Quite the unicorn, the 5.56x45mm NATO SCAR-Subcomact Carbine was only unveiled recently last year at Milipol in Paris. This year we were able to get our hands on the actual SCAR-SC at SHOT Show. Based on the previous SCAR-PDW, the SC was created due to a need within Law Enforcement entities in the United States for small, compact, select fire, 5.56x45mm PDW style weapon. Although the SC is essentially a shortened SCAR with a 7.5 inch barrel, it has some features that are unique to the system. First and foremost is the non-reciprocating charging handle. This has been a much-debated point on a stock SCAR of any configuration. On the SC model the non-reciprocating handle was required due to the short overall length of the carbine. You can’t avoid getting your support hand close to the charging handle. But also to help with this, the handle has a “Swept” Up or Down design. Numerous 3rd party manufacturers have made these sorts of “Swept” designs for the SCAR, but this is the first time FN Herstal is going with what is essentially an aftermarket part on a production gun.
The magazine release and safety are both ambidextrous but the bolt release isn’t.
The sliding buttstock is a three position system. Fully extended is for use without body armor, the second position is for use with chest armor between the shooter and the stock, while the shortest option is for a more covert/carry role. The stock is actuated by a “trigger” that is pressed in or out to unlock and extend it.
I can only guess, but my honest opinion is that the SC was specifically designed for an LE entity that needed a hard-hitting 5.56x45mm carbine that could be easily concealed, and could be used with body armor on. The Secret Service comes to mind, but there are numerous other entities that could also have an operational requirement for it.
Not to push this query further, but there was an official solicitation for a new PDW type rifle by the Secret Service in March of 2016. Interestingly enough many of the requirements for that weapon fit the SCAR-SC very well. Such as the weight desired being 7.5 pounds (SCAR-SC is 6.9 pounds), overall length 34 inches (SCAR-SC is 25.7″ extended), a rate of fire no less than 600 RPM (SCAR-SC is 550-650 RPM), the charging handle shall not reciprocate and must be in the upper receiver (same as the SCAR-SC).
There are however some dings against it, being that it has to have a minimum of 8 inches of Picatinny rail on the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock rails (it has less than that), it must have a scannable QR code on the lower receiver (show model didn’t appear to have one), the barrel length has to be 10-12 inches (SCAR-SC is 7.5 inches, but this is a modular barrel that can be made to that length), buttstock has to be a minimum of 4 positions (SCAR-SC is 3), sling mounts must be QD (SCAR-SC doesn’t have QD socket mounts).
To pay Devil’s Advocate, maybe the SCAR-SC was submitted in the trials but it failed earlier on (final submissions were for December 2017), and FN Herstal ran with the design, eventually finding an LE customer. Hopefully we’ll find out in the future!
We also covered the SCAR-SC on TFB TV-