The Homesteader 9mm carbine departs from Henry’s usual line of firearms. After handling one at the 2023 NRA show, I was eager to test it out. Chambered in the popular 9mm caliber, it’s versatile enough to handle hunting, home defense or simply plinking at the range.
About the Henry Homesteader 9mm
The Henry Homesteader is an elegant carbine built to last for generations. It also is a very solid pistol-caliber carbine. It weighs 6.6 pounds, and its threaded barrel is 16.37 inches long with an attractive blue finish. The overall length is an easily maneuvered 35.75 inches, putting it in line with the Ruger PC9 9mm carbine in terms of size and weight.
The Homesteader’s stock and forend are made from American walnut. They are the finest to be had in a gun in this price range. Both are nicely figured and matched. They are coated with a sealant for long-term protection. The stock and forend are attractively stippled for sure control. Sling swivel studs come already mounted. The receiver is aluminum and coated with an attractive, hard-anodized matte black finish that mates well with the blued-steel barrel.
There are no better controls for shooters, either right- or left-handed. The safety is tang-mounted and works well. It gives the shooter a clear view of whether or not the safety is engaged. When the safety is engaged, the bolt cannot be fully retracted. It must be off for manual cycling.
There are two matching bolt release tabs: one on either side of the trigger guard at the front end. Pressing them upward releases the locked-back bolt home. The toggle-type magazine release sits ahead of the magazine well. Pulling it back toward you with your index finger drops the magazine conveniently into your hand.
A Good Fit for All Shooters
Perhaps the biggest boon for left-handed shooters comes from the reversible charging handle, which is not just for lefties anymore. The Homestead comes without the charging handle mounted. The user pops it in on either the right or left-hand side of the receiver. Though I’m right-handed, I mounted it on the left side. With the handle mounted on the left, I can maintain shooting hand control on the grip of the stock while operating the charging handle. This makes transitioning to a full-shoulder-mounted shooting position much smoother and more rapid. It also offers a clearer view of the chamber and magazine well when clearing the Homesteader. The charging handle can easily be returned to the right side if desired.
A set of fully adjustable peep sights are mounted atop the Homesteader. The front is plain black. This is the only thing I’d change about the Homesteader carbine. I’d prefer a brass bead mounted on the front sight. If you want to mount optics, you can purchase a Picatinny rail adaptor from Henry for red dot mounting. Henry also offers a set of 1-inch Talley Scope Rings that require no base for mounting, if you would rather mount a telescopic sight.
The Homesteader comes with a proprietary five-round and 10-round magazine. Henry does not sell higher-capacity proprietary magazines for the Homesteader. However, there are interchangeable magazine well adaptors for Glock 9mm, Smith & Wesson M&P or SIG Sauer magazines available. My Homesteader came with the Glock adaptor. When equipped with a magazine well adaptor, gun owners are able to feed a pistol and carbine with the same magazines.
Homesteader at the Range
I measured the trigger pull at 5 pounds, 14 ounces, and it was more than reasonably crisp. I used SIG Sauer 124-grain Elite Ball FMJ practice ammo and 124-grain Ranger JHP LE ammunition from Winchester (my former police duty load) to test the Homesteader. Both loads run in the 1,200 feet per second range from pistols. I loaded with up the 10-round magazine with SIG ammo first and backed off to 25 yards, firing at a B27 target from a standing position.
The Homesteader’s action is blowback operated, which means the mass of the bolt controls the cycling. There is also a reciprocating mass within the forearm that reduces felt recoil. That is important when using today’s hotter 9mm loads.
The peep sets were dead on … and I mean dead on. Aiming at the head of the silhouette from a standing position resulted in all 10 rounds dropping in the center of the head, with no rounds straying left or right. The Winchester Ranger loads proved just as accurate. Hot 9mm rounds from a carbine should take care of most situations out to 150 yards.
Cycling was reliable and very smooth, with no indication that a malfunction was possible. Empties ejected clear, and the bolt locked back with total reliability on the empty mags. The empty mags dropped smoothly into my hand when I toggled the release switch, and the Homesteader was quickly brought back into battery after reloading by the bolt release lever. I have no doubt the Homesteader will run with any reasonable factory load you load into it.
Should You Buy a Homesteader Carbine?
The current Homesteader is a superb shooter, beautifully executed and useable by the entire family. It is a 21st-century rendition of a 20th-century sporting or defensive rifle. Henry sums the Homesteader up as ready to deliver “for home defense, walking the fence line to protect your livestock, in the truck, at the range or slung across your back on a deep woods excursion.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. MSRP is $928.