Preview – SCAR 17S Game Changer Or Pretender?
As the current line of military firearms surpasses the half-century mark, manufacturers are working to produce the next generation of small arms. Aging designs patterned after the AR-10 and AR-15 have served the U.S. military well, but there is always room for improvement. Through the use of modern design theory and advanced materials, FN Herstal seeks to change the game with an entirely new design, the SCAR.
The SCAR 17S is the semi-automatic civilian version of United States Special Operations Command’s (USSOCOM) newest battle rifle, the SCAR-H. What initially impressed us was the light weight and compact size of a rifle chambered in 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win). We were able to fit it in a short, 30-inch zippered bag, thanks to the SCAR’s folding stock. The AR has always needed a folding stock, but the buffer tube assembly rendered that impossible. FN overcame the problem with a totally different design that moves the recoil assemblies forward far enough for the stock to fold.
Overall, the SCAR 17S is a solid, rugged design, and the weapon has a very nice feel and balance in the hands. Its light-profile 16.25-inch barrel features a 1:12 twist rate and a hard-chromed bore. An FN-marked PWS FSC muzzle brake comes standard. This four-pronged brake is great for both its recoil- and flash-reducing properties.
For our review, we equipped the SCAR 17S with a TangoDown Stubby Vertical Grip, Surefire X300 Weapon- Light with XT07 Remote Switch, and the aforementioned Aimpoint optics. We also switched out the Aimpoint optics for Trijicon’s ACOG 6×48 (factory calibrated for 7.62) for longer-range shooting. To stretch its legs, we first ran the SCAR 17S as a tactical carbine. Our course of fire was up close and personal, with paper targets situated at 10 to 20 yards and steel targets at 50 and 75 yards. We fed the SCAR American Eagle .308 Win 150 grain and didn’t experience any hiccups. The .308 definitely packs a big punch compared to .223 Remington, and the steel gongs we engaged swung violently each time they were hit by the SCAR 17S.
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