PTR-91 Review: G3/KH-91 Legacy Rifle
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”
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.
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
It does shoot well, though the manual of arms is unique
You roll the dice with quality control
The stock design is a major weakness
It is perfectly adequate for a battle rifle, but is not a match rifle
Quality control is not in line with the MSRP
Reviewed by Daniel Young
Based on 10 Reviews
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PTR-91 Gun Deals
PMC 7.62 Ammo
Cost Per Round
Federal Gold Medal Match
Cost Per Round
PTR-91 Starter Pack
PTR-91 Upgrades and Accessories
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.
PTR-91 Links and Manuals
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:
May 30, 2023
May 30, 2023
I own the rifle. The recoil was harsh. But I solved that problem by replacing the factory recoil buffer with an aftermarket one twice as big. Now no more shoulder problems. At first, I had to stop shooting after 20 rounds. My shoulder was done in after the new recoil buffer can now shoot 200 rounds with no problem.
Yes, the charging handle is a pain in the rear end, making getting a scope trouble sum at 70 years old. I need at least an 18x50mm scope. Now about miss fires had a few that were my fault kept hitting the mag release; at the range, they made me move to the last stall because the ejected brass was annoying the guy next to me. That ejected brass goes a good 12ft.
I will get off the soap box and call it quits for now. The bottom line, I like the rifle, but it weighs a hell of a lot now. A lighter rifle is more my style as I get older.