Click the READ MORE to read the article and find the link to the video portion of the FN SCAR 16S.  This is a first in a series of videos on the FN SCAR 16S. 


FN SCAR 16S Studio Discussion

by Jessie Indracusin

Introduction

First, I want you all to be aware that I am in no position to help you procure an FN SCAR 16S.  In fact, for most of you, this may be one of the few places you find information and discussions about this particular gun since your chance of running into someone at the range with one is VERY unlikely.  So let me give you a little history about this gun to understand it a bit better.

The FN SCAR 16S is the Civilian Version of the FN SCAR-L.  The main differences (some may say the ONLY difference) between these two guns is select fire mode and barrel length.  The Civilian Model is single shot only with a 16" barrel.  When these first came onto the scene, which was at the beginning of the Obama administration, costs of these guns were typically in the $7500-$8000 range.  Everyone was getting snubbed at the gun dealers faster than Big Gail trying to get into the VIP Section of an exclusive night club.  FN Herstal themselves were also not very cooperative with media either.  A whole series of empty promises came from reviewing this gun.

Since the tumble of the gun prices, these have come down closer to MSRP.  The gun typically is found for $3000-$3500 now (Nov 2009) and some online auction sites have the guns even down to about $2800.00.

So what is so special about this gun?

Most of you may not know what SCAR stands for.  It stands for Special Forces Combat Assault Rifle.  This was a US Army SOCOM request for a gun to replace the aging M4/M16 platform that was went through many changes since it's first introduction over a half a century ago. The SCAR uses a gas operated, short stroke piston system.  This system is not a direct gas impingement system that the AR/M4 platform have.  The use of the innovated short stroke piston system is increased reliability in poor conditions.  The best way of describing a short stroke piston system is the simularity it has to an AK in function.  Regardless of what you may see in the movies with the bad guy's AK always jamming and the good guy's M4 firing flawlessly, this is movie garbage.  The reality of it is a poorly maintained AK will always outperform a poorly maintained M4/M16. 

Why is that?  Most experts agree it is because of the direct gas impingement system.  There is a lot more junk that can get into this platform and can cause problems.  For an average citizen looking for a gun to shoot at the range, this is not an issue at all.  We all shoot in ideal circumstances at the range.  I don't know too many people that look outside and say, "Damn, it's rainy like cats and dogs and has 50 mile an hour winds.  Let's go hit the outdoor range."

However, I am getting a bit side tracked on my discussions.

Features/Innovation

So what makes this gun special? First, the gun comes from FN Herstal, which has a very rich background on high quality, highly reliable firearms (here I will try to forget about the FNP line of pistols that do make great chunks of metal to throw at a criminal).  The short stroke  piston system mentioned earlier, gives this a much greater reliability than can be achieved on the AR platforms.  Since the gun has no gas tube in the rear, you can fold the stock forward and shorten it for point blank CQB fighting.  Realistically, this is not a pratical thing to ever do in general, but the option is there.   The stock on the rear of the firearm has multiple adjustment points, the most important as far as innovation goes is an adjustable cheek piece.  For many, this may seem like a minor thing, I absolutely love this and more manufacturers need to take notice.  This makes the gun VERY comfortable to shoot. You can get these types of features from vendors like CAA, Magpull and Veltor as aftermarket stuff for your AR, but it is the first I have seen in a production rifle that is both a collapable, cheek adjustment and fold over stock all standard on a gun.  The closest thing I have seen have been some variants of the SIG 556.  The bullet deflector also acts as a butt stock lock when the stock is folded forward.  

 For left handed shooters, this gun offers a variety of benefits.  Even if you are not a left handed shooter, if you do transitional drills and shoot from your left side, these are of a significant benefit.  You can reposition the charging handle to either side of the gun without any tools.  Windage adjustment on the iron sites are ambidextorous.  Same with magazine release and safety options.  The sling attachment points are position well on either side of the gun and has multiple points on the rear.  I found this very helpful in giving me a better spot to attach a single point sling.  The end of the barrel has a "compensator" on it that makes the recoil amazing on this gun

Design Failures

This gun is damn near perfect in it's design.  Here are some flaws.  Some are more of a marketing/package in nature, but I wanted to make them clear anyways.  The charging handle needs to angle down about 30 degrees instead of sticking straight out.  The way the charging handle sat made it un-usable for use with an Eotech 516.  I had to put a thinner Eotech 512 on without a side screw to make the operation of the charging handle not nail my fingers as I manipulate it.  

This is NOT a cheap gun.  For the price of the gun, a Pelican Case should have been included along with a sling and a front sight manipulation tool for elevation.  The painted/dipped black magazine to tan is a bit embarassing too.   The safety/selector can be a bit hard for people to operate.  I had a friend with smaller hands that found it uncomfortable and cumbersome.  I didn't have any problems with it, but it is not as easy as on an AR platform.

Durability

This gun is definitely not a toy.  It is made of solid materials that are put together very well.  Everything fits perfectly in place and nothing gets "stuck" when you are breaking down or re-assembling this gun.  All parts fit together perfect, there are no metal shavings anywhere, finish is very clean and the gun feels like a durable platform.

Reliability

Absolutely excellent.  I tried firing reload ammunition along with match ammo through this gun, various different magazines (P-Mag, FN Mag, HK416, Govt Issue Mag, Cammenga Mag), nothing caused a failure.  We rapid fired the gun and tried forward folding tests on the stock to create more "wobbl" when it fires to see if we could force a failure of ejection/feed.  Nothing made this gun skip a beat.  We fired 300  rounds through this gun during the tests and it worked flawlessly.

 

Conclusions

With a price tag of around $3000 and difficulty finding one in a gun store, makes this a difficult and hard purchase.  Also, FN's distributors are kind of giving the resellers a hard time by trying to make them buy "dealer packages" that include the SCAR along with other products that don't sell well (for example those cute little FN Paperweights that FN likes to call the FNP-9 and FNP-40 pistols).  So yeah, your dealer is probably trying to make a lot of money off of you, but these guns are still very difficult to get, so it is still a supply versus demand.

If you are a serious Carbine shooter and enjoy doing Combat Carbine courses that have you shooting a few thousand rounds, this is the gun for you.  If you are a person who shoots 100 rounds once a year, you can spend your money on a nice AR platform and be happy.  This is an overkill purchase for you.  Please note, under normal shooting conditions, a well maintained AR from a solid manufacturer will keep chugging along.  My S&W M&P15T rifle has operated flawlessly over thousands of rounds I put into it.  However, I do an okay job of keeping it clean which helps and don't try to carry the gun on patrol through a sand storm.

 

REVIEW:

PRICE:

FEATURES/DESIGN:

INNOVATION:

DURABILITY:

 RELIABILITY:

OVERALL:

 

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Last Updated (Sunday, 18 April 2010 18:12)