Never, Never, Never Give Up (If you are FN Herstal)

An article published today at the Belgium news website claims that le SCAR is destined to replace the M14 and M16 and that up to 10,000 could be ordered by the American Army.

Le SCAR (special combat assault rifle) est destiné à remplacer les fusils M-14 et M-16 en circulation depuis des décennies.

L’armée américaine en aurait commandé 1.600 unités, mais ce nombre pourrait augmenter à 10.000 dans les prochaines années.

Given the timing of this article and that the top news item on FN Herstal’s1 website is still “FN 5.56 SCAR® Retained in USSOCOM’s Inventory”, I suspect FN has been feeding information to the press.

Could FN Herstal have had an ace up their sleeve all along? Or are they just refusing to admit defeat?

[ Many thanks to Clairon for posting the link. ]

  1. Note that FNH-USA is a separate company to their parent FN Herstal 

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.


  • Aurelien

    Well after reading the – quite short – article, it’s kind of weird. No real information in there.
    Sure, originally FN Herstal thought the SCAR would replace the M16 and M14 altogether. But everything else is conditionnal. SO i would not consider this information, maybe just a last try from FN ?

  • Rijoenpial


    this doesn’t contradict anything: even if the SOCOM did not purchase the SCAR-L NOW, it doesn’t mean that in the future, SOCOM will not go back to it… SOCOM and the USArmy, though regarding the latter, pigs will fly and chickens will dance the lambada before that happens…!

    Budget conditions might shift from today to tomorrow, meaning that they could afford it down the line…

    In the meantime, the SCAR is a SERIOUS contender for the ‘M4 replacement weapon’ program they are lining up…

    Given the requisites put forward, the SCAR, the ACR and the XCR are, right now, the most serious contenders for it… If SOCOM eventually takes the SCAR Mk16 back into play, it will become the frontrunner for the USArmy…I mean, the M4 was used first in the SOF before becoming regular with the… uh… regular army…!

    Though I personally think they will go with a US design… The Americans are funny that way…! And I don’t blame them… As long as it works and does the job well, I have no squabble with it!

    So, going back on topic, this bit of news together with the AP news, doesn’t refer if they are mentioning the SCAR-L or the SCAR-H! So, in the stricter sense of the news, they are somewhat right: the SCAR has been purchased, and we don’t actually know how many units the USSOCOM is actually buying… I can imagine the frenzy at FNH having to manufacture the weapons demanded BEFORE the war in Afghanistan comes to an end!


  • subase

    All this means is that the swiss are much worse at spinning news than the u.s.

    • subase, that would be Belgians (Belgium ) not swiss

  • Canthros

    It seems reasonable to assume that the SCAR has a leg up on most competitors at replacing the M4 and M16: it did pass SOCOM’s testing, after all, and there’s already a contract for production with the DoD, even if there’s not much interest in producing them just this second.

  • I didn’t know that the Belgians were Monty Python fans.

  • Vitor

    The SCAR heavy replacing the M14 is a hell of an upgrade

  • Lance

    This is just a propaganda piece and NO I don’t think the SCAR will replace anything. SOCOM already isn’t buying 5.56mm versions and The Army is upgrading the M-4 not repeat NOT replacing it.

    Seems this was a site still funnuling hope to SCAR lovers who lost most of there hopes.

  • Lance

    Also this is FN Herstal NOT FN USA they are NOT connected and I doubt they have too much business here in the USA FN USA admits the SCAR L isnt going to be adopted by SOCOM.

  • MrMaigo

    10,000 (or less) isn’t going to replace anything the Army uses

  • SpudGun

    Assuming that the article is referencing the Mk17 and not the Mk16 and that the SCAR will be deployed as a squad level DMR – then yes, it is quite conceivable that the Army could buy 10000 to replace both the M16s and M14s that are being used in a similar role.

    But as this is an official FN press release, who really knows?

  • Canthros

    One additional thought: how does this match up with the number of rifles issued to groups like the 75th Rangers a while back?

  • jdun1911

    If the military isn’t going to buy it now it won’t buy it in the future. I doubt individual units will buy it due to the simple fact who is going to service those carbines if it broke down in the field.

    The ACR isn’t going to make it because:
    1. It’s too heavy
    2. It has an adjustable gas regulator that can cause user error.

