The Epitome of 90’s Rifles By: Keith Finch


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The G36 has had a rough few years after its controversy about accuracy with the German military. It is still, and will remain, the iconic 90’s rifle. It was forward thinking and slickly designed and built to the standards of the time in the typical German overengineered way.

It has been thoroughly and independently proven that the assertions, like those made by certain members of the US Military that the M4 was a death trap for its soldiers, were hyperbolic in nature. The guns were built to spec, the guns are in the hands of professional soldiers not professional shooters. Professional soldiering is a multi-tool approach, competency with a rifle is a mere single bit within the whole.

When you consider the whole of the circumstances that surround the alleged controversy it becomes easy to see the series of events that triggered the inquiry. To be fair, the Germans were in need of either updating the 36’s with a few more modern creature comforts and ditching some of the good idea fairy items the 90’s spawned anyway, but ditching the 36 as a whole was probably unnecessary. An A1 variant with an updated accuracy requirement and modern ancillary compatibility would have done it nicely. But it is possible that the costs of doing so and the design itself would not be conducive to the changes, although the aftermarket has certainly shown it is feasible to do physically.

The Germans are very likely joining the US in an AR pattern rifle, HK416, that has been announced. Until they’re in Bundeswehr hands, that’s just something someone has written down and maybe spent a little money on.

The G36 typified the Kraut Space Magic image started by the G11, with the extensive use of polymers and the profile of the rifle looking distinct and futuristic. It used ambidextrous controls earlier than most people, folding stocks, an advanced optical sight system (for the time), and runs on the proven AR-18 short stroke piston setup. This gas system and barrel setup are used by the majority of modern service rifle variants.

The G36 has served a long time, and its phase out will probably not be hurried. The M16 is another well served weapon that won’t be gone for a very long time, especially with the M4A1 in service. These rifles were well designed, well built, and do their jobs, and the modern refinements are just that, refinements of working systems.

SIGs new MXC SPEAR LT doesn’t game change, it’s just doing its best to be ideally built for the current game.

The G36, like the M16, is sunsetting into a classic instead of a contender, and that’s alright. Appreciate the classics, they still do work.

Go follow 1911 Syndicate and James Williamson on the Tube of You’s if you aren’t. Good places to watch.