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Preview – Ares Defense SCR

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Photography by Kenda Lenseigne

Hey Cuomo…
The Ares Defense SCR Takes AR Mags and AR Uppers — and is New York Legal

If you happen to live in a state like New York, California, or Connecticut (where most of the stuff in this publication is illegal for you to purchase), you still have a few options left.
Assuming moving to a free state isn’t one of them, there are nonetheless semi-automatic 5.56mm rifles available to you. And Ares Defense has recently added one more.

Historically, the Ruger Mini-14 has always been available to the entire United States. But, with its proprietary, expensive, and difficult-to-find magazines, questionable accuracy, limited aftermarket support, and less-than-ideal optic mounting, it hasn’t been an optimal choice. The Kel-Tec SU-16 series rifles at least accept STANAG magazines and feature Picatinny rails for mounting optics, but the shape of the stock requires them to be mounted lower than an AR, so a good cheek weld with an ACOG or optic of similar height is impossible. Also, the Kel-Tec has even less aftermarket support than the Mini-14. What about the venerable AK? Well, those neutered Saigas in 5.56mm caliber also have proprietary magazines, little aftermarket support, and inadequate mounting options for optics.


So the products available to people in these benighted states just don’t give the shooter too many choices. And as American consumers, we value choices, damn it! We want at least three gas stations on every street corner, 200 craft beers on tap, and 1,000 toothbrush options to choose from.

There are a number of modifications available for the AR-15 platform that are legal, but they tend not to be very ergonomic, as they’re an adaptation to bypass — sorry, comply with — ridiculous legislation. They’re also ugly. Which is kind of irrelevant for a firearm but, hey, you still have to look at it. Well, now citizens behind enemy lines can rejoice as there is a solution in the Ares Defense SCR, or Sporting Configurable Rifle. The SCR is a 50-state-legal, lightweight carbine that accepts STANAG magazines and AR-15 uppers.

The Scoop
If you’re looking at the photo on this page and thinking “impossible,” let us explain how the engineers at Ares Defense figured this one out. The lower borrows the hand placement and stock style of a hunting shotgun or rifle and marries it with the magazine well and takedown pin locations of an AR-15. To make the grip as comfortable as a traditional firearm, the recoil spring is located in the stock and goes down at an angle through the pistol grip. The receiver is designed to interface with Remington 870/1100 stocks, but if you want to add your own favorite piece of highly figured walnut, be warned that you may have to remove a tiny amount of material from it — but apart from a minor bit of fitting, it should be compatible. The proprietary bolt carrier has a hinged tail similar to a FN FAL and travels in the direction of the aforementioned recoil spring.

The SCR is only sold as an entire rifle, rather than a stripped lower, and the base model is equipped with a non-threaded, 16.25-inch, lightweight contour, 4140 Chromoly 1/9-twist barrel, along with a five-round magazine, Magpul MOE handguards, and a Monte Carlo stock that will enable a decent cheek weld — even with taller optics. The SCR is also available with a sporter stock (with lower comb) and a short sporter stock for smaller-framed shooters. In the interest of science, we found that a powerful buttstroke could more easily be delivered from the SCR than an AR-15, as the shooter did not have to adjust his grip.


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