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FN SCAR47 and More by Handl Defense

Handl Defense was at SHOT Show this year with a slew of great SCAR accessories (we covered many of them here), so when I heard they were going to be at SOFIC I was planning on giving them a visit. While SOFIC generally isn't the brand-new-shiny-exposé that SHOT is, I was cautiously optimistic. And I wasn't disappointed.

Handl Defense isn't a stranger to manufacturing receivers, having crafted their own aluminum and lightweight magnesium SCAR-H lowers before. Increasing their difficultly considerably as well as outdoing themselves, they now have a SCAR-H lower receiver that accepts standard AK-47 magazines. Keeping to their naming convention, they dubbed it the SCAR47.

I was handed the SCAR47 along with a loose Bulgarian waffle magazine. Being somewhat of an AK-enthusiast myself, the choice of the Bulgarian waffle made sense for a couple of reasons: They are widely regarded as the best AK magazines available anywhere, and they are often tight fits in underspec magwells. If a given rifle fits a Bulgarian waffle magazine, it'll probably fit anything in there. With no fumbling or muckymuck, the magazine easily rocked and locked into place on the SCAR47.

Being rather used to familiar AK operation, when removing the magazine my left thumb wanted to move forward to push the now non-existent magazine latch. The SCAR47 doesn't sport the usual SCAR AR-style magazine release or the AK latch release. Instead, Handl Defense opted for an ambidextrous release that's contoured around the front of the trigger guard that's released with the trigger finger. While I mourned the loss of the latch a bit, I have no doubt this different method could be easily learned. After all, it's actually a common modification for AKs and we all have to re-align a bit when using different weapons. Still, a little nubbin at the bottom of the release may ease some concerns.

Currently, the SCAR47 does not feature either a manual or automatic bolt hold open (BHO). It's noteworthy that other rifles that utilize plain old AK mags generally don't have non-administrative BHO's either, as it would require modification to the magazines. Handl also elected to not include a manual BHO. Having plenty of AKs in the safe, this doesn't bother me, though I can see why some would want it. 

While the example I fingered was a sample manufactured with a rapid prototyping machine (which you can probably tell from the pictures), the production models with be machined from a block of 7075 T-6 aluminum and hard coat anodized. However, I'm told that despite the fact it's formed from ABS plastic, they've shot the hell out of it. Note the visual hole in the receiver, this is from the auto sear (which wasn't installed at the show). Cheap ABS plastic, but shot full auto nonetheless.
The SCAR47 doesn't require any special trigger, hammer, or pins–all of the standard parts work in it. There was one different part, that consists of the, ‘and more' portion of the title. The Handl Defense 45/90 Selector. Machined from billet aluminum, the 45/90 Selector is as you may guess: Swappable from a 45 degree short throw like OEM to the AR standard 90 degrees. Some may view this as a step backward but I'm ambivalent. You don't have to make it a 90 degree throw if you don't want. Configurable throw aside, I liked the styling of it and the levers were the perfect length. Handl utilized AXTS's screw-less dovetail selector design so there are no worries of screws or pins coming loose and your selector falling apart. Cost is only $100, which isn't too bad considering it's a complete selector and not just a pair of levers.

So, all of this seems pretty great–with one glaring issue looming: Where are we going to get 7.62×39 SCAR barrels?

You can find out more about the SCAR47 receiver here, and can purchase the 45/90 Selector here. You can also follow Handl Defense on Facebook or Instagram.

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