The biggest secret in the special operations community—what gun did SEALs from "DevGru" kill Osama bin Laden with—has been revealed. Two military gear blogs, citing multiple insider sources, credit the highly reliable HK416 rifle, an M-16 type weapon, with the "double tap" of 5.56 mm bullets to bin Laden's head.
While the military isn't talking about what SEALs from United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, formerly SEAL Team Six, carried in, two sites—Military Times Gear Scout and Soldier Systems—said the gun used was the German made, Delta Force designed Heckler & Koch rifle used by several militaries.
"I've just heard from a SOCOM vet," says Military Times "He tells me the stack of SEAL assaulters from Red team that went through Osama bin Laden's bedroom door were running HK416s."
Soldier Systems adds that bin Laden "was gunned down using German engineering – the HK416 which was my gut feeling from the very beginning."
A Whispers source close to the SEAL community said that the reports are "kosher for sure." He adds that it's likely the commandos had a collection of different weapons and might have also been carrying a rifle with a shorter barrel.
HK, which didn't have any immediate comment, describes the gun on its website as the perfect SEAL weapon: it shoots an effective 5.56 mm round, has a gas system that doesn't foul the weapon like some other rifles, can shoot 20,000 rounds with "minimal degradation of accuracy," and fires just fine after being submerged in water and not completely drained.
The HK416 is an assault rifle designed and manufactured by Heckler & Koch. It is a modified version of the American M4 carbine with many changes, most notably a new gas operating system from the Heckler & Koch G36. Customers have the option of purchasing a new upper receiver, buffer and drive spring to refurbish M4s or buying a completely new build HK416.
The United States Army's Delta Force collaborated with the German arms maker to develop the new carbine. During development, Heckler & Koch capitalized on experience gained developing the Bundeswehr's Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle, the US Army's XM8 rifle project (canceled in 2005) and the modernization of the British Armed Forces SA80 small arms family. The project was originally called the HK M4, but this was changed in response to a trademark infringement suit filed by Colt Defense.
A modified variant is undergoing testing by the United States Marine Corps as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. After the Marine Corps Operational Test & Evaluation Activity supervised a round of testing at MCAGCC Twentynine Palms, Fort McCoy, and Camp Shelby (for dust, cold-weather, and hot-weather conditions, respectively), limited fielding began for 458 IARs to four infantry battalions (one per each Marine Expeditionary Force and one reserve) and one light armored reconnaissance battalion; all are slated to deploy to Afghanistan in 2011.
|A member of the AWG armed with
a Heckler & Koch HK416 in Iraq (bottom right).