Heckler & Koch HK416

HK 416 Pistol Review: H&K’s Magnificent Rimfire

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Some of you gun enthusiasts might be familiar with Heckler and Koch‘s (HK) line of firearms. The company is known for its high-quality, innovative designs that are used by militaries and law enforcement agencies all over the world. Recently, HK has released a new rimfire called the HK 416 pistol.

The HK 416 pistol is a magnificently designed firearm that has garnered a lot of attention in the gun world. So, today we’re going to look at this new firearm and see what makes it so special.

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The HK 416 Pistol

This gun looks like the front half of an AR-15, as seen in the photos. I am not usually too kicked about such pistols, as I have a tough time getting them lined up properly when I shoot them. This gun was different. Part of the difference had to do with the weight. Being a .22 LR, it doesn’t weigh much at all.

Another factor that allowed me to shoot this thing a little better than other AR pistols is the way it’s built. It has no buffer tube sticking out to have to deal with. Instead, it just sat on the bag and was easily aimed.

Based on the famous HK 416 assault rifle, this rimfire version allows the shooter to at least experience a bit of what it might feel like to hold one of the real deal. From the non-functional forward assist to the muzzle’s flash hider, this gun resembles its more-powerful cousin a good deal.

In addition to the forward assist, there is another 5.56-related feature on this gun that doesn’t function — the bolt release. Adding a couple of features to the functional column, we have the dust cover, magazine release, and safety — they all work as they do on the centerfire version.

No rimfire is going to replicate a centerfire semi-auto to any real extent, but it is one fun gun to shoot. Also available in rifle guise with buttstock, the 416 pistols proved to be one accurate gun, as the targets will show later.

Here’s a quick look at the HK 416 pistol’s specs.

Height:10.7 in.
Width:2.5 in.
Barrel Length:8.5 in.
Weight:4.5 lbs.
Sights:flip-up
Rear Sight Aperture Height:1.3 in.
Rear Sight Aperture Width:2.1 in.
Front Sight Width:0.7 in.
Receiver:Aluminum
Rail Interface System:M-LOK / Mil STD. 1913
Other:Pistol grip storage compartment, last-round bolt hold-open

The Heckler & Koch Company

Heckler & Koch is a company known for its military and law enforcement firearms and related products. From submachine guns and grenade launchers to everyday concealed-carry pistols, H&K products tend to be of very high quality and last a long time.

I reviewed their excellent P30L pistol earlier and wrote a bit about the company’s history in that review — you can read that history here. I liked the P30L, especially the European-style magazine release paddle at the rear base of the trigger guard. Being left-handed, I appreciated the ability to drop the mag quickly with my left hand and not have to move the mag release button to the other side of the frame or break my grip to drop it with my shooting hand.

As we notice on the side of the gun, we see this.

HK 416 Pistol Review

Umarex (Umarex Sportwaffen GmbH & Co. KG) is a German manufacturer of famous-firearm-branded airguns, paintball and airsoft guns made under license. The company also makes firearms.

In 1993, Umarex acquired Carl Walther GmbH Sportwaffen, otherwise known to us as Walther. Both Umarex and Walther’s American headquarters are in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (GmbH is essentially the German equivalent of our limited liability corporation, LLC. It drove me crazy until I looked it up.). So we have a gun that has two manufacturer names on it: HK and Umarex.

HK 416 Pistol Photos

Let’s look at some photos. This is one photogenic gun — clean lines and quality construction.

HK 416 Pistol Review
HK 416 Pistol Review HK416 right
HK 416 Pistol Review HK416 safety
HK416 Safety.
HK 416 Pistol Review Picatinny rail on the HK416
Picatinny rail.
HK 416 Pistol Review HK416 rear sight
Rear sight.
HK 416 Pistol Review HK416 rear sight side
HK 416 Pistol Review HK416 front sight
Front sight.
HK416 front sight side
Front sight.
HK416 front sight side close-up
HK416 sight picture
HK416 muzzle
HK416 buffer tube hookup
Buffer tube hookup.
HK416 bolt handle back
Bolt handle.

The magazine that comes with the 416 is proprietary. It looks like a .223 magazine from the outside — until you pop it out and look at it up close. There is also a slot on the sides of the magazine with the pull-down loading buttons. You can see how HK designed the .22 LR into it. Pretty clever. You can buy extras from various online sources.

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HK416 magazine side
Magazine.
HK416 mag top
HK416 mag well
Mag well.
HK416 branding

Shooting the HK 416 Pistol

targets shot with HK416

The 416 was a dream to shoot. After I figured out how to place it on a shooting bag, it was all gone. The distance was about 20 yards. I mounted a red dot sight I got from Amazon to test accuracy. My eyes have a tough time lining up the rear and front sights on the target anymore, so I just bought an inexpensive red dot to use in testing guns.

At least, this gun’s sights are fairly easy to acquire. It uses the tried & true rear aperture and front post. But, even so, it was easier for me to put one bright green dot on the target center rather than framing the post in the rear. Before we look at individual targets, let’s look at the item that helped me be more accurate — the red dot sight.

A Quick Look At the HK 416 Pistol’s Sight

As for this sight, it is an inexpensive generic red and green dot sight. The one I bought is branded Pinty but there are several companies that import this sight and put their name on it. It came with a one-year warranty and five batteries, which is a good thing.

