[ENG] Specna Arms SA-H04 Carbine

There seems to be a new trend growing in Airsoft – and I am not talking about the fact that /r/Airsoft and /r/Rainbow6 have the same kind of users. I am talking about the trend being that all the manufacturers and companies seem to think they should be more than just that. Instead, they should be a focus point for their fans. Now, gun companies having fans is nothing new but they are usually focused around the real steel counterparts.

One company that especially in Europe have had quite a loyal following recently is Specna Arms. Since the companys appearance in public view, they have become to AR-15s what CYMA is to AKs and reached the coveted status of the brand recommended to beginners and experienced players alike due to a good combination of quality, metal construction and performance. As such, I have been wanting to take a look at one of these for quite some time. All I needed was an excuse and I found one.

So bring out the ACOG – here is a HK 416C!

Of course, as both a avid Rainbow Six Fan and a H&K Fan, it would be difficult for me to pass up a 416C. The weapon is not only unique looking, it is also one of those guns that seems awfully rare in its real counterpart; the closest thing I can find is a youtube video and several dressed up civilian SBRs but in fiction, games and airsoft is a bit more popular, most likely helped along by its most famous user – Jäger.

An airsoft variant of this gun is not news at all. VFC was the first one to create one; followed by a WE GBBR version and Tokyo Marui releasing one hot on their heels and now we have the Specna Arms line. With all of them having their strengths and weaknesses, it will be interesting to see how the SA holds up, especially considering it is by far the cheapest of them all.

Please note that I consider this review valid for all the guns in the SA-H0 series of guns.

I will say this for Specna Arms and it is that they really put a lot of the things in the box. When you open it, you will notice the gun, a dummy PEQ-15, a spare CQB String, a quality certificate, an instruction manual that has no mention at all of the C model or its features, a production catalogue, a key strap and stickers.  The ACOG, the foregrip and the PEQ-16 are mine and are not included in the package.

While I do appreciate the fan service that comes with the stickers and key strap, I cannot help but think this is more suited for community managers to give away rather than stuff you send with the gun. Some versions of SA-H01 was shipped with a LiPo Battery and I cannot help but think that was a far better option to increase the value of the package as a whole. Considering the weapon pretty much requires a foregrip to be used effectively, one of those could also have been included. I do not mind the freebies but my preference is that they are useful additions to the product itself.

Sadly, you still have to worry about grenades – ADS not included.

The gun feels really solid on your first pickup; no surprise considering Specna Arms experience with the AR platform as a whole. Everything from the handguard to the magazine to the stock is neatly tucked into place and it is all covered by a black-grey finish that unlike other brands I could mention do not give you white lines should your gun get a battle scar or two. Likewise, the textured pistol grip fees firm in your hand and does not slip easily.

The Fire Selector is another piece of good work, clicking into each position satisfactory and does not slip from them once set into a particular position. I have learned that this particular thing is more important than it seems; I handled too many guns with a tendency to drift and I am thankful there is none of that here. The red / white H&K icons also help the guns 416 impression a great deal.

The weapon feature a ejector port that can be opened by pulling the charging handle. Once open, the port will stay open allowing you to adjust the Hop Up without any danger to your fingers. Should you however feel the urge to damage your nails – or just close the hatch – you can push the bolt release and the port will close with a very satisfying sound; this is something you are likely to do more than is strictly necessary. The weapon also features a forward assist but this one was not as durable at all – in fact it got loose and had to be completely removed. Considering the quality of the rest of the weapon, I am willing to chalk this one up to ”exception” rather than rule.

The weapon have two trademarks, one larger on the left side of the gun with the Specna Arms logo and states that the weapon is 5.56 NATO. On the right side, we have two stickers that can easily be removed in addition to a printed ”Specna Arms Industries” on the body.

The Stock is part of what makes the 416C such a unique looking gun. While the design is not unique to this weapon, it is a defining characteristic. Operating the stock is simple enough: By holding in a button you can either retract or extend the stock. There are not many options – just extended, short extended and retracted. The latter is most useful when you are not using the weapon and makes it really easy to carry around or even put into a backpack.

The only sling mount of the weapon is present here; making the weapon pretty much perfect for a one-point bungee sling – good news for you snipers looking for a Sidearm – but it comes with its own array of problems. The sling mount is part of a fixture that also guides the stock meaning that if the sling shifts this fixtures just a miniscule, the stock cannot be retracted until you set the fixture right again. It is a very annoying thing that sadly seems to be present on all the 416C models I tried so far.

