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Back in May, I converted all of my outer barrels (three at the time) to Dytac aluminium ones.

I enjoyed the weight loss, particularly since I was suffering from tendon problems in my wrists and shoulders at the time. It wasn’t very long before I forgot my initial fears about the robustness of aluminium barrels and just got on with my game.

However, when I took delivery of my SGT 416 upper and saw how well my inners matched the fit of the gundrilled inner barrel, it made me remember all the good things about OEM Systema barrels. Yes, the SGT barrel is better quality (difficult to imagine without seeing it, but true). But, the Systema barrel is still an excellent piece of engineering. Tolerances have to be quite exacting to allow the inner barrel to fit the outer just so.

While a snug fit is advantageous to those who like things to fit properly, there are also those who believe a snug fit supports the marginal gains agenda. For instance, if your inner barrel is moving marginally in its outer, shocked from piston impacts, in theory it’s going to be marginally less accurate. Regardless of how tight the hop is shimmed against the outer barrel, the inner barrel can flex if not properly supported along its length.

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Having said that, I’ve been using Dytac barrels for a decent amount of time and the world hasn’t ended. The fit of those outers varies and none of them are Systema-snug. But I can only assume the support they provide to the inner barrel is absolutely fine.

As such, I will still enthusiastically recommend Dytac barrels to anyone who wants a light, agile blaster. Just sort out the potential timing issue and you are good to go.

Nevertheless, I don’t want two blasters of very different weights and there is no alternative aluminium outer barrel for the SGT 416. Yes, the 416 should be heavier than the M4 – as is the relationship in the RS. But the M4 shouldn’t be as light, relative to the 416, as its Dytac barrel affords.

So, I decided I again need a steel outer barrel on my M4. This will equalise the weight differential between my blasters.

On a final note, I’m pretty glad I kept a few Systema outers as the price seems to have doubled, during my fling with Dytac. Ouch!

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