FN SCAR Review

Another great review from Vuurwapen Blog.

One comment I do want to make is that you choose a sling for a rifle, not a rifle for a sling.

Vuurwapen used the SCAR rifle for a match. His after-action report is here.

[ Many thanks to jdun1911 for emailing me the video. ]

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.


  • EmperorPL

    I would love to see ACR vs SCAR video πŸ˜‰

  • Brad

    You had to laugh a little bit when he said how it bucks around if you don’t have a real good purchase on the weapon but then backs it with, ” If you have a good stance its a dream to shoot!”

  • Jon Mac

    Any reciprocating charging handle issues could be easily resolved with an aftermarket folding handle, SLR-style.

  • Red

    I thought the scar was 7.3 pounds and the ACR was 7 pounds? I looked on the websites couldn’t find a info πŸ™

  • I guess that depends on how much you like the sling… what if you REALLY REALLY like the sling?

  • Shootin’ BUddy

    The sling is critical to a shoulder weapon for shooting (locking the weapon into the shooter) as well as manipulation (transitions, carry, inter alia). A sling to a long gun is like a holster to a pistol.

    However, as very few modern shooters understand this concept (just look at the photos) I am not surprised that FN does not understand this.

    I’ve seen SCARs in carbine classes now. Like most things in the gunworld, the subjective is objective, whatever you like you will practice with and will be the “best” weapon.

  • subase

    It’s one of the best reviews of a gun, I’ve seen. But it offers no surprises. I also found the comment on the charging handle rather pointless.

    Hopefully in the future they’ll do more reviews with more exotic weapons.

  • root man

    Looks like a great design.
    No, not perfect, all engineering is a exercise in compromise.
    I am glad SOCOM was smart enough to get it developed.

  • jdun1911

    His review was too kind I think. If I were doing it, the SCAR fanboys will go into a crazy frenzy.

    The SCAR that he is using has a Primary Weapons FSC556 comp (one of the best) and not the standard A2 flash hider as he stated. The recoil pulse will be much greater with the A2. As a rule of thumb DI have less recoil than piston.


  • Big Daddy

    So what he meant is in real life combat situations if you don’t hold the weapon correctly it won’t be accurate……I’d pass on this. I fired enough full auto weapons to know exactly what he’s talking about. That is a major flaw in the design, period. That alone would make me reject this weapon if I had to give it to my troops in favor of the M-4/M-16 even with the gas impingement system. I’m all in favor of a new rifle in a better round for our military but this isn’t it…..

    It might be OK on semi with a 7.62 but I doubt it will out shoot either the AR-10 variants or the M-14. Ditto for the 5.56mm AR designs in full auto.

    I think now we know the real reason behind SOCOM just saying NO.

    Very enlightening….

  • jdun1911

    ACR weight the same as a FAL carbine. Around 8lbs.

    One of the major complaint is the SCAR charging handle. Optics mounts will have trouble because of the charging handle.

    It is a piston design so I understand why SOCOM requested reciprocating charging handle. However, it will cause problem in tight area and the way you used object for support like in the video. It is not ideal IMO.

  • subase

    Yes it was a very kind review, but I was commenting more on the structure and nice videos.

    I’m sure someone will come out with a different charging handle to accommodate optics better.

  • root man

    Most of the great combat autos have real charging handles.
    You can put it on the right if you like on the scar.
    The joke “forward assist” and one way charging handle on the ar is not ideal IMO.
    I guess the M1,M1A,AK,SIG 556 etc. are “not ideal”.
    The scar was designed with the input of the folks that use them.
    Not perfect but I am sure they will see lots of combat.
    Just because socom only wants the 7.62 does not mean other folks will not use the scar 5.56.
    An 8 pound 5.56? Not ideal..

  • charles222

    Well, having shot a SCAR 17 yesterday at our FOB, I can say:


    It’s incredibly soft-shooting for it’s size and round; it doesn’t feel any heavier than my M4 does and the felt level of recoil is about the same. The crap about “holding it the right way” is BS. I didn’t hold it any differently from how I hold my M4 and it was plenty accurate. The gun-illiterate pogues who don’t even know how to fire properly from standing didn’t have any trouble with it either.

    The reciprocating bolt handle isn’t an issue, either, assuming you have two eyes and a brain and bother using the purpose-designed thumbstops on either side of the rifle.

    Hell, even when the SEAL who let us shoot it demo’d full auto it was still impressively accurate and controllable; I didn’t see any noticeable muzzle flip. Sure isn’t as violent as an M4 on full auto or 3RB.

