Developed as the successor of the German military’s 7.62 mm MG3 general purpose machine gun, this modern, 21st-century design was originally known as the HK121. In June 2013, it was selected by the German Army and rechristened the “MG5.”  The MG5 opens a new era of universal belt-fed 7.62 mm x 51 weapons. 

Compared to other machine guns, the MG5 offers a modular, rationally designed, and up-to date build standard, with numerous technical and ergonomic innovations. 

The MG5 machine gun is a simple gas-operated weapon, firing from an open bolt in automatic mode only. It has a quick-detachable, air-cooled barrel, with a conventional rotary bolt locking function. The MG5 is belt fed, using standard NATO disintegrating belts with M13 links.

The mounting interface of the HK MG5 is compatible with existing MG3 mounts and tripods already in service. The Universal model of the MG5 can be used by dismounted infantry in the ground role, as well as for air defense or as a vehicle mounted/coaxial machine gun. 

The other MG5/HK121 variants – the shorter, lighter Infantry model, the turret/vehicle mounted EBW model, and Special Forces model with its spade grip— all have specialized features, but all possess common, core attributes. Unique for light or medium machine guns, the MG5’s rate of fire can be switched between 600, 700, and 800 rounds per minute. Experience has shown that beyond 700 rpm it becomes difficult  to accurately fire a medium machine gun from the shoulder. The HK MG5’s adjustable rate of fire makes it a uniquely controllable machine gun. The HK MG5 also shares many features with the 5.56 mm HK MG4 light machine gun that was successfully adopted into German military service in 2005.

 The MG5 is fed from clip-on 50-round containers or separate belt boxes and is equipped with a pistol grip and rifle-type trigger. A variety of side-folding and fixed polymer buttstocks are available as well as a folding forend forward grip positioned under the gas tube. 

On the Universal model, a conventional folding bipod is attached below the gas block, and the MG5 can an be installed on a wide variety of mounts and tripods. All MG5 models are fitted with a Picatinny-type rail on the top of the receiver which can accept standard mechanical sights as well as a variety of day and night sights and optics, giving the machine gun highly refined night fighting capability. 

Currently the MG5 Infantry and Universal variants are available from HK-USA. Mounted (EBW) and Special Forces (S) variants are special order products. Black or new RAL8000 green/brown finish available.



CaliberLengthWidthHeightBarrel LengthSight Radius
7.62 mm x 5141.73 in4.72 in11.22 in18.11 in23.62 in
7.62 mm x 5137.80 - 45.67 in4.72 in11.22 in21.65 in23.70 in


CaliberWeight (empty magazine)
7.62 mm x 5121.83 lbs
7.62 mm x 5124.69 lb


CaliberCycle Rate of FireMagazine CapacityModes of FireSightsStock
7.62 mm x 51600/700/800 rpmbeltfull automaticdiopter fixed
7.62 mm x 51600/700/800 rpmbeltfull automaticdiopter folding