Also included is a rubber glass cover for when it is in storage, two Allen keys, and a cleaning cloth. It has either a red or green output, with 5 intensity settings for each. The CR2032 battery compartment is on the top, so you don’t have to remove the sight to replace it.

red dot on HK416

There are five different reticles available via a switch located on the rear of the unit.

HK416 with red dot sight

You just move the selector to the one you want. I simply used the dot, on intensity level 3 — that was plenty good enough for the bright daylight I shot in. The red is equally bright. This sight is not bad — the dot doesn’t have much shadow at all, so you don’t have to try to figure out which dot to aim with.

Another thing I liked was zeroing this thing — I popped the iron (plastic) sights up and, using the included Allen key, moved the dot to where it was just sitting on the front post. I believe the term is co-witnessed. I quickly figured out the direction arrows were backward, but that was no big deal. Once I put the dot there, it stayed. That was all it took — I shot four different types and brands of .22 ammo, and each one was centered to the point of aim on the target.

I don’t recall having that happen before, with any .22 gun and any ammo. I was truly impressed. Usually, I have to haul my ammo out, put up several targets and bang away until I find the brand that shoots to the point of aim. Not this time. This gun was reasonably accurate with all four of my test brands. Let’s look at the targets.

targets shot with Fed and CCI
(L-R) Federal Champion, CCI Mini-Mag
targets shot with Rem and Win
(L-R), Remington Thunderbolt, Winchester Super X

As you can see, the CCI shot the best of the four, but barely. Given my propensity to shoot patterns, not groups, I would not hesitate to take this gun behind the house into the woods in search of bushy tails. You would need some sort of rest, though, whether natural (tree limb) or artificial (shooting sticks). With a little more experimentation and practice, this thing could be a squirrel’s worst nightmare. Attach a shoulder brace and your odds of connecting just went up.

I must admit that I had more fun than should be allowed, shooting the HK. My friend said his wife just likes to take it out, load it and just blast away from the hip — I can definitely see that, knowing both the gun and his wife. You had better load up on your preferred brand of .22 if you go out for an afternoon with this thing — it’s addictive. This is the most fun AR pistol I’ve ever shot.

We’ve seen that the gun is accurate, and that it might make a decent squirrel or small game gun. How else could you use it? Well, how about in .22 Steels competition? I’ve shot that course with the above-mentioned Ruger Mk. II. I think it would be even more fun with this one, especially if you could use the red dot.

Another use is pest reduction. Keeping this thing handy around the homestead would help cut down on the raccoon/rat/possum/whatever else you define as varmints population. Of course, the old standby, plinking, probably more cans, bottles (never a good idea), dirt clods, static clay pigeons, old laundry detergent containers, etc. have been done in by the lowly .22 than by all other rifle and handgun calibers combined. There’s no end to possible plinking targets. Just take enough ammo.

Wrap Up

If you are looking for a new range toy or something to keep behind the ranch’s kitchen door, you might want to give this gun a look. When gun supplies start returning to more-normal levels, this gun should be towards the top of your list if you want to invest in an AR-style plinker.

Although some of the controls are not functional, that shouldn’t stop you from having a ton of fun with it at the range or plinking field. Whether you add a shoulder brace or not, this gun should serve you well. I was well and truly impressed with its accuracy — that eight-and-a-half inch barrel does a great job and the sights are good all on their own.

Add a red dot, and you just extended your range a bit. Put some hollow points in it and take it to the woods. Switch to target loads for a real eye-opening experience at the range. Even if you already own a dozen rimfire guns, it never hurts to have one more. As always, keep ’em in the black and stay safe.

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14 comments
  1. C’mon Mike,finish the review.You said nothing in regards to the magazine.Is it proprietary?Did you have any feeding issues?What is the capacity?How many ship with the gun?

    1. William, yeah, the mag is proprietary. I thought photos of it would be enough but I should’ve captioned them to reflect what I learned. And, no, no feeding issues. You get one 10-round mag with the gun. I corrected the text to reflect some magazine details. Glad you called me on it-thanks for writing.

  2. I had one of these. Fun to shoot, but atrocious accuracy. With CCI Mini-Mags, I could reliably get good groups and have fun shooting, but with Remington Thunderbolt, or with Aguila Super Extra 22 (also lead round nose) I would see groups of 60+ MOA.

    That’s not a typo. 60 MOA. I fired it from a rest because it made me question me very sanity, much less my marksmanship.

    Called H&K support and they were very clear that they do not make the gun, merely provide support, and any accuracy claims using ammo other than the recommended Mini-Mags is not valid for warranty work. So while I don’t warn people away from this gun on principle, do beware that if you buy this, you’re getting an adequate rifle that is incredibly picky about the ammo it will fire.

    1. Jason, even though the gun is for fun, it helps if it shoots at least most of the time where it’s aimed…too bad on your 60 MOA. That’s really bad. I guess I got lucky with the one I shot. Mine was certainly fun to shoot. I appreciate your comments-thanks for writing!

    1. Jeff, no, I’ve tried to reach out to Kel Tec but so far, no success. That gun does look interesting. Thanks for writing!

  3. Mike, Nice review on the HK. 416. HK in my opinion is one of the best manufacturers for AR the platform. Awesome way to shoot without a lot of Expense in rounds! Keep the article’s coming Thanks again .

    1. John, yup, they make good stuff. Just remember that this .22 is made by Umarex but supported by HK. Thanks for writing!

  4. I bought the hk416 22lr a couple years ago sure would love to get a drum magazine but can’t find one compatible. Any suggestions?

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