When Only The Best Will Do

by Kevin Marzahl

In 1945, the Germans lost the Second World War, and for the second time since the turn of the century, they were forced to disarm. When West Germany was allowed to rearm itself in the mid-1950s, the remains of the Mauser factory in Obenhorf were given to a new firm for weapons manufacturing Heckler & Koch. Because it had no traditional designs and methods behind it, H&K was open to new ideas and advanced manufacturing techniques. The result was impressive. Since its first contract the G3 assault rifle for the West German government, H&K has turned out a range of excellent pistols, a versatile submachine gun, assorted rifles and machine guns, and even a combat shotgun. In the last three decades, H&K has become, arguably, the finest and most respected small-arms manufacturer in the world.

It is not surprising, therefore, that H&K weapons would find their way into espionage and related activities. One of the preferred weapons of the British Special Air Service is the HK MP5, an accurate, reliable, and compact submachine gun available in many forms. Even James Bond has had occasion to use the HK VP70 (see John Gardner’s For Special Services) and HK P7 (Gardener’s Icebreaker). Here are the gaming statistics for the H&K line of weaponry, as well as notes on each weapon.

Weapon Notes

HK4: This is the smallest of the H&K pistols. It is unique in that it may be chambered for .22, .25, 7.65mm,or 9mm short ammunition in a matter of minutes, simply by changing the barrel, magazine and recoil spring. This operation can be carried out in the field, provided that the user has the proper tools.

P9S: Although designed as a military sidearm (which accounts for its greater weight than the other H&K pistols0, it is an ideal police and security weapon. It has its own double-action lock, which allows it to be carried with a bullet carried in the chamber and the hammer forward. In game terms, this gives a shooter a +3 modifier to his net speed during the first shot determination.

PT (PSP): The “Polizei Selbstadepistole” was specifically designed for police forces. Two different magazines are available, an 8-round and a 13-round. It is a common weapon among the West German border guards and other security forces.

VP70M: The only H&K pistol capable of true automatic fire, the VP70M is an excellent weapon. Its holster doubles as a stock. With the holster stock attached, the pistol is capable of firing 3-round bursts. A civilian model, the VP70Z, is available, but without the the 3-round burst mechanism. It can, however, be fitted with a sock, as can all of these pistols.

PSG-1: As a precision, semi-automatic sniping rifle, this weapon is almost unequalled. It is normally made for single-shot firing, with a special silent bolt closing mechanism. However a 15 or 20 round magazine feed is optional. Fitted with a telescopic sight, it is deadly.

MP5: When H&K decided to add a submachine gun to its line of weapons, it used the G3 as the basis for their design. Its trigger mechanism is fitted for 2-, 3-, or 4-round bursts. No less than four magazines (for 10, 15, 20, or 30 rounds0 are available. In addition, it has many variants. The model A2 has a telescoping metal butt, and many others are arranged with varying combinations of sights, silencers/suppressors, and stocks. I chose to include the MP5K as a separate weapon, as it is completely buttless, has a shortened barrel, a fore-grip, and a higher rate of fire (3-, 4-, or 5-round bursts) having been designed specifically for anti-terrorist use.

G3: As the main rifle of the Bundeswehr since the 1960s (to eventually be replaced by the G11), the second most popular rifle in NATO, and H&K’s principal product, the G3 is obviously a fine assault rifle. It is actually a derivation of the Spanish CETME assault rifle. Its variation, the HK33, is for all practical purposes, identical to the G3, save for the fact that it is chambered for 5.56mm ammunition, and thus was not included as a separate weapon. A civilian model, the HK91, is also available, but with a rate of 2.

G11: NATO began new weapon trials in 1977, and H&K, not surprisingly, was given a contract. It chose to produce something completely different – 4.3mm assault rifle using caseless ammunition. After encountering some problems, the round was changed to 4.7mm caseless. The weapon itself resembles a carrying case with a trigger more than a rifle but, nonetheless, it is an effective weapon and ahead of its time. Most importantly, the G11 does not receive any modifiers from the Automatic Weapons table (Hit determination Chart, page 24 of the TOP SECRET rule book). the reasons for this deal with the weapon’s firing mechanisms are quite detailed; basically, the rifle was designed to counter the muzzle rise inherent in all automatic weapons. Thus, it fires three rounds at the incredible rate of 2,200 rpm and can place them within a 3(FM) circle at 500 yards, or a 6′ circle at 1,000 yards (a variation of about 1.5 mils, for those familiar with the system).

