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Q Honey Badger Review

The Q Honey Badger pistol is a variant of the standard Q Honey Badger, which was designed for a specific military contract that intended to replace the MP5-SD. This gun is designed to be small and handy and work in a variety of different scenarios. If you’re looking for a full backstory on the history of the Q Honey Badger, then this article isn’t for you. But if you’re looking for a Q Honey Badger review, then you found the right place. 

Honey Badger Pistol Left Pallet

What is the appeal of the gun?

Right away, you’ll see the Honey Badger sets itself apart from normal AR-15s with its color scheme.

The Honey Badger uses a unique process called clear-coat anodizing. Most firearms are anodized in black and then usually Cerakoted if they desire a different color. The Honey Badger is unique in that it uses a clear coat on both the receiver and handguard.

Honey Badger Pistol Brace Out Pallet Right

The receiver is made out of 7075 aluminum while the handguard is made out of 6061 aluminum. The different metallurgy of the two different types of aluminum allows the colors to be different. The clear coat turns the receiver gold while the handguard turns gray.

Weighing in at just 4 1/2 pounds, the Honey Badger is definitely light. That lightweight is a double-edged sword, though. 

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This gun works fantastic if you want to carry it in a backpack or just have it with you in situations where weight might be a detriment. But when shooting, it could cause some issues in certain scenarios.

We’ll talk more about that in the shooting section. The uses for this gun almost seem endless. It can work as a home defense gun or to be a good hunting gun for animals like deer or hogs. 

Honey Badger Pistol Eblerstock Cherry Bomb

Chambered in .300 blackout, the gun has a lot of diversity of use. It can be very quiet if you’re running subsonics through it or it can have a decent amount of power if you’re shooting the supers. For myself, I’ve set it up as my ultimate home defense weapon. More on that later.

Ergonomics 

Although this gun is based on the AR-15, there are a lot of key differences that make it different from your standard mil-spec AR-15 or even a lot of the higher-end custom rifles on the market. While Q designed this piece based on the AR-15 platform, there are a lot of proprietary parts in this gun. 

Safety

Honey Badger Pistol Short Safety Lever

The safety on the Q Honey Badger is a Radian safety design made specifically for Q. This safety feels really good on the hand and has medium-link levers. It’s easy to activate and is just comfortable. It’s also fairly stiff, though, and that’s one thing that I am slightly disappointed in.

You definitely don’t have to worry about the safety coming off inadvertently, though. The safety also has a unique 70-degree throw. Most guns on the market have either a 45- or 90-degree turn.

Honey Badger Pistol short Safety 60 Degree Throw

The 45-degree seems to be the new hot design for higher-end AR, but the 90-degree remains the standard. The 70-degree throw is apparently as short as they could go with getting reliable safety.

Q states that 45 degrees of safety are on most guns since if the receivers are not held to a high spec, they will fail. They suggest making sure that the receiver is set up for 45-degree safety before running it with the gun if you want to ensure it will be safe. It would appear that 70 degrees seem to be that line in the sand.

Pistol Grip

Honey Badger Pistol Grips

Q uses a sender Magpul K grip on the Honey Badger, but the original grip designed for the gun is now manufactured by a company called Reptilia Corp. That is the grip I have on my own Honey Badger pistol.

Personally, I think I actually prefer the Magpul, but I’m still going back and forth. I have a Q Honey Badger SBR that I’m waiting for the NFA paperwork to clear on, so once I have that gun in hand, I’ll be able to compare both of them side-by-side and decide which I like over a longer-term use period. If you don’t like either of those options, you can easily replace it with any AR-15 solid grip on the market.

Mag Releases

The magazine release on the Q Honey Badger is one of the one things that is standard AR-15. It’s just a regular push-button release and does not have any ambidextrous capacity. It works fairly well like your standard mil-spec AR-15. 

