Modularity is all the rage for 21st century weapons. Multi-caliber with multiple barrel lengths sporting multiple optical systems for multiple missions. Heckler & Koch is somewhere shaking their heads because they did this in the 50’s when they built their modular receiver and trigger group weapon systems. The belt-fed version is the HK21.
While the G3 succeeded the German adopted variant of the FAL and the MP5 has international worldwide success the HK21 didn’t see nearly as much service adoption. The German defense forces didn’t need the HK21, they just built a new version of the MG42 in 7.62 NATO dubbed the MG3.
The HK21 was built for other clients, like Portugal, who didn’t have a domestic GPMG, whose soldiers were likely conscript level, and who were using the G3 as a service rifle. The commonality in the manual of arms and low level ease of maintenance allowed the beltfed to be easily integrated into existing services equipped with H&K roller lock weapons.
In the video above Ian (Forgotten Weapons) takes the 21 out to the range for a little time behind the trigger.
Personally, having a 21 would be fantastic fun from a full auto and historical standpoint. But we don’t have one…
We do have an 11 though, the magazine only fed sibling.