Well the wait is finally over; for all of those people that were waiting patiently (or not so patiently) for the civilian version of the HK416 can finally exhale. Heckler and Koch are releasing the civilian version of the HK416 dubbed the MR556A1. After watching the Youtube videos of an operator popping out of water and going full blast on HK416, it being thrown in the sand and still functioning flawlessly, the average range warrior can finally experience that type of durability for himself (or herself), assuming they’ll want to do such things to their $2,900 (estimated) carbine.
I got a chance to shoot the MR556A1 this week and suffice it to say, it was awesome. Most of us know the HK416 has a proprietary short stroke gas piston system and its civilian equivalent has the same. One difference between the two besides the obvious fact that there’s no fun button (aka full auto/get sum’ mode) on the MR556A1, is that the MR556A1 does not have a chrome lined barrel. According to HK engineers, “chrome lining may add to barrel life but it does not contribute significantly to accuracy and can temporarily conceal defects in the barrel profile.”
Besides the known durability, the one aspect of the MR556A1 I liked the most was the safety. The hammer does not have to be back in order to place the weapon on safe unlike most, if not all, ARs on the market today.
If you don’t have the coin to get a complete MR556A1, HK will be offering upper receiver kits that will fit on any mil spec lower. No word yet on how much they’ll be, but since its coming from HK, I’m sure it’ll be at least in the high 1,000s. Also, HK has a 7.62 version in the works that should be released relatively soon named the MR762A1. Below, you can check out pics, specs, and a short video of me trying out the MR556A1 at the Media Day Shot Show event.