TFBTV: ARES SCR Generation 2 Review

As we all know, the AR15 system is perhaps the most prolific gun platform of all time, with a seemingly infinite number of combinations of barrels, uppers, handguards, optics, and so on. But many of us also live in “ban states,” or those states that have enacted some variation of the now-defunct federal 1994 “Assault Weapons Ban”. Unfortunately, for shooters in so-called ban states, there are restrictions in place that prohibit or severely limit a gun-owner’s ability to own an AR and capitalize on the expansive AR15 gun-gear-galaxy.

Enter the Ares SCR.

The Ares SCR is compatible with a vast majority of AR15 uppers and their appurtenant accessories, and accepts standard (STANAG) AR15 magazines, however, what makes the SCR different than the common AR15 is the fact that it’s lower receiver uses a semi-grip, sporting stock instead of the standard AR15 collapsible stock-and-pistol-grip combination. (Note that your choice of accessories and magazines such as a flashhider and 30 round magazine may affect the legality of the use of the SCR in your state.  In other words, just because you can own the SCR in all 50 states does not mean that all accessories for the SCR are legal for use with the SCR in your state.)
I reviewed the first generation ARES SCR and gave it a lukewarm review, primarily because of the extremely heavy trigger and the lack of a last round bolt hold open. However, ARES sent me the Gen 2 SCR, which has a much lighter trigger and a LRBHO, among other new features. In this video, I re-visit the SCR through this revised version of the carbine.
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Transcription …

– Hey, Guys. James again for TFB TV.

Today I have the Ares SCR Carbine for you.

Now some of you may recall that I did a written review of the Ares SCR a few months back right when this thing first came out, and I did that for TFB.

If you remember the review or if you read it, I recognize that while this gun has somewhat of a revolutionary design, the major issue with that gun was the trigger was so bad that it made it almost not serviceable.

So I actually ran into Jeff from Ares at a convention in October and he and I talked about that review.

This is the Ares SCR, the model two.

This is an improved version.

This one comes with a front iron sight unlike the last one.

Model one had just the gas block and I don’t even think there was rail on the gas block to mount a sight.

So it’s nice that this one comes with kind of an A2 style front post.

It also has a really nice rear peep sight to go with it.

So those features were missing from the first SCR.

And, of course, most importantly, the trigger has been significantly improved.

And another feature the SCR has that the model one did not have, is a last round bolt hold open.

As you can see, rack it, and the bolt holds open.

So anyways, I’ve been gabbing on about the difference between the model one and the model two without telling you exactly why this gun is revolutionary.

So for those of you unfamiliar with it, here’s the deal.

This gun has a sporting style stock.

Similar to a shot gun, similar to a hunting rifle, yet it takes almost any AR-15 upper.

Now why’s that significant? For those of us that live in free states, it’s nice to have something, this still takes a 30 round magazine.

You can mount your lights, EOTechs, Aimpoints, whatever you want.

It’s just as modular as the AR-15 and just as tactically practical.

However, it’s a lot less intimidating and some people may just prefer the sporting style stock.

So that’s one consideration, but I would say the most important improvement that this gun provides is that those of you in banned states can now use, not any AR-15 upper, of course check our local laws, but you can use now AR-15 uppers and you’ve got what is for the most part a lower that’s compliant in many states.

Now one thing that bothered me about some of the comments in my first review is when people were saying, “Oh, is SCR just pandering to the banned states?” California, New York, whatever.

I cannot (bleep) believe you people.

Just because somebody lives in a state where they can’t own a true AR-style lower doesn’t mean that they should be deprived of the same practical, tactical advantages that the AR-15 upper offers.

And I for one applaud Ares for making the AR-15 platform available to people who live in banned states.

Anyways, I’m starting to wade into the political side of it and I don’t want to do that, but that said, I just want to say, hey Ares, I think this is a great move.

It’s been a great seller and I think it’s excellent that people who live in banned states can now avail themselves of the many options that you have available with the AR-15 platform.