    When was the last time the US military use Kalashnikov’s action as their main small arm? XCR is a modernized Kalashnikov and that alone disqualified it.

  • Lance

    Spudgun the Mk17 isnt going to be a DMR the Army is buying a bunch of XM-110s and has bought a huge contract with Smith Enterprises for new M-14 accuarzation, and accessories. The MK-17 is a SOCOM only weapon for CQB 7.62mm assult weapon and a Sniper verion too. Jdun1911 is right this is all smoke and mirrors SOCOM dosnt want the SCAR MK-16 then it wont buy it in the future. The USMC dumped the SCAR in the IAR compation over a crappy butstock and a lousy reciprocating charging handel, and chose the HK 416. The Army annouched last year they are upgradeing the M-4 with a piston and fewother new features prove the military isnt going to replace the Stoner system for a long time.

    I think since this all a forgien article from a none connected company FNH is NOT FN USA. this is all forgien misinformation I dobt its intentional but over there they dont check out all the new here every day this article could have been printed weeks ago beofre broke the new that SOCOM isnt buying Mk-16 but staying with M-4s. FNH is also maie having a temper tantrum and is deluding themselfs in the idea that some hope that the SOCOM news is wron which is isnt so dont look into this too hard.

  • SpudGun

    @Lance – I kind of figured it wouldn’t be the new DMR, but I was feeling generous, so decided to throw FN a bone. I’ve worked in PR, so know what it’s like to spin a total fabrication, handed down from ‘on high’.

    At this moment in time, FN are going all out in the damage limitation stakes, but it has more to do with assuring panic stricken share holders then preserving a reputation for innovation and quality.

    Unfortunately, just about every major prestige brand over the last few years has cut corners to maximise profits – from cars, to televisions to computers – so why should it be any different in the firearm game?

  • Cobetco

    i can totally see this happening, i mean the scar is mostly (and sadly) plastic for the most part, which is cheaper then milling metal, and the prince although higher now would go down if mass produced (which i assume would be done by FNH-USA not FN herstal them selves) and with fnh-usa already making the m249 whats not to like there? also i would is assume it would include production of the m13 (the grenade launcher bit) which would be the real interest, because the m320 is a sad replacement that had a tendency to take off fingers, and i like my fingers. oh and it also makes all the requirements for the m4 “upgrade” (or replacement, either or) except the round counter, but thats easy to fix. the army liking full auto i think has bitten the dust ever since some soldiers figured out how to disable the brust mechanism with a bit of wire. i can honestly see the mk 16 scar becoming the m4a2

  • sadlerbw

    It is probably overstating things to say SOCOM doesn’t WANT the SCAR. It would probably be more accurate to say they don’t want to PAY for the SCAR with their own money when they can get M4’s on someone else’s dime. As usual it comes down to priorities, and it looks like the 5.56 version of the SCAR does offer enough for the money compared to other, totally unrelated systems they must want. At worst I’d say that is damning by faint praise, but not that SCAR is anything other than a great gun.

  • Lance


    No the SCAR is a monified AR-180 action and is differnt than a piston AR system. The Army is NOT looking for another 5.56mm pea shooter. They are upgrade ing the M-4 and looking at new technloges like the LSAT program and Microwave weapons. The M-4A2 is going to be closer to a H&K 416 if not one.

    The Army is not dumping the M-320 either there still buying first production GLs!

  • Lance

    The FN guns vs the world debate is over like Steve said Glock V 1911.

    Be smart buy Beretta anyway.

  • jdun1911:

    Hate to break it to you, the SCAR has an adjustable gas regulator as well. In fact it was a REQUESTED feature because SOCOM wanted a gun that could run reliably both suppressed and unsuppressed. AR’s get finicky when you suppress them without either enlarging the gas port or changing the buffer weight, and sometimes you have to do both to get them to work right all the time.

  • RandomBelgianGuy

    I’m just going to post a translation of the (very short) article so everyone who doesn’t understand French can read it for himself, because some commenters don’t even know the actual content of the original article, but seem to be commenting on it anyway. So, thought it could be helpful.

    FN arms US in Afghanistan

    The US armed forces have chosen to equip their special forces in Afghanistan with Belgian rifles, SCARs, developed by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal. The order of 1,600 units could go up to 10,000.


