Reviews Henry Homesteader 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbine [Hands-On Review] Mike Searson May 26, 2023 3 Comments, Join the Conversation A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY… AND SOME ROCK ‘N’ ROLL Henry Repeating Arms is one of the leading manufacturers of lever-action rifles in the United States. It was founded by Anthony Imperato in 1996; their first designs were lever-actions in rimfire calibers and well-made versions of the original Henry rifles dating to 1860. Over the years, they’ve greatly expanded their offerings and made a move from New York City to Rice Lake, Wisconsin, where they harvest the wood for the walnut stocks on their rifles. The company motto is “Made in America or not made at all,” and they do live by that. Every component is sourced in the USA by American manufacturers. At the 2023 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Henry announced a new model, the Homesteader in 9mm. This is a semi-auto carbine that sports a threaded barrel, factory peep sights, and a modular magazine well, allowing you to use Henry’s factory magazines or switch out to Glock, SIG, or S&W M&P magazines. Unlike most typical pistol caliber carbines, the Homesteader features walnut furniture. This is heavier than a polymer stock and forend, but lends a more benign appearance to a rifle ideal for defending your home or ranch from varmints and predators, be they the two-or four-legged type. THE BASICS While primarily known for their lever guns in calibers from .22LR to .45-70, Henry has had a semi-auto rifle in their catalog for a few years, in the form of a very much improved AR7 that we reviewed in an issue of RECOIL OFFGRID back in 2018. The new Homesteader is Henry’s take on a pistol caliber carbine chambered in 9mm. Henry’s currently offering three versions of this carbine, all variations on a theme. The base model takes Henry’s proprietary magazines. The next variant comes with a modular magazine well and release; all you have to do is remove three pins to detach the magwell and install one compatible for Glock 17 or 19 magazines. The last variant is similar to the previous, but you can run S&W M&P or SIG P320 magazines. Each version ships with the factory magwell installed and two Henry magazines, a 5-round and a 10-round. The magazine release is positioned directly in front of the magazine, similar to that of a Ruger 10/22. With the other magazine wells in place, the magazine release is in a more convenient location on the side of the magazine well as opposed to down in front. The rifle is blowback-operated and ambidextrous; shooters have the option to place the charging handle on either the right or left side of the receiver. The lines are somewhat reminiscent of the Thompson submachine gun or a Winchester 1907 self-loading rifle from the 1900s — but neither of those took Glock mags. And because you can’t find 351 WSL these days, it’s chambered in the more popular and much more affordable 9mm Luger. The barrel length is 16.37 inches with an overall length of 35.75 inches and a weight of 6.6 pounds. It’s ready to go out of the box with iron sights and Henry’s factory magazines. Front and rear sling swivels allow the attachment of a sling or carrying strap. It points naturally and has a nice balance to it. The extra barrel length will easily add 100 fps of muzzle velocity on top of your favorite flavor of 9mm ammunition. OUTFITTING It sometimes seems like the aftermarket can make or break a new rifle. Henry has clearly done their homework in this regard with plenty of off-the-shelf options out there to turn a good rifle into a great one. If there’s one thing the Homesteader has going for it, it’s potential. Each model has a threaded barrel in ½x28. You can attach a compensator or a silencer — in this case, a Thunder Beast Arms Corporation Fly 9. This 9mm can is almost completely made of titanium. It’s lightweight, modular for length, and keeps things very quiet. If you’re going to run a 9mm silencer with the Homesteader, ensure you install a fixed barrel spacer instead of a booster/decoupler so you don’t damage anything. The top of the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept a Weaver 63B base, or the version we used by Skinner Sights, which gives you a Picatinny base and a rear peep sight. In order to properly install this base, the rear factory peep sight has to first be removed. Alternatively, you can remove the aperture from the sight for use as a ghost ring or order different apertures from Skinner Sights tailored for your own