brethren-armament

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.

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In the custom shop I saw U.S.-made receiver flats waiting for the party to start.

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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.

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Barrels and trunions are from RCM in Arizona.

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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).

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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.”

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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.

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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!

34 Responses to Factory Tour of Brethren Armament’s Custom Shop

  1. But… you can never own one no matter how responsible of a citizen you are or how much money you sock away for it. So, what’s the point?

    Test driving a Ferrari when you don’t have the cash for one is called an “incentive” (to work until you have the money to acquire it) this is just a tease.

    I’ve never seen the point in strip clubs and I’ll probably never see the point in this, unless of course the NFA and nasty bits of GOPA and the GCA are repealed which isn’t going to happen.

    • Sorry, maybe the way I wrote this whole thing was confusing! The guns they sell through their website — factory ones and custom shop ones — are all semi-auto. Everything being built in the shop in the photos above is semi-auto for sale to normal consumers. The ones they’re bringing to TFF — the complete firearms seen in the first and last photo — are select-fire. Cuz fun. But you can purchase an otherwise completely identical one from Brethren Armament in semi-auto right now.

      BTW, there are a lot of pre-’89 transferable HK select-fire sears/sear packs in private hands. For those who already own one, they could install it in one of Brethren’s guns. For those who don’t, you can own a select-fire Brethren Armament gun by going through the NFA process and purchasing a transferable HK sear. It’s sort of a unique case where, despite the fact that the firearm is new production, you can still use a transferable, legal-to-buy-and-own full-auto trigger in it.

      • It could have been my poor reading on my phone too.

        You have a point about the trigger pack… but I wonder what that costs?

        At least their TIG welders are pretty good.

        • You’re better off not knowing 😛 …I only brought it up because the “you can never own one no matter how responsible” part isn’t actually accurate in this case. You’re gonna need at least $15k for that sear, though.

        • Yeah I just found one for sale for $27K (!!). That’s only $5K less than my brand new WRX cost.

          My comment on never being able to own one was specifically directed to the ones they’re bringing out for people to shoot.

        • There are a couple on GB at about $15k, too (MP5-specific ones, I believe…I admittedly don’t know my HK stuff very well though). Auctions aren’t over, though.

          If you want, you can choose to move the selector only one notch and shoot the three guns photographed in semi-auto mode. In that way, then, they’re exactly like what you can actually purchase. For some reason I doubt I’ll see a lot of people doing that on Full-Auto Friday though 😛 (other than a couple semi-auto rounds to begin with to get a feel for how the gun is going to recoil)

      • P L E A S E

        Do a separate topic on that. I have (lost in a terrible boating fire) a Century C93 pistol that needs to go “bang” faster as it is on its own mission to rid the world of ‘cheapish’ 5.56.

        I am aware of VERY REASONABLE trigger packs for sale but I thought they all came with the caveat that they had to be disassembled and only used for PARTS by a licensed gunsmith.

        Any info would be appreciated.

        • If it’s a machine gun (or the registered machine gun part, such as the sear in most HKs), it had to be made and registered prior to 1989 for a normal person to be able to purchase and register it today. That means transferring it from the current, registered owner to you, which means going through the NFA Form 4 process and paying your $200 tax, etc. Since only machine guns registered before 1989 are legally able to be transferred, there’s a very limited quantity of them out there and they aren’t sold and re-sold all that often. Therefore, they’re very expensive.

        • I don’t know HKs well enough to really know what’s up with that. I’d say there are two possibilities, though. One is that it doesn’t include the full-auto sear and functions only in a semi-automatic capacity regardless of what’s going on with the selector. Two is that it really is select-fire and, therefore, can only be sold to a properly-licensed entity like an FFL07/SOT or a law enforcement agency or something. While the normal folks are limited to pre-’89 stuff, there are plenty of exceptions for modern machine guns for manufacturers (why Brethren Armament is able to make their own), gov’t agencies, etc.

          BTW for machine guns that are not transferable to you and me but can only be sold to or made by the aforementioned groups, there’s no real limit on supply. They can be current and they can be manufactured as needed. So the prices are pretty much in-line with what you’d expect for a semi-auto version. It’s only the transferable stuff, with its very limited supply, that therefore costs a fortune. In the event that what you linked really is a full-auto lower, this is what would explain the price and is one way you know it isn’t transferable.

        • Ok, makes sense, thank you, and thank you for the reply. Please forgive my obstinance, but I am going to continue to ask that question until the answer changes. ?

        • I don’t mean to draw any of the conversation away from Bretheren. Their guns look really awesome, and they know how to stage them for the pics, because racks of new weapons are total gun porn, and even leg ‘n butt men can’t take their eyes off of the rack. The guage of steel for the flats/uppers looks heavier than H&K? Barrels and trunions look beefier too? Either way they look great (not like the usual “we had to melt down iur kids bikes for the war effort stamped steel and hastily welded looking parts”). Like my weapons black, but like the anodized color coating of weapon in lead photo.

