Sneak Peek: HK’s MR556A1

Note the polymer dust cover, the HK model diopter rear…

Note the polymer dust cover, the HK model diopter rear site, and the ergonomic pistol grip on the MR556A1 rifle. Click for larger image.

Heckler and Koch’s piston-driven AR variant, the HK416, was originally developed with input from U.S. Special Operations forces and has been serving in that capacity for several years. The civilian version of this rifle, the MR556A1 (M.S.R.P. $2,995), has recently started shipping out to dealers in limited quantities. So what made this the weapon of choice for Delta Force, and what differences are there in the civilian version? We were invited to a special preview at H&K’s offices in Ashburn, VA to check it out.


The MR556A1 rifle from H&K is the civilian version of the US Special Forces HK416, but designed as a match grade rifle. Look for tight tolerances between the upper and lower receiver and no play in the collapsible stock. Click for larger image.

Derived directly from the HK416, the MR556A1 uses many of the same parts, including the barrel and gas block which still features the grenade launcher attachment point, but was built as a match capable rifle. Both rifles use HK’s proprietary short stroke gas-piston operating system so no fouling or gasses enter the receiver or affect the bolt, improving reliability and ease of cleaning. Both rifles also include an easily removed rail system with four MIL-STD-1913 “Picatinny” rails. A charging handle designed for one-handed operation can be readily adapted for left- or right-handed use.

HK’s new MR556A1 rifle features a free-floated barrel with a quick-detach quad rail handguard. Note the grenade launcher attachment point on the bottom of the barrel under the front sight.

The MR556A1 exhibits extremely tight tolerances with no play between the upper and lower receiver thanks to take down pins with spring loaded bearings that help seal the upper and lower. To disassemble the rifle, a special tool is needed which is stored inside of the six-position telescoping stock behind the rotating removable shoulder pad. This tool can also be used to lock the stock in the desired position, eliminating the usual play found in these types of stocks.

HK’s piston driven system means fouling ad gasses stay out of the receiver, keeping the bolt cool and clean during firing and needing little lubrication.

This rifle has a 16.5 inch heavy free floated barrel with 1:7 twist, but unlike the HK416, the MR556A1 does not have a chrome-lined barrel. This is due to the fact that HK’s engineers determined that an unlined bore delivers better accuracy.

Images: HK USA

How will HK’s civilian piston-driven AR perform on our own range test? Look for a detailed review in a future Harris Publications magazine. In the meantime, visit for more information.

Load Comments
  • TruantOfficer

    @Timbo Gogo… you idiot, did Bush’s armed forces find and kill Bin Laden, phucks no! Big deal about knowing the existence of Seal Team 6. You know nothing about how to infiltrate or investigate them anyway and you never will.

  • Rangerproud

    Franklin Says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 8:14 am
    Is it true a HK416 killed Osama Bin Laden?

    Yes, this is true. All SF units use the MR556A1 HK416 rifle. This is the rifle used by the SEALl Team that dealt with Bin Laden. The 10 inch version was the one used in the operation. Timbo Gogo needs to put aside his government/political bias and get his facts straight before he continues to mislead people seeking correct answers.

    My source is my battle buddy in the Navy SEALs who was part of the operation. That is called a primary source and that is how you provide a correct and accurate answer.

  • Franklin Says:
    May 2nd, 2011 at 8:14 am
    Is it true a HK416 killed Osama Bin Laden?
    Answer: No, the HK416 did not kill Osama Bin Laden, the honorable United States Marine Core killed Bin Laden. Incidentally, Seal Team Six was a classified secret until our governments big mouth and bragging after the death of Bin Laden made the teams existence “official”. Nice going Obummer!

  • Robert Zungazi

    I use some HKs products for work in the security industry , the P30 .40 and MP5 9mm . Outstanding weapons big time.
    Was thinking of getting the MR556A1 rifel for 3 gun shooting with my Remington 870 and P30. Any thoughts?

  • rsm

    best ar i ever owned. i love it, wish i paid 2400, just paid 2650. that was lowest price i found.

