Range Report: G36 Carbine

This is a discussion on Range Report: G36 Carbine within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Last Friday I had the opportunity to fire the G36 carbine. These were brand new, 11” bbl versions owned by the Brazilian Federal Police. Ammo ...

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Thread: Range Report: G36 Carbine

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    Range Report: G36 Carbine

    Last Friday I had the opportunity to fire the G36 carbine. These were brand new, 11” bbl versions owned by the Brazilian Federal Police. Ammo used was 55gr Winchester. Firing was from 5 to 50 yards, using iron sights, on a cloudy/slightly drizzly day. My impressions:

    Overall Physical Impressions: This is a purty carbine. It looks very businesslike and efficient, which it is. It’s blocky, yes, but I like blocky in a weapon designed for these purposes.

    Sights: Pretty standard HK sight system – rear sight aperture that rotates for different sizes, protected front sight post. These models had a full length (more or less) rail system for mounting optics, but didn’t have any installed. Note that this is NOT the oversized carrying candle type rail (with integral optics) that you see on military G36s, but it a standard Picattiny rail mounted lower to the frame. It was very sturdy and well mounted, and seems (to me) superior to the standard set up. If I get to use them again, I’m definitely going to bring an EOTech, ACOG, and whatever else I can scrounge up. The HK sights are robust, easy to use, and perfectly fine for a “combat” rifle – my only (minor) issue was that the sight plane was slightly shorter then it could have been, due to the design of the rail. Not a major problem on a weapon designed for CQB, but if I have to find fault…

    Controls: Some interesting things here. The trigger group was safe/semi-/two round burst, which was a new one on me. It is ambidextrous, and the left hand selector lever got in the way of my trigger finger when I had it indexed along the frame (which is basically all the time, except when actually firing). This wasn’t a show stopper, but it was a bit strange to feel the selector lever moving under my trigger finger!

    The charging handle is ambidextrous, as the lever folds flat under the rail near the muzzle. To charge it, you reach up with either hand and grab it, fold it out, and pull to the rear. A bit unusual for me, but fairly easy to get the hang of after a few runs.

    The mag release is a lever in front of the trigger guard – common to other HK weapons (and others), and is also therefore ambidextrous and fairly easy to use.

    Stock: The folding stock on the G36 is very well designed. It locks positively, releases simply, and allows the weapon to be fired with the stock folded (I tried this, and it’s fun, but certainly causes accuracy to suffer!) When folded, this is a VERY compact package. It could easily go in a carry-on or medium sized back pack. Very handy for cops/agents who have to carry a weapon like this around discreetly.

    There might be some length-of-pull adjustments available on the stock; I didn’t notice. I am tall and have long arms, and it was very comfortable for me. Other shooters ran the gamut down to slightly shorter than average, and no one had any complaints.

    Trigger: The trigger is broader than on a typical AR, so it felt a bit strange at first, but I got used to it quickly. It was smooth and fairly light, without much creep or grit at all. Perfectly adequate on a “serious” rifle, and better than many.

    Shooting Impressions: Woo hoo! This is a joy to shoot. It handles easily, points easily, and is extremely easy to control. I found the two-round burst feature to be quite appealing (to my surprise, actually), as it put both rounds within 2-3 inches of each other at 25 yards (assuming a good solid stance and grip). There’s something to be said about a guaranteed “double tap” from a CQB carbine like this – especially considering how easy it was to control the recoil and get back on target. I don’t see much need for full auto on most police weapons (hell, on many military weapons), and the three round burst seemed a weak compromise – this just “worked” for me. I really, really liked the feature on this carbine.

    Accuracy was perfectly fine, considering I didn’t do any pure accuracy testing. It grouped a few inches low for most of us at 25 yards, but this is understandable considering they had been zeroed at 100m (and the fact that the sights are a good bit above the boreline). It was basically impossible to get outside the 5 ring (the “bottle”) of our silhouette targets at these ranges, no matter how fast we fired or how many rounds we sent downrange.

    We put 1000 rds downrange between 4 rifles. There were no stoppages of any kind, nor any inkling of trouble. Obviously, this is not a torture test, but it was nice to see. Interestingly, we had an MP5 and a S&W19 go down that day, but that's another thread...

    Recoil is infinitely manageable. The 5.56N isn’t a punisher to begin with, but I thought that the light weight might make it at least a small issue. Nope. The piston system, coupled with an obviously robust recoil system, made this small, light carbine an absolute pleasure to shoot. You could shoot it all day, every day, and never have a problem. Follow up shots are very quick, tracking from target to target is very easy (with almost no tendency to “overswing”), and the weapon itself feels very good and “natural” in the hands.