        • Not staged! The racks are next to their welding jigs / fixtures…components on one side, welded together then organized on the rack on the other side. I popped in with cell phone in hand and snapped away. The jigs & fixtures were off limits — proprietary and unique — but everything else was cool. I arranged the guns on the floor though 😉

        • Kidding, great pics, like seeing new guns and revised guns being produced. Thanks for the Bretheren review, get them to let you paper or steel some rounds.

        • There are lots of full auto trigger groups available for HK guns (just like full auto AR bcgs are available), but they don’t fit the semi auto guns, because the semi auto guns have welded in shelves in the case of HK, ptr, and US made clones like brethren. The full auto groups are meant to swing down on the front pins, the semi guns don’t do that. A lot of semi guns don’t have full auto bolt groups, or in the case of the import guns, have a block welded in to prevent full auto. You can get the full auto groups like your example clipped and pinned and replace the full auto parts to use on the semi guns legally, if you like the factory look. But it won’t just pop on to an HK 91, 94, 93, ptr, or century and make a machine gun. Any attempts to make modify it to work or even improper semi configurations without using a registered sear, box, or receiver will be manufacturing a machine gun and breaking the law.

          Recommend this link:
          http://machinegunpriceguide.com/html/hk_nfa_conv.HTM

      • I’m sorry I just don’t buy that. Everyone has these great hopes for Trump when it comes to the 2A but I don’t see reducing the restrictions on MG’s as being something politically realistic. Congress would go absolutely apeshit about that and even a good chunk of Republicans would be against any relaxation in this area.

        Suppressors are a place inroads can be made but I don’t see a Trump administration touching MG’s unless there’s a true sea change in the country on the topic.

      • The only easy day was yesterday.

        Churchill said “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP” (I might not be accurate on the number of nevers, but he was a rather laconic man, he would have thrown a few more in if additional “nevers” could increase the superlative nature of his statement).

        BRING BACK FULL AUTO ! ! ! IT’S ALL ON THE HONOR SYSTEM ANYWAY, AND. . .
        I TRUST YOU
        MORE THAN THE MEXICAN CARTELS THAT THE ATF ARMED WITH FULL AUTO ! : )

  2. I refuse to shell out the cash for scalper priced machine guns (even if Illinois didn’t have a ban). Any money spent on those toys would be far better put toward getting the NFA repealed (or at least the registry opened).

    • Okey dokey and with that I have edited the post to add the 3rd paragraph about how their guns are all semi-auto except for some of their internal-use and marketing-use ones. Sorry for the confusion!!!

      • Yeah when I get around to expanding my SBR collection to .308 G3 style rifles, I’ll need to keep these guys in mind. Mind you, I’m more than a bit anxious about throwing full charge .308 rounds out of a 12″ barrel, but it could be cool.

    • Agreed. I’m not SUPER into the hk style guns, but these ones look incredibly good.

      And that mp5 is pretty iconic.

      Someday I’ll have a disposable income again…

      • At 64, I’m only 4 years new into the firearm culture, so any exposure to existing makes, models, and manufacturers is new to me!

        “Dis-po-sa-ble In-come”???

        I don’t know those words. *8)

  3. To be fully transferable, MGs had to be registered prior to May 19, 1986, not 1989 as stated above. I seem to recall the bill was called the “Firearms Owner Protection Act”. What a misnomer!

    • Thanks. That’s what I get for working from memory. I do distinctly remember that The Hughes Act, the part of the FOPA that banned machine guns, is pretty hotly contested to this day as to whether or not it passed. Rangel did a voice vote on it and it sounded like there were more “nays” than “yays,” then IIRC it was actually voted down when it proceeded to a recorded vote, but it ended up in the FOPA anyway because the larger bill, into which it was inserted, passed the vote. Hopefully this is more accurate than the date I had wrong earlier haha

  4. Jeremy, just a minor nit to pick, but the Hughes “amendment” was foisted on us in 1986, not 1989. Not that it matters too much now for transferable MGs/sears/trigger packs/etc.

    Also, it *is* possible to get “posties”, aka post-sample MGs (i.e. current and post May 16 1986 pieces), but it takes a fair amount of money and a signed letter from your local CLEO. Basically, you have to get the right type of FFL ( Class 7/type 7? Special Occupation Tax) and then get a letter from the appropriate department of a LEA stating that they’re considering purchasing MGs from you, and then you can have dealer samples on hand. Which is probably what Brethren and other manufacturers did when they had their giggle switched toys at the first Firearms Festival in 2014.

    I attended the first one, and got a turn with Brethrens suppressed MP5K clone that they had with them. Still have the contest flyer of them and Pipe Hitters Union for some kind of giveaway floating around somewhere too. 😀

  5. I am a roller lock guy and those look really nice. I am a little surprised though that they don’t weld on a larger shell deflector in back of the ejection port. The stamped lip looks a little small. Now if they made a PSG clone, that would be something to start saving for!

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