Honey Badger Pistol Magazine Release

There’s really not much more to say on that. It might’ve been nice to see Q add an ambidextrous or improved design, but I really don’t find myself missing it. As a right-handed shooter, there’s really no downside for me. But if you’re a lefty, this is probably something you’ll miss.

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Magazine Well

The magazine well on the Q Honey Badgers’ absolutely excellent. It’s very wide and flared. It’s incredibly quick to do a reload on this gun due to that flare magazine well. If you miss the magazine well, it’s definitely your fault and not the gun’s.

Honey Badger Pistol Magwell

Bolt Release/Hold Open

Again, this is another feature on the gun that is standard AR-15. It’s just the standard ping pong-style release that you would see on any mil-spec AR. It’s not upgraded in any way. Personally, I don’t mind it but this might’ve been an area where they could have improved. The gun itself has a fantastic-looking receiver set that really sets it apart from other mil-spec firearms, but that may not be enough for some people. 

Honey Badger Pistol Reciever Set

It’s really just going to depend on your preferences and what you’re looking for. Again, being a right-handed shooter I don’t find this as much of an issue. I have guns that do have upgraded magazine releases and bolt releases yet I never used the ambidextrous or upgraded features. I always use them as a standard mil-spec AR-15 because that’s what I’m used to.

Charging Handle

Honey Badger Pistol Radian Charging Handle front

Standard, the gun comes with a Radian charging handle that was built with Q specs. I personally really like this charging handle, although it’s not my absolute favorite. It is my second favorite AR-15 charging handle on the market, though.

This charging handle is also clear-coat anodized to match the receiver. It looks great and it seems like a standard option on the gun. 

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Honey Badger Pistol Radian Charging Handle Top

It doesn’t seem like an upgraded part. One thing that is nice about this gun in its entirety is that the whole gun seems like it was built from the ground up and doesn’t seem like an AR-15 that they just threw higher-quality parts on. The gun seems to work and fit together. Everything is perfectly designed for this firearm.

Handguard

Honey Badger Pistol Handguard TLR1

The gun itself features a six-inch M-LOK handguard and it’s very ergonomic. Personally, I find myself wanting to add angled forward grips or other kinds of control vices on guns this short, but I don’t find that necessary with the Q Honey Badger. The Honey Badger pistol handguard is so slim and just easy to get your hand around, and I really like it. This gun is fantastic. It’s just a standard M-LOK-style handguard, but it’s well-executed.

They didn’t get fancy here and it paid off.

Trigger Q Honey Badger Review

The Honey Badger has come with three different triggers throughout its production cycle. Originally, it shipped with an AR Gold trigger, but apparently AR Gold could not keep up with the demand for the trigger on the Honey Badger, so they then started shipping it with a Geissele. This is a flat-faced Geissele and I’m not sure what the exact model is, but I believe it is the Super Dynamic 3 trigger. 

Honey Badger Pistol Trigger

The trigger itself is pretty darn good.

You’re going to feel a little bit of light take-up, just the slightest bit, and then you’re going to catch an incredibly smooth brake. The gun just seems to shoot itself. The trigger is incredibly quick and you’ll definitely be able to get some fast split times.

Q is currently developing their own trigger for the firearm that they should have on the market sometime this year. I personally am not sure whether or not I’ll upgrade the trigger to the Q model, but it’s something I’m definitely considering.

The Q trigger is supposed to allow the gun to go back on safe when the hammer is not cocked. 

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For some people, that might be a nice feature. The trigger really does set this gun apart from a lot of other high-end AR-15s.

Not all high-end AR-15s come with an upgraded trigger like this. It really just brings the package together. I’ve never been a trigger snob, but this gun might’ve spoiled me.

Q Honey Badger Pistol Brace

Honey Badger Pistol Brace Collasped

The brace on the Honey Badger pistol is a collapsing brace that uses two slide rails like the original MP-5 stock that goes into the receiver. The receiver itself has cutouts for the slide rails and looks very natural. Like I said before, this gun definitely appears like it was built from the ground up and not a modified AR-15. The rails themselves only have notches in the front of the rails, which means you only have one position from which you can pull the brace back. 

