The weapon pictured above looks like it’s from a sci-fi thriller that takes place in the 23rd century, but it actually dates back to the late 1960s.
Entering pre-production at the height of the Cold War, this weapon is old enough to remember when there were two Germanys on the map. In fact, it developer H&K began work on the project with the expectation that every soldier in West Germany would be carrying one. Obviously, this didn’t happen — but there was a serious attempt.
Enter the G11, a rifle designed for a future that would never come to pass. As the rifle’s sleek appearance suggests, it was marketed as a high-tech weapon for a new age. Heckler and Koch would indeed receive a procurement contract for the West German government. The project saw more attention when it was tested in the United States. On paper, it looked like German soldiers were about to receive a new standard weapon.
So, what happened? Did something better come along and make the project obsolete? Was there a serious design flaw that led to the government to suddenly drop the contract?
The answer is much more boring. While design efforts continued into the 1970s and 80s, German reunification would eventually see government efforts directed elsewhere. Procurement wasn’t exactly on the top of priority list.
So now, we’re left with a fun footnote in the history of firearms — and perhaps a fun prop for Hollywood.
Forgotten Weapons dedicated an entire segment to this under appreciated relic of Cold War history. Watch it in full below.