First, a shameless plug: see the 9mm, .300 BLK, and 7.62×39 HK-pattern rifles above? They’re all select-fire and they’re all slated to be at the Texas Firearms Festival, which means you — yes, you — can come shoot them. Well, as soon as I finish warming them up for you. These guns and more will be there courtesy of roller-delayed blowback specialists, Brethren Armament.
Brethren was founded by a pair of veteran brothers looking to take the MP5 and other, roller locker HKs to the limit. Their factory line will get you into HK bliss with a U.S.-made bolt group and barrel for under $2,000, and the custom builds seek even better quality and reliability than the Teutonic originals.
To be clear, all of their normal production is semi-automatic and available on the normal firearms consumer market. All of the parts in various phases of production seen below are for semi-auto, sold-through-normal-retail-channels guns. Some of their internal-use, R&D, and marketing firearms are select-fire like the three complete guns seen in the first and last photo that will be joining us at Texas Gun Fest.
In the custom shop I saw U.S.-made receiver flats waiting for the party to start.
That party often involves a cocking tube made not from a thin piece of what feels like extruded sheet metal, but by machining a length of steel billet into the sturdy tubes you see above. In fact, none of Brethren’s custom built guns have repurposed material — it’s all made from billet. I believe the only factory HK part is the lower with its trigger pack.
Barrels and trunions are from RCM in Arizona.
Bolt groups are also made in the U.S. The ones seen above are nitrided for a run of all-black 300 BLK rifles (Brethren’s BA300).
M1913 Picatinny rails are welded on so no weird adapter is needed to mount an optic later. Speaking of welds, the purchaser has the option of leaving them raised and visible, done to mimic the look of a classic HK, or ground perfectly flush for Brethren’s “weldless finish.”
Seen above are modifications to the magazine well to allow it to accept standard AR-15 mags. The paddle-style release stays the same, but it activates a catch on the side. An insert is also welded into the magwell to properly fit the width and length of a STANAG mag instead of the original HK one, and to ensure proper feed angle.
It doesn’t stop there, though. The custom shop offers full custom builds using their own techniques and assembly processes to produce what they believe are the best HK-pattern rifles on the market. There are so many published options I’ll have to send you to the site for the list, which I don’t believe is even complete. Custom parts machining and modification is done in-house or through partner KE Arms. In the custom shop every part is hand fit, and every gun has a lifetime warranty.
To be candid, I’ve never really been all that into HK’s roller locker rifles, but with some modern upgrades and significantly nicer fit-and-finish I’m starting to see the appeal. I think I’m actually most excited to shoot the 7.62×39 HK51-style rifle seen at bottom. More to follow, I’m sure, after Texas Gun Fest!