Personally, I do not like this. There is a Noveske rifle that uses the same brace system that has been licensed by Q and they have cutouts in the middle of the brace rails. That really gives the user a lot more options and it makes the brace more usable for a lot of shooters. Another reason I like the shorter length of pull on the Noveske. There’s a cheek rest on the Q that you have to get your head farther forward on. I don’t like cranking my neck that far forward. I’d rather keep my head up and high versus turtle necking it into the gun.

Honey Badger Pistol Brace

The brace portion of the firearm is absolutely excellent. It’ll fit well around your arm when you’re shooting and it also just looks natural. Many of the AR-15-style braces on the market, while they have improved greatly, do not look the best.

Even the SBM4 A3 isn’t the best-looking brace. It still doesn’t have that appearance of matching the stock will have the functionality on a brace. It’s always cool to have a gun that looks like it has a stock, even though it doesn’t have the same functionality. 

Looks Q Honey Badger Review

This brace looks fantastic and it looks like it was made to be on the gun. The brace feature also works very well. You can easily get it around your arm and access the pistol grip. One thing I do wish is it had the ability to have that notch in the middle of the rails.

Honey Badger Pistol Lynx Defense Byte ModLite Right

The reason I state this is because depending on the size of your arm, that shorter position might help some shooters better than others. For myself as a six-foot-tall male, the long position works fine, but for a shorter shooter, they might want a shorter length of pull when ratcheting the arm brace around the forearm. 

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Mounting Accessories

Mounting accessories to the Q Honey Badger is fairly standard since it’s an AR-15-style platform.  But one thing you’ll need to keep in mind is that the gun is exceptionally short and compact. This can present some issues from a user standpoint. It’s always good to have a gun well-accessorized as it provides more capabilities. 

Honey Badger Pistol No Can Right

Also, it just looks cooler. Making the gun look cool can be half the battle sometimes. You want this to look like something that comes out of a movie, that way when you show it off to your friends, they’re all impressed. If that is your goal, the Honey Badger is a fairly easy gun to accomplish that goal with.

Optics Q Honey Badger Review

Mounting an optic to this gun is as straightforward as it gets. There is a rail running along the top of the gun to the front of the handguard. You can easily mount pretty much any optic you want, whether it be a low-power variable optic or a red-dot.

I personally have chosen a red-dot for my guns as it just seems to make the most sense for my applications. You can also easily mount iron sights to this gun at the rear and at the front. 

Honey Badger Pistol Trijicon MRO Scaler Works Mount

I am currently not running irons on this gun, but I am going to add a Midwest Industries Fixed Front Sight Post that is designed for running an IR laser. The reason I’m using this front sight post is that it only takes up one rail slot. This makes the sight very low-profile. I’m going to mount a pressure pad of some sort right behind that front sight, which will make the ergonomics of the gun fairly good to use with a weapon light.

Currently, I’m running a Trijicon MRO on a 1/3 height Scalerworks mount. I plan on switching this out for an Aimpoint T-2 matter on a Unity Tactical Fast Mount. The Fast Mount has an integrated rear sight or ghost ring built into the mount itself. That will co-witness with the front site allowing me to have a. (surprise, surprise) fast mount.

It’s much higher than a 1/3 co-witness sight, which is just more natural, in my opinion, as far as the shooting position goes. I really like having the ability to have back-up iron sights on a gun. The setup will allow me to do it without taking up much rail space or adding a lot of weight to the gun.

Lights Q Honey Badger Review

Mounting a light on this gun is probably going to be one of the most difficult things to do, or at least mounting a light that you can easily use ergonomically. There are plenty of M-LOK slots to mount a light, but given the six-inch length Vanguard, you don’t want your hand pushed too far back into the gun.