    The weapon, conceived at Herstal, is made in the American factory of FN, as the newspapers of the Sud Presse groupe and “het Laatste Nieuws” report this Monday.

    The SCAR (special combat assault rifle) is set to replace the M-14 and M-16 rifles (which have been) in use for decennia.

    The US armed forces have reportedly ordered 1,600 units, but that number could go up to 10,000 in the coming years.

    (If you want my translation notes, just ask and I’ll clarify.)

  • Clairon

    Perhaps the reason of this news is to be found here in Belgium and in the current very difficult political situation.
    Belgium is a small country (smaller than Maryland fe) with about 11 mio inhabitants : about 60 % speaking Dutch and 40 % speaking French. Thru Belgium goes the separation line between the Latin world and the german/saxon world.
    Currently many peoples in Belgium think that the separation between north (Flanders, dutch speaking north part of Belgium) and south (Wallonia, french speaking south part of Belgium) will soon happen, because the country is now for more than 3 years in a huge and never ending political crisis between the two parts of Belgium.

    The FN is owned by the french speaking “state” Wallonia, and because this state is currently facing a lot of economic difficulties, a long period of unemployment and many critisicm from north Flemish Belgium for this situation, every news able to show that the south part of Belgium is also working hard to win major market shares on any worldwide markets is important. And to be one of the gun provider of the US Army is probably one of the best reference.

    Also another issue, the FN try to sell many weapons to Lybia (less lethal weapons, P90’s, FiveSeven, F2000, …), but they get a lot of problems to get the governmental authorizations for exporting weapons to such a “special” country, accused of supporting many terrorists organisations. So showing that the FN is also a big supplier of the US Army is also a kind of positive communication to the belgian public, which is mostly “pacific” and anti-weapons

  • William C.

    Heh, FN is just going to keep this up until everybody including SOCOM is so confused they end up buying a hundred thousand Mk.16s anyway.

    It seems like USSOCOM purchase of the Mk.17 is just adding another 7.62x51mm rifle to the mix without actually replacing anything. So now we have the:

    M14 DMR
    M39 EMR
    Mk.14 EBR
    Mk.17 SCAR H
    + Many M14s in more basic configurations

    Isn’t this a bit of overkill?

  • jdun1911

    charles taylor,

    And what happen? SOCOM didn’t want it. That’s the finial result. The mk17 not going anywhere either within the US military.

    Gas Regulator will cause malfunctions when it not in the proper setting. It’s an unneeded complicated device that young soldiers will fuck up at the wrong time. It’s also an added part that can and will break.

    This guy set his gas regulator wrong on his ACR and he doesn’t even realize it. What happen if this was in combat?

    The AR15 runs find in suppress mode. Upgrade your extractor, buffer, and spring if you’re having trouble.

    One thing I didn’t mention is that the ACR is an AR18 and the US military has a long history of rejecting that design.

  • This horse refuses to die. As remote as I think this is, it is entirely possible that FN’s relentless stance is their version of damage control. Perhaps they are concerned that cancellation of the MK16 SCAR project will impact commercial sales of the SCAR-L S. Who knows …
    FN will undoubtedly be eyeing a piece of the $6.3B USSOCOM is scheduled to see from the FY 2011 DoD Budget Request.

  • jdun1911:

    So you’re saying that it’s simpler to change out the extractor, buffer, and spring instead of just flipping a switch?

    The US military wants a weapon that can run suppressed and unsuppressed without changing out any parts. The easiest way to do that is by having an adjustable gas port. One of the best AR15’s for running suppressed is a Noveske Switchblock. You wanna know why? Because it has an adjustable gas port.

    The ACR has one thing in common with the AR-180: it’s a short stroke piston design. Lets looks at some other piston operated weapons the US Military has used/is using:

    M1 Garand
    M1 Carbine
    USMC M27 IAR
    HK 416 (limited use by some elements of SOCOM)
    M63A Stoner (used in vietnam by seals and marines)

    So no, I would not say that “the US military has a long history of rejecting that design.” I’d say they have a long history of using gas piston weapons.

    Furthermore SOCOM has said they are purchasing more Mk17’s than they originally intended to buy. They’re using the funds from not buying Mk16’s and spending them on Mk17’s. I’d say SOCOM is pretty damned happy with the SCAR Mk17.