Anyways, let me go over the specs with you real quick, and then Ares said that this gun is much more shootable than version one.

We’ll see.

I’m gonna take this to the range.

I’m gonna shoot it with the iron sights, and I’ll tell ya if that’s true.

Quick technical specs, this one’s a 223 that weighs only 5.7 lbs.

Extremely lightweight, very easy to handle.

It has an overall length of 37 inches, 16.25 inch barrel with a one and nine twist.

The 16.25 inch barrel comes with a carbine-length gas system and the 18 inch barrel comes with a rifle-length gas system.

Both of them will come with Magpul MOE handguards.

It comes with a five-round magazine.

It’s mil spec black hard coat anodized and 100% made in the U.S.

Some of the more astute viewers might be asking how did Ares get an AR upper to work with this sporting style lower without the AR buffer tube, and it’s actually a pretty simple answer.

They integrated the recoil system that you’ve seen on just about every semi-auto shotgun that you’ve seen on the FAL.

It’s a proven design where they attach a rat tail to the back of the bolt carrier group and that rat tail pushes a recoil spring at a downward angle into the stock.

The only downside of this is that you have to use Ares bolt carrier group, but that doesn’t really limit your upper options very much.

Anyways, this was a pretty brilliant idea from Ares, and it works very well.

Whew, man, this thing is about 100 times cooler looking with a 20-round magazine on it.

Just had to pour some America on this son of a bitch and now it looks great.

I mean, even with the sporting stock, still looks pretty badass.

(gun shots) Huge improvement.

Huge improvement.

Cross bolt safety.

A lot of you guys are gonna reach with your thumb for the typical selector, but here it’s cross bolt.

(gun shots) So if you guys want to see something kind of funny, I’ll see if I can slow this down in post.

This is an extremely lightweight, light recoiling gun.

And it’s always funny to me when people put severe muzzle brakes on a 556, 223, whatever.

It really, I don’t think it needs it.

And it’s funny, if there are people out there who do like them, find out whatever the six hole job is that they have at then end of this SCR because it’s annoyingly effective.

And what I mean by that is the muzzle on this gun it’s like the Titanic.

I can’t stop it from going down.

I mean, just watch.

I’ll have my sight picture, and I’ll fire, and this muzzle brake will actually push the muzzle down.

It’s that effective.

I don’t like it. I don’t like it.

But damn, it’s effective, and this might be appealing to a lot of you shooters out there who are more recoil sensitive or who want a brake like this.

Did you see that? This thing, every time I’d shoot it, dip, dip.

I’ve never seen anything like it.

That’s pretty cool.

Again, it’s not my thing, but that is pretty neat and this little six hole muzzle brake is quite effective.

Now again, once you put an optic on here, the charging handle really becomes a pain in the ass.

It’s already not very well suited for this kind of sporting style stock, but when you have the optic in there you have like about a half-inch of clearance to charge this thing.

But that said, if I had to choose between like a left-handed or right-handed charging gun versus this AR-style charging handle, just for the sake of simplicity I’d stick with the AR-style charging handle.

Again, it’s not the best, but you’ve got a lot of charging handle options, you retain compatibility across upppers.

But this is a very lightweight, light recoiling package.

And as I said earlier, I wish they’d maybe take two of these ports off this muzzle brake, because every time I’m shooting it, it’s dipping, it’s dipping.

So it’s like reverse recoil.

Go figure.

And I mean, this trigger, again, coming in at around six and a half, seven pounds.

Much lighter, and that combined with the muzzle brake and the very light recoiling, 223 round, you’re getting a very easy to handle package here.

That sounded weird.

So I shot a few groups with the SCR and I never really managed to shoot and outstanding group, but none of them were bad.

Three, four round groups between an inch and a half, two and a half inches, with this little pencil barrel and this shitty $80 scope.

You know, pushing two MOA, two inches, roughly two inches at a hundred meters.

So that’s not too bad, especially considering I was using crap ammo.

I mean, shooting Wolf factory reloads.

