FN finally admits that USSOCOM is not buying the SCAR mk.16

Gabe Bailey, Marketing Director, has admitted that USSOCOM is not buying the SCAR Mk.16 rifle …

You are correct and I am not hiding any facts. And, as the main customer has stated, they do not plan to buy the MK 16…in my humble opinion, this has nothing to do with performance but rather smartly-weighed budget decisions.

Performance fact: As I previously noted, the MK 16 (and MK17, MK 13) met all requirements. Those requirements ARE well above and beyond the weapon(s) it is intended to replace. Neither the MK 16 weapon nor the program were ever cancelled as we all have come to realize through factual evidence (MS C & FRP).

Arguments raged across the internet after Christian Lowe, managing editor of Military.com, broke the story. Christian personally took a lot of flack. He recently wrote …

We are not in the business of reporting rumors on a story as important (and emotional) as this. I searched for the facts, got them from the government source and reported them to Kit Up! readers (and I’ll also reiterate, I did seek comment from FNH-USA and got a detailed statement from them, but it was OFF THE RECORD so I could not use it).

It did not help that FN Herstal (Belgium) claimed that they “hereby refutes the allegations recently found on the web that USSOCOM abandoned the 5.56 version of the SCAR”. I know for a fact that some or all of FNH-USA employees were not aware of the FN Herstal press release and obviously FN Herstal was not aware that the SCAR had in fact been dropped. I think they personally owe Christian an apology.

I am pleased this debate has finally been resolved and we can all get back to arguing which is better, the Glock or the M1911.

[ Many thanks to Rijoenpial for the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Rijoenpial

    Hello guys

    I think from a Public relations POV, FNH and FNH-USA need to get their act together: one dismissing the other, then both refuting truthful reports… Very uncool, not to mention needless… They would be better off just saying the truth on this matter! This whole ordeal was avoidable and it might actually be more hurtful to FNH down the line than SOCOM’s dismissal of the Mk16 itself!

    I appreciate their weapons very much, but FNH-USA PR department (where all this mess started) and their synch with the mother company in Herstal, need some work… Apparently, FNH-USA issued that hasty press release without Herstal’s input and Herstal issued the communiqué without input from FNH-USA and that’s how we got to this!

    I seriously do not believe SOCOM would not have conveyed to FNH-USA that they were not planning to acquire their SCAR 5.56… Gabe just confirmed that they were informed of SOCOM’s intentions, as well as the budget reasons advanced by Kit Up! reports…

    So, this is finally over… And about time!

    I liked that Gabe stressed out that these were not performance-related issues, but purely financial ones! We just have to admit it, the SCAR is too expensive for SOCOM apparently small pockets!

    That is what FNH-USA should have said, not issuing out misdirecting press releases that just made them look bad! I know they are sometimes ‘necessary’ to divert attentions, but no harm to them would have come from straightforwardly speaking the truth on this case!

    A lesson to be learned for the future!


  • Wait…we can still argue about whether or not the 5.56 is viable, can’t we? Otherwise why even have an internet?

    • Murdoc, lol, of course we can 😉

  • SoulTown

    “I am pleased this debate has finally been resolved and we can all get back to arguing which is better, the Glock or the M1911.”

    Oh man, I lol’ed. You made my day, Steve.

  • J

    GLOCK FTW!….I couldn’t resist.

  • Alan

    Glock is a great gun, but I have problems with the safety systems. The Kimber Pro Carry is one of the nicest guns I’ve had the luxury of carrying and shooting.

  • Lance

    I said the article was true when it came out.

  • Matt


  • William C.

    So SOCOM isn’t buying more Mk.16s but the Mk.16 is not “cancelled” from FN’s standpoint meaning they will continue development of it and still be ready to produce the thing.

    Doesn’t seem that hard to understand.

  • Sam

    1911 rules!

  • Jake Dorsey

    Then what should be made of this story?

