The Umarex licensed HK416a5 is not really a “new gun”. In the firearms world, its been shown off for a few years and in the airsoft world its previously been released in Europe for some time. Finally it makes its way to Asia. Whats cool about it? Whats “NEW” about it? Is it worth the hype and how does it compare to the previous HK416D?
In this product review we aim to take a dive into how this gun differed form the previous 416D versions of this gun. How does it measure up to a gun thats been in the hands of users for several years now and has the internal and external updates benefitted this gun much?
Allow me to start by shedding some light on this gun. Being an H&K design many things becoming striking apparent the moment you look at it. It does not differ too much from the 416D other than a few minor details which we will go over in the latter part of the review. But the gun comes in two different colors, the much more attractive black and the "tan" version. Being uniquely German, of course the tan version even has a coating color "name". Is it something cool like "tactical desert" or "dark earth"? No, its German so its going to have a German designation...RAL8000.
I am going to gripe a little bit about this "tan" gun. You cannot possibly tell me that you can't ensure your coating is done to where at least it has SOME SEMBLANCE of uniformity? I mean, I know this is no fault of Umarex as its trying to replicate the actual color scheme from H&K, but COME ON H&K its literally multi-colored! Maybe its my OCD but the whole 50 Shades of Tan thing they got going here, has got to STOP! *Sorry, I just had to get this off my chest*
Now that we have gotten the appearance of the gun out of the way lets go over some of the similarities and differences the A5 has compared with the standard 416D.
Starting off with the Internals, they are steel with the controls (such as bolt catch and release, magazine release, and trigger) being aluminum so you can expect good quaintly and durability. The buffer has a weight so you can expect it to give you a good kick and the buffer spring is a little on the stiffer side as well. The gun is fully ambidextrous and the controls are easy to reach, all be it the extra shroud around the bolt release is a little silly. The previous D version had ambidextrous fire controls but not so with others such as magazine release or bolt release. The D version also didn't have the shroud around the paddle for the bolt release. I have a feeling that H&K seems to be wanting to fix an issue that really may not exist or is a small problem at best.
If you do a side by side comparison between the D version and this A5, there are some other differences between the two guns. Right off the bat you will see that the a5 is slightly longer with a redesigned gas block. The reason for this is that the gas block here is designed for you to easily adjust the hop up where as the old D version you will have to break the gun apart and access the hop up adjustment dial in the chamber.
The rail is also slightly redesigned. The lock up has been redesigned and is now a functional piccatinny rail section rather than a wasted flat space seen on the D version. For the pistol grips, I cannot say I have ever been a fan of the HK grips on either 416, as a matter of fact, personally on my own, I changed that out right away, it was the second thing I changed. The angle of the grip is strangely shaped with a seemingly over exaggerated emphasis on the back portion where its supposed to fit in your palm and the front where you actually grip it with your fingers seem a bit too thin, it just does not lend itself to very comfortable gripping. The only improvement the A5 has in this regard that is better than the D is that the A5 grip has removed the finger groove, because in the grand scheme of things, a finger groove is much more annoying then without one.
I do have to commend the controls that have been redesigned form the HK416D. The A5 has much stiffer controls and their paddles are redesigned to facilitate easier changing of firing modes. The other controls such as bolt releases are slightly redesigned as well as the paddles are slightly wider.
Here we come to stock. There’s no way around it so I am going to come right out and say it. The stock that comes with the standard 416D look so ugly and comfortable that I took mine off and actually threw it away the moment I got my 416D. The issue you have with that fat stock was that the shoulder padding was convex shaped instead of it being concave so it never really fit nicely in your shoulder or when you where wearing a plate carrier. Now the Slim line stock that we see on the A5 is a good redesign and shoulders much nicer, though its not going to have much of any space for storage at least its slim lined profile can makes the gun less bulky and will potentially cause less hassle when needing to move your gun around your body. On the buffer tube we also see a much bigger castle nut, this was done from drop test feed back. This will ensure your buffer tube will be reinforced to avoid snapping.
On a final note, the A5 has an ingeniously redesigned BCG (bolt carrier group). Not only is its well made but it can also regulate the FPS of the gun by simply using a corresponding allen wrench.
Though I may have some choice words about some of the ergonomics of the H&K designs, I have to say the fit and finish of this gun is superb. As much as I poke fun of the tan version, its coating is a class above other products coated in tan and the slight, subtle redesigns of the gun really give it some modernity.
The 416A5 is a great gas blowback rifle to shoot. The bolt cycles snappily and with the stiffer buffer spring combines for a satisfying recoil impulse. The trigger has a good smooth pull and not a lot of take up. The break is crisp and the reset is feels firm and lets you know you are ready to run it hard.
In terms of accuracy, the gun shoots decently and holds a half decent group. I am sure the accuracy can be higher after the hop up has been broken in and finer tuned after more shooting.
In conclusion, what do I feel about the HK416A5? While as a gun I think its a fantastic GBBR and if you were waiting to get your hands on a 416 for your load out, your winner is here. Its going to be the most accurate representation of that rifle you are going to get your hands on. However, it is not without its slight draw backs, namely it being slightly dated, even by its OWN H&K standards. At IWA we see that many of the rifles from H&K have moved forward with their slimmer line Keymod hand guards. Though we can make another full blog entry about Keymod, at least the rifles looked like they belonged in the "modern era". Sadly while very handsome, the quad rails make the gun look rather dated. If you look at other rifles used by special forces operators, they are now moving to more super modular style rails that employ M-Lok or Keymod. Even if we look back at the old 416D slim line rails were already used on them by the many special operators around the world. And echoing my previous statement, EVEN H&K had Keymod rails on their guns during this year's IWA. The airsoft version of the 416A5 took some time to be released, why didn't they release the current or most updated version of said gun?
Other than these external issues, I think the gun is a fantastic rifle and I am pretty sure someone will start to release rails and other accessories for it soon. Let me know what you guys think, would you all be as tough on this gun as I have been? Let me know in the comment section.
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