The Surefire FA556SA is the current UKSF can, used on the L119A1 in later years and now the L119A2. It has an interesting history, initially being confused with a superficially similar suppressor contracted by USSOCOM. In fact, the current UKSF can is simply the old one (of the same designation) with new externals and is considered to be a legacy item by Surefire.
Sound confusing? You can read the full story in this 2018 article on the blog.
HAO’s Surefire FA556SA replica is the final instalment in the company’s L119A2 product evolution (notwithstanding the release of its MWS kit), but the first of a new generation of dummy suppressors; spurred on by the lessons learned from it’s original series. HAO’s second new replica release – the SOCOM-orientated Surefire 556RC – is also shipping and is apparently performing strongly in terms of sales.
Let me be clear: so far I’ve been soundly unimpressed with HAO’s cans. However, this new iteration represents a significant improvement.
As usual, HAO’s FA556SA comes in two flavours: ‘Milsim’, as featured here, and ‘Hardcore’. The Milsim model is pretty much bang on real weight (450g), which makes it quite heavy as far as airsoft replicas go. The Hardcore model is even heavier (unrealistically so) and utilises a high temperature coating. Buy the Milsim.
HAO’s suppressor construction is unlike anything I’ve seen before in dummy cans, and they deserve an ‘A’ for effort for that alone.
One word: solid.
You really need hands on to know what I mean, but it feels like you can knock down a brick wall with the FA556SA.
No wonder then that it’s largely composed of 304 stainless steel, welded together using a high frequency process. Inside the can, you can just about make out dummy baffles – but there’s no foam and no opportunity to add it (or a tracer unit) because its welded shut, like the real thing.
HAO received criticism for its original suppressors for a number of reasons, not least because they used steel locking collars – a weird decision and clearly inauthentic. This time around, the collar is the correct aluminium.
Getting past poor handling by the factory, which has resulted in a few scratches, the steel portion of the can is Cerakoted in a rich black. The aluminium collar, on the other hand, is anodised a contrasting grey. It looks great.
HAO’s previous suppressors have suffered from faint trades, but here they’ve really gone over the top – literally gouging the surface with a technique called pneumatic pinning.
It’s bold and impressive.
The company told me they wanted strong trades, but also ones which would be instantly identifiable as HAO. They’ve achieved both aims. In fact, you can probably see the engravings from space.
A widely criticised trait of airsoft suppressors is unsatisfactory lock up and consequent in situ wobble. A solid lock up is the number one priority for many and for good reason: wobble is ugly and makes a product feel poorly made.
For all their previous deficits, wobble has never been a feature of HAO’s cans and needless to say, the FA556SA’s lock up on the company’s FH556-216A (sold separately) is like concrete; the design replicating the original’s eccentric cam, and ratchet locking mechanism. You can literally wield your RIF like an axe with the can as the handle, and it won’t wobble.
However, what I found helpful to the tightening process was removing the collar entirely and adding a spot of oil to the large threads revealed.
This also gave me the opportunity to inspect the product’s indexing splines, which are another reason it locks up so tightly. These are precise and numerous, which means none of that annoying play at the end of the locking collar’s travel.
And it locks up very close indeed to HAO’s L119A2 IUR, which looks good.
Bear in mind that HAO’s FA556SA will only fit their 216A clone, or the real steel flash hider.
‘Pressure Release Weld’
While we’re at this end, HAO has included the ‘pressure release weld’ – here represented by a rivet.
It’s a signature feature of the real FA556SA and a deliberate weak spot which prevents it from exploding, if the can malfunctions and pressure builds up. Here it’s purely a cosmetic feature, but it’s a nice touch.
At the opposite end, HAO has replicated the FA556SA’s dish-like end cap – another signature feature.
There are a couple of pics floating about of the real can which make this dish look softly contoured. When I first looked at HAO’s replica, I wondered why they’d made the dish more distinct. The answer? As I found out, it’s probably down to camera angle.
As readers will see, I’ve made the dish look soft in the pics below to demonstrate. Without having a real FA556SA to hand, I think HAO has done a good job here.
I hold HAO to really high standards and as I said at the beginning of this article, their previous replica suppressors have not impressed me. The FA556SA is much, much better and satisfies my acceptance criteria – overlooking the factory-damaged finish.
Personally I think the biggest reason to buy this can is the insurmountably solid lock up; but don’t forget to fasten your flash hider with thread lock or risk it unscrewing when adding or removing the can (depending on which way the hider screws on).
Others may favour the can’s real weight, the remarkable trades or the Cerakote finish. There’s a lot here to like.
The FA556SA is available from HAO, or from Tackleberry in the UK
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