H&K SG-1 review
late ’94 I was looking for a replacement for my ACX SA80. I was left un-impressed
by the weapons available at the time, I was looking for an assault rifle that
would be used in open/tropical forest areas where accuracy, Rate of Fire (RoF)
and power were more important than size. The SG-1 was released and overnight
my dilemma was solved. The SG-1 is deployed by spotters that accompany snipers,
who require that ability to lay down large amounts of fire accurately and can
utilize the weapon in a backup sniping role.
Build and aesthetics
The Marui version is an accurate copy of the real weapon, with the hallmark
attention to detail we have come to expect. The Marui weapon looks like the
real steel, and build quality is reassuringly similar. Of course the Marui weapon
is much lighter than the real steel, but a plethora of metal components adds
weight to the Marui rifle that give it a realistic feel. Metal components on
this rifle include; bipod, magazine, sights, trigger, outer barrel and muzzle.
This added weight while adding realism might be to heavy for some. The rifle
build is superb, with attention paid to realism and quality finishes; however
the front receiver flexes worryingly from side to side- however it has never
caused any problems despite a very heavy fall. The rear stock exhibits none
of these problems and is where the large 8.4V battery is housed, courtesy of
a removable butt plate. Internally there were no problems pre-modification,
with the E700 delivering a high RoF and matched to a long barrel make this an
accurate rifle capable of putting down a crazy amount of fire on some poor individual.
Firing The SG-1 is
a dream to fire, with each shot delivered with power and accuracy. The dream
is only punctured when the 70 round magazine runs out of ammunition. This happens
extremely quickly on full-auto, where the SG-1 is more like a squad weapon with
its bipod and high RoF. The bipod is only really used when the rifle is deployed
as a support weapon or sniper rifle. Pre-modification the SG-1 showed no problems
when firing either at semi of full auto, every shot had consistent power and
accuracy. Battery life is good too, with a large 8.4V battery lasting 2/3 of
a day depending how much fire you’re laying down. My general rule is take
2 batteries into the field, and on a heavy day 2 batteries will certainly be
The SG-1 is a fine weapon with excellent build quality and short-range accuracy,
however it is a rifle best used in open woodland or building top skirmishes,
and definitely not FIBUA (Fight In Built Up Area) environments owing to its
size. It is a rifle ill suited to the sniper role owing to its poor long-range
accuracy and limited range. But as a squad weapon this rifle excels with its
high RoF and bipod, making it perfect for ambush scenarios. I supplemented the
rifle with a claw mount, Tasco 3-9 x 40 scope, HiCap magazine and tracer unit
making the truly multifunctional. However this is far from the end of my SG’s
saga – this is the end of my clinical review, what follows is a testament
to Marui’s build quality, my inexperience at the time and a reminder to
airsofter’s everywhere what ill planned upgrades can potentially do to
our beloved weapons. I would advise all to read on.
The saga begins I had my hybrid sniper/support weapon, and being satisfied
that my rifle looked the part* I wanted it to perform as one. I settled on getting
the 180% spring by PDI and ONLY the 180% spring for my SG-1. After the upgrade
I hardly every used my rifle except at the odd skirmish (real life interrupting
my hobbies), and when I did use it I had no problems with it.
In April ’96 I sold
it to a friend of mine for $1500 because I was leaving Hong Kong to go to university
and I could see no use for it in the UK (oh so wrong). I sold it in immaculate
condition bar a few scratches. In January ‘99 after a rekindling of interest
in Airsoft I brought it back for HK$500. I should have known it was bad news,
when it came back with twice as many magazines, chargers and batteries. The
rifle itself was in reasonable condition externally, a few more scratches and
the butt of the rifle was held on with electrical tape (one on the pins had
broken), upon closer inspection the bipod was also damaged. It was a different
story internally, when I tried to fire the rifle it did so, but there were problems.
Semi-auto didn’t fire reliably, I could hear gear problems, and the fire
selector switch was very loose.
For the price I paid for
it what did I expect? I opted for professional repair at Hing Kee Models (the
place Clarence Lai stated at in Hong Kong). I was told it needed new gears,
so I decided to have the rifle totally sorted out, and have the EG1000 motor
fitted. Total repairs:
New gears (Marui)
New bipod (Marui)
New pins (KM)
When I picked up the rifle
I was told that the gearbox was cracked – s***. Repairs so far HK$1408.
A cracked gearbox is a severe problem, and so since owning the rifle from January
I had yet to put any rounds through it. In preparation for its transport to
the UK the rifle was being completely sorted out – new gearbox, Systema
gears, bushings, piston head, cylinder and a Systema M90 spring replacing the
PDI 180% spring.
Overall Conclusion Building
on the previous conclusion, this rifle has aged reasonably well with the stock
undamaged, but the internals screwed. This is more likely due to my incompetence
rather than poor build quality; it’s probably the excellent build quality
that kept the rifle useable. Given the total amount spent on the rifle (HK$5000+)
it has been worth it and I would do it again, except in the order is a more
planned order – spring only upgrades are definitely not a good idea if
you plan to use your rifle over a long period of time. This rifle, once fully
fitted out was a very competent support weapon, more suited to the LMG gunner
role than a snipers role. The lessons learnt from this project have already
been applied to my next purchase, my M4A1/M203 project.
UPDATE Since I got
the SG/1 back to the UK, it stripped its gears and piston – most likely
due to me using a 9.6V 2000mAh battery with an EG1000 and Systema Fast Helical
gears!!. I suspect it might ba veeb partially due to a mysterious bump that
had formed in the outer barrel where a grub screw kept the muzzle on. Also the
lower receiver was getting very scruffy, and the hop membrane was damaged (again
partial cause of gear box problems). So I got some new gears (helical) and a
new piston (polycarbonate), filed down the bump, but left the receiver. It worked
fine until the motor slipped out of mesh, damaging the gear on the end of it.
So HK beckoned, and whilst there I picked up a new receiver, KM outer barrel,
new selector button, new EG1000 and a new hop mechanism. The AEG is now performing
brilliantly, its will have its first complete battle trial after this Mid-Life
Update (Phase 2) on Sunday.
UPDATE 2 The AEG
chronoed at 326 fps, and it worked flawlessly for the first 3 games of the day.
Then the piston stripped, along with the spur gear. After another piston and
gear set I decided to switch down to 8.4V batteries from the 9.6’s I had
been using, and everything was fine. By this time the AEG had developed some
severe creaking in the main body, and the front sling pin failed. I decided
to sell the AEG on to fund my fascination with M4’s, and having replaced
the sling pin I sold it on.
All in all a great AEG,
that was badly abused. Great as a long range support weapon, it is definitely
amongst the top 3 AEG’s for woodland use. A good buy for newbie’s
or experienced player alike, just be sure you are fit enough to use it as it
can be a bit on the heavy side.
Written by Permian
page for ‘Heat’ – contains casting info, some nice images and the theatrical
fan site – contains links, sound files, interviews
– the big daddy of firearm image archives, here you can find an image
for the real-steel weapon from HK
Army G3 “Metal-Body” – a fitting review of the Classic
Army metal body over at Airsoft
Sunday, June 15, 2003 1:55 PM
Copyright 2003 ArniesAirsoft