eyes. Primary Arms sent out their newest version of the SLX MD-25 sight. This is a 25mm Microdot Gen II sight with an ACSS-CQB Red Dot Reticle, a really great piece of gear for the price. The moment you pick up the rifle, the dot will turn on. After it sits motionless for about 30 seconds, the red dot shuts off. Intended for a 5.56mm or 7.62×51 rifle, the reticle features three BDC dots underneath the chevron, allowing for 600 yards of bullet drop compensation. You don’t need that for a 9mm carbine, but we found the horseshoe reticle grabs the eye instantly for close-range shooting. The reticle is a central chevron, centered within a 65 MOA circle with four positioning points. Once zeroed, it performed like a great red dot on the range. Our version of the Homesteader came with the Glock-pattern magwell, and it ran factory G19 magazines flawlessly. It did just as well with Glock and Magpul stick stendos. However, what really stands out is the Magpul D-50 GL9 drum. This version was made for PCCs with metal magazine releases. The tower is a bit short to allow firing from a prone position, but it feels like it was made for the Homesteader. The onboard ratcheting loading lever makes it easy to fill from the first round to the 50th. What started out as a pretty PCC quickly took on a more tactical look. ON THE RANGE The first trip to the range consisted of a case of 124-grain 9mm Belom ammunition from Serbia by way of Global Ordnance and a few hundred rounds of 147-grain JHP subsonic from Hornady, along with some 115-grain JHP Federal Premium to allow for a nice sample size to check reliability as well as accuracy. Initial shots with factory irons at 50 yards resulted in an average group size of 3.5 inches, a little lackluster, but still fun to shoot. After attaching the dot sight and getting zeroed, this dropped down to a sub-2-inch group with the Belom ammo. Even though it’s of Eastern Euro stock, the Belom ammunition is clean, accurate, and reliable. It’s also very affordable and reminiscent of Sellier & Bellot. Most importantly, there were almost no failures to feed, fire, extract, etc. with any of the three brands we tried. The Homesteader runs like an electric typewriter. The trigger is smooth and crisp. The 25-round Magpul stick magazine and 50-round drum operated flawlessly, as did our factory G19 magazines. We did say “almost” — the one failure stemmed from the clear 30-round ETS magazine; an FMJ round moved slightly downward against the spring, kinking up the works. The remainder of the magazine worked fine. LOOSE ROUNDS The Glock magazine conversion is a work of art, only taking 2 to 3 minutes to switch it out. This will most likely be the best-selling version of the Homesteader, as it seems like people who don’t even own Glock pistols still have some Glock magazines. However, Henry still shows some love for the owners of SIG P320s and S&W M&P 9mms. The only issue is that currently, there aren’t a huge amount of extended-capacity magazines for those brands, though that may change in the future. This is what’s great about a well-made PCC. It’s no longer 1873, when you might be two weeks out from resupply by mule team and want the same round in your pistol and long-gun. But it’s still convenient to not only use the same ammo but also the same magazines. The Homesteader makes a good choice for self-defense, particularly if you live rurally and might have to plug a predator in your paddock or henhouse. Suggested retail price on the Homesteader may be off-putting to some, and there are probably some taking advantage of the tenuous supply chain and asking even more. However, the juice seems worth the squeeze; don’t be surprised if this time next year you have other options for this rifle beyond the rails and peep sights offered by Skinner Sights. Soon there will undoubtedly be polymer stocks, and based on the operating system, a pistol grip and folder could be easily offered. Perhaps a binary trigger from Franklin Armory, M-LOK rails to attach lights (probably the only thing truly lacking at this point in time), or maybe a complete tactical version from the factory. Skinner Sights is working on a flashlight mount for the Homesteader as of this writing, and it may be available by the time you’re reading this. If it proves popular enough, we might see versions in other calibers like .45 ACP, 10mm, or even .22LR. There’s a lot of potential with this gun, and Henry has a great track record for releasing good products that work from the initial launch. 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