Heckler & Koch PSG1
The PSG1 is a semi-automatic
Semi-automatic firearm
A semi-automatic, or self-loading firearm is a weapon which performs all steps necessary to prepare the weapon to fire again after firing—assuming cartridges remain in the weapon's feed device or magazine...

A rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The raised areas of the rifling are called "lands," which make contact with the projectile , imparting spin around an axis corresponding to the...

 designed by the German
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 company Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch GmbH is a German defense manufacturing company that produces various small arms. Some of their products include the SA80, MP5 submachine gun, G3 automatic rifle, the G36 assault rifle, the HK 416, the MP7 personal defense weapon, the USP series of handguns, and the high-precision...

 of Oberndorf am Neckar
Oberndorf am Neckar
Oberndorf am Neckar is a town in the district of Rottweil, in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated on the river Neckar, 15 km north of Rottweil.-Geography:...



This rifle is said to have been developed in response to the Munich massacre
Munich massacre
The Munich massacre is an informal name for events that occurred during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Bavaria in southern West Germany, when members of the Israeli Olympic team were taken hostage and eventually killed by the Palestinian group Black September. Members of Black September...

 at the 1972 Summer Olympics
1972 Summer Olympics
The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, were an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972....

. The West German police units could not engage the terrorists quickly enough to prevent them from killing their hostages. H&K was then commissioned to create a high accuracy, large magazine capacity, semi-automatic rifle for police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 and military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...


Design details

The PSG1 is mechanically based on the G3
Heckler & Koch G3
The G3 is a 7.62mm battle rifle developed in the 1950s by the German armament manufacturer Heckler & Koch GmbH in collaboration with the Spanish state-owned design and development agency CETME ....

 rifle and features a low-noise bolt closing device (similar to the forward assist
Forward assist
The forward assist on a rifle is a button found commonly on M16 and AR-15 styled rifles, usually located near the bolt closure, that when hit will push the bolt carrier forward, ensuring that the bolt is locked. In order to ensure that the extractor is clipped around the rim of the shell, the...

 on many M16 rifle
M16 rifle
The M16 is the United States military designation for the AR-15 rifle adapted for both semi-automatic and full-automatic fire. Colt purchased the rights to the AR-15 from ArmaLite, and currently uses that designation only for semi-automatic versions of the rifle. The M16 fires the 5.56×45mm NATO...

s). Its expected shot-to-shot variation is expected to be better than 1 minute of angle
Minute of Angle
Minute of angle is the measurement of a ballistic round's deviation from its initial heading due to gravity and/or the effect of air resistance on velocity. Informally known as a "Bullet's Trajectory" or "the rainbow effect". Long range weapons must account for this effect because a fired round...

 (MOA) with match ammunition. Although this level of accuracy is unremarkable in modern semi-automatic rifles, it was claimed that the PSG1 was "one of the most accurate semi-automatic sniper rifles in the world."

In tests conducted by the United States Army Infantry Board in 1982, a rifle referred to as a "semi-automatic, delayed-blowback operated weapon used by a foreign Special Forces organization" (which may be referring to the PSG1); yielded worse accuracy than the M21 and M40 rifle.

PSG1s are not supplied with iron sight
Iron sight
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

s but come equipped with the Hensoldt ZF6x42PSG1 scope
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

 with an illuminated reticle. The scope has a built-in range adjustment feature which can be adjusted from 100 to 600 m.

It has a heavy free-floating barrel
Free-floating barrel
A free-floating barrel is a specific design technology used in highly accurate rifles, particularly match grade rifles, to increase the accuracy of the weapon.With normal rifles, the barrel rests in contact with the stock...

 with polygonal rifling
Polygonal rifling
Polygonal rifling is a type of gun barrel rifling where the traditional lands and grooves are replaced by "hills and valleys" in a rounded polygonal pattern, usually a hexagon or octagon....

 and an adjustable stock. The stock is of high impact matte black plastic and has a high degree of adjustment. It is adjustable for length, and includes a pivoting butt cap and a vertically-adjustable cheekpiece. The forend is fitted with a T-way rail for sling swivel or tripod.

The rifle also features a removable and adjustable trigger unit, for further individual fitting of the rifle. The trigger pull can be modified and the whole assembly is removable from the pistol grip. The pistol grip is of a target-style with an adjustable palm shelf.

Another notable characteristic of the PSG1 is that after firing, the cartridge
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

 casing is ejected with substantial force, reportedly enough to throw it approximately 10 meters to the side (SVD rifle also has a similar tendency). While this is generally not an issue for law enforcement sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

s, it greatly compromises the military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 use of the rifle, because it would easily give away the sniper's position. The brass is also difficult to find for clearing the area of usage marks afterwards, due to the wide area in which it could have landed. Not only does this rifle eject brass some distance, but it crimps the casing severely, meaning most casings cannot be reused. The PSG1 also has a fluted chamber that does not allow the use of subsonic ammunition normally used in conjunction with a sound suppressor or built-in silencer.


