Features

Building a Pistol Version of a HK G36C Clone

TommyBuilt T36

Every firearm collector has some sort of unicorn or Holy Grail. It could be due to the rarity of the firearm worldwide, or, in my case, the fact that the manufacturer does not import it into the United States. It is safe to say that no company has more rabid collectors than Heckler & Kock (as well as haters, for that matter.) For years, HK has imported neutered versions of its world-famous UMP (USC) and G36 (SL-8) into the US. But for me, these edited versions of the originals never quite filled the hole in my collection like the originals would.

Like many people seeking to right the wrong of watered-down HKs, I spent the time and money and sent my SL-8 and USC to companies like TommyBuilt Tactical and Black Ops Defense to literally cut my $2,000 rifle in half and weld on a chunk of a de-milled machine gun to the back end. That may sound nuts, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The end result after being cut, plasti-welded, and re-marked was the closest you could come to the real thing in the civilian world. Then along came TommyBuilt Tactical and GSG9.US’s latest collaboration. The two companies created an all-US made G36 parts kit for the G36 C & K variants along with an all-new all-US receiver. With that, HK nerds everywhere (like myself), rejoiced. 

HKParts.net was tasked with the selling the complete parts kits, and TommyBuilt sells the receivers and also does complete builds. Upon hearing this wondrous news, I had to get in line and get in on this. I elected to get the G36C pistol kit and build that out. I quickly placed my order to Tommy for the receiver and got the kit from HKParts.

With the parts kit running $1,750 and the receiver costing $800, all-in I would be at about $2,550. Part of the cost with Tommy is sending in your barrel for proper installation. This can save you hundreds in tools that you would only use once. I chose the G36C because I already had a re-weld done by Black Ops on an SL8 and had that built as a “K” gun. Having to source the rear receiver section and a usable German G36K parts kit for that build cost me nearly $4,500, so you can see just how “cost effective” this new way is to go. Of course with anything HK as well as its clones, cost effectiveness is a relative term.

The parts kit came in first and as of the writing of this article are still in stock at HKParts.net. It appeared to be well made and very similar to the German kit I have. There were slight differences in the bolt and charging handle however. Unfortunately, once the receivers started shipping, problems arouse with the parts kits. The recoil spring was too long and the cam pin needed to be replaced. I contacted Tommy about this and he immediately took care of it. He replaced the cam pin and modified the recoil spring. For the cost of the parts kit, I wish GSG9.US and Tommy would have just replaced the recoil spring, as the solution was to grind a couple of millimeters of the retaining screw. Hopefully future parts kits will have these issues addressed.

The last part to arrive was the receiver. They appear to have been made by Choate Machine and Tool for Tommy and GSG9. The receivers are very well made and are robust. The traditional method of re-welding the receiver is negated with this new G36 receiver clone. The strength of a re-welded receiver is definitely a concern. Since these receivers are molded in one piece, it eliminates that problem altogether.

As a collector, one thing that really jumps out at me is the TommyBuilt manufacturer mark right where the original HK one would have been. I had hoped that since these companies were so close to the clone market they would have left that space blank and put their markings elsewhere.

After addressing the above issues, all the US parts fit perfectly onto the receiver without issue. Once built, the firearm cycled great and filled an empty spot in my collection. My G36C clone is fitted with a TommyBuilt T36 Tailhook Pistol Brace Adapter that fits a Gear Head Works Tailhook MOD 1 perfectly.

While not the most correct clone available on the market, this is definitely the most affordable way to get into a G36 style firearm. The re-weld method to build a G36 clone may be the most visually correct way to build one; G36 parts kits with a long enough rear section are drying up and significantly going up in price. Considering the cost savings as well as fit, finish and performance of the T36 receiver, I’m extremely satisfied with the results.

Text by Michael Penhall, images by Jerry Tsai & TommyBuilt

Make: TommyBuilt
Model: T36 Receiver
MSRP: $800
tommybuilttactical.com

Make: GSG9.US
Model: HK G36C Pistol Parts Kit Complete
MSRP: $1,750
hkparts.net

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