Oberland Arms: German AR-15

As the AR-15 platform grows in popularity around the world, more and more companies are manufacturing them. I recently heard about a German company called Oberland Arms who are manufacturing high-end AR-15 and AR-10 rifles in just about every conceivable configuration.

Their cheapest line is the OA-15 Black Label that starts at € 1,295 ($1,700) for a basic M4 or A3 style rifle with a forged receiver.

Oberland Arms OA-15 Black Label

Their top end rifle is the .308 Win chambered OA-10 DMR (Designated Marksman Rifle). This rifle starts at € 2,950 ($3,880).

Between the “budget” Black Label and the high-end DMR are rifles, carbines and SBRs in every shape and size. The company will soon be introducing its first AR chambered in 9mm.

Miroslav emailed us these photos that he took of Oberland’s booth at IWA ’12.

[ Many thanks to Miroslav for emailing us photos and infomation. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Duttyrock2012

    Exactly how many different types of AR can be made, any why should anyone get excited about them anymore?

    • AK™

      @Duttyrock2012
      The same could be said about the venerable 1911 platform.

      Almost any platform for that matter.

    • Lew

      On this side of the Atlantic any and all AR-manufacturers are very welcome. That being said, repeal the silly bits of ITAR and we (your allies) could support your industrial base (and get cheaper rifles).

  • I saw them at IWA ’11 – was not impressed.

  • Andrew Racek

    Looks solid, but at an arm and a leg I’d rather stick to something domestic.

    • Dave

      That’s ok, you’re probably not the target market for these anyway. I suspect they mostly sell these to Europeans who want to buy one of the various nifty AR variations produced by U.S. companies but can’t due to ITAR.

  • EsEf

    Since it’s nearly impossible (and if – very expensive) to buy American brands in Europe – thanks to ITAR – we have to manufacture our own AR-style rifles.

    OA is in business since a couple of years now and there are more companies like Schmeißer, DAR, Hera-Arms and others to come.

    http://www.schmeisser-germany.de/
    http://www.dar-germany.com/
    http://www.hera-arms.de/
    http://www.oberlandarms.com/

    Very interesting is an AR-15 from Czech Republic with the possibility to change barrels:
    http://www.luvo.cz/products/rifles/index.html

  • Marc

    The Dynamic Arms Research or HERA Arms ARs look more interesting to me.

    • Nathan

      I’m impress with HERA’s Billet Upper and Lower (HUS/HLS) Because of the ITAR we can only get European AR15 for me, HERA’s is the way to go.

  • A rifle that works, in the real world, is always welcome.

  • Erwos

    What’s the scoop on German gun laws? Can the average citizen own one of these? How about those magazines?

    • ragnarok220

      Average German citizen could own it once he/she passed required governmental exam (not very easy) for sport shooting or hunting.

      • Marc

        Easier than getting a driver’s license.

    • Leonard

      To own a gun in Germany you need to have a “need” (Ger.: Bedürfnis). That is you must either be

      a) a hunter, ie. have a hunting license which requires taking an expensive (>1000 €) and indepth course about biology, wildlife, firearms and concludes with written and practical exams (incl. shooting).

      b) be a member of a rifle club for at least 12 months, train regularly (at least monthly), must not have violated the law before, must be 25 years or older (exemption: over 18 for .22 lr guns). Each gun purchase must be approved individually by the rifle club and by your local office for firearm affairs (Waffenbehörde). Note that there are two types of gun licenses.
      The most common one, the Waffenbesitzkarte (firearms ownership permit) allows you to own weapons and store them in a safe at home. If you wish to go shooting with them, you must transport them in a sealed transport case and not open that until you arrived on the range. Except in cases of emergency which are very strictly defined, you may never use or even carry your firearms outside your own property and that of the range.

      The second, extremly rare kind of permit is the Waffenschein, which permits concealed carry of a specific gun. It is virtually impossible to obtain, unless you can demonstrate that you are highly endangered and require a gun for protection. This usually only applies to persons of public life. I have never heard or even met any person who holds this kind of permit.

      c) must be a licensed gun collector

  • Oberland Arms has been around for many years. In the past they used to import DMPS ar-15’s into Germany and convert them to comply with German law. For example the rifles where not allowed to have a separate pistol grip, threaded muzzle , were not allowed to take standard magazines etc. For a clear example of a rifle that complies with these standards have a look at the H&K SL8, this rifles has the G36 as a parent but is made into a sporter that complied with former German gun laws. Then the German law changed and civilians were allowed to own military style rifles. Oberland arms was one of the first companies to start producing military style AR-15’s for the domestic market. At first Oberland based their rifles on DPMS parts, then on Armalite and later on they switched to their own parts (except for the black label, they still use third party bits). In order to keep up with demand Oberland has really let quality slack. I have seen many cases of problems with these guns. I Have even seen a rife of which the lugs of the upper that fit into the lower broken off! I myself have also never handled such an unreliable centre fire rifle in my life.
    Oberland arms is not only the company that jumped on the Euro AR-15 bandwagon here are few others: http://www.schmeisser-germany.de, http://www.astra-arms.ch/, http://www.hkjs.de I personally think that that Oberland arms makes overpriced junk: especially if you own a SIG 550 or a H&K MR223 for the same price!

    • RickH

      So how did you come to your conclusion that they are “overpriced junk”?

  • Jeff Smith

    Any word on the quality of the rifles? I would assume they would be pristine, but how do they stack up against a comparably priced American made rifle? Anytime I hear “German” and “firearm” in the same title, I automatically assume it’s going to be great.

    • JS

      And expensive

  • roger

    Why is everyone piling into the AR15 platform, isn’t there better carbines out there? better designs?

