Canipe Correspondence – Geissele Automatics: Improving the HK416

Geissele Automatics (pronounced guys-lee) is a pretty common name in the firearms community today. Well known for their excellent AR triggers, Geissele quickly became the gold standard for improved triggers for combat rifles as well as match guns. Geissele’s line spans almost two-dozen models currently advertised, from finely tuned adjustable match triggers for target shooting to enhanced select-fire duty triggers used by our nation’s most elite forces. Geissele is also expanding their trigger operations out to other platforms to include the FN SCAR series of rifles, Bushmaster ACR, and trigger components for the Benelli M4/M1014 shotgun. In order to support the overwhelming demand for their products, Geissele recently moved to a new production facility in order to boost production while maintaining their unmatched production standards.

At SHOT 2012, Geissele announced their hand guard system for the HK416 and M4 series rifles to the public. The stock HK 416 hand guard is a great system but the industry has seen a number of advances since it was first fielded in 2004. The stock HK416 hand guard was designed to allow for removal to clean the piston systems and the retain zero on optics when it is re-installed. It also allows for the mounting of an underbarrel grenade launcher, which US users of the rifle never warmed up to. Recently, end users of the HK416 sought out new options to lengthen, lighten, and improve the modularity of their hand guard. A number of excellent manufacturers developed hand guards to support this, including Remington and Daniel Defense. Both Geissele and Remington were awarded contracts to produce them for various government clients, with the Remington contract being published on FedBizOpps as being purchased for an NSW unit. All of these rails feature the ability to run them slick, or bolt on rails as needed for accessory attachment.

The Geissele hand guard for a 10.5 variant of the 416 weighs in at almost exactly the same as the stock rail. However, the Geissele rail is extended as far forward as possible while still allowing for the attachment of end-mount suppressors. It completely covers the gas block, and requires the removal of the side sling mounting loops with a dremel or hacksaw. They’re fairly useless anyway so it’s no loss. The Geissele hand guard offers an integral QD socket at the 10 and 2 position. As opposed to being machined from the aluminum hand guard itself, the sockets are steel inset into a thick, raised portion of the hand guard, allowing it to bear the weight of the user without breaking free under the load. Another unique feature of the Geissele hand guards are the threaded inserts for rail attachment. The included accessory rails attach without the need for a steel backer like most other modular hand guard systems. That little feature right there is a real bonus for anyone who has gone through the frustration of trying to line up the retaining plate on a JP rail. Moving back further, Geissele retains the stock HK416 barrel nut, as well as the cross bolt attachment method. The stock HK screws needed to be removed with a large screwdriver or bolt lug, and were kind of a pain to torque properly. Geissele uses an improved bolt that still offers the ability to be serviced in the field using the bolt lug as a driver, but also allows the use of a socket to tighten it town to specific torque values by an armorer.

The hand guard is anodized and has a slight texture from the machining allowing for a more positive grip. Due to the smaller dimensions of the Geissele hand guard, it is much easier to maintain a strong grip on. The factory hand guard is raised in comparison to standard AR hand guards, and can be hard for people with smaller hands to hold firmly and comfortably. The Geissele version pretty much solves that problem. They are available in tan, black, and possibly OD in the future. Unless you’re on the HK factory shooting team, then you get one in red. In addition, a version for the 14.5 HK416 is available as well.

Geissele saw the opportunity to bring the merits of their system over to standard AR15 style rifles as well after developing the HK416 hand guard. The SMR series hand guards use the same barrel nut style as the HK416, which allows for installation to a true torque spec without worrying about gas port alignment. Two versions are available, the MK1 sharing most of the features of the HK416 variant, while the less expensive MKII does not use the threaded inserts and has a more squared profile. These excellent hand guards come in 13” and 15” lengths with more to follow shortly and are available now from Geissele.

Geissele is known for their devotion to manufacturing perfection, a level of QC that is unmatched, and a philosophy to build the best products of their kind in the industry. With their hand guards, they succeeded once again. It’s highly recommended that you check them out next time you need a set of hand guards. If you’re not already using their triggers, make sure you pick one of them up as well. Contact Geissele directly or visit G&R Tactical to check out their products.


Jon Canipe served on Active Duty with the US Army as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant at 5th SFG(A) and was a Senior Instructor at the JFKSWCS, training SFQC students in planning, unconventional warfare, small unit tactics, CQB, and advanced marksmanship. He is a veteran of multiple combat tours, and still serves in the Army National Guard’s 20th SFG(A) in addition to working as an industry consultant and small arms instructor.

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6 Responses to “Canipe Correspondence – Geissele Automatics: Improving the HK416”

  1. MarkK says:

    I find it rather funny that HK thought for a long time that these fullly picatinny railed (or the entiry picatinny rail concept?) hand guards are an american idiosyncrasy. Now that they have one some american company comes along and makes it obsolete.

    Btw. does anyone know the specs of the new mounting system? Threads, dimensions of the orifices, etc.?

  2. AJ Van Hoof says:

    can someone ID that flashlight mount for me?

  3. Jon C. says:

    That’s one I made with Danger Close, Grey Group stocks them.

  4. AJ Van Hoof says:


  5. FormerSFMedic says:

    The Geissele forend is outstanding. I think this forend is really the perfect answer to the slick duty handguard need of operational end users. Bringing the HK barrel nut over to the traditional AR is just genius. From what I’m told, the Geissele forend has been holding up well in far away places.

  6. Geissele Rocks! That’s what I use …

    Have a good one,