 g). 30-round arch magazines were also introduced for use with the rifle. MKEK made rifles are issued with 30-round polymer magazines.

The barrel is equipped with a slotted flash suppressor that enables the use of rifle grenades and supports a standard G3-type bayonet that mounts above the barrel.

During its production life the rifle received several minor improvements (these modified weapons are sometimes referred to collectively as the HK33E). The fixed stock was strengthened and the synthetic forearm replaced with a handguard that allows a lightweight bipod to be attached and stowed into two grooves at the base. The shoulder pad in rifles fitted with a telescopic stock was changed to a concave type used thus far in the MP5 series. Initially the rifle was produced with a 305 mm (1:12 in) twist rate barrel, which was later upgraded to the faster 178 mm (1:7 in) twist rate (used to stabilize new, heavier NATO-standard SS109/M855 ammunition).

The rifle is disassembled into the following components for maintenance: the receiver/barrel, stock with return spring, bolt assembly and trigger pack in pistol grip.


The weapon is aimed using adjustable iron sights with a rotating rear drum (corrected mechanically for windage and elevation) that contains an open square notch used for immediate firing at 100 m and three apertures for 200, 300 and 400 m. The receiver top cover has a series of notches designed to accept a clamping mount (standard with the HK33, G3, G3SG/1 and MP5) for use with optical sights (typically the Hensoldt 4×24 scope) or a night vision device.


Included with the rifle are a detachable bipod, bayonet (from the G3), sling, cleaning kit and a magazine loader. Additionally, the HK33 can be used to mount a 40 mm under-barrel HK79 grenade launcher or a blank-firing adaptor.


Variant with a rigid synthetic stock.
An accurized model; equipped with a telescopic sight and improved trigger analogous to the one used in the G3SG/1.
Standard rifle but with telescoping metal stock.
Carbine version with barrel reduced in length to the base of the front sight post; also equipped with a folding metal stock. Due to the short barrel, the HK33KA3 cannot be used to launch rifle grenades or mount a bayonet.
Compact version of the HK33K. Has a short 211 mm (8.3-inch) barrel, a forearm derived from the MP5 submachine gun and a telescopic shoulder stock or receiver endplate cover (later models also received a four-prong flash hider).
Light machine gun. It is fed from either box or drum magazines (the latter has a 100-round capacity), has a quick-change heavy barrel for sustained fire, shrouded with a sheet metal heat guard (replacing the synthetic forearm) and a 2-point bipod adapter.
Type 11
A derivative of the HK33 manufactured in Thailand by the Ministry of National Defence for use by the Thai armed forces. A bullpup variant also exists with M16 sights and foregrip for close combat in jungle environments.[3]
A Myanmar-made assault rifle version of the HK33 by KaPaSa in cooperation with Myanmar Fritz Werner Industries alongside engineers from the Electro-Mechanical and Engineering Corps of the Army of Myanmar (EMEC), which was fielded from the late 90s to early 2000s[4][5] A bayonet can be mounted underneath the barrel.[5] It can use STANAG-adapted magazines.[6]
A Myanmar-made light machine gun of the HK33 made under license by KaPaSa in cooperation with Myanmar Fritz Werner Industries alongside engineers from the Electro-Mechanical and Engineering Corps of the Army of Myanmar (EMEC), which had a heavy barrel and bipod with a carry handle.[4][5] It can use STANAG-adapted magazines.[6]

Sporting variantsEdit

The Heckler & Koch HK43 is a semi-automatic rifle based upon the Heckler & Koch HK33 rifle and is the predecessor of the Heckler & Koch HK93.

Heckler & Koch also manufactured a semi-automatic only variant of the HK33A2 for the civilian market called the Heckler & Koch HK43. It would be succeeded by the HK93A2 and its retractable stock version the HK93A3.

Civilian semi-automatic sporting version produced by Century International Arms, Inc. It comes with an 18.9 or 16.25-inch (413 mm) barrel with a 1:9 twist ratio. A carrying handle and 40-round magazine are standard. Advertised weight is 8.2 lbs. The C-93 is built from Thai Type-11 parts kits using an American made barrel and other miscellaneous American parts.

Combat historyEdit

A copy of the Heckler & Koch HK33 was built under licence by Harrington & Richardson as T223 during the Vietnam War. Although heavier than the M16, it was used in small numbers by SEAL teams due to its available 40-round magazine.[7] In Myanmar, the Karen National Liberation Army fielded government-made HK33s.[8] Thai government units fielded HK33s during the South Thailand insurgency.[9] Some of these rifles were seized by groups such as the Patani United Liberation Organisation[10] or the Gerakan Mujahidin Islam Patani.[11] The Kurdistan Workers' Party often claimed it seized HK33s from the Turkish forces.[12]


An Ecuadoran Marine armed with an HK33E rifle.
A Chilean Marine (right) aiming the HK33A2 during training alongside U.S. Marines.

See alsoEdit


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  6. ^ a b The World's Assault Rifles by Johnson and Nelson, Page 217.
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  12. ^ "HPG / PKK : the balance of war for the year 2012". 3 October 2013. Archived from the original on 6 March 2019. Retrieved 6 March 2019.
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  17. ^ "GIGN in a 2010 exercise". Retrieved 5 April 2019.
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External linksEdit