I personally plan on getting some sort of offset mount and then using a Unity Tactical hot button mounted right behind the front site as I mentioned earlier. That will allow me to ambidextrously use the gun. 

Honey Badger Pistol Collasped Right Suppressed

However, finding the right mountain for the light is proving somewhat challenging. I want something that will push the light out further in front of the gun. This is so the ambidextrous usage of the gun feels the same, but I have to find something that will fit around the trash can.

I have mounted it on the gun since the trash PANDA is wider in diameter than the rail itself. I want to make sure the bezel of the light does not impact the can.

Honey Badger Pistol Streamlight TLR1

Right now, I plan on using a Modlite PLH model as that seems to be the best head that I have found for overall usage. Currently, I’m running a streamlined TLR1-HL, which does work pretty darn well for home defense considering flooding is my primary objective in the small confines of my home. 

Control Devices

You can easily mount some sort of control device on the bottom handguard of the Q. There are two full M-LOK slots, which you can mod for any kind of angle of grip you may desire. I personally don’t think I’m going to do that as I really like the way the gun’s set up now. It seems pretty darn perfect for my hands.

Sling Q Honey Badger Review

Mounting a sling to the Q Honey Badger is going to be pretty standard with any AR-15. There’s actually a QD portion that is ambi-mounted just behind the receiver. It accepts QD slot sling swivels. That’s an easy way to mount the rear of your sling, and then there’s plenty of M-LOK slots up front where you can Mount a QD cup or just run Paracord through the M-LOK slots themselves. 

Right now, since this gun’s set up for home defense and I don’t have kids or dogs or any reason that I might have to sling a rifle if I have to use it for home defense, I haven’t really put a lot of thought into mounting a sling.

I do plan on getting a sling for this gun that will probably be an Edgar Sherman Design, as the ESD sling has served me well on a bunch of my other guns. It’s lightweight and very easy to use and a lot of people are running on the Honey Badger for just those reasons.

Aesthetics 

Aesthetically, the Honey Badger is a different animal than most of the other guns on the market. If you’re used to a standard AR-15, this gun is definitely going to look different. In fact, it’s going to look different than any other gun in its class compared to something like an ACR, FN Scar, or a CZ Bren 2.

The clear-coat anodized finish is a really cool feature. I personally find myself liking it. I liked the look of this gun. When a lot of non-gun people look at the gun they’re immediately impressed, but gun people tend to either love it or hate it. They either liked standard black or they think the Honey Badger is beautiful. Some find the look to be trendy. Only time will tell how this look ages, but overall, I think it’s going to age pretty well.

Honey Badger Pistol Angle Pallet 1

The brace and every aspect on this gun just seem like it’s made for us. The fit of the gun is absolutely excellent in most categories. Receivers fit together very snugly. The handguard attaches tightly. There’s nothing loose in this gun except for the brace itself. The rails and the brace loosen up over time compared to their mounting thing.

It’s not a deal-breaker, but if rattle is something that’s going to bother you, then you might want to look at another gun. I personally don’t find any issue with it. 

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Finish Q Honey Badger Review

Now, one thing that is lacking on this firearm is finish. The finish of this firearm is somewhat subpar. The clear-coat anodizing on the aluminum handguard seems flawless, but the clear anodizing on the receiver set is not nearly as flawless.

There are little blemishes all over. I’ve had the pleasure of checking out three different Honey Badgers and all of them had these blemishes, although to varying degrees. If blemishes are an issue, you’re definitely going to want to check a Honey Badger out in the store before purchasing one.

Although it might be harder than you think to find one without those blemishes. From a distance, they aren’t noticeable.

Honey Badger Pistol Lynx Defense Bureau ModLite Right

The receiver set itself is a work of art. It just has fantastic-looking lines and everything seems well-proportioned. They also have “Live Free or Die” on the front of the Magwell and the Q symbol looks great and doesn’t look like obnoxious branding compared to most firearms.