  • Kevin

    The fact that they use steel mags, and not the current crop of plastic mags is not bad. The aluminum gi mag works. Maritime mag works. I hate to bust bubbles the plastic mags are not NATO issue. The 416 and mr556 was designed before magpul started making mags. Also you can’t compared the 556 with any American ar that says it’s” milspec” except about 4-5 top line models and they are about same price.I’m active duty and all my mags are gi.

  • Dan

    Ruger SR556 better sight radius.sights fold out of the way for leupold 1/2 $
    And Not a collectors ITEM you don’t want to shoot because it will degrade it’s value.

  • Franklin

    Is it true a HK416 killed Osama Bin Laden?

  • I just received my MR556A1, after an hour of looking and tearing down this weapon I knew the 556A1 was worth every cent of the $2,400.00 I paid. This truly is the Mercedes of Ar-15/M-4 civilian rifles. Might I suggest the bi-pod the vertical handle and a must have scope would be the finishing touch is the Schmidt-Bender. This rifle will be very accurate to 600 meters if not more depending on your experience and self loading capabilities. Should you find yourself interested in professional loads contact me through for more information. I agree with the above comments, this is one fine piece of engineering, if it’s good enough for my brother’s and Delta Force operator’s then it will surpass your expectations…..Harpseal

  • Jon Hopkins

    January has come and gone, when and where can you purchase the MR556A1???

  • Elias

    Yours lucky you can buy rifles like this in the USA , in Australia we are only aloud bolt action or pump action rifles even pump action shot guns are band.

  • Martin

    Is anyone know were I can buy HK 556. Please provide me a link. Thank you so much.

  • Sam

    I’m a total newbie to H&K, so bear with me. What distinguishes this from the SL 8-6? They’re also around 2,500 bucks. Could their reluctance to produce the AR be due to not wanting to undercut their established product?

  • Joe S.

    While I’m sure that this weapon platform will be excellent I don’t feel that the $2,400.00 price tag is justified. I own several of HK’s firearms to include long guns and I just don’t feel that the price should be near what some of the “next gen” rifles cost. If there were truly something to seperate this platform from POF and the like then maybe but not the way it is now. Then, there is the issue of the delay in bringing this platform to market.

  • JEFF

    they will sale alot of em…and are priced equal to what you’d expect just like LWRC,POF,and etc… I don’t necessarily agree with the price but they didn’t ask for my imput either.Alot of buyers got fedup with waiting on HK’s inability to put the rifle on the market.Why in the world did it take years?!!If you’re the best,it shouldn’t be so hard to put em out there.Personally I want the big brother to this one. They are world class no doubt!!

  • Pedro

    LOL, the ones that are knocking this rifle probably can’t afford them haven’t owned an HK weapon or are just repeating internet fodder. Hate away all you want but this is no doubt the best AR type rifle out there and I got one on lock for $2,400.00.

  • ChakaKahn79

    Go for Sig’s 516 or 517. Just as equal if not better quality & engineering for half the price! Don’t get me wrong HK’s are great weapons but not priced for the reg civi in mind & they should be! They ain’t no freaking FN!

  • CC19

    If you get one, plan on ditching those steel magazines they ship with. Not only are they $50/each, I hear you can’t even buy replacement parts. They were cool when they first came out, but have since been eclipsed in performance and durability by the likes of the PMag and Lancer L5 to name a few.

  • Chris

    Finally! Straight from the source as opposed to rumors for the past few years. It’s *finally* coming.

    Anyhow prices will be quite different from MSRP. Some dealers are already offering them for around $2,400.

  • Chris

    The H&K MR556A1 rifle is priced higher than many other AR variants (i.e. DPMS or Stag Arms), but you are talking about (in my opinion) one of the best weapons available out there.

    I have kept my eye on this weapon (HK 416 military model)since it came out; everything I’ve heard or read has been outstanding.

    If you own any H&K firearm, you know it’s all about quality and reliablilty.

    This weapon will be a very hot item with the serious shooters.

  • Mole

    Wow!!!!! Twice the price of the same gun u can get from another company. I guess they’re banking on their name for that price.

  • Chortles

    Keep digging that hole, HK… though I wouldn’t be surprised if H&K’s view of the gun situation (that is, the viability of the civilian market) in the U.S. got more negative after the Gifford shooting.

  • Justin