Henry Homesteader vs Chiappa M1-9: Which is Better?

Are you looking for a classic PCC for some plinking or home defense? Let’s take a look at a couple here today. In one corner, you have the Henry Homesteader, a legendary company (Henry Firearms) known more for their single-shot and lever-action rifles, who stepped outside their comfort zone and produced a semi-auto rifle. In the other corner, you have Chiappa, a manufacturer from Italy making the legendary M1 Carbine in 9mm. Both pistol-caliber carbines have a wood stock that gives them a simple yet classy look.

PCC weapons kind of crept up on us over the past few years, and they are here to stay, it seems. Some like the idea of a PCC because it’s a rifle platform with a pistol round. This helps with over-penetration issues in populated areas. Some locations make it hard to defend with a 5.56, 7.62, or other high-powered rounds because of the danger to those nearby. It’s also cheaper to shoot a pistol caliber for those who want to save money.

Chiappa M1-9
The 9mm Beretta mag fed M1-9 by Chieppa. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
Because there are so many options on the market, picking out a PCC is not easy. If you want an AR-15, there are a gazillion to choose from. I love AR-15 rifles, but I’ve been around them so much they get a little old. This leaves me wanting something different, if not for any other reason, just for fun. I like tactical, modern, and classic guns when I’m searching for something new. Henry’s Homesteader is a new rifle, but it has that classic look to it.

Of course, the Chiappa remake of the M1 Carbine is an old-school gun they have modified into a 9mm PCC. Here is a rundown of the Homesteader and M1-9 with my two cents on each one. Maybe this information will help you find your next PCC.

Chiappa M1-9 PCC

Built around the M1 Carbine used by Paratroopers in WWII, the Chiappa M1-9 is a 9mm PCC that uses Beretta 92F mags. One of the coolest things about this gun is they made it work with an original M1 Carbine stock. I purchased one that came with a wood stock, but if you buy the synthetic version and want to change it, you can. Except for the magazine, this gun looks just like an M1 Carbine, which is what makes it so appealing to me.

Chiappa M1-9
The Chiappa M1-9 uses the original M1 Carbine stock. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
After seeing some early reviews, it appears the M1-9 had many issues cycling ammo reliably. The company recommends a break-in period, but I had some trouble even past that. Once I broke the gun down, cleaned it, and oiled it, however, those problems went away. I’ve had a few hundred rounds through it now without a single issue, which is not bad compared to my first 200 rounds. To keep the gun cheap, they cut a few corners by replacing some metal parts with plastic.

The most noticeable ones are the barrel band and bayonet lug, which also holds the sling swivel. I have a sling on mine, and it hasn’t broken yet, but I still don’t like it being plastic. I believe a metal surplus one from an M1 Carbine will work on it, though I haven’t tried this yet. Breaking the gun down is not bad, but they didn’t design the bolt to come out with a field strip. This means you have to try and clean around the bolt while it’s in the gun because taking it out is more work than it’s worth.

Henry Homesteader PCC

This is a gun that’s just easy to like if you appreciate simple-looking guns. Even the name “Homesteader” is fitting because it’s what you would picture throwing in your pickup as you head out. Henry designed an interchangeable mag well that will work with their proprietary mags, Glock, Sig P320, or M&P mags. I purchased one that came with the Glock magwell, so I installed it because I already have Glock mags.

Henry Homesteader rifle.
The Henry Homesteader 9mm rifle. [Photo: Jason Moher]
This direct blow-back gun has a counterweight (like the M1-9) to help reduce the recoil as the bolt slams into the receiver. The charging handle is ambidextrous and reminds me of an old BB gun (which I like). Just like with the M1-9, rumors were circulating that it had cycling issues. If this was true, I believe Henry fixed the problem because I haven’t had any issues with mine.

I’ve fired a ton of FMJ and HP ammo through it without any issues. The Homesteader has a rear peep sight mounted to the rear of the barrel with a standard blade sight on the front. I don’t mind this at all, but I wonder if they should have mounted the sight on top of the receiver. There are grooves in the top of the receiver for mounting a rail or optic, which may be why they pushed the rear sight onto the barrel.

I’m sure an optic would be great on this gun, but this is an open-sight rifle for me. It has a shotgun-style thumb safety on the top rear part of the upper receiver, which is easy to work when holding the rifle. Taking it apart requires pushing three pins out, but it’s not too difficult.

Comparing Two PCC Rifles

When shooting the two guns, I tend to be more accurate with the Homesteader than the M1-9. The M1-9 has an adjustable rear peep sight, but it moves on me now and then. This is something Chiappa may want to address at some point. Both guns look great, but I love WWII-era guns, so I like the classic look of the M1-9. The Homesteader has a big advantage over the Chiappa because it can use Glock magazines.

I wish Chiappa would have configured theirs to use Glock mags as well, for accessibility’s sake. Beretta mags are popular, but it’s just hard to beat a Glock magazine. Plus, I have multiple Glock handguns and PCCs that use Glock mags already. Each gun is about the same length, weighs the same, and features a walnut stock. Retail for the Homesteader is about $800 and is $600 for the M1-9. My opinion is the Homesteader is worth the extra $200 for a few reasons.

Henry Homesteader 9mm with Glock mags.
If you want simple and reliable, the Henry Homesteader is a great gun. Glock magwells are available. [Photo: Jason Mosher]
First, it’s more accurate than the M1-9. Second, it doesn’t have as much plastic on it as the M1-9 does. Just a little more metal and Chiappa could have made this a much better gun. My third reason is the lack of a bolt lock (last-round hold open) on the M1-9. It’s not the end of the world that it doesn’t have one, but why not add it? If those changes were made and it accepted Glock mags, I would be willing to pay a little more for it.

Does the Henry Homesteader win?

I think the Homesteader is a better gun overall, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like the Chiappa M1-9. For the price, it’s not a bad gun, and it’s fun to shoot. There haven’t been any more cycling issues with it, but they could have designed a few things better. Both guns require some tools and more time to field strip than most modern guns, but it is easier to clean the Homesteader.

It comes down to the price you want to pay and the style of gun you like most. Spending a little more for a better rifle sounds reasonable, but that’s a rabbit hole that will never end. If you don’t draw the line somewhere, you will end up buying a $5,000 rifle. With the M1-9, you get the cool classic gun, and with the Homesteader, you get a little better quality at a higher price.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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