    Is it kind of the same w. 1911’s in the handgun world or Chevy 350 small blocks in cars? at least 1911 look slightly different.

    From a marketing perspective I don’t see how a “me too” product is going to get any kind of market share, there are tens of thousands of AR frame makers, just in the US alone.

    4 steps to start a new ar15 company;

    1. call a machining company with a leased CNC machine and sand casting capabilities. (basically everyone)

    2. call a metal company get them to deliver blocks of 6061, because why innovate with better metal?

    3. download ar15 CNC plans from internet make a prototype, then cast it. make a bunch.

    4. try to sell millions of them, go out of business in 6 months.

    AR15 companies are what 12 yr old web designers were in the late 90’s, common and they all suck.

    • Riceball

      I guess you didn’t read all of the previous comments stating that, basically, Germans can’t get their hand on US made ARs and so Oberland has stepped in to fill that gap. As stated previously, these ARs are more than likely aimed primarily at the domestic German market rather than the US market.

    • anon

      It’s about Germany, you noticed that? Unlike the US, Germany is not awash with AR15 manufacturers.

    • W

      “AR15 companies are what 12 yr old web designers were in the late 90′s, common and they all suck.”

      I disagree. there are many AR15 companies that actually produce rifles that surpass military standards.

    • 276 pedersen

      So? The more the better, let the best rise to the top.

    • John Doe

      Consumer choice is awesome. Lots of manufacturers make sure consumers can get the optimum compromise between price and quality. If a manufacturer can’t make it, let them die out.

  • Ben M.

    I used to shoot a couple of OA rifles that belonged to the range I went to in Germany. The one I really liked was an A2 with a Lothar-Walther barrel. It was incredibly accurate and very well made in my opinion. I don’t think its fair to call them junk if you haven’t shot them.

  • the_swede

    I own a OA Black Label M5 which is their 16 inch model with a mid-length gassystem. They are quite popular here in Sweden with the IPSC Rifle crowd. The upper and lower on older BLs were milled and not forged like the new ones. The barrel is made by Lothar Walther and all internals are from Lewis Machine & Tool. I’m very happy with mine and it has performed flawlessly so far. The rifle shoots 30 mm 5-shots group at 100 m.

  • Lance

    Can a German civilian own a AR in Germany I thought you can only own .22lr rifle there???? Otherwise they look like nice AR clones and the Germans know how to make quality firearms. Hope you Germans can own them. For US US gun owner 1989 import ban would make these illegal to import.

    • Komrad

      German’s have a long tradition of hunting. Not too much is banned there with the right permits. Sure there is more paperwork to work through, but it isn’t just .22 rifles that can be owned.

    • Cymond

      Britain only allows its subjects to have semi-auto 22s, but Britain =/= Germany.

      • gladders

        thats not true, we can own rifles in a vareity of calibers; .223/5.56 and .308/7.65 just the name the obvious

      • gladders

        thats not true, we can own rifles in a vareity of calibers; .223/5.56 and .308/7.65 just the name the obvious.

  • charles222

    We really need a damn article about European gun laws here to clear up all the confusion about them.

    As for the rifles-well, they look nice I guess. Not sure I’d be down for 1700 bucks on what’s basically an M16A4 minus the quad rails, but I’m guessing that’s a European price?

  • Ben

    Those lines are beautiful and the engraving is a work of art unto itself. Now if it shoots as well as it looks there is a new class of AR to think about.

  • Leonard

    I live in Germany and own an OA-15 “Classic Target” since 2010. It is a very fine rifle, superbly accurate out to 300 m (the farthest our range goes) and equal in precision to any bolt-action sniper rifle fellow members of my rifle club use. I never had any problems with stoppages except for the very beginning, when the rifle had problems firing Wolf ammunition (which is best avoided anyways, nowadays rebranded Tula). This problem has vanished since.

    Yes, it cost me 2.500 € incl. all accessories, which many of you may consider excessive, but over here it’s not really an expensive price for good semi-auto rifles…H&K’s MR223 (aka MR556 in the US) is even more expensive, starting at around 2.700 € without any accessories at all. And it is not more accurate, sturdier or anything. In our rifle club’s competitions, the OA-15 has nothing to fear from its most common rivals: said MR223’s for example or H&K SL8’s or Sabre Defence ARs. Not to mention the (much cheaper) AK variants some have, which stand no chance against the OA precision wise.

  • snmp

    In fact IATAR => US restriction for sport Rifle like AR15 (nice rifle for sports and for go to war).
    The US restriction help to open a big market in Europe. In plus If you want go to the market you could order all parts to subcontractors over the world (China, Turkey, Ukraine, Vietnam, Philipine, slovakia ……………) put your brand on it.

  • Mike Knox

    Somehow, a mental image of a German cheerleader with a chainsaw on a NASCAR rally popped into my head when I was reading this.

    Seems like the HK416 won’t be the priciest AR-15 now..

    • Leonard

      In its native Germany, the H&K 416 (more precisely, its civilian variant, the MR223) is more expensive than a comparable OA-15, about 2.800 € vs 2.200 € for a fully-functional semi-auto .223 rifle with sights but no extras. Prices vary widely depending on where you buy, so these aren’t definite numbers. But the price difference is usually at about or over 500 €.

      • Mike Knox

        Seems like if it’s a piston AR-15 and German, it’s more likely at the top of the price list. Almost happens when it has to be the best and German at the same time, just like their cars.

        Prices aren’t the only thing that varies between markets. In other countries with looser firearms laws, you can actually buy an HK416..

  • Very neat blog article.Thanks Again. Cool.

  • Moe

    Indeed. Bust some of the silly ITAR rules, and I would buy out the whole US market vor AR parts, like Magpul, Samson Mfg., Troy Ind., a.s.o. 😀