21A1 GPMG and 13 LMG: H&K’s general purpose machine gun is the 21A1, which can be fitted with a bipod (near the front of the barrel) or a tripod. It generally takes metal link 50 round (7.62mm NATO) ammunition belts, although a feed system can be taken out and replaced with a magazine housing that will take the G3 magazine. This change must be carried out by a professional in a proper work shop. The 21A1’s little brother is the HK13 light machine gun. It fires 5.56mm NATO ammunition from 25-round magazines, not belts.

CAWS: There is a growing interest in automatic combat shotguns in the police and military circles. the Close Assault Weapons System was developed by H&K and Olin/Winchester primarily for the military. It fires 12 gauge ammunition (which cannot be fired from any other shotgun), loaded with shot, flechettes, or slug. It is incredibly lethal at close ranges and is still under development. It bears resemblance to the G11, both weapons having smooth, snag free bodies (resembling a carrying case, as the barrel is not visible) with a carrying handle over the grip.

Table I: Heckler & Koch weapon weights


QRC – Quick reference code; see Table II for details.
WP – Weight in pounds
WK – Weight in kilograms
* These models come with a holster stock: WP-2.81, WK-1.28

Table II: Heckler & Koch Weapons

bmHK4 Pistol multi-calibre
.22, .25460-41-141XVF110400-8325464
7.65mm, 9mm*480-39-139XVF1852546
bn9mm P9S470-37-140XVF19375-10615465
bo9mm P7 Pistol (PSP)430-40-143XVF18, 13350-10615464
bp9mm VP70M530-41-141XVF318450-11616465
with stock601-25-97XF3NC616468
bq7.62 mm** High Precision Marksman88+60-39-91S1****600NC26053616
Submachine Guns
br9mm MP5A268+4-24-92-242A********475NC14064612
bs9mm MP5K60+4-21-84-240A********425-13716468
Assault Rifles
ah7.62mm G370+5-7-53-153S520300NC20053514
btG11 (4.7mm caseless)80+6-9-50-100S3501000NC23062618
Machine Guns
bu7.62mm 21a1 GPMG93+9-1-33-93VS950925NC20063621
bv5.56mm 13 LMG85+6-6-37-97S725850NC20063619

* Short, all other 9mm weapons use standard ammunition.
** NATO: all 7.62mm and 5.56mm weapons use NATO ammunition.
*** At medium range, shotgun range modifiers are as follows: 51′ – 150′ – Halve the listed modifier, 10′ – 300′ – As shown. Shotguns have no effect beyond 300′
**** Special, see weapons notes

Final Words

First, fine weapons, especially those which are automatic, should be easily attainable by agents. This should be especially true of the G11 and CAWS, as they are experimental and very new. A system for equipment acquisition is found in the TOP SECRET Companion, and I highly recommend that Administrators use it, particularly in the area of weaponry.

Second, some readers may be aware that in the module TS 008 Seventh Seal, statistics are given for for the VP70 which are differ from those presented here. The difference are intentional, as I do not agree with those statistics. I believe that the version presented here is more realistic, but readers may choose which they prefer.

Third, some of you may notice that the ACFPR ratings do not tally to match some of the PWVs of certain weapons. This primarily because I used the guidelines given in Weapons Statistics. This was done to provide a more varied and balanced set of weapons.

Fourth, machine guns are potent weapons. If they are used in your campaign, Administrators should use the guidelines given in Now That’s Firepower!. For those using those guidelines, the penetration Factors for the HK21A1 and HK13 are 20 and 17, respectively.

Last, weapon design and conversion into gaming format is difficult. In research, differing (sometimes conflicting) information is found. The stats given here, I feel, are accurate. But sometimes weapons (namely the G11, CAWS, and to a lesser extent, the VP70) are very new with little use behind them; the only way to be completely accurate on them would be to fire them myself, and automatic weapons are not easy to come by. Readers may modify these statistics if, because of experience or knowledge, they believe that their versions would be more accurate. In any case, when you don’t want to take chances, break out the H&Ks.

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