    I can understand the Mk 16 being nixed (in the end it’s just a 14-inch carbine firing a round that’s optimal out of longer barrels) but the 17 is is a freaking beast.

  • charles222

    And no, unless you’re mounting optics extremely far forward or a laser extremely far to the rear, your optic mounts are not going to have trouble with the charging handle placement.

  • Burt Gummer

    Good review but, the FN SCAR should be evaluated on it’s own merits and not simply looked at through “AR-centric colored glasses” only.

    The ambi reciprocating charging handle and barriers is a training issue, not a design issue.

    Since everyone is comparing SCAR vs. AR, I personally think the ambi reciprocating charging handle is a vast improvement. Allows righties and lefties to manupulate the bolt much more efficiently, without the need to break cheekweld. Locking the bolt to the rear without using the firing hand. Allows greater visual confirmation on whether the bolt is in battery. And eliminating the need for a forward assist.

    The AR t-handle works for no one, and IMHO, a design flaw.

  • Redchrome

    Shootin’ BUddy wrote:
    “Like most things in the gunworld, the subjective is objective, whatever you like you will practice with and will be the β€œbest” weapon.”

    You hit it squarely with that statement, in a number of ways.

    * Whatever you practice with a lot, you will be comfortable with. I’m quite sure this is why the AR15 is so popular — lots of people were taught to use it in the military, so it’s familiar to them and by their experience works well enough. So even if they learn about better designs their experience with ‘good enough’ means they don’t care enough to agitate for better designs.

    * In the end, the nut behind the trigger is what makes the difference. Someone with an ACR or XCR may be able to clear a double-feed jam half a second faster than someone with an AR15; but the difference disappears in the statistical noise of training quality and vagaries of environmental conditions.

    So while perfectionist engineers like myself are aggravated to no end by the continued adherence to broken-by-design collections of features (all rifles having at least some misfeatures — let alone engineering compromises which are an entirely different matter); I realize that for *most* casual shooters it really doesn’t matter that much.

  • charles222

    Meh, all you should be doing with the charging handle on an AR is the initial round into the chamber or clearing jams anyway. The AR’s works perfectly fine for me and I’ve been carrying an M4 since 2003.

    The real advancement to me that the SCAR has accomplished (in the Mk 17 variant, anyway) is that it’s a battle rifle in a carbine-sized format, and with carbine-level recoil and weight. It’s a great, GREAT DM or specialized-MOS weapon; it’s not bulky or overly heavy like most M-14 variants, and comes aparts & functions pretty similarly to the M4-the grip, safety, etc will all be familiar to an M4 firer.

    I can see why the Mk 16 was nixed, but the SCAR-H is the battle rifle par excellence.

  • charles222

    And another thing: The crying about the placement of the charging handle really just needs to frickin end. That’s where Europeans have been putting the charging handle on rifles since pretty much forever, to include every last rifle/submachine gun/machine gun H&K has ever made; sure didn’t see anybody going on about the MP-5’s charging handle which…surprise surprise…has a forward-placed charging handle! Wow, the MP-5 must suck! And the G-3, HK-21/11/23, HK-33, G-41, and MP5-SD must all suck too!

  • jdun1911

    It’s a design issue because of the location of where it is. It doesn’t matter what mount or third party charging handle, the location of it is the problem.

    The ACR charging handle was move forward from the original design because it got in the way of optic placement. The ACR does not have a reciprocating charging handle. Every problem on the SCAR charging handle the ACR made sure that it doesn’t have.

    Almost every auto rifle made has a forward assist. The SCAR and ACR have one and it called the Charging Handle.

    Reciprocating charging handle aren’t ideal for fighting in close quarter. It not a problem shooting at a public range sitting down but when you’re shooting out of a tight area it will cause problems.

    The AR charging design is not perfect but it is currently the best out there IMO. It doesn’t get in the way of optic placement. It doesn’t cause the gun to go front heavy like the ACR. And it ambidextrous from the get go.

    I doubt the SCAR will see combat in the future. Limited combat maybe. SOCOM cancel the program. The SCAR 16 is dead. SCAR 17 might see combat but not to any major extent. I do not believe any countries has the desire to buy this gun in any meaningful numbers.

  • Redchrome

    I can see the advantages of the AR15 charging handle design in that it makes the gun ‘slick’ — less stuff to catch on things.

