After not really rating their earlier attempts and being a right pain in the arse about it, I’ve been really impressed with HAO’s most recent suppressors and their blast diffuser. I’ve had hands on with their Surefire replica UKSF FA556SA, Warden and Training cans – all of which you can read about on the blog using those links.
The latter generation of products is composed of stainless steel – like the RS – and therefore features offerings which are real size and weight (and some even heavier). That’s fine, of course, for those who want to experience an authentically leaden mass at the end of their RIF: real cans are HEAVY – not comparable to the popular aluminium airsoft ones at all.
For those of us who’ve wanted something bearable but still photorealistic (if not authentic), we’ve been able to choose from Bruno’s excellent, cheap and cheerful 3D printed plastic cans at one end of the low weight spectrum; and mass produced, aluminium ones from mid-range manufacturers like Airsoft Artisan and Angry Gun at the other.
However, it seems that HAO has again decided to disrupt the market with its new generation of ‘Milsim’ cans; the first in the series being a replica of the uber popular Surefire 556RC.
It weighs just 231g. That’s almost half the weight of the company’s Hardcore can and, IIRC, the previous Milsim version was around 450g/real weight. So the new can represents a considerable weight saving.
Notwithstanding, like its mid-range equivalents, I’m told this style of can is really cheap to mass produce – it is mainly composed of aluminium, after all. This will be reflected in HAO’s price; because this is another of their infamous Economy Line products, pitched at mass market airsoft prices but with HAO quality in their DNA – hooking the frugal and unsuspecting to the high end HAO life and financial ruin thus forth.
As usual HAO is offering something distinctive, because this is as much about challenging the existing mid-range airsoft market as it is about fostering an addiction for luxury.
Externally these cans are 1:1, which only HAO is doing right now as far as I’m aware. They also feature beautifully anodised collars and are otherwise Cerakoted – just like the real thing.
The trades represent the kind of clean engraving the mass market expects, but which isn’t as variable as the RS. Plus, it’s cheaper to do. Compare this to one of their far more distinctive (and expensive) high end versions:
In addition – and this is a big thing for those of us with the slightest OCD – the lockup is the same as RS cans, which means no annoying wobble or worse.
There are a few reasons for this, but it really helps that the ratchet mechanism is so precise – with numerous, equally spaced and distinct splines (the ridged silver section shown below).
Aside from being 1:1, my experience of HAO’s hiders so far has been that they are not as well finished as the mid-range brands – although being covered up by a can, it’s not a big thing for most. With that said, HAO tells me they’ve revised the finish of their hiders going forward, and to be fair the sample that came with the can is improved; or at least more like the mass market expects, without looking too showy/pristine.
Now, bear in mind that the hider is a separate purchase and you’re locked into the HAO ecosystem for that (unless you want to widen an RS hider for a 6mm BB and use that).
Currently, HAO isn’t offering a tracer version of the Milsim can but I’m told that’s on the way. Instead, we have what look like aluminium baffles, sealed inside.
The question is, if I had unlimited resources, which of HAO’s cans would I choose? I have to say it’s the Economy model. It’s just more practical, being lighter, and while aluminium is cheaper than steel and HAO’s premium cans are clearly more complicated and therefore expensive to make, the Economy can doesn’t look or feel ‘economy’.
How much is HAO Economy when it comes to cans? Keep an eye on HAO’s website for pricing.