Meet the Mk-20 Sniper Support Rifle

It’s not the Mk-17 SCAR-H…

It isn’t the Mk-16 SCAR-L…

It sure as heck ain’t the Mk-13 ESGR…

So what is this mystery weapon SOCOM says its going to purchase out of the ashes of the crumbling Socom Combat Assault Rifle program? There’s just one line devoted to the “sniper varient” of the SCAR in the original solicitation back in October 2003.

Both the SCAR-L and H will possess the capability for barrel modularity and thus will be available in the following variants: Standard (S), Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and Sniper Variant (SV). The SV can be a modular enhancement or a separate weapon.

Few specifics on what SOCOM wanted, but it looks as if the Mk-20 is here to stay.

According to FNH-USA, the Mk-20 “is a tailored design for long-range precision fire applications while also providing capability to fight close in.”

The design is based on the 7.62-firing Mk-17 SCAR Heavy with an enhanced barrel, precision stock and an extended rail, among other whistles and bells…

It features an enhanced trigger requiring no adjustments that is rugged enough for field use but precise enough for long-range target engagement. The proprietary barrel extension and barrel profile improve accuracy, and the fully-adjustable non-folding stock enables the operator to optimize the rifle for firing position and body type.

BTDTs who’ve used it seem to like it as well…

As for the SCAR-H SSR, I fire it at the last Shot Show, I felt it fired very well and the accuracy was there. I have a buddy that was part of the test for SCAR SSR in Jan and he had a lot of good things to say about it. It is a much better gun than the SASS

Let us know what any users out there think about it and we’ll keep you posted on where this program is going. Also check out some pics of the commercial version of the rifle from our friends at The Firearm Blog.

  • Lance

    It still has no free floating barrel and no glass bedding. Id take a M-21 or M-110 anytime over this!!

    • Dave

      It does have a free-floated barrel, like all SCARs.

      • Additionally, the direct gas impingment system–the use low-mass bore gases to operate the action–instead of the use of a piston and connecting rods, allows for less mass to be moving while the bullet is still inside the weapon after being fired. (One possible reason, along with the above, rack-grade M16’s are often decently accurate).

        This weapon–the SCAR–is designed similarly to an AR15 except for using a piston-based system. The action is essentially the upper reciever and the barrel and gas system is rigidly attached to it. This is essentially a free-floated system but glass bedding isn’t something you would do with this design.

    • The purpose for glass bedding is to ensure a more ideal connection point between the stock an the weapon’s action so things like heat or recoil don’t make the action shift in the stock. Free floating essentially has the same intent (heat and recoil not affecting/changing the stock’s pressure on the barrel or action.)

      Most of your early M14 Mods–like the M21–do this.

      The M110 does something different because–frankly–the way the action isn’t exactly seperate from the reciever in the SR-25/AR-15/M16 series weapons. As a matter of fact, the reciever is part of the action. Instead, the way you accurize one or those is to rigidly fix the sighting system to the receiver and then attach the barrel rigidly to the reciever in (ideally) one place which “free floats” the barrel. Additionally, the stock and lower reciever are no longer attached to the upper reciever with wood, but with precision metal and plastic components. This lends itself to accuracy by allowing for much more precise tolerances and a much less variation shot-to-shot between the moving components and the reciever.

  • JimS

    Um, just where exactly would you like to “glass bed” a rifle like this….or an M-110 for that matter?

    Check marks for buzz-words aren’t what matters. The gun is either accurate and reliable or it isn’t.

    • Bob

      Give an objective defination of “accurate”. Accurate as compared to what, at what maximum effective range?

    • Dustin

      you glass bed the the air that the barrel isnt floating in thats how the m110 is set up lol…(sarcasm) and without buzz words how do you pretend your cooler than you are on the internet?

  • kyle

    its a just a bigger scar heavy with a new grip, stock and barrel. bfd. its cool.

  • WETSU56

    floating barrels…glass beds…enhanced trigger pull…..makes me wonder how we ever got the job done with “off the shelf” 03A3s and M1 Cs

    • Bob

      We didn’t. What makes you think we did?

    • SGD1

      Yes it is good to have a great weapon. It certainly helps when you’re in the dirt and you do not have to worry if your weapon will fire or not. But what actually makes a weapon is not the glass bed nor is it the floating barrels but the soldier behind the weapon who knows how to use it to its potential thereby hitting what/who he is aiming at. That is why we got it done with off the shelf 03A3s, M1 Cs, SASS, M1903 Springfield (WW1), M1903A4 Springfield (WW2). Also the soldier who was proficient know how to care for and even fix stoppages and such quickly seeing his and his comrades life depended on him.

