HK416 SMR – Real Steel Geissele vs. HAO

With the continuing popularity of the Geissele HK416 SMR rail and the adoption of the rail by not only CAG but also LEO, it seemed fitting to start another build.

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A not-so-well-kept secret has been slowly surfacing and it’s time to shed some light and provide an in-depth comparison between HAO’s version of the Geissele SMR compared to the real deal.

Several of these rails have passed through my hands in every colourway offered by HAO and Geissele (Black, DDC, and Team H&K red). The only one that has remained in the stable is the DDC Geissele on the “M27C”. However, in preparation for a new HK416CQB build, yet another HAO Geissele SMR rail was acquired. The part was ordered directly from HAO and showed up in under 2 weeks.

The rail came very well packaged.


It even came with a photocopy of the actual Geissele instructions. The font is very familiar.IMG_3588

Included in the HAO rail set is the rail and 3 bolt-on Picatinny sections (2 short and 1 long) with hardware. Older HAO rails came with a VFC-specific barrel nut, although this has since been discontinued.


Un-packaging the rail instantly reveals the attention to detail. Note the striations faithfully replicated side-by-side with the real deal.


Punched steel inserts on the accessory attachment points. Note that the RS rail uses imperial hardware while the HAO version uses metric fasteners. Be very wary of this so you avoid stripping the threads. The HAO Picatinny rail panels themselves are fully compatible with the RS one, hardware can be scavenged from leftover packs from say, a Centurion Arms CMR rail accessory kit (RS)IMG_3593

Previous HAO rails did not have rotation-limited QD sockets, this has since been addressed:


Captive pins are also used on the HAO rail in order to avoid losing the cross-bolt. Note the difference in profile, although this can very well be that I have an older RS Geissele rail (more on this later).


Also note the difference in the anti-rotation tongue profiles, however the overall width is identical which ensures a positive lock-up with the receiver.


Minute, trivial details are reproduced including the inner profile of the rail.


Note that thius latest HAO rail features the correct city where Geissele is currently located (North Wales), whereas my circa 2013 Geissele one was produced in Norristown. Also note the difference in the boldness of the type with the Geissele being much more subtle and blended.


All-in-all, the HAO rail can easily be mistaken for the real deal except for some very minor differences. At less than half the cost of the real deal, there is no reason why it should not be a serious consideration for your build.

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