    However, I’ve come to look at it as one of the AR15s worst misfeatures because:

    * The stock ones are hard to operate with gross motor skills. Trying to grab and operate it violently makes me feel like I’m going to break it, and it’s difficult to do so without a ‘pinching’ motion of the hand. The better-quality ones like Bravo Company makes are miles better than what Bushmaster puts out; but its flimsy construction does not inspire confidence.

    * It requires you to break cheekweld to operate it.

    * Without a Magpul BAD lever it requires moving *both* hands on the rifle to lock the bolt back, thus being slower and more awkward. (Ideally, one should be able to operate a gun entirely one handed, such as if one is injured).

    * It interferes with a cheekpiece on the stock. So if you want a cheekpiece to give you a better cheekweld (those of us with high cheekbones find the stock comb too low even for the standard-height sights, let alone big glass); you’re stuck with a fixed stock and a short cheekpiece, or possibly some strange cantilevered cheekpiece design.

    So while it may work for many people in many situations (and fundamentally the nut behind the trigger makes all the difference); it’s less than the best design for most purposes and engineers like me can’t understand why people don’t just look at all the possible designs out there and clamor for the best solution rather than just an adequate solution. πŸ™‚

  • subase

    Nonsense Jdun1911. I’m pretty sure the AR sucks because you need to lose your cheek weld to charge the weapon. (which is like taking your hands off the handlebars to change gears on a motorcycle.)

    A reciprocating charging handle is just a training issue. Sort of like pointing the gun at the enemy and not your partners bum.

    Optics should fit the weapon not the other way around. Optic design has been coasting on this deficiency of the AR, but no longer.

    Non reciprocating charging handles increase complexity, the only reason the ACR included was because it was meant to replace the AR.

  • jdun1911

    Tell me when does one use the charging handle? 1. When you load the round in before a battle. 2. When the gun malfunction. In both cases you will break your cheekweld in any type of rifle.

    When does one need to lock the bolt back in the middle of a battle? When the gun experience a major malfunction like double feed.

    The ACR doesn’t use a reciprocating handle because it is a liability. Some of the people that work for Magpul has seen combat and train people. If reciprocating handle isn’t a concern magpul would have left it in. By using a non-reciprocating handle they tell me they put more emphasis on the tactical use of gun than an easy way to clear out piston malfunction.

    The only reason why any modern firearm use reciprocating charging handle is to easily clear piston binding. If SCAR is a DI gun SOCOM would have not requested it.

    How does non-reciprocating handle increase the complexity of the firearm?

    In a two way range I rather have one less thing to worry about, right?

  • Blade

    Great discussions on both sides, really enjoyed Charles222’s opinions on the SCAR-17. I haven’t shot the 17 yet, but have a lot of experience with the 16. A lot of chatter about why the 16 was dropped by SOCOM, a little truth in most of the reasons but what it really comes down to in cost. While the 16 is superior to the AR, it’s not dramatically so and SOCOM is not going to spend precious $$ replacing one 5.56 with another 5.56. The 17, that’s another story which is why it’s still on the plate. If I had my choice – I’d take a .308 Galil SAR downrange. If it had to be a 5.56, I’d go for my SCAR, hands down. Charging handle, heating issues, etc. – it’s all very subjective – bottom line to me is the SCAR performs as advertised. It’s lighter than an M4, more ergonomic, lighter, balanced better, mounts accessories better, it’s cleaner to operate – just a damned good gun. I’m a SCAR fan – it stacks up superior to all others in my book although there are a lot of great competition. A close second in my book, and for the price, top of the heap, is the SIG 556. No other weapon can touch the 556 for a combination of quality and cost.

  • Troy

    I’m a huge AR fan – and it is beyond me why all these irrational comments about the SCAR 17 being a crap weapon are on here. It is superior to your favorite tacticool black rifle. Get over it. It is more reliable. It is a proven ~.5MOA performer. Its light like a 5.56 carbine, has very manageable recoil and greatly outperformed the M4 in all reliability tests. Ergonomics are also superior. It is a better weapon. Period. I don’t own one and I’m willing to recognize that. Cry more fanboys.

  • Skytrooper173

    A Reciprocating charging handle being an issue is BS. I own a 17 and I have 0 issues with the charging handle.

  • Larry

    Great video, but… He states that you can place the charging handle on whichever side you like, then immediately goes on to talk about how left-side placement for a right-handed shooter at a barricade can present issues. Then a demonstration ensues showing how that doesn’t happen with an AK due to its right-side charging handle. Here’s a mind-blowing concept — place the charging handle on the right side if you’re worried about strong-side close-in barricade shooting and learn how to turn the weapon sideways and charge from the underside like an AK pro.