  • Fred M Pohl

    Its like the Ol Ma Bell Slogan
    “Long DIstance,The Next Best thing to being there

  • C.V. Compton Shaw

    What is needed is a one man light armoured tracked vehicle with a variety precision weapons for air, armour, and ground targets, advanced technology including target acquisition, extreme mobility (air,water,land), transportability by air, and adaptability. This would give the tactical and strategic to land forces. I thought of the same while I was an infantryman in Vietnam.
    As an Vietnam War infantryman, I like the new Mk-20 Sniper Support rifle a lot. However, the same should probably be supplied to all ground forces as the same would multiply the efficaciousness of every soldier and. thus, enhance the efficiency and efficaciousness of units by a “multiplier” affect. In the game of chess, it is the position and strength of the pawns which gives the major pieces strategic and tactical power. Thus, by increasing the position and strength of the pawns (combat soldiers) by giving all of them this weapons, more powerful weapons (air, armour, artillery) would have enhanced efficiency and efficaciousness.

    • SGD1

      @ C.V. Compton Shaw—-Very well said!!!!

  • Frenchie

    When it comes to a Sniper Rifle I still say a good Bolt Action is more accurate than anyother rifle. If someone wants use this so be it, Bolt Actions are more accurate, Just my Thoughts and Opinion

    • Depends on the shooter, the rifles, and what sorts of targets you are engaging.

      There was an incident early in the Iraqi war where an SF Team was stuck on a hill top and spent the night being assaulted. In the morning, they found a rather large number of Iraqi troops dead from bullets that struck them in the side…

      There was–I forget if it was one or two–SF snipers with a suppressed “Special Purpose Rifle” on their flank that had been picking them off, one after the other from several hundred meters away.

      In that case, it was a good shooter with a decent rifle doing something you probably could not do with a bolt-action…

      Additionally, there are several semi-autos that really approach the mechanical accuracy of the best bolt actions. At least when they are in good condition.

  • Billy

    MK20…. come get some!

  • Campbell

    CV Compton Shaw – you got it in one – the Garand or the SMLE no4 were accurate to 400 yard in the hands of most infantrymen – better shots could make them count to 600m. Snipers another matter and not for GI work.

    The 7.62 is too heavy – both in recoil hitting power and suppression fire (most infantry can’t hit diddly beyond 400 yd so it is suppressive fire), so why bother with DM and DMR – arm everyone with something like the 7mm British or 7mm Murray 130 grain (similar trajectory to the 5.56 to 300m – better hitting power at 900m than the M80 7.62)?

    Seems to be sensible – on caliber for the IW and the LMG/SAW – allowing belt-fed SAW for suppressive fire and reduce recoil allowing auto on the assault rife.

    • The definition of accuracy has changed a little. The early SMLE–at longer range–was actually used as an “area effect” weapon a la’ a machinegun by having the entire section or half section aim at the same point. Although individual point targets could also be engaged, the engagement was often made using a sling (slowing the rate of fire) as well as being practiced on bullseyes,

      In both the British forces and the American Army–pre-war–there was also the luxury of lots of range time and not as many rounds fired so slow precision on the range was a priority as well as a target-centric training ethos. This actually–during World War II–may have accounted for–according to some sources–a very low number of troops actually shooting at the enemy with non-automatic small arms.

      The shift in training methods–to the pop-up target–may have actually increased the number of enemy directly engaged.

    • Although a 6.8mm or 7mm primary round would be nice, I think the Army has a bit of a sunk cost in the current two caliber system to dump either round and go for an intermediate now that modular designs–like the AR’s and the SCAR’s–have the ability to let you train a troop on one and be functional with both. Combine that with the desire for a hard hitting rifle caliber machinegun (Why else use the M240B?), and you kinda’ put yourself in a corner caliber-wise.

      The fact both calibers with the right rounds and in typical rifles are very accurate and–in the right ranges–decently effective…

  • Glenn Smith

    I am an old Navy “geezer”-Can I take this weapon when I go Duck Hunting ?
    The very best to all you outstanding “ground-pounders”
    “Lock and Load”
    Good Luck!

