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FN USA Upgrades SCAR with NRCH (Non-Reciprocating Charging Handles)

The FN SCAR has been the advanced-carbine-to-beat for more than a decade now, as detailed in our “SCAR Killers” piece. For many years it was the 5.56 SCAR-L and the 7.62 SCAR-H in the lineup, with aftermarket caliber conversions popping up every so often. Though Big Army tested the FN Advanced Carbine back in 2012 we wouldn't see a major release until the precision SCAR Mk20 (later released in 6.5 Creedmoor). Now FN has released the latest upgrades to the FN SCAR platform, and this one applies to all new SCARs produced by FN: a non-reciprocating charging handle (NRCH) series.

For those unfamiliar, the FN SCAR family of rifles has a charging handle that reciprocates with every shot. It may seem strange that FN specifically designed the FN SCAR to have a reciprocating charging handle, until you learn that it was a SOCOM requirement for a next-gen rifle at the time. But times have changed from the mid-aughts when the SCAR was conceived. Running in rollover prone and using barricades, the moving charging handle can get in the way and cause malfunctions. FN designed a solution to the charging handle that not only all-new SCARs will ship with, but also you'll have the ability to convert legacy SCARs to the new system.

The new FN NRCH system comes with two charging handles, one short and one long, and they can be placed on either or both sides, articulated up or down.

The conversion parts required are a new bolt carrier, a separate sled for the charging handle, and a new front plate for the sled to clip onto.

Some of your aftermarket parts will not work with the NRCH modification.

You're out of luck with the current charging handle selection because it interfaces differently with the carrier, and also most all aftermarket endplates will have to be modified to work with the NRCH system. The SCAR Mk20 was designed from the outset to accept the NRCH, so no new endplate is needed there.

Conversion does require a torque wrench along with a heat gun or MAPP gas torch to deal with thread locker. Taking your time, you're looking at a ten-minute investment.

Since we've been using SCARs since they first became available, the advantages of the NRCH weren't immediately apparent. After all, you can run a SCAR with an NRCH kit the same way as the original. Once we started getting weird with barricades, and stopped treating the NRCH SCAR like a legacy, the advantages become immediately apparent. No worrying about accidentally jamming or thumb, having clearance issues with barricades, and otherwise mucking up the cycle of operations by dragging the charging handle. We got a little dirty shaking this one down.

The NRCH system works in the FN SCAR like it was made for it, because it was. We're planning on converting all the SCARs we have our grubbies on.

Here's what FN has to say about it:

McLean, VA – August 31, 2021) FN America, LLC is pleased to announce that the long-awaited non-reciprocating charging handle (NRCH) upgrade is now available in all FN SCAR® semi-automatic models. FN’s new NRCH assembly features dual, ambidextrous charging handles that enable users to shoot from any position or use any grip style. The FN SCAR upgrade improves an inherently more accurate and reliable platform that, in its military configuration, has served America’s most elite fighting forces for more than a decade.

“The FN SCAR has proven itself as a leader in its class since its introduction, setting the standard for what gas-driven, semi-auto rifles should be,” said Chris Cole, Vice President, Sales & Marketing of FN America, LLC. “The complete modularity and fast-handling character of our most versatile rifle platform continues to advance. The FN SCAR 17S and 20S were already the softest shooting gas-driven .30-caliber rifles on the market and these upgrades deliver even more functionality to the SCAR platform.”

Dual, Non-Reciprocating Charging Handles
The FN SCAR becomes even more intuitive to the end user with new, non-reciprocating, dual charging handles, enabling any shooting position, grip style or optic choice. Combined with the fully-ambidextrous operating controls and adjustable buttstock, the FN SCAR instantly adapts to any shooter.

The assembly, consisting of a new charging handle sled and two ambidextrous, reversible charging handles that lock forward on bolt-close and remain static during fire, provide superior forward assist capabilities. The two charging handles, one at a 30-degree cant specifically designed to reduce interference with low-mount optics and one low-profile, are user-swappable in the field. The reduced reciprocating mass of the new bolt carrier produces less felt recoil, making a soft-shooting rifle even easier to manage.

“With the FN SCAR there’s a reason for every part, all have to work together perfectly to deliver the uncompromising accuracy, reliability and toughness this platform has earned under fire, that’s the difference between an FN SCAR and other carbines, we are held to a higher standard than most, failure is not an option for our Nation’s most elite forces, said Benjamin Voss, Product Manager for FN’s Long Guns. “With the semi-auto FN SCAR 16S, 17S and 20S, we hold the same standards of quality for these commercial variants. Adding the non-reciprocating charging handles allows SCAR to be even more adaptable, enhancing an already accurate and soft-shooting rifle. Shooting positions like urban prone, from a barrier or with a CQC-style grip are made possible and users can now run low-mount optics without interference.”

For more information, visit FN online here.




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