So it wasn’t that good to begin with.

The ammo wasn’t.

So, you know, you run some Match ammo through this, who knows.

You might be able to eek an inch out of it.

One thing I do want to note, a barrel is one and nine twist, so you’re gonna have to stick to the lighter stuff, unfortunately.

While the original SCR brought a lot of options and almost black rifle capability to you guys in banned states, it was lacking.

I had some issues, as you can see, in the prior review, especially with the trigger and the lack of a last round bolt hold open.

Fortunately, with the model two, Ares has listened to the customers and you have, I just measured it, it’s about a six and a half to seven pound very crisp, single-stage trigger on this gun.

Better than most GIARs.

The inclusion of a front sight’s also a welcome addition.

Like I said, the last round bolt hold open is nice, as well as being able to drop the bolt with the ping-pong paddle on the back.

Because racking this with a typical AR charging handle, because of the sporting stock, is not really that comfortable.

But remember guys, you can take this lower and you can put any upper you want on it.

All you need to do is drop this bolt into any AR upper, and then you just have your two push pins.

Slap it right on, and you’re good to go.

Ares has always been a very innovative company.

They make great products.

They stand behind them, and most importantly, they listen to the customers.

That’s why I’ve got the model two in my hands.

So for those of you guys in banned states who want the closest possible thing to the AR-15, this is it.

Or just for you guys who want for whatever reason AR capability in a sporting, less imposing, sporting, hunting stock platform, this is also a great choice.

Anyways, thank you to Ares for sending me this rifle.

Thank you to our subscribers and our viewers and thank you to our sponsor, Ventura Munitions.

See you next week.

James Reeves

• NRA-licensed concealed weapons instructor, 2012-present
Maxim Magazine’s MAXIMum Warrior, 2011
• “Co-Director” [air quotes] of TFBTV
• Former Regional Sales Rep, Interstate Arms Corp., MA
• Champion, Key West Cinco De Mayo Taco Eating Competition
• GLOCK® Certified Pistol Operator, 2017-2022
• Lawyer
► Instagram: jjreevesii
► Twitter: @jjreeves
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► 500px: JJReeves


  • I don’t live in a banned state…. But I want that. And I want to SBR it with a free floating pistol length upper in .300blk, and suppress it.

    • James R.

      Oh, man, that would be sweet.

  • Big Daddy

    Not everybody likes the pistol grip & military style rifle. I think this would be great for hunting with a suppressed .300 blackout or even a 6.8SPC or 6.5mm. Or other wildcat type rounds for an AR15.

    I think this would make a better truck gun. The AR15 is a bit bulky as far as trying to slip it into a sheath instead of a case to easily access the gun.

    I find one of the best muzzle devices for the .223/5.56 is the BCM gunfighter.

    Dude 2MOA with Wolf/Tula and a pencil barrel is pretty darn good in the real world.

    • BrandonAKsALot

      It even looks really nice to boot. I’d own one and I’m generally not a fan of traditional style stocks unless it’s the wood ones on surplus rifles.

    • Norm

      Show me the .308 or .243, or, as you say, the 6.5 grendel, and I will show them the money. Light weight and semi-auto would be a great brush gun for deer.

      • Joshua

        this, if a company would make a .243 AR based rifle for a reasonable dollar I would be interested. the last one I saw was some $5000 semi-custom job that looked so bad.

        • Norm

          I know, right? .243 seems like a natural for AR’s. I can’t hunt deer in my state with less than .240. 243 has low recoil and flat shooting with good terminal effects. This gun would be great in 6.5 Grendel. Long range and no need to produce a different receiver.

  • iksnilol

    James Reeves + tight shirt = must watch

    • cs

      He’s like the Steve Jobs of Firearms.

      • SP mclaughlin

        Except he hasn’t ripped his buddies off….

      • iksnilol


        Steve is way better looking… and friendlier.

        • cs

          I disagree. + James will kick his ass in a fight.

