The 411 on the G3

You asked, we answered. Leroy Thompson answers a reader question that was featured in our “Ask The Experts” column in our July 2013 issue. 

About our expert: Leroy Thompson is an internationally recognized authority on weapons and tactics, and is the author of 49 books. He has trained military and law enforcement personnel in hostage rescue tactics, close protection and counterinsurgency. Watch for his feature on the tactical employment of the submachine gun (the first in a series) in next month’s Gun World.

A Saudi solder with a licensed copy of the G3A1

A Saudi solder with a licensed copy of the G3A1 with collapsible stock produced in Saudi Arabia (US DOD)

Question:  I recently purchased an HK91 rifle, and it has become my favorite. I understand that as the G3, it is still used by various armies. Is this true? —Chris C., Augusta, Georgia

Leroy Thompson Answers: Although many of the armies that formerly used the G3 have switched to a 5.56x45mm NATO rifle, the G3 is still widely used, especially in countries that were licensed to produce it. Those that I am aware of that produce the G3 and still use it include Iran, Pakistan, and Turkey. Saudi Arabia had produced the G3 under license, but I am not sure if they still do. Other countries have recently ceased G3 production. Portugal was licensed to manufacture it until the last 10 years or so but no longer does; however, elements of the Portuguese armed forces are still armed with locally made G3s.

Some countries that formerly used the G3—Sweden, for example—have replaced it for their regular troops, but retain it for use by the Home Guard or other reserves. Elements of the Mexican Army still use the G3, as do other armies in Latin America and Africa. Still others continue to use it as a special purpose weapon, for example, as a DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle) with the Hensoldt 4X or Zeiss 1.5-6X optical sight.  Finally, some naval special warfare units, such as the SBS, continue to use the G3 with optical sights for helicopter-borne countersniper missions.


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