photo d7a935f5a8e50c68374bd38e9dc40de6_zpsdc31ec18.jpg

How do you define best?

Suzutomo Gun Tailoring (SGT) defines best in terms of realism and authenticity. In this sense, they have gone to great lengths to make their 416 upper the best. You can read more about the Suzutomisation of the 416 in a recent blog I published.

Now, Tosh – SGT’s frontman – is supremely confident in their 416 upper and he needs to be; because it’s not a monopoly market. We’ve already seen 416 instances from FCC and relative newcomer, Eagle Eye (EE). Competition is fierce, but many consider SGT to have their own monopoly; a monopoly on obsessive detail. And this is what you’re paying for…and pay you will. SGT kit has no corners cut, nor are there savings to be made.

As for EE, it’s an indication of Tosh’s confidence in SGT’s 416 that he has this to say:

“I like good competition, like Eagle Eye. But we make ’em better. That’s all.”

I documented the excellent customer service I received from SGT, in the bespoke preparation and despatch of my upper. The upper itself has now arrived and it is no less impressive.

Form and Finish

Of all the criteria listed here, this is perhaps the most subjective. So I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

 photo 8154f1995ffe0572f04babe66916bea9_zpsf44190bf.jpg
 photo 1df88be9108b522c006af03b0f2278fc_zpse95765f7.jpg
 photo cc8f9af9083be39cc4369aa2aca73c6f_zps667a63cc.jpg
 photo b9ec9b969b25f56067167131e5e67d62_zps63d157b5.jpg
 photo 41ddd231643d6464c12477e764713cef_zpsf58c04f4.jpg

There are definite differences in the contours of SGT’s and EE’s receivers. Quite telling when you see them side by side, as below. Until now, all 416 receivers have looked the same shape to me.

Just to note, the SGT features striations similar to Prime’s on the bore’s curve. The EE’s curve is smooth. I suspect this represents slightly different finishing techniques.

SGT top, EE below (complete gun)…

 photo 72ad2fa28a503acd9355381143a565a1_zpse7f4f3f7.jpg
 photo 5c2d2bd75598388584ba07b053c1abaf_zps9c15716b.jpg
 photo 86622e85e0240252d621cb59d0407089_zps4b41136c.jpg


The markings are sublime, as you’d expect – particularly the engravings on the outer barrel. The serial number etc are very fine – not the chunky characters normally found on airsoft receivers.

 photo 2ec717d7d7d814cf0bbc23bade217c71_zpsdcbb305e.jpg
 photo 12e19ca22edfcbac00efbda113bb543a_zps7c4518ce.jpg
 photo 43884331290ceeb2306924dcdb0219c5_zps2db37bec.jpg

Outer Barrel

SGT’s outer barrel is proprietary and it’s steel. It is modeled after the slim profile 416 barrel, which SGT has written debuted in 2007. This saves weight over the traditional barrel, but still adds to the upper’s weight over the EE.

Unlike other 416 uppers on the market, which are to M4 spec in the barrel nut area, SGT’s is true to the RS. This means the barrel nut thread is extended, as is the base of the outer barrel. For authenticity fans, this is a huge plus.

However, those who would wish to switch to an aluminium barrel are out of luck. You can’t fit any existing M4 or 416 aluminium barrels onto the SGT.

 photo d486099cb288a46956cd01cd27140366_zps6680a387.jpg
 photo 28b99a4f4140002e61b0bb1866869b99_zps5049c2d5.jpg

Now, I dare say this extension in both receiver and outer makes for a stronger assembly. But, if you favour aluminium barrels (I do), this could be a consideration. So, here we encounter a question of authenticity and strength versus versatility.

Yes, I am nit picking and yes this is the only 416 upper which comes complete with a steel barrel OOTB. I know a lot of people who won’t touch aluminium barrels.

On that subject, the majority of aftermarket outer barrels come complete with a grub screw as opposed to a knock pin. That’s no bad thing per se, but it’s also normal to find that the grub screw’s diameter is under-sized. This means that, without modification, the barrel could rotate past 12 O’clock as the barrel nut is tightened. This could lead to feeding problems, for obvious reasons.

The EE’s outer barrel is afflicted with an under-sized grub screw OOTB. However, mine has been modded by PPTW with an OEM Systema knock pin. So, while this isn’t a problem for me, it’s worth pointing out that SGT’s outer barrel does not need modification at all.

I did note that the SGT barrel’s knock pin is slimmer than Systema’s. I asked Tosh about this. It’s because the knock pin, too, is faithful to the RS and is, of course, to metric dimensions…as is the notch in the upper which accepts the knock pin. Again here, we encounter a no compromise approach and while it’s unlikely you’ll ever lose the original knock pin, it would be nice to know if spares are easy to source.

Again, I’m trying really, really hard to identify issues.

SGT 416 outer, left. OEM Systema outer, right:

 photo c41d8c903cd85c35406c346637002f06_zps24113bec.jpg
 photo c432cfe26bb544df783db9c0a9077ce7_zpsc0c00218.jpg

The outer barrel finishes flush with the inside wall of the receiver, just as it should:

 photo aad42910066bb43d117707b3ba9bea21_zps2adbd40e.jpg

The outer barrel fits the inner barrel like a glove. It’s really impressive. The tolerances here are, again, perfect – better than the OEM Systema barrel (I tried three).

