As much as I love AR15s, I’ve always said that they’re constantly flirting with redundancy and over saturation. Rifles like the FN SCAR 17 S are a welcome addition to the modern rifle marketplace. However, beyond its contribution to increase variety in the marketplace, does the SCAR 17S have true staying power? Is it simply a niche rifle with Call of Duty looks and a Ferrari price tag?
Visually, the FN Herstal SCAR 17 design language commands attention. Nevertheless, some people reject the SCAR 17 looks as juvenile, gamer, delusions of grandeur. Personally, I like the playful balance between futuristic laser blaster and moderately evolved AR. Sometimes ARs can look disjointed and without uniformity, as if they were put together from a MacGyver’s parts kit.
In contrast, the SCAR 17 looks like it was designed from one solid piece of material. The stock is the most defining characteristic of the SCAR. Unfortunately, the stock looks incredibly similar to an UG boot. I like the stock, but I can’t look at the SCAR without an image of that fur covered turd that prepubescent teenagers call a boot popping up in my head.
Nonetheless, there’s a toy-like quality about the SCAR 17’s looks that give the impression that it’s an incredibly fun gun to shoot. Ergonomically, the SCAR 17 shines. Yeah. It can feel a little bloated and less nimble than other 308 rifles. Where it lacks in finesse and grace, it makes up for in weight, balance and comfort.
ARs typically feel like they were design with straight edge rulers, but the SCAR 17’s ergonomics feel like they were designed with a protractor. This signifies FN’s understanding that the human body is a combination of curves and straight lines. It’s not just right angles.
I’ll concede. The stock looks like a Taylor Swift uniform staple. It’s a big part of this guns beautiful ergonomics. The slight curve on the back end of the stock conforms nicely to the natural curve where my chest and shoulder meet.
The adjustable cheek weld is a silent blessing to my neck. I’m not forced to hyper extend or contract my neck to see through my optic like a damn Ninja Turtle. This balance this gun exhibits rivals that of an Olympic Gymnast on a balance beam. I love it. No matter the position, the rifle’s weight remains balanced and centered over the magazine well.
Let’s talk about the weight. The SCAR 17 is creepy light. It’s eight pounds. The SCAR may look bloated, but it’s clearly all gas because it’s one of the lightest if not the lightest in its peer class.
I love how the SCAR looks complicated, but it is still basic and intuitive in your hands. The stock steals the show because you can fold it over and decrease its profile. Your fingers naturally land on all the things that matter. The SCAR is completely ambidextrous, including the reciprocating charging hand.
In many ways the SCAR 17 is a freak of nature. It manages to be so light and maneuverable. It manages the recoil of a 308. It is debatably brilliant. It’s like it doesn’t know it’s shooting a 308. You put the gun up to your shoulder and embrace what you expect to be scoliosis inducing recoil. It causes you to question whether it’s worth shooting all 20 rounds in its magazine. You finally pull the trigger. Instead of hitting you like an anvil, it firmly shoves you on the chest saying, “See? Not so bad. Let’s do it again because that was awesome.”
The reciprocating charging handle on the SCAR is an obvious point of contention for some people. Theoretically, it can get caught on things that cause your gun to malfunction during a fight. Out here I’m not being shot at. The reciprocating charging handle is to shooting what skeletonized watches were to the watch world. Seeing the beautifully placed gears turning makes the watch feel that much more special. It’s the same way seeing the charging handle of the SCAR 17 crashing back and forth each time you pull the trigger. It makes the shooting experience feel more epic.
Double taps and rapid fire were an enjoyable experience. It didn’t make me feel like I was a crash test dummy holding on for dear life.
The trigger on the SCAR isn’t the greatest in the world. It’s nowhere near as bad as some people make it out to be. Sure. It’s heavy. There’s some creeping. The reset feels a little hollow. It’s hardly horrible.
The SCAR doesn’t come cheap. Be ready to pony up between $2,500 and $2,800 for one. Not to mention, the magazines are proprietary and also not cheap. For the money, you don’t just get a rifle. You really do get an experience. It’s a rifle that makes you feel like you’re defying some law of physics when you shoot it. It’s a gun of many talents.
Many rifles can do the long game just fine. Not many can play the short distance game as well. They’re just too heavy and unwieldy. Currently, If I was forced to pick one rifle as my sole 308 piston driven system, it would be this rifle. Considering the love affair I have for the HK MR762, that’s saying a hell of a lot.