  • MechanizedSwede

    i applaud you James for wearing a swedish snapps t-shirt. translation on the front: drink something bitter and on the back: Bitter snaps with wormwood.

    Im not even mad, thats amazing.

  • gunsandrockets


    • Bear The Grizzly

      I did a little bit of searching and found the full gun is at least $900 and lower is $480. I think these things look cool, but that’s a lot of compromise if you don’t live in a ban state.

      • gunsandrockets

        Pricey. And the lower doesn’t do you much good without the specialized bolt-carrier to go with it.

        • Bear The Grizzly

          I want to say that’s included, but I wouldn’t quote me on it.

        • tazman66gt

          Bolt carrier is part of the price of the lower.

    • James R.

      Checking Slickguns it looks like they are $800 complete or $450-$500 for lower only.

  • UCSPanther

    The rifle reminds me of the Valmet hunter.

  • Cal.Bar

    Sad to say, but with legislation pending in CA right now, even THAT (with a 10 rd mag of course) will be BANNED as of 2017

    • Josh

      Just out of curiosity, but what about the mini 14?

      • nadnerbus

        All rifles that can accept detachable magazines, as I understand it. Pretty ambitious, even for California. It would even ban the M1 carbine.

        • UCSPanther

          I imagine it would also go after any .22 rifle that takes a detachable magazine.

          • Cal.Bar

            No, that ban was vetoed by the Gov two years ago (yes they actually PASSED a bill that sought to ban .22 rifles with a mag.) However, THIS year, they are “only” targeting all center fire rifles which use a bullet button to get around the removable mag issue.

          • Marcus D.

            No. The law is specific as to centerfire rifles. Your .22 is safe (for now).

        • DW

          And SKS would still be legal, because SKS is more fitting for Socialist states.

        • Cal.Bar

          Correct. ONLY rifles like the Garand would make it.

        • ARCNA442

          How feasible would it be to take a M1A, FAL, or VZ58, weld the magazine to the receiver, and feed it with stripper clips?

          • nadnerbus

            Well, I know prior to the bullet button exception, there was at least one FAL on the market that had a permanently sealed mag well. I can’t remember if it had to be hinged open to feed, never handled one so not sure if they can be loaded by stripper clip regularly. Bushmaster also made a “California approved” AR that had a sealed mag well and had to be pivoted open to load. Not a big seller, as you might imagine.

            So if it can be done with those, I’m sure it can be done with the others. The question is how popular would they be? Personally, I wouldn’t want one.

            Anyway, give them another few years and they’d just ban those too. “Too easily converted” or some such excuse.

          • Marcus D.

            I’ve handled one of the originals that had an 8 round internal mag. Very definitely a PIA to load, and very slow, which is the purpose, as these guys believe that the carnage will be reduced if the mass killer buys his AR after the law is passed. Silly, I know. But as (former) Senator and current felon Yee said the last go round, the intent of the original AW ban was to eliminate the EBR from California, and it was only because of the inventiveness of these evil gun manufacturers (actually the inventor of the BB) that the need is to now ban them all over again.

        • Marcus D.

          There is an (undefined) exception for “antiques.” If the intent is to adopt the current C&R definition, an original M1 Carbine would pass muster, but a new one by Franklin, Auto Ordinance, or Inland would be verboten.

        • Cal.Bar

          Not at all. They are already banned, it’s just that we came up with the bullet button and featureless options to get around the ban that has been in effect since 2000. Now, they are simply removing those options by defining “fixed mag” as requiring substantial disassembly of the rifle action to get it out.

          • nadnerbus

            The mini 14, Kel Tec SU16, M1 carbine and M1A etc. were quite legal before the bullet button work-around. As I understand it, they will not be if this legislation goes into effect. That makes it much more draconian than the previous one.

            Anyway, the bullet button and featureless builds have been legal for ten years now, and god knows how many thousands are lawfully owned by California citizens. Removing their legality, without even a registration period (which I have not heard mentioned, I may have missed it though) is much more of an over-reach than the previous ban.

            I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out, though.

