That’s it. I’m going to say it. The AR-15 is becoming a boring platform. If I’ve offended you, then you’re free to leave now. If I haven’t though, you’re free to stick around and check out our review on the FN Herstal SCAR 16S.
Why would I say the AR-15 is boring you ask? Well, it’s not that it’s boring. It’s just that reviewing the same rifle made my 45 different companies gets tiring after a while. For example, how many times can I tell you that someone’s AR platform rifle is amazing, and how many different words can I use to do it? Don’t get me wrong. The Armalite Rifle platform is an amazing system. Battle proven and tested over nearly a century now, its service record speaks for itself. So naturally, owning an AR-15 is the go-to thing. You can trust it, and training is easily obtained. But what if I want something a bit different?
Enter platforms like the Tavor and SCAR. The SCAR is definitely the more expensive of these two, but the system itself isn’t all that different from the AR-15 as far as training retention goes. So, that’s why I went out of my way to get my hands on one of these beasts. Do I think it was worth the money? Well… I’m about to tell you.
What is the FN SCAR Platform?
Alright, so before we dive too deep, we’re going to need a little bit of history. What is the SCAR, why does it exist, and who was it designed for? These are pretty simple questions with fairly straight forward answers, so I’m going to knock them out of the way. Once you understand these three things, you’ll have a bit of appreciation for the design of the weapons system, and why it currently exists.
SCAR is an acronym. Go-figure. Since it’s an acronym, you can guess who the platform was designed for. (I’m looking at you General Officers Corps.) In short, the acronym stands for Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle. The rifle was designed up-front to be the new rifle of choice for Special Operations Troops in the United States of America. Achieving this is no small feat, and while the SCAR-L (MK-16) procurement was cancelled by the U.S. Military, the SCAR-H (MK-17) was picked up to replace the iconic M14 and Mk11 designated marksman rifles.
We’ll get more into functions and operations below. For now, that’s what you need to know. I put a link up above if you want to read more about the acquisition process.
Also, I won’t hold it against you if you don’t like reading reviews. Here’s a video from MrGunsNGear that covers down on pretty much this exact topic.
Meet the FN SCAR 16S.
The SCAR series was designed by the storied firearms manufacturer Fabrique Nationale Herstal. For obvious reasons, they prefer to go by FN Herstal. These are the same people that brought you other great GWoT hits like the M240G and M240B Medium Machine Guns, and the FN 5.7 Handgun. First thing’s first, if you’re going to meet the SCAR you need to understand, fundamentally, how the weapon system works. Here’s a direct quote on the operating system of the FN SCAR platform.
SCAR rifles operate on the short-stroke gas piston system. As the bullet passes the gas port in the barrel a portion of the propellant gases are routed through the gas regulator to the gas piston located below the front sight post. The gas pushes rearward against the piston, which drives the moving parts assembly rearward to eject the fired case and load a new cartridge from the magazine. Excess gases are vented forward through the gas vent hole in the front of the gas regulator. The advantage over the direct gas impingement system is that heat, soot and carbon from propellant combustion are not routed into the bolt or chamber, keeping these critical areas cooler and cleaner for greater reliability and enhanced accuracy.
They say that knowing is half the battle. The other half of course is violence, and the SCAR definitely gives you the ability to bring the second half.
Now that you understand the operating system, let’s dig into the rifle itself. The 16S is a semi-automatic version of the newest Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle. Made for civilian purposes, the rifle features an ambidextrous safety, and a free-floating, cold hammer-forged MIL-SPEC barrel with chrome-lined bore. Also, the 16S variant of the SCAR accepts standard AR style rifle magazines, meaning you don’t have to buy new ones.
Range Testing and Shooting the FN SCAR 16S.
I loved every second of shooting this rifle. In total, I have 500 rounds through the platform as it sits today. This number is, of course, only going to continue to go up as I get more time in. For the purpose of transparency, so far I have only fired the weapon at an indoor range, and only two experienced shooters have fired on the platform with me. We used the Sig Romeo 8H Red Dot Sight with the weapon system, and fired white-box Remington 5.56 through the weapon.
This thing bangs, and it keeps on banging no matter what. So far, I have not encountered a singular malfunction with the weapon system. I’m sure that round is coming soon, and when it does I’m excited to see how things pan out. For the most part, all of your AR platform training carries over quite well to the system. For a bigger guy like me however, the weapon has additional heft to it that makes the weapon overall feel much more balanced. Due to this increase in ergonomics, the system feels more balanced and I feel like I’m able to get the firearm on target much faster for follow-on shots. This is something that’s a bit hard to explain, and you sort of have to feel it for yourself, and for a smaller person this may not apply.
At the end of the day, I’m swooning over this platform. It’s new and exciting, and training with it feels relevant and refreshing. The only major con that I’ve found with this rifle so far is that the stock resembles an Ug boot just a little bit too much. That’s okay though, I’ll just grab a pumpkin spice latte on my way to the range.
Final Thoughts on this 5.56 Variant of the Modern Combat Rifle.
Are you looking for something new and refreshing? The SCAR has got you covered. Do you want something that’s different from what all of your friends have? The SCAR has got you covered there too. Is reliability, balance, and ergonomics all at the top of your list of wants in a rifle? Check, check, and check. This thing has you covered. Do you have $3,300 you’re willing to spend? That may be where you draw the line for this rifle. If you have the money however, it’s definitely worth the price of entry with the FN SCAR.
That’s just the opinion of a single shooter though. Let me know down in the comments if you’ve had any negative experiences with the SCAR platform. What issues did you run into, and were you able to rectify the problem through proper training and weapon’s maintenance? We want to hear from you. As a community, we can come together and make the best firearms purchasing decisions. Hit us up below.