I stopped by the FN booth at SHOT Show and spoke to an old colleague that had just returned from Afghanistan. He gave me some gouge on issues they were having with the SCAR heavy. 

The light version with the 5.56 round is very weak in my opinion and like hunting big game with a 22 caliber.  He was a fan of the system overall but, he had some issues that some of you may be familiar with. 

Noteworthy: Most of the snipers I know are actually pulling their scopes off the SR25 systems and putting the optic on their SCAR heavy because of reliability issues with the Knight’s Armament SR-25s.

Here’s his quick list of pros and cons.

Pros

  • Very accurate.  It’s a sub minute of angle bad ass.  In  simple terms, the gun can hold a quarter size group at 100 yards (with the right shooter of course)
  • Reliable
  • Weight is very manageable given the 7.62 platform

Cons

  • Loose rattle on the rear of the stock near the adjustable cheek weld
  • Only two cheek weld positions
  • And more importantly, the pins on the folding stock are shearing off (not good)

I’ve always been a fan of the SCAR heavy but there’s some QA issues that need to be addressed. The FN rep said they were working these out. 

Thoughts?

Brandon out –

Kit Up! contributor Brandon Webb is a former SEAL, sniper instructor and author of 21st Century Sniper: A Complete Practical Guide.

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

SRTM4 January 24, 2011 at 5:59 am

The SCAR both heavy and light are fine weapons. Im sure they will have some small issues that will need to be worked out. Common with any new platform eing fielded in a time of war.
Only 2 cheek weld positions is not an issue. At least it has an adjustment.

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M4CarbineGuy January 24, 2011 at 6:16 am

At least these are quick fixes once they pinpoint a solution. I was worried when I read the headline, but I'm glad to see these are fairly small issues.

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Norbert January 24, 2011 at 7:32 am

I stopped by the TangoDown booth at SHOT and they have a very comprehensive line of SCAR upgrades which address some of the issue with this weapon. They have a CNC'd aluminum stock latch that won't shear off like the plastic OEM one. They also have an angled charging handle that won't interfere with mounted Eotech or other fatter based optics.

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Victory January 24, 2011 at 10:26 am

Weapon's upgrades are getting out of hand. It speaks volumes that those monkey's in Afghan can hold us off in the mountains with their 20 year old weapons. How much are we spending to field all of these new weapons from production to testing to manufacturing and tweaks. Yes we need the best weapons, but more importantly we need the best training and tactics to accomplish victory.

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Lance January 24, 2011 at 10:51 am

Never was a fan of the design get rid of that dorky plastic fish fine butt stock.

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Felix January 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

So the stock is as bad as it looks? Maybe they'll swap it out for something less ridiculous looking.

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skipper January 24, 2011 at 8:44 pm

I received a civilian SCAR 16s with a broken stock latch, in shipping no less. I pointed out to the FN rep that if this happens in shipping that it will happen under combat conditions. I was told that the latch had undergone substantial testing and all was well. Really?? The British version of the SCAR has a heavier stock latch mechanism. Is there something that the Brits know that we don't?

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SDDuc996 January 25, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Uhhhh… what British SCAR? I see SA80's (w/ DD rails) but I haven't seen or heard of the Brits getting the SCAR. You surely can't mean a civvie version for the Brits either.

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Stefan S. January 24, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Remember when American Soldiers went to war with 100% American made weapons? Yet we rely on European companies to make our instruments of war. Pathetic.

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Riceball January 25, 2011 at 6:59 am

The company may be European but as I understand it any "foreign" weapon in the US inventory must be made in the US. Also, for the record, the US has had a long history of going to war using "foreign" weapons; in the past we've fielded the Krag-Jorgensen rifles during the Cuban-American war, during WW I we used the craptastic French Chauchat machine gun, the Springfield 1903 used licensed Mauser actions, and the P-51 Mustang didn't come into its own until the British mated their Rolls-Royce Merlin engine to it.

That's all I could come up with off of the top of my head but I'm sure that if you looked around some more you'll find more cases of "foreign" weapons used by the US military in the past.

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Clement January 25, 2011 at 10:01 am

M9 and SAW are the most obvious examples

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Balls_Macgruber January 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

And of course the M240, and the main gun on the M1 tank series are not of US origin…

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Scott Gudmundsen February 7, 2014 at 12:48 am

Fabrique National in Belgium is a plant set up jointly by none other than Utah native, John Browning himself. Check it out.