The PSG1A1 variant was introduced by Heckler & Koch in 2006, and features two major improvements. First, the cocking handle was relocated a couple of degrees counter-clockwise. This was due to the fact that when locked rearward, it often physically interfered with the long scopes often used on the rifles. The second modification involved the replacement of the outdated Hensoldt scope. Non-police users often found the scope's 600 m range limitation and simple crosshairs inadequate for their needs. In addition, the rechargeable batteries are difficult to recharge and to find replacements. A final fault is that Hensoldt does not service the scope in the United States. For these reasons, the PSG1A1 has been outfitted with a Schmidt & Bender
Schmidt & Bender
Schmidt & Bender is a German company specialized in producing high end telescopic sights for hunting, sports, law enforcement and military arms....

 3-12x50 Police Marksman II scope, mounted on 34 mm (1.3 in) rings. One last modification involved converting the SG 550 Sniper stock to work with the PSG1. The H&K rifle now has a completely side-folding adjustable target stock removing a solid 10 inches (254 mm) in overall length. To remedy brass ejection a brass catcher must be installed.


The MSG90 is a militarized variant of the PSG1, that is both strengthened and lightened. The PSG1 and MSG90 share the same trigger group and adjustable trigger shoe. The composite shoulder stock of the MSG90 is adjustable for height (cheek), length of pull (shoulder), and is smaller and lighter than that of the PSG1. MSG90s have a slightly shorter contoured barrel to help with harmonic stabilization and consistent whip instead of the PSG1's heavy barrel, but remain free-floating. As a result, these particular MSG90 A1's have a threaded barrel capable of attaching a suppressor, which is an advantage over the PSG1.

The sighting system utilizes the multipurpose Weaver rail system rather than the STANAG 2324
STANAG is the NATO abbreviation for Standardization Agreement, which sets up processes, procedures, terms, and conditions for common military or technical procedures or equipment between the member countries of the alliance. Each NATO state ratifies a STANAG and implements it within their own...

 claw mount for affixing sighting systems which can be purchased separately. This same rail mounting system is used on the HK21E, HK23E, and G41
Heckler & Koch G41
The G41 is a German 5.56mm assault rifle introduced in 1981 and produced in limited quantities by Heckler & Koch. It was designed to replace the 5.56mm HK33 in service providing a more modern weapon platform compatible with contemporary NATO standards. It is chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO...

 (discontinued) series.

The barrel is weighted at the muzzle to aid harmonic stabilization of barrel whip to enhance accuracy. The addition of a flash suppressor
Flash suppressor
A flash suppressor, also known as a flash guard, flash eliminator, flash hider, or flash cone, is a device attached to the muzzle of a rifle or other gun that reduces the visible signature of the burning gases that exit the muzzle. This reduces the chances that the shooter will be blinded in dark...

 adds to the overall length.

In the US

Due to its high cost and import ban, the number of PSG1s in the United States is (as of 2005) fewer than 400, mostly in the hands of wealthy private collectors, and currently sells for between US$12,000 and US$15,000. Contrary to popular belief, very few American law enforcement agencies make use of the PSG1; however, the MSG90 can be found in many different units.


Country Organization name Model Quantity Date Reference
 Albania Special forces - - _
 Early Modern France 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
The 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment is one of three regiments in the French Army Special Forces Brigade. Based in Bayonne in the local Citadel...

 of the French Army
French Army
The French Army, officially the Armée de Terre , is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces.As of 2010, the army employs 123,100 regulars, 18,350 part-time reservists and 7,700 Legionnaires. All soldiers are professionals, following the suspension of conscription, voted in...

MSG90 - _
 Germany SEK teams
Spezialeinsatzkommandos are the special response units of the German state police forces. German SEKs are full-time units whose members do not perform any other duties, and are essentially the equivalent of American SWAT Teams...

 of the State police forces
thumb|[[Germany|German]] police officer in [[Hamburg]]The Landespolizei are the main police forces of Germany. They are under the sole jurisdiction, funded and operated by the states of Germany.-History:...

- _ _
 India National Security Guard - _ _
 Indonesia Komando Pasukan Katak
Kopaska or Komando Pasukan Katak is the premier frogman and underwater demolition unit of the Indonesian Navy. The Unit's motto is 'Tan Hana Wighna Tan Sirna', which means 'There is no obstacle that can not be defeated'. It was officially established on March 31, 1962 by President Sukarno to help...

 (Kopaska) tactical diver group of the Indonesian Navy
Indonesian Navy
The role of the Indonesian Navy is to patrol of Indonesia's immense coastline, to ensure safeguard the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone , to protect Indonesia's maritime strategic interests, to protect the islands surrounded Indonesia and to defend against seaborne threats. The TNI...

MSG90 _ _
Komando Pasukan Khusus
Kopassus is an Indonesian Army special forces group that conducts special operations missions for the Indonesian government, such as direct action, unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-insurgency, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering.Kopassus was founded on April 16, 1952...

 (Kopassus) special forces group of the Indonesian Army
Indonesian Army
The Indonesian Army , the land component of the Indonesian Armed Forces, has an estimated strength of 328,517 regular personnel. The force's history began in 1945 when the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat "Civil Security Forces" served as paramilitary and police.Since the nation's independence struggle,...