    US special ops use new Belgian rifle in Afghan war

    Associated Press Writer
    HERSTAL, Belgium (AP) — An unconventional Belgian assault rifle is emerging as the favorite of U.S. special operations forces looking for more firepower to turn the tide in Afghanistan.
    The Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle — also known as SCAR — is intended redress the shortcomings of the M-4, an updated version of the M-16 which has been in service since the mid-1960s.
    The U.S. military’s workhorse rifle did well in Iraq, where much of the fighting was in urban settings. But its light rounds have underperformed in Afghanistan, where the Taliban tend to rely on deadly long-range fire.
    An Army study found that the M-4s 5.56mm bullets don’t retain enough velocity beyond 1,000 feet (300 meters) to kill an adversary. NATO commanders say U.S. firepower cannot always respond adequately to Taliban sharpshooters firing from 2,000 to 2,500 feet (600-800 meters).
    The SCAR, manufactured by Belgian gunmaker FN Herstal, fulfills a specific special operations forces requirement for an easily modifiable rifle that to be used for both urban combat and for extended-distance shooting.
    This called for a unique modular system accommodating not just the two main Western rifle calibers — the L-model for the light 5.56mm rounds and H-model for the heavier-hitting 7.62mm rounds — but also barrels of lengths in both calibers.
    Many of the components can be interchanged between the two models. Both versions also allow soldiers to quickly replace their barrels to deal with a changing tactical situation.
    Martin Fackler, a U.S. ballistics expert, said the SCAR-H round enjoys a clear advantage at long distances because the lighter 5.56mm bullets slow down significantly after about 400 meters (yards), sharply reducing their ability to inflict serious damage to the target.
    “(In contrast) at 1,000 yards the 7.62 bullet is still traveling at over the speed of sound,” Fackler said.
    The U.S. Special Operations Command based in Tampa, Florida, first tested the SCAR in Afghanistan in 2009.
    Last April, FN was awarded an initial contract for both versions of the SCAR and a separate grenade launcher. On Wednesday, FN announced that its U.S. plant in Colombia, South Carolina, has been authorized to start full-rate production.
    Command spokesman Maj. Wesley Ticer said the command was still in the process of determining the exact quantities needed.
    To date, Ticer said, the Special Operations Command has bought an initial batch of 850 lighter and 750 heavier rifles. Approximately $19 million has been spent so far on research, development, and procurement of the SCAR variants.
    Analysts predict that more than 10,000 new rifles may be acquired over the next several years.
    FN, which has been supplying weapons to the U.S. military for the past century, also hopes to enter the SCAR in a future U.S. Army contest to replace the M-4, a program potentially many times bigger than the existing one.
    “We feel the SCAR is a solution that could meet that requirement,” said Gab Bailey, FN’s marketing director in the United States. He added that FN also has plans to export the rifle to other allied armies.
    “While SCAR is initially meant for the U.S. special forces, we’ve built it to sell to the rest of the world,” he said.
    The production announcement comes as coalition commanders in Afghanistan have been placing much greater emphasis on small, maneuverable special operations units to hunt down al-Qaida militants and Taliban guerrillas rather than large, heavily armed formations.
    The SCAR suits this strategy, analysts say.
    “It’s obviously good to have a multi-configuration weapon that you can tailor to any specific mission,” said Jean-Claude Amiot, a retired French special forces colonel and firearms expert.
    FN — the Fabrique Nationale des Armes D’Guerre — generally maintains a low public profile in Belgium, a country with strong pacifist policies which opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and keeps defense spending well below NATO’s minimum.
    The firm has an interesting historical association with the United States. John Browning, one of America’s foremost firearms designers, worked closely with FN to create a range of weapons. Some of them, like the ubiquitous .50 caliber heavy machine gun developed in the 1920s, remain in wide use.
    FN’s most infamous product was the M1910 Browning pistol used by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in 1914 to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria — an act that triggered World War I.
    Associated Press correspondents Robert H. Reid in Kabul, Richard Lardner in Washington DC and Robert Wielaard in Brussels contributed to this report.

  • greasyjohn

    Chainsword vs. Storm Bolter would be better.

  • William C.

    Nay GreasyJohn, we need chainsaw bayonets like Gears of War.

    I will never be a Glock person. You can hype up the Glock all you want but I won’t buy one.

  • Lance

    @ Jake Dorsey and Willam C

    Its a old artilce from last year. Jake dont bother ready the hype aroud this Military.com has comfromed the story and its sources in SOCOM are sound. the truth is the SCAR in is 5.56 is not being buyed and makes it a unoffical cancelation. When a service drops buying a weapon system it usally means its histrory IE weapns like the AH-56, YF-12, RAH-66 and the XM-8 and OICW. Since many military units are biuying H&K 416s (Marines and Delta Force) look to H&K for the future.