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Counsel January 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Ah…. FN makes the m249 too don't they? Not to mention another lmg if I recall correctly… Seems like easy fixes that shouldn't have made it to production. Never buy year-of-release products? That or fix the issue ;)

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Shaun January 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Which brings us to the Remington ACR. Why isn't the military fielding those yet?

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HeavensHand January 26, 2011 at 4:14 am

FYI…

FNH weapons, SAW, SCAR, FNP, etc. are proportedly made in Columbia, SC & others in Fredricksburg, VA… a.k.a. MADE IN THE USA.

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Jay January 26, 2011 at 8:10 am

The SCAR is not made in US.
Not yet. Since the contract didn't exactly materialized for mass production, we'll see if FN will bring the production over after they got the shaft from DOD.

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T. Sullivan September 13, 2013 at 1:44 am

WWII saw action of the FN A5, made in Belgium. No American pilots used American made planes in WWI. Use the best technology available, who cares where it came from?

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ryan January 25, 2011 at 9:12 am

im surprised they dont have a after market part where you could put a completly new stock on with the hinge and locking mechanism from the old stock then you could have a M4 style stock or a standard solid stock, just by moving that pin from that hinge, pulling off the old stock and pining in the new one.

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Zeke January 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

Vltor makes an AR stock adapter for the FN SCAR. http://www.militarymorons.com/weapons/longguns2.h
Much nicer than the original stock.

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Jimmy January 26, 2011 at 12:37 am

That's untrue, the SF have adopted the HK417 as their sharpshooter rifle, the L119 is simply being upgraded with Colt Canada's new integrated receiver than was specifically developed under a MOD requirements. As for a British SCAR, I've never heard of one, the MK17 was in the standard army sharpshooter competition but was one of the first rifles out

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Flippy January 26, 2011 at 3:33 am

Our standard sharpshooter rifle is what we term the L129 and is not an HK it is in fact a Law Enforcement International (LEI) LM7.

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Jimmy January 26, 2011 at 3:40 am

yeah for standard units, UK special forces use the HK417 for a medium sharpshooting rifle. The L129A1 is made by LMT and is more a long range battle rifle with a 6x acog and 16 inch barrel for standard units.

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HeavensHand January 26, 2011 at 4:11 am

A freaking men!

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Jay January 26, 2011 at 8:23 am

And a comment about the tytle of this article.

"Some Problems in the Field With Mk-17 SCAR"

I wouldn't exactly call them problems. More like small anoyances small hickups. Judging that this rifles barely have a year since the official introduction. A bit of rattle in the stock and some broken pins in the stock being mentioned as "problems" tells a lot about how well this rifle was built. If this are the only isues that came as negative i think FNH got it pretty close to perfect.
No problems with feeding, extraction, loss of zero, overheating, breaking major parts, or accuracy issues mentioned.
Congrats to FN for this rifle. They did their homework before releasing the SCAR.

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irgrunt January 27, 2011 at 5:35 am

we do have the best training in the world. We are fighting on their turf and we aren't being held off by gun battles, we're being held off by IEDs

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Hermantor January 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm

well said, Victory

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josh January 28, 2011 at 8:02 am

if we use 308 then why not just contract springfield to do the socom 16. its dependable and it works and the best thing is its already been proven in combat several times. ive carried an M14 both of my tours in afghanistan and they were both older than dirt but shot like they were new. if it aint broke dont fix it

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7mm January 28, 2011 at 1:30 pm

M14 is ancient technology when it comes to combat rifles. There's a reason it had such a short life as main battle rifle. It was yesterday's technology even when it was introduced.
Let it go.
In war every little advantage can save lives. Wny would someone spend tax money on late ww2 technology?

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Frederick February 10, 2011 at 5:13 am

I fought one for 20 months in Vietnam.

You ask why. My answer is it has proved itself more reliable than any rifle we presently have to replace it.
and B) It works.

New gear is often better, but not always. Number one requirement of personal weapons is reliability by a far margin. Then we can talk about the rest.

Not withstanding the article about the stock problems the FNH SCAR-H Mk17 it looks like it got the important parts right, with easy fixes for the little stuff. The gun functioning part I haven't seen nor heard any problems yet, so the M14 may finally have a legitimate replacement. Finally.

Go figure.

