“Oh, John is reviewing a M4, again?” You’re right, I am. Although this gun might look like your everyday M4 or AR, it features probably the best and most convenient quick spring change system available on the market: the Specna Arms SAEC™ system.
Specna Arms (pronounced “Spez-na”, not “Spek-na”) is a relatively new brand on the Airsoft market and already offers up to 60 different AR-15 models with both their ‘SAEC™’ and ‘Enter and Convert’ spring change systems. Specna Arms aims to offer high-quality and feature-rich Airsoft guns for a reasonable price.
The SA-A02-V2 comes in a printed cardboard box with two different springs (M120-ish + M90-ish), a 7.4V 2s LiPo battery, a 300 rounds high-cap magazine and various goodies (Paracord bracelet, stickers, etc.).
Enough small-talk, let’s get down to business and take a closer look at the Specna Arms SA-A02-V2 AEG. As always, we’re going to take a look at the externals first and finish off with the internal parts.
The SA-A02-V2, I’ll refer to it as ‘A02’ throughout the review, is a basic M4-styled AEG equipped with a PWS MK110 replica RIS frontset, a fluted one-piece outer barrel and an aggressive looking flash-hider.
One thing I’ve really been surprised of is the build quality and the finish of the receiver and front set. The black paint looks very even and reminds me a lot of the quality of the G&P receivers. The gun is solidly built and there aren’t any wobbling parts. The lower receiver features an engraved USMC logo and markings on the left side. Personally, I prefer more decent markings but the engraving is done well and it adds a nice look to the gun nevertheless.
On the right side you’ll find the markings for the shooting modes and also a decent ‘Specna Arms Industries’ marking.
The frontset / rail is a replica of the Primary Weapons Systems MK110 and it’s built like a tank – very sturdy, no wobbling. I was actually surprised how well it fits onto the receiver.
The rail features three QD mounting points on the 3, 6 and 9 o’clock positions (photo with QD sling swivel in the gallery). The QD sockets are also used to mount the RIS panels to the barrel nut. To unscrew the QD sockets, you’ll need a pair of needle nose pliers that fit into the two small holes on the front of the socket.
The flash-hider is just massive and looks very aggressive. It uses a 14mm counterclockwise thread. As the 14mm CCW thread is the most common one, you can always change the flash-hider or add a suppressor if you like.
The outer barrel is a one-piece design and fluted too.
The A02 features a replica of the Troy Folding Battle Sight on both the front …
… and on the rear. The sights are adjustable and work quite well, although a bit wobbly. To flip them up and down you’ll need to press the button on the side.
The stock is a replica of the LMT SOPMOD stock (often calld ‘CRANE’ stock) and is capable of storing the battery inside. There’s not too much space inside so storing the battery inside the stock tube is the best option. You might have to retract the stock a bit in order to get all the cables stored inside the tube. You can also put the cables inside the stock if they’re too long to store inside the tube. The stock sits quite tight on the stock tube and doesn’t wobble. I tried different stocks and non of them did really wobble. That’s quite important as you can’t swap the stock tube for a third-party one because of the SAEC™ system the tube was built for.
The A02 came with a mini Tamiya connector which I immediately replaced with a Deans Deans are pretty much becoming the standard connectors these days.
SPECNA ARMS SAEC™ SYSTEM
‘Quick Spring Change’ systems, short ‘QSC’, are nothing revolutionary and they’ve been around for almost 8 years now. What’s kind of revolutionary is the way that Specna Arms designed their very own QSC system – it is probably the easiest and most convenient tool-less QSC system on the market.
Changing the spring takes only three simple steps:
First: unscrew the ring that holds the stock tube in place. Note: You can do this by hand, no tools needed.
Twist the stock tube slightly to the right and pull it all the way backwards. Note: The stock tube won’t come off unless you twist it.
Unscrew the spring guide to access the spring. Note: again, no tools needed, you can do this by hand.
You’re done. The spring comes right off the back of the receiver.
As you can see, the SAEC™ is a dead simple and easy system. The fact, that you don’t need any tools (not even a hex key) to change the spring is brilliant. I did change the spring on a regular basis depending on the field I was playing at and the SAEC™ system never failed.
The SAEC™ system is actually patented and you won’t find this exact system on any other AEGs on the market.
The SA-02 features a functioning bolt catch mechanism for the fake bolt. The fake bolt is mounted to the upper receiver and not to the gearbox. This is my preferred type of a fake bolt as you can remove the ‘bolt catch mechanism’ from the gearbox shell and don’t loose the fake bolt as a hop-up cover.