    That being said, I do admit that the reciprocating charging handle was a stupid decision, but it wasn’t FN’s fault. SOCOM thought it would be a good idea to have direct control over the piston in order to clear blockages in the field, but so far this has proved to be a “meh” feature.

  • Lance

    @ William C

    No even if they try to confuse the Military they wont buy a Mk-16 the USMC already rejected the SCAR in favor of the H&K 416. Every 7.62mm weapon has its place. A Mk-17 is good for MOUNT combat where a M-14 is bettr in the hills of Afghanistan.

    SOCOMs not confused they didnt want it.

  • subase

    And the short barrel Scar heavy (13 inch barrel) does fill a niche Socom currently doesn’t have a weapon for, that of a a door kicking high powered close combat weapon.

  • Clairon

    Probably one of the reason why 2 days ago the FN published a press communiqué about a potential sales of 10.000 SCAR to the US Army. Today it’s allmost official FN Herstal just lost a huge contract with Lybia (for about 100 mio € +/- 125 mio $) against Russia.

    This contract was controversial here in Europe, because many peoples think that Khadafi still remains an ennemy of the western countries and a weapons supplier for many terrorists and guerilla groups (like Lybia weapons founded in Darfur a few years ago).

    A previous smaller contract (for less than 10 mio) was already very criticized here in Belgium.

    So a “positive” communication (10000 US SCAR) in order to “hide” a 25 % lost in your turnover for the next 3/5 year


  • Other Steve

    To the two guys arguing about suppressed ARs and adjustable gas settings, I don’t think either of you have even shot an AR with a can let alone own one.

    First off, suppressed guns need a SMALLER gas port than non-suppressed. The can adds backpressure that usually isn’t there.

    Your buffer spring, extractor, and whatever other crap you both mentioned have nothing to do with reliability. The buffer weight can help reduce the amount of gas the shooter gets in his face.

    Leading us to the biggest bitxh with suppressed DI guns, every shot on a military spec AR feels like you’re getting a small firecracker in your face. Along with that add a lot if ammonia in your eyes. Very unpleasant. This is from the ARs upper and lower design and gas coming back through the charging handle.

    The biggest issue you would want an adjustable gas setting for is to limit the amount of crap coming back through the gun. Suppressed guns get exponentially dirty faster than non. Using the proper setting can help this.

    I have shot several piston ARs that work in all settings. It’s not uncommon.

    Both of you only seem to know about S and U settings but nothing about A (adverse) that could take a poor functiong gun and get it rubbing again.

    In point, and adjustable regulator is a very good idea and due to suppressors being commonly employed is almost required now. Be it due to keeping the gun cleaner, more comfortable for thr shooter, keeping the cyclic rate of auto fire where it was designed to be, etc etc etc.

  • William C.

    Lance I was just joking about the first point. I am sure FNH has better methods of selling guns than trying to confuse everybody into thinking they ordered something.

  • Lance

    @ William C

    I know we need a joke button for these forums.

  • jdun1911

    charles taylor,

    I can only speak for the Navy Seal. The extractor and buffer has been upgraded. And no you don’t have to flip a switch it work in suppressed and unsuppressed mode or on any carbine and SBR. It doesn’t cost that much money for the improvement.

    The US military has a long history of rejecting the AR18. Do you know how many AR18 variant has been rejected by the US military in the past 40 some years? Do you think SCAR AR18 variant was the only one that got rejected?

    The ACR is an AR18 variant. In fact Magpul pointed this out on their own forum. In their own words it is an AR18 variant just like the SCAR.

    This is an AR18 BCG

    The top is ACR and bottom is a SCAR BCG.

    A recent topic between the ACR and AR18. You can also ask magpul rep on the industrial board. They will give you the same answer that I gave you.

    Do your homework before posting.

  • W

    venturing a little off subject, i do not agree that a reciprocating bolt handle is a bad thing. Consider that even the worst jams can be easily cleared with little trouble. Everything FN did for the SCAR was done for a reason (considering the SCAR was designed to be used in a battlefield environment with dust, dirty ammunition, lack of lubrication, and soldier-induced beatings rather than sitting in a 200 dollar gun case while being shot once every 3 months). It makes sense that SOCOM chose to not purchase the 16 variant anymore, since there is no point in purchasing another 5.56mm rifle. the 17 looks very promising however, especially when in the hands of highly trained troops.