Aftermarket barrels tend to be a little on the loose side, in terms of inner barrel fitment. The tighter SGT is a very, very good thing in my book and where a chunk of money goes, no doubt.

 photo d88d9688ad44572f8b1c0b081545380b_zps66bb4bd0.jpg

Hider Assembly

As you can see from the pics, the flash hider end of things differs from the M4. The outer barrel extends out of the gas block, but instead of being male threaded to accept a flash hider, it’s female threaded (CW). A sleeve screws into this. A crush washer is added next, followed by the flash hider, which is CCW.

This is a common sense choice, because most airsoft flash hider are CCW. However, due to the combination of two different threads, the sleeve will need some Loctite.

 photo 1c09be5b9a41d996daf992ad40e12982_zps9cef6a1e.jpg
 photo c309241b08fe13406ff92efdc5f42d9e_zps1b2fbbe8.jpg
 photo 030e093cc61e9e7c56269cba604cb636_zps0b30a0e4.jpg

Gas Block Assembly

Robust, substantial. The gas block itself is full steel and parkerized, like the outer barrel:

 photo 2403283df73e9846efa24a37831fc5db_zpsab301025.jpg
 photo b235f683fc672d65ed6b945904d479f7_zps52d10461.jpg
 photo 7c3a19b09735659f79403f5aaf0f160f_zps3598d534.jpg


I don’t know what these lips or wing things are called. They are located inside the upper, above where the mag would sit.

At the moment, I’m unsure if there will be an issue with them. However, with the EE they need to be removed in order to facilitate use of Tackleberry’s RS Pmag conversions.

The lips on SGT’s upper appear to be of similar proportions to EE’s, so it will be interesting to see if they need attention. Again, this is a realistic RS feature, so not a mistake.

It is unlikely the lips/wings will cause a problem with OEM style mags. Tac’s Pmag conversions are different, because the mag shell extends higher than that of the OEM mag. And yes, my Pmags already have a notch cut in them to accommodate the longer 416 magwell.

 photo b9861083a3bdfd125a755ee44ebc8ae6_zps9827530f.jpg


Cylinder fit is excellent. Again, I am really impressed by this. It’s tighter than OEM or Prime and quite unlike EE’s cylinder fit…which is a little on the loose side. This was something I was disappointed about with the EE and whilst it doesn’t appear to affect performance, it is a niggle.

So, no such concerns with the SGT; an enhancement, in fact. If you’re familiar with converted RS Vltor MUR uppers, you’ll have a good idea of what the SGT’s cylinder fit is like. What’s more, it has the same solid, RS feel of the MUR. Like you could smash down a brick wall with it.

 photo 3de715ded7c808cc11a887a4ea24cba1_zps244d55a3.jpg

Charging Handle

The charging handle supplied is a smooth fit. I tried one of my RS charging handles and that too was a smooth fit.

 photo 0be7bacb5c2fa528788a38c3fd4deaf6_zps8663f6f5.jpg


RS EOTechs are notoriously picky about how they sit on RIS. It takes a sharp eye, but they can be seen to cant when placed on off spec items. OEM Systema uppers are guilty of this and so is the EE 416 upper.

However, I’m happy to report that the SGT 416 upper passes the EOTest. There is arguably a very minor cant to it, but no more than Prime.

 photo 49e372e7f8253fc5d29b6d07b59feea4_zpscfb3d369.jpg

Details, Details, Details


 photo 489e218f962aaaf4813b93451ea62268_zpsc9705070.jpg

Wedge shaped cut-out intersects with the half cylinder cavity:

 photo 2c18b072cd338aa7475e037c9d8a314f_zps2927708f.jpg

Heart shaped rail locating notch:

 photo 7766e5092ddf15094686faf09af75c6b_zpsf2885774.jpg

Steel gas tube sleeve:

 photo 28b99a4f4140002e61b0bb1866869b99_zps5049c2d5.jpg

Another bit I don’t know the name of, but basically the surface leading up to the barrel nut threads is curved, not angular:

 photo d486099cb288a46956cd01cd27140366_zps6680a387.jpg

Next Steps

This is only part one and as you can probably tell, so far I’m very impressed.

Next I’ll engage the services of SGT’s UK/EU partner, Tackleberry. He’ll torque the barrel nut and generally make sure the upper is fit to be dropped into my Prime Colt lower. I also hope to get further lower-fit data from him.

Interim Conclusions

A lot of people out there won’t need any more convincing about the SGT 416 upper. I’m certainly convinced that it’s the sincerest, most realistic 416 reproduction possible. It’s the embodiment of SGT’s definition of ‘best’.

SGT has delivered a level of detail which most companies wouldn’t even contemplate. These details do not make production easier, nor do they make production cheaper. They also do not ensure compatibility with M4 parts (and, as Tosh would say, this is not an M4!)

Is the question now one of whether you can afford to buy an SGT 416 upper? Or, is it one of whether you can you afford not to buy one?

I’m looking forward to reviewing the upper to lower fit and how the upper feels as part of a whole gun, in the field.