    • Jia Li

      That is why we, the sensible people in CA, with the help of NRA will fight it. And for all our sake, we hope the new Supreme Court judge is a conservative.

    • OBlamo Binlyen

      It’s a ballot proposition that still has to get on the ballot. Newshit is pushing it. Go to FPC and start rattling cages.

      • Cal.Bar

        Sadly, NO. You are referring to Gavin Newsom’s crap proposal. There are no less than TWO other bills already introduced (and sure to pass) that would also ban ANY center fire rifle with a “removable magazine” regardless of pistol grip.

        • Marcus D.

          Actually three. Two are identical, one filed in the Senate and the other in the Legislature that ban the bullet button, leaving available only fixed magazine rifles. Existing rifles are grandfathered in, but must be registered as “assault weapons” (which cannot be sold or transferred in state). Fixed magazine ARs can be produced–they were sold at the time of the first “assault weapons” ban–and require popping the rear pin and loading the gun from within the action. (I’ve done it. It is a real pain in the patootie.) The third bans, afaik, ALL centerfire semiauto rifles (except antiques) that are capable of accepting an external magazine. [This may mean that you can own an antique M1 Carbine but not a newly manufactured one.] So not only no AR/AKs, Mini-14s are toast, as would be this new Ares rifle. And AR/AK pistols are toast too under a different definition.

          And for clarification, Newsome’s ballot proposition is to require licensing of all ammo vendors and purchasers (with background checks), instant background checks at the time of all ammo purchases, a virtual ban on interstate sales (unless shipped to an instate vendor to process the transaction–for a fee), and weekly reporting by vendors of all ammo sales, including purchaser information.

  • Big Daddy

    Not for that price.

    • sauerquint

      Then get a Kel-Tec, they even fold up.

      • ozzallos .

        SU16s can be found regularly now. Or I should say ‘for now’.

    • cs

      I have no idea what the Ares costs right now but a mini-14 is certainly comparable.

  • John

    Actually… I kind of want that.

    It looks like it came from an alternate universe, where the smaller caliber concept won but Eugene Stoner though pistol grips were ridiculous. An M-16 as the M-14’s little brother. Hmm.

    Hope the price is competitive.

    • DW

      More fitting would be Mr. Sullivan changing the stock design to have a better chance at military trials, and that the gun could be made lighter. or that they took inspiration from the FAL and think additional pistolgrip added weight.

  • cwp

    I don’t like that it has to exist, but I like that it does, if that makes sense.

    • Sianmink

      Just think of it as a gateway drug for former Fudds and you’ll feel a lot better about it.

  • With wood stocks, this becomes your very own Mousqueton AR-15, heheh.

    Great review James. I like the frank attitude.

    • I’m thinking a wood forearm set installed over a National Match free-float tube.

      • iksnilol

        Don’t forget the 26 inch barrel.

    • James R.

      Thanks, Nathaniel!

  • Ben

    This is not a betrayal for the fight for gun rights at all. In a way giving people who live in fascist controlled states a AR that’s can dodge the stupid laws the fascist make up is a good idea. More gun owners the less power the gun grabbers may push for.

  • nadnerbus

    “Like the Titanic, can’t stop it from going down”

    We all know you wanted to say “Like your mother in a movie theater…”

    • James R.

      Take one was “my junior prom date”

  • GearHead

    I won’t care until it can ware a magpul sga stock.

  • tazman66gt

    to bad the ADCOR upper costs twice as much as the ARES rifle.

  • Vitor Roma

    I would choose the 18″ barrel version for the better gas system.

  • DW

    Drop an A1 upper and wood handguard.

  • Southpaw89

    Glad to see they’re still invested in the concept, its an idea that I’m glad came to fruition, although I wish it had under better circumstances. I will say that aesthetically it could benefit greatly from a more streamlined front end, it has a bit of a franken-gun look right now. But otherwise a very appealing rifle IMO.