    Breakdown: I only got the briefest of demonstrations on breaking the weapon down, but it seemed very simple and direct. There are 3 pins to remove which basically separates all the major components (there are even slots in the stock to hold the pins so they don’t disappear on you!) The weapons were very clean after ~250rnds through them, and a “wipe down” cleaning could be accomplished in less than 5 minutes. The bolt is similar to an AR bolt with the locking lugs, but the lack of direct gas impingement keeps them (and the chamber) cleaner. (Note: I am an AR fan through and through, but I hate cleaning the “star chamber” as much as anyone. More, probably, considering all the time I spent cleaning the residue from blank ammunition out of them…If you don’t know, military blank ammo is INCREDIBLY dirty…)

    Conclusion: A very, very nice carbine. I am just too ingrained into the AR platform to really change at this point, but if I had been issued a G36 17 years ago I don’t think I could complain. The only drawbacks I could see (and these may be fixable – I don’t know enough about the system to make any broad claims) is a lack of side/bottom rails for lights, grips, laser designators, what have you; the selector lever possibly being impeded by the trigger finger, and the unusual (to me) controls. I can’t wait to get my hands on one again!

    P.S. Before you start, I don’t have any pics. I’ll try to get some the next time I go out with the DPF. Sorry, guys and gals, I forgot the camera!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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    Senior Member Array Knuckledrager's Avatar
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    Opfor,

    We played with them when they first came out. The overall impressions were about the same as yours. I too found it strange to have the ambi fire control lever moving under my trigger finger. Our little group has a lot of diversity in the body size department. As my screen name says, I have long arms but I still found the stock a bit long. The gun has no adjustability for use with or without heavy body armor. Only two of the group were able to say that the G36 was a truly comfortable fit with their tac armor on. Did H&K offer any ideas for different stock lengths? At the time we tried them, the rep just kind of shrugged his shoulders.
    "The liberty of the individual is no gift of civilization. It was greatest before there was any civilization." Sigmund Freud

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    Member Array stmcelroy's Avatar
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    What I would give to be able to own and shoot a G36........
    www.RKBAholsters.com

    Check it out for quality reasonably priced leather and kydex Pocket, IWB and OWB Holsters......

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    Member Array GotSig?'s Avatar
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    Thats it, next time im in Uruguay im heading north to Brazil and coming to find you, ill bring the beer and grappa, you bring the g36 and ammo.
    كافر(Infidel)
    He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, Aphorism 146
    German philosopher (1844 - 1900)

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    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    OFPOR,

    I shot the G-36 & G-36k in the summer of 2000. They were equipped with the 0/1/auto trigger group and 3x optic w/red dot mounted above it. In general, I thought the weapon system had a lot going for it.

    Unfortunately, there were some issues over the rifles losing their zeroes. The red dot sucked when compared to an Aimpoint and sucked more when we discovered that the red dot would disappear for a few seconds when the sight's knob was bumped by the brim of a hat or helmet under recoil.

    After a week of shooting them side by side with the M-4, I came away with a favorable impression (especially regarding the gas system), but with the opinion that there was still some bugs to be worked out. It sounds like most have.

    I had a standing appointment with some German SOF (KSK, I believe) to shoot their G-36's in 2002. Unfortunately, we were all quite busy at the time and the opportunity never presented itself.

    I'd be interested to see if the zero issue has been resolved. We put about 1,500 rounds through the rifles over the course of the week and, IIRC, every one lost its zero a some point. I do not think it became an issue until the latter part of the week, perhaps beyond the 800-round mark.

    Just something to look for on your next outing.

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    Ex Member Array DOGOFWAR01's Avatar
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    G36 put rounds down range in 2001 and 2002 in the Balkans, mutual training venture.

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    Heh, I knew some forum members had to have opinions on these things!

    Blackhawk6 - these models don't have the carry handle/integral optics; they just had a rail. I much prefer this setup, as I have lots of optics and like to tailor them to the mission. Now knowing that there were problems with the supplied optics, I'm even more a "rail" fan.

    Knuckledragger - I'm 6-4 and have a wingspan of at least that, so the length of pull was no problem (even with armor). None of the smaller guys complained, but none of them had armor on at the time. Maybe these are new or modified stocks? I'll have to get some good pics next time...

    GotSig - Come on up! But hurry, I'm out of here in April/May, and then you'll have to come to the sandbox to go shooting with me!
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

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