The hop-up unit is a standard cast metal one and this is actually the only part of the A02 that was causing some problems. The, let’s call it ‘old design’ with the 3 dials is known to be quite inconsistent and tends to not really hold the setting you make very well. You also can’t really precisely adjust the hop-up because there’s some sort of ‘dead space’ at the upper third of it’s adjustment range where the nub of the bucking is actually moving upwards and not downwards into the barrel. I was able to hit the 75m mark without any problems nevertheless.
The shot-to-shot consistency wasn’t that good and I’d suggest you to replace the unit with something like the SHS polymer chamber or even a CNC made one. The ‘modern’ design with the single rotating dial can be adjusted more precisely and doesn’t cost a fortune.
Something I’ve never seen done before by a manufacturer: Specna Arms did use thread locker on the outer sleeve of the section where the barrel clamp sits, probably to prevent the barrel from rotating and therefore causing a misalignment of the rubber or this has to do with some warranty issues, I’m not quite sure yet.
Ok, so let’s take out the gearbox ad take a look at the internals.
The gearbox shell is evenly painted in a matte black color and seems to be well made. The small silver piece of metal on the right side is the bolt lock mechanism for the fake bolt.
The gearbox features 8mm ball bearings and Torx screws.
The motor has a plain grey mousing without any other markings than the ‘Specna Arms QC passed’ one. The magnets aren’t very strong so I’d say it’s a standard-type motor. Using a Specna Arms 11,1V LiPo battery, the ROF was somewhere between 800-900 rounds per minute which is ok. A stronger/faster motor could make a difference here.
Another thing I haven’t seen in quite a while is the tread locker on the motor adjustment screw at the bottom of the grip. Again, I’m not sure if this is there for the screw not to loosen itself, which can happen sometimes, or for warranty issues. The height adjustment of the motor is actually on point and I guess Specna Arms already took good care of it.
Blue parts everywhere. All of the polymer parts are colored in blue, which I actually like a lot. The internals were lightly greased and made a good first impression.
The cylinder kit is very well made. It consists of a polymer cylinder head, a polymer nozzle, a polymer piston with a complete metal rack, a polymer piston head wit vent holes and a polymer tappet plate.
The gear set looks pretty much standard and works well. The shimming is actually pretty good. I think Specna Arms does really care about small details on their guns.
The volume ratio of the inner barrel / cylinder is somewhere around 1.6, which means that the cylinder is a correct one. I’ve seen a lot of manufacturers just putting a full-type cylinder into their gearboxes when they do different length models – which can cause accuracy issues.
The compression of the cylinder kit is very good and I was quite surprised by the fact that it was so air-tight. The only point where air was leaking out a bit was the nozzle.
The piston head features various vent holes on the top.
The only other part of the A02 I have to criticize is the nozzle. I would have expected the nozzle to feature an o-ring, as this is pretty much standard these days and would improve the air-tightness of the system as well as the shot-to-shot consistency.
The spring guide featured ball bearings, so that the spring can’t get twisted while moving inside the gearbox.
Another nice feature is the cut-out section right at the lower portion of the gearbox where you can see the anti-reversible latch inside. This window comes in handy when you want to quickly lift the latch in order to reposition the gears when the gearbox is closed.
As Specna Arms ships the gun with two springs you get two power options right out of the box. The main spring that the guns has built in (M120-ish) clocks in at around 433FPS with 0,2G BBs. The second spring is some sort of M90 type and delivered around 340 FPS. We used the Specna Arms 0,2g BBs for the chrono test.
Usually, when I see a price tag lower than 300€ I usually don’t expect much from a gun in terms of features and build quality but the Specna Arms SA-A02-V2 really did surprise me. The build quality is very good, even better than some more expensive AEGs on the market. The SAEC™ system works perfectly and I couldn’t ask for an easier way of changing the spring quickly. The internal parts are also well made and do their job. With a price tag of just 279€ there has to be a cutback somewhere. It’s always better to just having to upgrade some internal parts instead of getting better externals. A new nozzle and a new hop-up chamber aren’t really expensive and will improve the already well performing SA-A02.
I’ve really enjoyed doing this review and I already have some special plans for the SA-A02 where the SAEC™ system comes in handy.
- Solidly built
- Quality of external parts
- SAEC™ System
- Compatibility with third-party accessories (standard V2 / Marui AR-15)
- Value for money
- Battery included
- Two springs included
- Hop-up chamber inconsistent
- Nozzle lacks o-ring
As always, I’d like to thank Gunfire for giving us the opportunity of testing the Specna Arms SA-A02-V2. The A02 is available for 279€ at their online shop.