There is a brass deflector on the side that is very small. It just fits in really well on the gun. You can tell they spent a lot of time designing this set.

Shooting Experience

Shooting this gun may or may not be what you would expect. Weighing in at only four-and-a-half pounds, this gun is definitely very light. One thing to keep in mind is that this gun was designed to be shot suppressed, so I mounted my Q trash PANDA to this gun.

That’s how I have it set up for home defense, and that’s pretty much how every round has been fired through this gun has been shot in my hands. 

When shooting subsonics, this gun seems to have almost no recoil. It’s literally like shooting a 10/22. It is one of the most fun guns to shoot that you can imagine and as quiet as your typical pellet gun, if not quieter.

I was really shocked by the performance of this gun. All the noise is coming from a semi-automatic action and not from the actual shooting on the round itself. If there was a way to cut this gun off and not cycle the action, I’m pretty sure it would be extremely quiet.

Honey Badger Pistol Overview Right

Supersonic Q Honey Badger Review

Now, if you’re shooting supersonic, that’s where things get a little bit louder. Shooting supersonic ammo through this gun is a lot more recoil. It’s definitely not unmanageable, but it’s got a lot more kick.

I would not want to shoot 500 rounds in a day through this gun with supersonic ammo. It’s a lightweight gun and it’s clearly gas for the subsonic ammo. That said it’s not super uncomfortable, and for the amount you’ll likely be firing this gun, the supersonic isn’t bad. 

I’ve also noticed different supersonic ammo shoots differently through this gun. The standard range ammo I use (125-grain range ammo) has a lot more recoil than the 110-grain GMX Hornady that I keep in the gun for home defense. Another thing I’ll mention about this gun is the quiet factor with the Q trash PANDA. The trash PANDA is Q’s shorter QD-style can, but it’s still extremely quiet.

I feel comfortable using this gun for home defense even when shooting supersonic ammo because it was that quiet. I’m sure if I had to shoot indoors, my ears might ring a little, but I wouldn’t lose all my hearing.

I have shot this gun outdoors suppressed without Ear Pro. (Something I don’t suggest, by the way.) It’s incredibly quiet for what it is. My ears did not ring when I left the range after shooting a round or two without Ear Pro. 

The Truth

Granted, I don’t know if I’d want to shoot 30 rounds with a gun without Ear Pro, but it’s just quiet enough that I have confidence in using supersonic ammo and knowing it will be better than subsonic holistically while also not completely wrecking my hearing and shoot the gun indoors. Let’s hope this scenario never comes up where I have to use this gun in that application.

Final Conclusions Q Honey Badger Review

So would I suggest this gun for everybody? No — this gun is somewhat of a niche weapon and the lightweight factor may not be the best for everybody. It’s definitely a fun gun to take to the range, and shooting subsonics through it is next level. It’s an experience I suggest everybody have.

That said, the average person might be better off where the standard AR-15 is not quite as eclectic. This is one of those guns where, when you handle it, you’ll know whether you want it or not.

The gun is reliable, it’s soft-shooting with the correct ammo, and it has an adjustable gas system that you could tune if you’re planning on running just supersonic. The gun doesn’t lack options at all.

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The only real major downside for me is caliber costs. .300 blackout rounds aren’t cheap, and unfortunately, they’re even more expensive now. When you can find .300 blackout subsonic ammo for $0.60 cents a round, this gun would be one of the most fun guns to shoot for the money. That’s really all I can say.

Pros

  • Looks different than a normal AR-15
  • The receiver set looks amazing
  • Great magazine well
  • Safety, charging handle, and trigger are great out of the box
  • Lightweight
  • Cool factor

Cons

  • Proprietary parts
  • The surface finish on the gun isn’t excellent
  • No adjustment in the brace; either in or out
  • Lightweight (recoil with supersonic ammo)

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