At this year’s IWA, Hera Arms presented the new “C” generation of self-loading rifles in 9 mm Luger. This series is available in two barrel lengths and is approved for sport shooting in Germany.
The company Hera Arms produces AR-15 rifles in caliber .223 Remington and semi-automatic. Due to the legal situation, however, the latter were usually excluded from sport shooting in Germany because of their appearance. The company from Triefenstein in Lower Franconia is now offering the new “C” series of “9ers”, self-loaders for the 9 mm Luger pistol cartridge that are also approved for sport shooting. The samples pictured come with a 254 mm short barrel (10 inches), but Hera also manufactures the new model with a barrel length of 16.75″ (425 mm) and a correspondingly extended Dural handguard.
The two-piece case construction made of high-quality alloy 7075 T6 and is reminiscent of the AR-15/ M16, even with its modernized outer lines. Unlike typical AR rifles, however, the 9ers from Hera Arms do not operate as gas pressure loaders with a rotary head.
The rifle is not equipped with a bolt, but with a spring-loaded/ground bolt. First and foremost, the high weight of the bolt of 450 grams ensures that the weapon only opens and the bolt moves to the rear when the projectile has already left the barrel. In contrast to other nine-para self-loaders related to the AR-15, the lower receiver is a thoroughbred 9 mm design with a correspondingly narrow magazine well. and a bolt catch lever whose dimensions are significantly larger than those of a normal AR. In front of the magazine there is a ramp in the lower half of the housing, which promotes the smooth feeding of the cartridges into the chamber. As is usual for typical sporting rifles, the semi-automatic rifles from Hera Arms in 9 x 19 mm caliber do not have a closing aid in the upper receiver. Instead, the case deflector has been massively enlarged compared to older cases. With the exception of the ten-shot sheet metal magazine, almost all parts of the 9 mm rifle, including the bolt, case, barrel, handguard and stock, are manufactured in-house. There is hardly anything to complain about in terms of workmanship. Aluminum parts such as the housing and the sport handguard offer cleanly reworked and evenly matt black hard anodized surfaces, also the massive 9 mm bolt appears very accurately processed. There is nothing to complain about the clean finish of the polymer pistol grip.
Centerfire self-loading rifles for sporting purposes have a hard time in this country, among other things, if it is outwardly a full-auto. The only reason for this is that there is no military model that can be used for sporting purposes and at the same time the case length is less than 40 mm or the barrel is shorter than 42 centimeters. For this reason, the self-loading pistols for pistol cartridges that can be used for sporting purposes in Germany appear quite civilian on the outside: If, on the other hand, the weapons look too much like more or less military models such as the HK MP5 or the M16, there is no chance of them being used for sport shooting. The C-Series from Hera Arms addresses this problem in all respects, with the exception of the exposed pistol grip. As a result, the series received a positive approval from the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) for sport shooting, which is also available on the manufacturer’s website. The relevant details include the magazine capacity and length, also the muzzle attachments, so-called ventilation slots, hand guard shape and equipment, the buttstock, but also sights according to military models and the like.
The length of Hera’s new HRS fixed stock is based on the proven A2 rifle length buffer tube with a trigger distance of 35 centimeters – a good length for medium-sized shooters. The new stock offers three options for attaching a sling on both sides and a (not too) non-slip rubber butt plate. If you like, you can close the opening in the butt stock with two plastic plates and thus create a small storage space for accessories. The slim aluminum handguard allows the tube to swing freely and offers a moderately grippy diamond pattern on the side, but no ventilation holes or slots. On the underside of the hand guard, there are two keymod holes in the front and center for attaching accessories. Both the fore-end stocks and the complete carbines are not only sold in Germany. Elsewhere, things are usually less strict and, in addition, the civilian Hera-Arms Sport handguard for the C-models in nine-para largely corresponds to the closed sporting hand gurads for self-loaders in long rifle calibers such as .223 Remington. The continuous Picatinny rail on the housing and handguard offers various options for customizing the sights, red dots or telescopic sights.
The test specimen came from the manufacturer with an Aimpoint Micro. The muzzle thread was protected from damage by a knurled nut. However, the nut cannot be removed until the Loctite applied to the thread at the factory is heated. This is because even with subsequently screwed-on fire dampers and similar muzzle attachments, it is not possible to remove the nut.
Depending on the individual attachment, one has to be careful whether the weapon will pass the official “face check” as a sporting device. In case of doubt, it is worthwhile for interested shooters to ask the BKA for an individual solution with regard to an angled foregrip and bipod or a muzzle attachment for a small determination certificate.
On the Firing Range
For the precision test, the testers replaced the compact Aimpoint optic with a 3 to 15x magnification Minox ZP5 in quick release rings from U.S. manufacturer A.R.M.S.. At a distance of 50 meters, the carbine preferred the smallest scattering circle of 34 mm. According to the manufacturer, this is a standard AR-15 trigger, retrofitted with a lighter sport spring set. The spring swap lightens the weight a bit compared to an unmodified standard trigger. Basically, the new civilian variant from Hera Arms is very pleasant even for a 9mm carbine in AR style. The HRS stock is subjectively solid to the touch, though not fundamentally different from a plain A2 stock with a slightly more non-slip buttplate. The slender aluminum handguard is pleasant to grip.
A modern, striking design with fine handling characteristics and good precision: The 9er Sport “C” series cuts a very good figure among the self-loading rifles approved for sport shooting in this country.