Both the rifle and the caliber used were developed in close cooperation with American special operations units to create a suitable and effective replacement for the HK MP5 and similar CQB weapon systems. The rifle is designed to be very convenient for military use where the AR-15 platform is issued and in common use, since many similarities would exist in the fire controls, weapon manipulation, and magazines. This weapon platform solves two major problems with the current 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge - its ability to be loaded to subsonic velocities and reliably cycle in a standard M4 package and the terminal effectiveness (especially on armored targets) of such a subsonic projectile at any meaningful range (which would be only marginally more effective than 22 LR).
The Honey Badger was developed with a standard M4 upper and lower receiver, a short barrel with a very short gas impingement system and fast rate of rifling twist, integrated detachable customized suppressor, and a proprietary buffer tube and collapsible stock. The handguards used vary depending on the necessity of silencer use. With the full length handguard model, the barrel and silencer are almost completely shrouded with only the end cap and small part of the silencer tube protruding. With a shorter handguard, only the AAC quick-detach muzzle device or threaded muzzle is exposed (or nearly the full length of the silencer, if attached), allowing the shooter to fire unsuppressed while safely avoiding the substantial muzzle blast of supersonic loadings. The barrel is specifically designed to develop the necessary stabilization of long, heavy 30 caliber projectiles (such as the commonly loaded 220 grain Sierra Matchking) which would otherwise cause baffle strikes or fly erratically. The proprietary stock is similar to the one designed for the MP5.