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skipper March 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I stand corrected. I was glancing at a British publication, Combat & Survival, and hadn't noticed the author actually came to the US for the article. However, the photos in the article show a heavier latch than the issued SCARs actually have. Ergo the latch pin breaking problem.

skipper

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Sid March 9, 2011 at 5:37 pm

You're right about that, when the AR platform/ M16 was first introduced it wasn't a matter of a pin breaking, rather the rifle had catastrophic failures, bolts blown out the side, overheating issues etc etc… FN's made a great weapon, and the "problems" are just minor annoyances that are easily fixed

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Sid May 25, 2011 at 5:13 am

If any of you had just a moment that you wanted to learn…. I would suggest that you watch some of the documentaries on the History Channel or the Military Channel that cover weapon production during any war. Without fail, all great weapons were once "new and unproven". The weapons were tested in the field and were modified based on reports from the field.

As a previous comment informed, a rattle in the buttstock and pins that break is not a stop-the-presses moment. It is a moment to issue a field repair kit and a maintenance bulletin.

And before you try to blast me, I served in the Invasion of Panama, Desert Storm, Bosnia, and OIF.

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Skysoldier173 June 9, 2011 at 5:40 am

Most of those co's have plants in the US. Hey, they employ alot of people. It would be in THEIR best interest for us to keep killing one another, or they would go outta bizness. Just a thought. FN does make fine weapons, and they come from the USA.

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Skysoldier173 June 9, 2011 at 5:43 am

They re-worked them and now its the EBR. If i had 3 wishes, one would be that rifle. Best battle rifle ever.

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CavScout62 July 27, 2011 at 3:25 am

Should have gone with the Armalite AR-10. The original, it should have been adopted in 1958 when Stoner 1st submitted it. Of course shrinking it down gave us the poodle-shooter M-16 that we still carry today unfortunate for us. It's really a sad case when we can't even use weapons of 100% American origin to arm our troops. Yes I know FN is here in the Carolinas but, the parent company is still FNH Belgium. Oh well, just the rantings of a retired, 100% Disabled Veteran. What do I know anyway?!
SBFP2012!

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matt August 10, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I love FN and the SCAR, its a great design and looks awesome, FN builds great weapons with one exeption- that stock (H&L) is so ugly. It messes with the whole rifle a new better designed one would be better.

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Candidus September 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I would like to see FN employ a similar stock design as the Rob Arms XCR – solid as a rock and an easy fix. This is a no-brainer and why I thought of it . . . Candidus – out.

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Mike October 11, 2011 at 7:41 pm

speaking as an Infantry soldier, I'm extrmely glad they're untrained, cause just 2 or 3 of me, and i'm just a regular grunt, could decimate an entire company of US soldiers using guerilla tactics and old weapons. be very very glad they're just monkeys

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bbb October 11, 2011 at 8:18 pm

I want to see a SCAR Medium in a mid-range caliber and 30-round magazines. Hell, make that a 50-round casket magazine.

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Perry November 29, 2011 at 8:40 am

Is the 16 inch barrel on the SCAR 17 to short for the 308 cartridge? Is a longer barrel needed to take advantage of the powerful 308?

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rnamiki January 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Where can I find magazines for my scar 17S? Called FHN USA customer service,all I got was the run around, "we are not sure when they are coming in". I should have bought the Les Baer sniper rifle.

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xcalbr February 17, 2012 at 4:37 pm

These issues are too easy to fix. I have seen Vltor's aftermarket stocks, which would be very suitable. With a new rifle, if the stock is the only issue, then it should be a blessing.

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xcalbr February 17, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Carrying a M14 in afghanistan, I preferred that to a M4 and hated the idea of the SCAR. When i was first introduced to the SCAR L and H at Fort Benning, I was utterly impressed by it. I agree that the M14 has found a replacement. Like the 1911, it certainly served honorably, though its best days are behind it.

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xcalbr February 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm

finally, jay and sid, somebody with some common sense! if the stock is the only issue with a new rifle then FN has a winner on their hands.

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rnamiki February 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

I'm still waiting for my extra mags. Now, an issue with a stock hinge? I'm sure FHN will remedy the problem and I'll get my mags.

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Pat July 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

You are right about reliability. But if im in the desert, and im making the 5.56 to 308 switch.. Im not carrying a 10 pound gun… I am going to want the lightest package out there if i have to carry around a bunch of 308 rounds. The SCAR does have some issues FNH needs to work out, like the buttstock… But longterm i think it will prove itself a very reliable rifle. It shoots like a dream… Seriously it feels like a 5.56

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T. Sullivan February 23, 2014 at 12:04 am

Amen

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Mark April 30, 2013 at 2:57 am

Because their an overweight unreliable pos?

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