The US military worked to replace the M16 family of small arms for decades. There have been some contenders over the years, but none were good enough to warrant the replacement of the M16 as a general service rifle. The M4 remains standard issue for most troops to this day, but the FN SCAR meets the needs of America's special forces.
The search to replace the M16 intensified during The Global War on Terror. In the early 2000s, the US military developed the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) program to find a more specialized rifle for its elite operators. Manufacturers supplied weapons to test during this trial aiming to offer increased reliability over the M16 family of rifles, as well as incorporate enhanced features learned from lessons fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many companies entered, but the designs from Belgium's famed Fabrique Nationale (FN) rose to the top. FN offered their rifle, the SCAR, aptly named after the program in which it debuted, in two calibers: 5.56 NATO (Light model) for standard use and 7.62 NATO (Heavy model) for users that needed a heavier round. The SCAR was incorporated into the US forces' inventory in 2004.
Construction and Features
Both the SCAR models used an adjustable short-stroke gas operating system. FN modeled its Bolt Carrier Group (BCG) after that of the Heckler and Koch G36, which was an adaptation of the Armalite AR18. The proven short-stroke system was well known for high reliability in all environments. The SCAR was made of an upper and lower receiver similar to the M16. An extruded aluminum upper and molded polymer lower kept weight down and maintained superior strength. The upper boasted a flat top design with 1913 Picatinny along the top, as well as three, six and nine o'clock positions. A wide variety of optics and accessories can easily be added to the rifle using the 1913 rails. The SCAR also offered folding backup iron sights, the front being incorporated into the gas block. Controls mirrored those of the M16/M4 but were upgraded to be ambidextrous. All models featured a folding buttstock that made the rifle compact, a helpful feature for mechanized personnel. Chrome-lined cold hammer forged barrels were standard in different lengths depending on mission needs. The Light Model fed from a STANAG AR type magazines while the Heavy Model used a proprietary detachable box magazine.
The SCAR 16S (5.56 NATO) and 17S (7.62 NATO) are the semi-automatic variants of the Light and Heavy models targeted for civilian consumption. Both rifles are near faithful copies of their select-fire cousins and are among the highest quality Modern Sporting Rifles (MSR) on the market today. FN offers legendary quality with the SCAR that can be depended on, whether their day takes them to the square range or a rugged Afghan mountainside. Pick up your very own SCAR 17S today and also enter our contest to win one!