MSG90 _ _
 Lithuania Lithuanian Armed Forces MSG90A1 _ _
 Luxembourg Unité Spéciale de la Police
Unité Spéciale de la Police
The Unité Spéciale de la Police is a special unit of the Grand Ducal Police that was created in Luxembourg in 1999. It is tasked with responding to especially dangerous situations such as hostage rescue operations, arrests of dangerous individuals, bomb threats, and dignitary protection duties...

 intervention unit of the Grand Ducal Police
Grand Ducal Police
The Grand Ducal Police is the primary law enforcement agency in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The police is under the control of the Minister for the Interior of Luxembourg, although they operate in the name, and under the ultimate control, of the Grand Duke. Day-to-day executive control is...

PSG1 _ _
 Malaysia 11th Grup Gerak Khas
Grup Gerak Khas
The Grup Gerak Khas is a special forces regiment of the Malaysian Army which conducts special operations missions for the Malaysian government, such as direct action, unconventional warfare, sabotage, counter-terrorism, and intelligence gathering...

 (GGK) Counter-Terrorism Army Squad of the Malaysian Army
Malaysian Army
The Malaysian Army is the land component of the Malaysian Armed Forces. Steeped in British Army traditions, the Malaysian Army does not carry the title ‘royal’ as do the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy...

MSG90A1 _ _
Pasukan Khas Laut
The Royal Malaysian Navy PASukan Khas Laut , commonly known as the PASKAL compose the Special Operations Forces of the Royal Malaysian Navy, employed in direct action and special reconnaissance operations...

 (PASKAL) Maritime Counter-Terrorism Squad of the Royal Malaysian Navy
Royal Malaysian Navy
The Royal Malaysian Navy is the naval arm of Malaysian Armed Forces. All commissioned ships of the RMN have the prefix KD , which means Royal Ship.-Straits Settlement Naval Volunteer Reserve:...

_ _
Pasukan Khas Udara
Paskau may refer to:* PASKAU, a special forces unit of the Royal Malaysian Air Force* the town of Paskov in the Czech Republic...

 (PASKAU) Counter-Terrorism Air Force Team of the Royal Malaysian Air Force
PSG1A1 _ _
Pasukan Gerakan Khas
Pasukan Gerakan Khas
The Pasukan Gerakan Khas is an elite high-profile counter-terrorism and special operations tactical unit of the Royal Malaysia Police...

 Counter-Terrorism Police Squad of the Royal Malaysia Police
_ _
 Mexico Standard marksman rifle of the Mexican Army
Mexican Army
The Mexican Army is the combined land and air branch and largest of the Mexican Military services; it also is known as the National Defense Army. It is famous for having been the first army to adopt and use an automatic rifle, , in 1899, and the first to issue automatic weapons as standard issue...

MSG90SDN _ _
 Netherlands Dienst Speciale Interventies (DSI) Unit Expertise & Operationele Ondersteuning police snipers of the Korps landelijke politiediensten
Korps landelijke politiediensten
The Korps landelijke politiediensten is the national police force in the Netherlands, responsible for specialist missions that benefit from a centralized approach. It is independent from the regional police forces; but like them, it is subordinate to the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and has a...

 Special Intervention Service.
PSG1 _ _
 Norway Hærens Jegerkommando
Hærens Jegerkommando
Hærens Jegerkommando is a special forces unit of the Norwegian military. It is the armed forces competence center for commando, airborne and counter terrorist duty in the Norwegian Army. Its headquarters are located 30 km...

 (HJK), Army Special Forces Command and [Marinejegerkommandoen] (MJK), Navy Special Forces Command.
MSG90 _ _
 Pakistan Special Service Group of the Pakistan Army
Pakistan Army
The Pakistan Army is the branch of the Pakistani Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. The Pakistan Army came into existence after the Partition of India and the resulting independence of Pakistan in 1947. It is currently headed by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The Pakistan...

. Produced under license by Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Pakistan Ordnance Factories
Pakistan Ordnance Factories was founded in 1951 with the primary objective of producing arms and ammunition for the armed forces of Pakistan...

PSR90 _ _
 South Korea Republic of Korea Naval Special Warfare Brigade MSG90
_ _
 Spain Grupo Especial de Operaciones
Grupo Especial de Operaciones
The Grupo Especial de Operaciones , commonly known as GEOs, are the Special Operations Forces of the Spanish Cuerpo Nacional de Policía of Spain. They are stationed in Guadalajara near the capital, Madrid. The GEO has response capabilities and is responsible for VIP protection duties, as well as...

 of the Spanish police
_ _ _
 Republic of China _ _ _ _
 United Kingdom Used as a precision (sniper) rifle by specialist firearms officers in the British police PSG1 _ _
 United States Hostage Rescue Team of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is an agency of the United States Department of Justice that serves as both a federal criminal investigative body and an internal intelligence agency . The FBI has investigative jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crime...

PSG1 _ _

External links

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