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Heckler and Koch GmBH

Heckler & Koch GmbH

HK Factory Sign

Heckler & Koch, GmbH. The company that has singularly come to symbolize the pinnacle of modern firearms engineering. GmbH is the German abbreviation for "Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung", or roughly translated, "Corporation with limited liability" would be the English counterpart.  In existence since 1949, there is remarkably little information about the founders or the history of the company, other than what has been written as generalization in countless articles that focus more on the unique quality of their firearms. There is even a dearth of photographs of the factory, but here you will see many images of production that you have never seen before. Heckler & Koch is currently owned by a consortium of investors, three German and one British.  Two of the German investors are longtime employees/managers, and since taking over the company from Royal Ordnance, a subsidiary of British Aerospace Engineering, in December, 2002, they have been busy expanding their reach.  Plans were just announced in August, 2003 for a United States manufacturing facility in Columbus, Georgia.We will start with an aerial shot of the Oberndorf am Neckar Plant. Am Neckar means that Oberndorf is located near the Neckar River in southern Germany, south of Stuttgart. It is in the "state" of Baden Württemberg, more like a large county in United States vernacular. You will see on many of your HK firearms: "HK GmbH Oberndorf" ...now you know what that means.


HK Factory Aerial View This aerial shot of the factory has been included in much HK literature over the years.   A recent brochure acquisition with a newer photo shows that little has changed.  One of the unique aspects of this factory, and I suspect with many German workplaces, is the close proximity of residences to the factory itself.  Many of the employees live on site, or within walking distance.  I cannot comment on what part of the operation is located where.
Factory Gate
Side Entrance Gate at the plant in Oberndorf
Racks of USCs and partially assembled G36 rifles at the Abstellplatz Reinigung.  Roughly translated this means "place for future cleaning" or I would suspect holding area/cleaning would be the more likely English translation.
Receivers Rear view of HK factory employee manufacturing receivers.  Judging by the size of the magazine well, I believe they are G3 receivers.  He is operating a press that stamps the steel into forms that are then welded together.  You can see by the bottom receiver that there is no weld holding the two halves together as of yet.
Imagine getting paid to empty magazines of ammunition into a test firing chamber.  Though I suspect that it would be fun for awhile, I would wager that it gets pretty tedious before long.  Especially with .308!  Shown is a rack of G3 Automatic Rifles with aluminum magazines and green furniture.  He is function testing for reliability.  Below are photos of accuracy testing. Test Fire
Test Fire 1 Machine rest testing of G3 rifles.  Each rifle is subjected to rigorous testing prior to final inspection, which comes from the Ulm Proof House in Ulm, Germany.
Hammer Forge
Factory Floor
Barrel insertion into hammer forging machine. View of massive factory floor machinery. Diamond bbl. honing machinery.  Look for employee.
Closeup of P9S slide being manufactured in this early 1980s photo.  The cutting wheel is clearly visible.
P7 A rack of P7 series frames are manufactured.  The P7 pistol is manufactured in threes, as are many other of the HK handgun line.  There is a rare factory video that shows this process in action.
Herr Epp, left and Günter Schäfer. Herr Epp is a manager of testing and evaluation. Herr Schäfer is (or was then) chief gunsmith at HK. He has appeared in numerous HK brochures as a German soldier, sporting the weapon being highlighted by the given brochure. He has since been replaced by another unnamed HK employee.   The rifle that Herr Epp is holding appears to be a GR series rifle, with perhaps a permanent optical sight.  I don't see a front sight on this rifle.  This is what leads me to believe it may be a GR series rifle.  Do you see one?   Behind them is a rack of HK69 grenade launchers. EPP
USP Slides
Stainless USP slides being measured for size accuracy and straightness.
USP Match
Rack of USP Match Pistols being test fired at the Oberndorf plant.
Engineers in Oberndorf with CAD model of PDW on computer screen.