Homesteading is a return to simpler values and a reevaluation of priorities. It may mean lowering your expectations of a high-paying job, for example, or eliminating debt altogether.
Often, it also means having multiple income streams from things like raising animals or selling extra produce. It’s important to have a solid plan and take things slowly to avoid being overwhelmed.
When Henry launched the semi-automatic Homesteader at SHOT Show this year I was surprised, of course, given the brand’s historical focus on lever guns, and I admit that my initial reaction was also a bit “meh.” So many 9mm carbines have passed through my hands that I just didn’t have it in me to get excited about yet another one. But I was wrong.
The Henry Homesteader is most assuredly not just another 9mm carbine. It’s a fantastic firearm of the kind that your grandchildren will own and use one day.
The PCC — pistol caliber carbine — genre has been so dominated by thin aluminum and lightweight plastic that when I heard Henry had made one I assumed it would be in that modern vein. Clearly I should have known better.
As one should expect, Henry’s Homesteader is made of blued steel and American walnut. It has a classic, warm, solid feel and look. It drips quality and they-do-make-it-like-they-used-to appeal. In my safe, it like something that’s been in the family for a long time, and that’s immediately how it felt when I took it out of the box.
Okay, okay, the receiver is hard anodized aluminum. It doesn’t look or feel like it though; not like an AR or other, modern carbine. Maybe it’s thicker, or maybe it’s simply more slab-sided and old school looking.
Whatever the reason, the Henry Homesteader had an immediate familiarity and warmth that made me smile the second I picked it up, and reminded me of the quality “real steel” feel of firearms made half a century and longer ago.
The walnut is quite nice, with what Henry calls “leather-like” texturing.
I see what they’re talking about, at least aesthetically. It doesn’t feel much like leather, but it has that sort of pebbled look to it. The texture provides some grip and purchase while staying soft on the hands.
This was going to come later in the review, but I know what you’ve been thinking since the outset so let’s just address it already: YES, the Henry Homesteader takes GLOCK magazines (and a couple of others).
By default, the Homesteader is configured to accept Henry’s proprietary mags made for the Homesteader. Two come with the gun, a flush-fitting 5-round mag and a slightly extended 10-rounder.
For just a few bucks more, though ($959 MSRP vs. $928 MSRP), you can purchase the Homesteader with a second magazine well and swap it in place of the Henry magazine footprint that’s installed in the gun from the factory. These additional magazine wells are currently available for GLOCK G17/G19 mags (seen above), SIG P320 mags, and S&W M&P mags.
While the magazine wells for the other brands’ magazines have a release button on the side and hold the magazine swept rearward at a pistol grip-like angle, the Homesteader magazines are released via a small lever in front of the magazine and they fit vertically into the rifle.
A ball detent holds the charging handle securely into a slot in the stainless steel bolt, yet allows for extremely fast and simple swapping of the handle between left and right sides of the gun. Simply pull the handle perpendicularly away from the receiver until it pops out, then click it back in on the other side.
An adjustable peep / ghost ring rear sight . . .
works with a screw-on front post sight.
Acquisition and alignment is quick and easy, though I’d certainly prefer this setup with a brass bead installed up front. Not only would that be faster and more eye-catching, but a round dot is particularly easy for the human eye to center in a round ring so I’d be more accurate with it. Henry does have other options for different sights.
For those who prefer an optic of some flavor, the top of the receiver is drilled and tapped for a Weaver 63B base.
I have very much enjoyed shooting (and looking at) the Homesteader with its iron sights — it feels natural — but I could see using a red dot or something else for hog hunting in low-light situations.
Shotgun-like in style, the top-mounted thumb safety slides and clicks forward for “fire” and back for “safe.” Centrally-mounted, the safety is ambidextrous. Likewise, the central magazine release lever is equally accessible with either hand, and the bolt hold-open levers are mirrored on both sides at the front of the trigger guard.
Out on the range — and with this gun you have to ask, “range as in gun range, or range as in ‘the open range’?” — the Homesteader 9mm quickly brought a smile to my face. It’s a smooth, nice-shooting rifle.
While most straight-blowback 9mm PCCs have a sharper recoil impulse than one might expect, the Henry Homesteader tamps that down in multiple ways. Sure, its 6.6-pound weight helps minimize the recoil of America’s favorite pistol caliber. So does its nice, soft, rubber recoil pad. Henry took it a step further, though, and added a “reciprocating mass” inside the forearm to help counteract the recoil impulse. Pretty cool.
With its 1/2×28 threaded muzzle, the Homesteader even suppressed nicely right out of the box. The 16.37-inch (how on earth did they come up with that particular length?) barrel leaves less work for a silencer to do compared to, say, a 3.75-inch barrel. It was quiet and smooth with the extremely compact and lightweight AB Suppressor F4 attached (TTAG review HERE).
If I’m honest, I’m more of a minute-of-silhouette guy when it comes to a ghost ring rear and blade front, and I really should have gone through the trouble of mounting a scope to give the Henry Homesteader a true, fair shake at determining mechanical accuracy. Maybe I’ll do a follow-up for that if y’all complain enough.
However, at 50 yards with my elbows resting on the bench, but no other support for the gun, I still shot some pretty decent groups with the Homesteader. I shot 115 grain standard velocity ammo, 147 grain subsonic ammo, and 115 grain +P hollow point rounds. I know the hollow point is the bottom group in the photo above and I think the 147 is the top group but I’m not positive on that.
A little casual in the accuracy testing on this one, then, but clearly there’s nothing to complain about. I’m confident that the Henry Homesteader is a straight shooter as we’ve all come to expect from Henry Repeating Arms products.
After a few days of shooting I experienced precisely zero malfunctions from the Homesteader across multiple brands and types of ammo both suppressed and unsuppressed. It’s a really fun gun to shoot and it has the feel and balance and warmth and solid quality of a properly-made, American firearm.
Perhaps the only area I’d like to see improved is the trigger. It’s fine, don’t get me wrong, but it leaves some room for improvement where not much else on the gun does. My Homesteader’s trigger breaks at a bit over 6 pounds of pull weight and it has a touch of slightly gritty creep before that imperfect break. It’s okay. It’s perfectly appropriate for the style and intended use of the gun. But it could be cleaner, crisper, and arguably a bit lighter.
An answer to a question I never asked, the Henry Homesteader proves that there’s always room even in a crowded segment for another gun when it’s done right. In fact, the Homesteader is such a deviation from the rest of the 9mm carbines available today that it’s effectively its own segment.
This is a PCC made like a true classic. It looks, feels, and shoots every bit like a gun that should be handed down to your kids and to theirs, while simultaneously integrating a few modern touches. The Homesteader is a keeper.
Specifications: Henry Homesteader 9mm
Barrel Length: 16.37 inches
Overall Length: 35.75 inches
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Length of Pull: 14 inches
Capacity: 5-round and 10-round Henry magazines included. GLOCK, SIG, S&W magazine well adapters available.
MSRP: $928 with Henry magazine well only, $959 with additional GLOCK, SIG, or S&W magazine well (about $855 at Brownells HERE)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Overall * * * * *
What can I say, I really love the Homesteader. And I didn’t expect to. It’s gorgeous, it’s well-made, it’s a great shooter. It looks good and it feels good. It’s classic yet modern (I mean, it takes GLOCK mags and I can suppress it!). Done deal. Five-star gun.