The Quick Spring Change system – or Enter & Convert as Specna Arms have chosen to name theirs – is accessed by removing the stock. This requires tools and sadly is not something that is easily done in a heartbeat. While it can still be done in the field, it will take longer and not something you can do quickly under fire unless you are a screwdriver ace. Still, it is a welcome addition to the model.

With the SA-H0 series, you get a choice on handguards. You have the classic H&K Quad Rail that is most commonly associated with the 416 series or you can get what appears to be a replica of the Geissele SMR handguard. I chose the latter due to my current VFC M27 already possessing a Quad Rail and I wanted a bit of diversity – overall I do not regret this choice. The handguard do not have any built in rails save for the one on top – instead you are provided with three rails you can adjust per your preference. This is done similar to the G36 and requires an Allen / Hex Key. In truth, two of them will always be on your gun, one to mount the PEQ Box where you fit your battery and one to fit the foregrip.

Some websites claim that the system is M-Lok compatible; however there is differences between the M-Lok compatible handguards and this one; the use of Hex Keys being one of them. As such, any M-Lok compatibility is up for testing. On top of the weapon is your optics rail; no surprise for anyone familiar with the modern AR-15 series. Depending on the model you purchased, you get either flip up or H&K Drums and these require a screwdriver to remove. Do not do my mistake; use a proper screwdriver from the start – they cling on to the rail fairly tight.

The C-Series do not have any batteri space inside the actual gun; instead they are wired to to the front to be used alongside a PEQ-Box. One is thankfully included but I discarded it due to the fact that the box let the wires be far too visible for my taste. Instead, I procured a PEQ-16 with a back entry port that allowed me to almost completely hide the battery cables.

One thing I really enjoy is that the cables come with an extra connector right before the Tamiya one so changing the side of the PEQ Box is no problem at all; just disconnect the wire and push them out through the tiny hole in the handguard that matches your PEQ Position.

Lastly, we should mention the tip of the spear – the Flash Hider. I do not know if it is an intentional thing that they chose a design actually present in the Rainbow Six Siege Muzzle Break but it was a welcome thing. Sadly, it does not seem that well designed; the screw holding the flash hider in its position was shaken loose by the act of firing the gun. Screwed all the way on the 14mm CCW thread, the flash hider looks wrong and I might have to replace it unless I can find a replacement screw that will fit better. The thread itself however works wonders and will gladly accept any suppressors or replacement flash hiders you may wish to use on the weapon.

Now is the time for me to speak a bit about magazine compatibility. HK416s of any brand are finicky in this regard, not accepting many of the P-Mag brands. While Gunfire listed a long list of compatible magazines brands, this list is only viable if you rely on the steel grey magazines. I found something that fits for me – the Lancer Warfighter are great midcaps that both fit the gun and looks well with it – their only problem is the price that sadly limits my inventory of them. I also fooled around, using the Angel Custom Firestorm – the adjustments I made to that mag to make it fit into my M27 also made it fit great into this one. It looks awfully cute with the drum mag – coupled with the ACOG it’s Jägers Dream.

The statistics in the chronograph was quite nice; 98 m/s with my Specna Arms 0.28 ammo and the original spring that translates to roughly 320 fps – too hot for CQB but perfect for woodland.

It was a cold day for the first game of the new year but I came prepared. Thankfully, it seems that the gun did too. During the game I had very little problem save from the 7.4 1300 mAH LiPo protesting the cold weather. I used the gun in a winter woodland setting with a lot of open areas and found myself never lacking for range nor power to punch through the underbrush to score hits on targets partially covered by vegetation. The compact form of the gun was also of help, allowing swift transitions between targets.

If you add to the fact that it fit neatly into my 5.11 Tactical Rush 24, you have a really good gun for when you wake up in the morning and just decide to go out and play – pack your high cap, a bag of ammo and eye protection and done.

In short, despite the gun having minor flaws, it is difficult not to recommend this weapon. For the price asked, it is a competent weapon that does what it promises and does so rather well. Considering it goes for around 230€ (274$) on some stores in Europe, it is aggressive competition to the VFC model. If you care about the trademarks, I would still favour the VFC model but if you have plans to paint this weapon, do not care about the trademarks, are on a budget or just need a neat compact gun this one is for you.