  • Fat Daddy


  • Naked Man on Beach

    (Unmanned but naked guy on the beach)

  • Apparently, the Mattel design crew is alive and doing well!

  • Mike C.

    Do the armed forces really need both this rifle and the M110? Logistically at least, I think it would be simpler to have just one type of semiautomatic sniper/DM rifle.

    • Riceball

      Technically, yes. However, this is not meant to be a general issue weapon, if you read a little more closely you’ll note that this rifle is meant for SOCOM and not the wider military. So for SOCOM it’s not much more complicated, logistically speaking, to have the Mk. 20 since it will certainly share a lot of common parts with Mk 17 SCAR-H and it should be easy for SOCOM snipers to get used to if they’re familiar with using a SCAR.

      • Mike C.

        I see your point. Thanks.

  • John Osinagas Miller

    Can a civilian have one also soon for chasing deer or wild pigs.

  • Joe from Medina

    My Remington 700 Varmint rifle has worked to 485yds on groundhogs; very small targets and very accurate. When I was drafted, my M14 worked well out to a far distance w/iron sights. The old stuff works well. I think the bloated budgets of the “Defense Dept.” has a spend it or lose it” policy. Keep the old stuff and spend money on soldiers returning from war. Far to often the VA rejects claims that are legit. Take that money and pay the returning warriors doing their mission for our government.

    • joe


    • James B.

      On modern weapons, the scope generally costs more than the rifle; basic firearms haven’t increased much in inflation-adjusted price.

  • Andy

    I keep seeing post saying “but it won’t be as accurate as x-model bolt gun”. If you look at the acceptable accuracy of a military “sniper rifle”, 1moa is what they expect and to try to achieve better is viewed as a waste of time, especially due to the ammunition available not being tailored to a specific firearm. This type of accuracy would not be hard to achieve with a semi-auto.

    The ability of a precision shooter to have an instantaneous follow-up shot should not be discounted. Though that said, I am not sure what advantage this particular model has over the current offering from Knight’s Armament. Maybe someone thinks that the piston will make the rifle more reliable. It would be nice to see both rifles tested side by side (with perhaps an M14EBR) in harsh conditions to verify which rifle (if any) is more reliable.

    • Riceball

      I suspect that it has something to do with logistics. Instead of having to maintain parts in their armory for servicing and maintaining their SCARs and another type of rifle they now only need a few specialized parts & components since the Mk. 20 probably has lots of parts in common with Mk 17.

    • Pat

      Your answer is right on the mark. Semi-autos can meet the requirement with the optics and ranging equipment right off the shelf. I wouldn’t mind having one of these though I have an M-1A that I can upgrade with a modern aluminum/composite stock.

    • Ken

      The M14EBR is extremely inaccurate. Contrary to popular internet myth, the M14 is not an accurate rifle and in order to get it to shoot sub-MOA many parts of the gun have to be properly aligned and tuned, like the barrel, the bolt, the gas system and the stock tension. If one of those things goes out of whack due to combat use, the rifle becomes a standard 3 MOA M14 which is unacceptable. In addition the gun is extremely front heavy and not ergonomic.

      As for the M110, KAC still cannot seem to get their shit together and make them work reliably 100% out of the box. They are constantly plagued with reliability problems that KAC refuses to fix or acknowledge.

      The SSR is supposed to have accuracy and reliability, that’s the advantage it offers.

  • johnny c

    I wouldn’t mind having one of these for my collection, but i think “Joe from Medina” is on to something and has a good point.

  • Doog62

    It states in the article that it has a fixed stock, but the one pictured looks to be a folding stock to me!

  • USMC_Fearless

    “It sure as heck ain’t the Mk-13 ESGR…”

    I’m pretty sure you mean the EGLM not ESGR…

  • JWF

    you are still an idiot. Mr. Internet Warrior. You have NO idea what is going on do you. The facts are there, in front of you yet you continual say the SCAR is not a free float system…. damn your dumb. Are you just pissed your M1A isnt the coolest thing to have anymore when it comes to 7.62?