  • Martin



    Bring on the zombies!

  • Jake Dorsey

    Lance, if that’s an article from last year, then The Associated Press has a problem. That article was from today’s newspapers. I pulled it directly off the AP wire before the article was even meant to go to press (I’m a journalist).

    Something is amiss.

  • jdun1911

    Jake Dorsey,

    It’s called piss poor reporting. Something that people should learn about the main stream media. AP is one of the worst offenders. Dumbass reporters that don’t know anything they are reporting on. Morons leading morons.

    Over 5 years was spent on this project. How many much US tax payer money was given to them? For what? A modernized AR18?

    The hard part was already done for them over 40 years ago and they stilled needed at least 5 years to make new furniture for it? Ridiculous.

  • Colin

    Another way of looking at this is, There’s going to be more 16s’ available for you lucky US ppl… Who don’t want a 762, that is 🙂

  • Flakt

    1911. the one glock i owned exploded.

  • dt

    5.56, 7.62, 1911, glock….blondes, brunettes, redheads…whats wrong with I like’em all?

  • jim

    oh well..

  • bernardg

    Steve, your closing comment really make me laugh 😀

    I’m Team Glock for sure. As for safety system concern. Time to be self discipline guys!

  • jdun1911


    Yeah that’s the way to look at it. There will be more SCARs for the fanboys but to be honest, I see a number of SCARs at gunshows. They don’t sell well due to the high price tag.

    There are more people in the USA unemployed currently than the great depression. I’ll doubt the fanboys justified the price tag in the current economic condition.

  • Brian


    Perhaps the SCAR will die as the XM-8, Mk. 29, etc. Or maybe it will live on as the XD-45, FNP-45, and Taurus 24/7 OSS did after the canceled Joint Combat Pistol tests. And being accepted as a service weapon doesn’t necessarily mean it will become popular, as the HK USP .45 was accepted as the “Offensive Handgun Weapons System”, but look at the thousands of XD, 24/7, and FNP shooters as opposed to HK shooters. Not that the HK is an inferior gun, but at $1200.00 MSRP, it ain’t cheap.

    BTW, I personally prefer 1911s, but there’s technically nothing wrong with a Glock.

  • subase

    Yeah but it’s a COOL looking AR18, but it’s nice to see the .308 make a comeback.

    The Scar H is basically a 25% lighter M14 EBR/ SOCOM II with equivalent if not better accuracy, ergonomics and reliability. At around a third of the cost.

    Not a bad deal.

  • Clairon

    Very strange, on the same moment (Aug 23th 2010) here in Belgium, newspapers announce that the US forces choosen a Belgian rifle (1600 ordered, perhaps more than 10.000 to follow …). For those who understand french :


    • Clairon, thanks for the link.

  • New Hampshire State of Mind

    I know this subject has been beat to death but I just stumbled upon this and it is from the most reputable source in Defense: Jane’s Information Group

    US SOCOM approves SCAR production
    US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has approved full-rate production for elements of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) family of weapons. The approval was granted by SOCOM acquisition officials in late July but was not made public until 16 August. SCAR manufacturer FNH USA said in a statement that its 5.56 mm Mk 16 rifle, 7.62 mm Mk 17 rifle and the 40 mm Mk 13 grenade launcher – each members of the SCAR family – had been cleared for full-rate production

    [first posted to http://jdw.janes.com – 19 August 2010]

    • New, that is true although it is not what it sounds. “Full-rate production” is a military procurement term and does not mean they are actually being produced en-masse. Confusing I know.

  • Lance

    @ Hew hapmpshire in mind

    No it means that SOCOM approved the design. The Mk-17 is being produced and entering SOCOM service BUT the smaller Mk-16 in 5.56mm is NOT approved and will not be bought.

  • New Hampshire State of Mind

    Steve and lance thanks for the clarifications! This is one of the very few gun blogs where people actually make intelligent and informed observations on the subject of firearms.

  • Marcus

    I don’t give a damn if SOCOM bought this or not, all I want to know is, does it come to Europe/Scandinavia or not?

    If yes, when? Please, anyone who knows, drop me an email at..

    marcussastre [at] gmail [dot] com