  • Every time I see one of these sporterized versions of Regular rifles, like the AR-15 or G36, I immediately imagine how cool they would look as the standard weapon of an army in a Sci-fi/Post-Apocalyptic setting.
    Kinda wonder what either this, or a Kel-Tec SU-16 would look like when fitted with more military style kit; Bayonets, Genade Launchers, that sorta thing.

  • Mark Horning

    Do standard AR-15 trigger assemblies drop in? If so who cares about the stock trigger. The first thing I do with any AR is toss the stock trigger and drop in a decent 2-stage trigger.

    • JumpIf NotZero


      Among other reasons, it has a cross bolt safety.

      • Mark Horning

        That would seem to be a poor design decision. If you are going to make something “modular” the trigger assembly would be the first on my list.

        • DW

          It would be unwise to use the original selector, that’d be an ergo disaster.

        • tazman66gt

          they had to move the trigger back to work with the sporter style stock. The trigger is directly behind the mag well on an AR type rifle which would make it impossible to reach with a sporter style stock. If you look at the picture and video you can see the trigger is right below the rear takedown pin, so using an AR trigger pack is impossible.

  • Bob

    Hmmm… I don’t like the look of it, even though I prefer sporting style rifles. I think it needs WW2 style wooden furniture, then it will resemble a French semiauto MAS.

  • Bullphrog855

    Really dig this guns look, the mating of that classic stock with a modern AR upper is really sweet. It really has this Red Dawn feeling to it for some reason.

  • MrEllis

    I don’t live in a ban state but I am interested in this rifle. So thanks for the review, I’ll most likely pick up a Gen 2 when I can find one.

  • A.WChuck

    The Mini-14 many wished Ruger would have built. Good trigger, common magazine, easily sourced parts (outside of the proprietary Ares bits), what’s not to love?

  • Sianmink

    Thought 1: This might work nicely with a side-charging upper.
    thought 2: You can mount lowpro sights and scopes to this, and actually use them. Low offset is always good.
    Thought 3: One of these would look great given the Turnbull treatment. High end wood and case hardened finish? Yes please.

    • MrEllis

      Doesn’t Gibbz Arms make a 250 buck side charging upper? I’m not a black rifle guy but I think the side charging idea is grand.

      • Sianmink

        Gibbz/X-Products and one other company share slight variations of one design. I’ve got one. It’s nice.

  • iksnilol

    Yeah, but you’ve still got the grip and mag sticking out.

  • itsmefool

    So while the gun and video don’t really interest me, the lede had me wondering just how many TFB readers really live in ban states…too bad there’s not a way to figure that one out!

    • Cal.Bar

      Well, inasmuch as those “ban States” like CA, NJ, NY, HI, CT etc. actually have HUGE populations, I’d guess just statistically fully a third of the US population lives in “ban states”

      • itsmefool

        Read my comment again, CB…I said TFB readers.

        • Cal.Bar

          Well, for lack of other research safe to assume that if 1/3 of the US population lives in ban states, possibly as many as 1/3 of TFB readers are in banned states (just statistically speaking)

  • Duckbert

    Two questions:
    1) Does this now have a threaded barrel? Some states/jurisdictions such as New York state and Chicago don’t allow threaded barrels.
    2) Will version 1 still be made for people who don’t want to remove the front sight to install a free float handguard?

    • Marcus D.

      If it has a muzzle device, it is necessarily threaded. Most states that ban threaded barrel give a pass to a pinned muzzle device, or barrels at least 16″. And again, you can use any upper; you are not stuck with Ares’.

  • Pete Sheppard

    This looks like SU16 competition; the ‘civilian’ look with AR modularity. Also, being break-open, it can be made compliant with the stupid ‘no detachable mag’ laws being foisted on some. 🙁 Like James said, many trapped in ban-states can’t move, but should have some sort of option available.

  • Captain obvious

    While I have a Mini 30 and a Saiga sporter I am really looking at the SCR as a travel gun for my RV. Comes apart and uses AR mags and uppers. Sporter stock makes it less offensive in the commie states. Plus I like convention looking rifles.