  • tyler

    whats up

    • tyler h


  • CavScoutSniper

    There are still some bull headed old thinkers out there who can’t face the facts. The facts are, the semi-auto sniper rifles are shooting under MOA all day long and the ability to provide suppressive fire with the same rifle is a big advantage over the old turn bolt rifle. I am a big fan of both. The facts are that our troops need rifles that will do both and that is why we are going to the 110 and phasing out the bolt actions. Progress is not always a bad thing. I have a 6.8SPC SASS that I hunt four legged critters with but, I have no doubt that when the time comes it will work just as well on the two legged variant as well. It shoots sub MOA groups all day long just like my bolt action. The differeance is with the SASS I have a 25 round mag instead of just 5 rounds. Clearly a big advantage.

  • 11B3VB4

    Stop missing, and don’t take a shot you can’t hit. Makes follow up’s and larger mag capacities negligible

  • Charlie

    He means follow up shots to hit a different target, he doesn’t mean a follow up shot because of a miss! Try “THINKING” before writing next time!

  • nearmisses

    Patton stated the Garand was the greatest battle impliment ever devised. The Garand won WWII for us. Semi Auto, great accuracy and suppresive fire. They carried them in all theathers of oporation and the weight didn’t seem to keep them from getting the job done. Every GI had one short of commissioned and sergants,(m-1 Carb or Grease/tommy 45 acp.) tactics worked and men were marksman then.
    I let a returning Vet shoot my DSA Sa-58, (short 20″ FnFal), his comment, “why don’t they just give us these? they don’t kick and aren’t much heavier and shoot a 7.62mm!” I guess it’s like the other guy say’s give them all MBR in 7.62x51mm and spend the rest on V.A. benifits they desperately need. The rifle above looks like it could fill in nicely for a Garand or Fn Fal.

  • 13B

    It looks like a doctored-up FN-FAL, my FAL shoots great in all temps and holds its accuracy too

  • richard wardlaw

    If u think that the 7.62 x 51 mm bullet is to heavy then u r extemely ******* teribble at controling a guns recoil i have a .308 caliber deer rifle ( by the way a 7.62×51 mm and a .308 are the same bullet .308 is wat NATO calls it) and im able to shoot it all day easily out to 400 yards and it still be accuate its called putting a scope on it and i only stop because either i run out of bullets or my dinners on the table and even though my arm is sore i could definatley shoot a little more before the pain becomes bad.

  • ken

    Sweet…. I have a 17S already and it is a damn fine rifle, I would have loved to have carried it in combat. Last week, I had a chance to buy a very nice FAL, I held it, looked at it, aimed it and then put it down, what was the point it was just a FAL and I had a SCAR-17S at home. I own a number of sniper rifles, the only thing wrong with a semi-automatic rifles is that they toss the brass farther than I like to reach.

  • jim

    Again, someone who dose not know anything about M-110, MK-11, and any other system out there. Yes the MK-20 has a free floating barrel, so dose the MK-16/17 SCAR. And to add the M-21 to this just show hoe little you know.

  • jim

    You’ll be surprise by how close the MK-20 is to the M-24. There is a reason allot of the Operators want the MK-20.

  • jim

    Yes it would be, the problem comes with funding and all the difference in commands, ie. Bid Army, USSOCOM, and all the not Shooters that have control of the money.

  • Eric

    I love the scars overall set up but this almost seems a little to much, I could be wrong here but all it is is a heavy with a longer barrel. Snipers should probibly stick to bolt actions but, hey, I’m not a sniper. Someone could pick one up and love it but I’ll put my bets on the heavy seeing alot more use.

  • Bill

    How a bout the fact that you’re writing this in English, not German or Japanese?

  • keith

    You’re right, however there are many situations where a bolt-action rifle isn’t ideal. In the urban environment, they might need quick follow-up shots and a 20 round magazine. Many of the shots they need to pull off don’t require .5MOA like the bolt can do. They’ll still have the mk 13s for a long range bolt action rifles.

  • keith

    are they really phasing them out or just using them for different situations? i hear the m24s are gonna be upgraded to their 300 win mag capabilities as the xm2010 and the m40 isn’t going away, while the navy still has the mk 13

  • bob

    simple facts m40 marine version or m24 army version is a half moa weapon. (bolt action) M110 is a 1MOA most m14is around 1.5moa weapon for DM food for thought. Personally i prefer the m24 that the army did away with but the new m2010 takes the place and is a amazing weapon

  • joe

    and yet, according to a congressman, the army just supposedly bought like 600,000 ak-47’s and millions of rds of 7.62×39 ammo? so looks like we are going to war with ourselves again…

  • Eric B.

    If it STILL has a reciprocating charging handle it isn´t ready for prime time. ´Nuff said.