What is a Warden and what does it actually do? Surefire’s product page makes these points:
- Directs concussive blast forward
- Does not, therefore, vent gas to the sides
- Thus reduces the over-pressure felt by others immediately to the left/right of the shooter’s firing position
- Limits any dust signature from the weapon when fired from a prone position
So, the Warden offers some of the capabilities of a suppressor. Crucially, though, it is an off the shelf item; ownership of which is not regulated for US civilians by their government – unlike a suppressor.
As far as airsoft replicas are concerned, the Warden’s functions are moot. With that said, HAO’s version is constructed in a similar way to the real steel – including a high temperature coating.
HAO’s Warden is another of the company’s Generation 2.0 muzzle devices, and these are way more refined than their previous offerings. Some examples of other Gen 2.0 products include:
Unlike my HAO FA556SA replica, the Warden arrived in superficially good condition – no knocks or damage from factory handling, which hopefully shows they’re taking more care of products, post-production.
Like the real Warden, HAO’s version is H-series Cerakoted in either black or FDE. H-series is high temperature resistant as mentioned earlier.
Evidently I’m reviewing the FDE version, but I have a can which shares the same black Cerakote with the Warden and it’s a rich, lustrous tone.
Aside from Cerakote, the Warden’s collar is anodised and here the FDE version is really something special. It looks great and I’m consistently impressed with HAO’s RAL8000/tanodized tones in their new generation muzzle devices and receiver sets (e.g. HK416A5 for Tokyo Marui MWS).
Trades…a window in to a product’s soul; or at the very least, an idea of the level of care and detail a company can leverage when finishing. You can make a fantastic 1:1, 7075T6 aluminium, RAL8000 tanodized, CAG 416D receiver set, but if the laser guy makes one obvious mistake (and these things are pored over by enthusiasts) he’s fucked everything up.
The other worry for a manufacturer is perception. There are ‘airsoft trades’ (which we’re all used to) and real steel trades (which most aren’t exposed to). A decent set of airsoft trades is invariably perceived as crisp, precise, deep and clear. However, real steel trades aren’t always that way – often the end product of an industrial process.
I’ve been doing a bit of research into Surefire suppressor trades and they seem to have varied over the years, from what looks a bit rough (stamping/pneumatic pinning?) to something much more refined (laser engraving?). The latter looks most ‘airsoft’ which would be an easy win, but HAO has decided to do something more difficult to differentiate their product.
Check out the beefy weld, too.
HAO’s warden is real weight, but unlike the company’s cans it’s not oppressively heavy. This is due to its diminutive size and non-baffled internals. It still feels like you could bludgeon a brick wall with it, though.
Like the real Warden, HAO’s version is mainly composed of Stainless steel (304) and is of welded construction (as indicated earlier). Likewise, its locking collar is aluminium. Notably the Warden was the first of HAO’s Surefire replica muzzle devices to feature this construction – with previous generations (of HAO suppressors) utilising an inexplicable steel collar. The aluminium collar has since been rolled out across all HAO muzzle device lines and is part of the aforementioned Generation 2.0 update.
Perhaps the biggest selling point of HAO’s Warden – like its suppressor replicas – is its solid, no-wobble lock up. No one likes wobble and it should not be tolerated.
The Warden is compatible with HAO’s SOCOM series flash hiders only, details of which can be found on the product page; plus the real steel equivalents.
I was really hoping that, when installed, HAO’s warden didn’t act as a ‘sound hog’ – like the replica Noveske Fire Pigs, which were briefly popular well over ten years ago.
Luckily, it doesn’t. It does, however, modulate the report slightly – though not in a bad way.
I’m actually surprised that, at the time of writing, HAO retails their Warden replica for a very reasonable $100USD. It’s not like it’s simply churned out in aluminium. As discussed, it is constructed from several pieces of steel which are ultrasonically welded together.
Granted, it does not come with a flash hider and that will set you back another $50-60USD, but the overall quality of this blast regulator is very good.
Appendix: Is The Warden Legit for an L119A2?
I’m using my HAO L119A2 Systema PTW for the pics which illustrate this article, but is the Warden legit for an L119A2?
It’s one of those fascinating case studies of how the clone canon evolves. At one point a few years back, the Warden was thought to be in use. It’s hard to say where the rumour began, but that’s unimportant. For an item to be accepted as perennially legit, a rumour has to be followed by conclusive evidence.
Equally, it became apparent that UKSF had never transitioned to SOCOM-contract cans. This meant the L119A2 was not fitted with a Warden-compatible SOCOM-contract flash hider as standard. General uptake of such a hider would have added weight to the pro-Warden argument, because the Warden simply does not fit the UKSF issue FH556-216A.
Since those days, the Warden has faded from builds like it never happened. It’s a shame because I think it’s an OK look.
HAO’s Surefire Warden Fast-Attach Blast Regulator Replica is available here.