PTR-91 Review: G3/KH-91 Legacy Rifle

by Daniel Young

June 15, 2022

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The G3/HK-91 has a reputation for durability and frequently shows up in conflict zones around the world. Does the US-made PTR-91 clone live up to that legacy?

PTR Industries PTR-91 A3S Specs

  • Barrel Length 18”
  • Caliber 7.62 NATO
  • Sights Fixed, Rotary Diopter
  • Action Semi-Auto
  • Overall Length 40.5”

PTR-91 History

Heckler & Koch sold the G3 rifle to numerous militaries around the world and licensed the designs for foreign manufacture as well. Versions are still in service across Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Europe. The G3 has been adapted to be a short barrel carbine, a designated marksman rifle, and a paratrooper battle rifle.

H&K imported a civilian version, known as the HK-91, until the US banned it from importation. The ban stopped the HK-91 from entering the country, but it did nothing to reduce demand. HK-91 rifles command significant prices on the secondhand market to this day. 

But when there is sufficient demand, the private sector will find a way. PTR started making a domestic clone of the HK-91, known as the PTR-91. Lest there be any confusion, the PTR-91 is not an H&K product. PTR is a totally separate company. Unlike the HK-91, the PTR-91 can be purchased new off the shelf at gun stores around the country. 

PTR-91 Features

1 Roller-delayed blowback action

Has a reputation for reliability

2 Compatible with HK-91/G3 accessories

Wide range of aftermarket accessories available

3 Welded Scope Rail

Easier scope mounting than traditional G3-style rifles

PTR-91 Models and Colors

PTR-91 Review – Our Take

I purchased a PTR-91 A3S after having the opportunity to inspect it in person at the gun store where I work. It was packaged in a simple cardboard box with one aluminum magazine and a user manual.

The PTR-91 is a battle rifle, and it shoots like one. Recoil is substantial but not abusive with the fixed stock. Follow-up shots are decently quick and inside of 300 yards, it is little work to ring steel with the factory iron sights. The welded Picatinny rail makes it easy to add optics, and both red dots and low-power variable scopes work well on this gun. Do be cautious with long scopes or scopes with large objective lenses, as these can interfere with the cocking handle.

Most of my shooting has been with standard 147-grain NATO FMJ ammo, but also with some 150-grain soft point and 168-grain match ammo. All cycled well, and most were under 2 MOA. This would be the kiss of death for a varmint hunter, but in its intended role as a battle rifle, it is completely adequate. Hitting reduced-size IPSC torso plates at 500 yards is doable with this rifle.

Overall this rifle has been very reliable. It had two failures to eject in the initial 50 rounds but has gone 100% after an initial couple of magazines. The expected break-in period is a few hundred rounds, but this one was ahead of the game. 

However, my experience with this PTR should not be taken as a good representation of all PTR-91 rifles. I have seen more than one come into the shop with serious quality control issues from the manufacturer that are totally unacceptable for any gun, let alone a gun that sells for more than $1,000. One, in particular, had a cocking handle that would become stuck in the forward position. It was almost impossible to get the bolt open without absolutely wrenching on the cocking handle. This issue should have been impossible to miss in even a cursory inspection of the rifle, yet it was shipped to a dealer. And while all manufacturers ship out lemons once in a while, this was not the first PTR I have seen with quality control issues. There are many discussions on the internet detailing similar issues, so I do not think this was a fluke or an unrepresentative sample. It is worth noting that PTR will address any functionality issues under their warranty.

If you decide to buy a PTR, your best bet is to purchase one you can see in person. A thorough pre-purchase inspection would identify most potential problems. If possible, it is highly recommended to check the bolt gap and disassemble the rifle before purchase. The bolt gap should also be monitored throughout the life of the gun.

Regardless of projectile weight, the PTR-91 absolutely launches the empty brass. It usually returns from low earth orbit to land about 15 feet away at about 2 o’clock from the shooter. Fired brass shows marks from the fluted chamber and a large dent from impacting the edge of the receiver ejection port.

The manual of arms is not as easy or familiar as the AR-10/SR-25/LR-308 family for most shooters. It is not abnormally complex, but it is different thanks to the cocking handle location above the barrel and the lack of last-round bolt hold open. And while we are on the topic of .308 AR rifles, do not expect an AR trigger. There will be more creep and heavier pull weight.

The safety selector is conveniently located for thumb usage, and the grip angle is comfortable. PTR also includes a paddle magazine release as a standard feature which is an improvement over the button release. 

One of the only major issues is the design of the stock. It is abnormally long, and there is a hump where the stock meets the receiver. The butt pad sits well below the line of the barrel. This creates a recoil impulse that can punch the shooter in the cheek. This is not the fault of PTR though, as the fixed stock is the standard G3 pattern. The best remedy for this flaw is replacing the factory stock with the Spuhr collapsible unit, but it is not cheap and it necessitates the use of an optic. 

While a stock upgrade can be expensive, spare magazines are not. They can generally be found for under $10 each. Surplus furniture kits are also very reasonably priced.

PTR-91 Pros and Cons

  • Dirt cheap spare magazines
  • Good iron sights
  • Decent accuracy
  • Spotty quality control
  • Poor stock design

Report Card

Shootability

It does shoot well, though the manual of arms is unique

B+
Reliability

You roll the dice with quality control

D+
Ergonomics

The stock design is a major weakness

B-
Accuracy

It is perfectly adequate for a battle rifle, but is not a match rifle

B+
Value

Quality control is not in line with the MSRP

C+

Our Grade

B-

Reviewed by Daniel Young

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 1 Reviews

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PTR-91 Gun Deals

PTR-91 Ammo

Range Ammo

PMC 7.62 Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Primary Arms $1.09

Actual Use

Federal Gold Medal Match

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Brownell’s $2.17

PTR-91 Starter Pack

So, you’re planning on picking up a PTR-91? If so, you’re going to need more than just the gun to make it safely go bang. You’re going to need proper protections, extra mags, and something to clean it with at the end of a long day at the range. Here are our recommendations:

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
  • Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
  • Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full-length review.
  • Storage: Check out our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
  • Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.

PTR-91 Upgrades and Accessories

PTR-91 Accessories

Trijicon ACOG
  • Best Prism Optic
  • Rugged Aluminum-Alloy Housing
Check Price
308 AR Original Magpul 7.62 NATO
  • Controllability during high stress
  • Easy-to-grasp handle
  • Recessed, rough texture
Check Price
Spuhr Stock
  • 6-position stock assembly
  • Replaceable cheek piece
Check Price
Blue Force Gear Padded Sling
  • Fits standard M4 carbines
  • Can be mounted upside down
  • Overall length is adjustable
Check Price
U-Loop Front Sling Mount 
  • Sling Hardware and Accessories
  • Enhance your Vickers Sling or any other sling to your weapon or application
Check Price

PTR-91 Maintenance

Below is a great video we’ve found for you showing the process to field strip your PTR-91 ready for cleaning. Check it out below.

Looking for more info on the PTR-91 Or did you lose your manual? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Check out our links below:

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About Daniel Young

Daniel is an attorney and lifelong gun nerd. His Instagram account, @fromtheguncounter, grew out of his work at a gun store and shooting range. He can usually be found in the hills with a rifle when he's not working.

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