The SCAR 16s is the civilian derivative version of the SCAR L. SCAR pattern rifles were designed to be mission adaptable for various special forces units inside the United States and around the world. The design is much different than the AR15 family of rifles. They’ve eliminated certain compromises the AR 15 had to deal with. However, I do not intend this article to be a comparison of the SCAR and AR 15 rifles. That is an entirely different subject. This is designed to be a review of the platform on its own merit.
The SCAR 16S is an impressive rifle, but it’s also an expensive rifle. Making the decision to purchase a rifle of this caliber is rarely done lightly. FN Specs for SCAR family here.
- Specs: SCAR 16S
- Caliber – 5.56x45mm
- Barrel Length – 16.25 inches
- Weight – 7.25 lbs
- Length – 37.5 with stock extended and 27.5 stock folded
- Magazine – STANAG / AR 15 variants.
The SCAR 16s is one of the coolest looking rifles to hit the market in a long time. Style only goes so far on a rifle. I think it’s worth commenting that the SCAR series of rifles is superbly popular is movies and video games because it is a good looking rifle. My testing model is in FDE, and the fit and finish is spectacular. Everything looks amazing right out of the box. Even the magazine is FDE.
The SCAR is a lightweight, semi-automatic rifle that uses a short stroke gas piston. Because of this, the weapon runs extremely clean and relatively cool. My first impression of the rifle was this thing is lightweight. It’s not the lightest rifle out of the box, but when you consider the fact it features what’s basically a quad rail it is quite light. Compared to my 556R it’s a feather. The rifle is very well balanced with the most of the weight placed in the center of the rifle.
Features of the SCAR 16S
The stock looks like an Ugg boot but works like a champ. Now, you’ll never unsee the Ugg boot. The stock does three separate things. First, it collapses, like any good modern stock. This makes it easy to adjust the rifle for body armor or web gear. Next, off it folds. Because of this, the rifle is much easier to travel with. During Hurricane Hermine, the SCAR 16S rode easily in a nondescript duffel bag. At least until we reached our final location to ride it all out. The folding stock also makes it much, much easier to deploy the weapon from a vehicle in a tactical situation. Lastly, the stock has a cheek riser. After all, not all optics sit at the same height.
The lower receiver is polymer. This cuts weight, but still allows the weapon to maintain structural strength. The grip is standard M16A2 style, comfortable, and easy to mass produce. It’s also a proven grip size for troops of all hand sizes. The safety is very simple, S for safe and 1 for a single shot. It is also ambidextrous. Rifle builders take note. This is how you go ambi on a gun. Looking at you CZ.
Next, we have the magazine release. It is also ambidextrous. The magazine release is actually quite massive too. Very easy engage. It’s aggressively checkered and easy to feel in the dark. Even with gloves, the magazine release is easy to touch and activate with either hand.
The bolt release is not ambidextrous. Which is surprising, but an ambi bolt release isn’t really needed. The charging handle is the easier method of releasing the bolt.
The trigger is where a rifle is made. For a semi-automatic defensive rifle, the trigger is certainly acceptable. First and foremost the trigger is very well made. The pull is standard military weight, it’s not a feather. However, the trigger is clean. The trigger break is perfect. There is zero grit, and the there isn’t any sponginess to it. The trigger breaks clean. The reset is very audible and easy to feel. If Glock perfected the pistol reset in term of tactile and audible reset, the SCAR has done it for rifles.
The most apparent feature on the SCAR 16s upper receiver is the bolt handle. The bolt handle is not truly ambidextrous. It can be easily swapped for left or right handed shooters. The bolt handle does reciprocate when firing. Some consider this a downside, but I haven’t found it to be. This could be to my experience with AK platforms. With a magnified optic, I could certainly see racking the weapon being slightly difficult. You may hit your knuckles depending on where your scope mounts fall.
I placed a red dot on the center of the scope rail, directly above the charging handle. Regardless of grip I did scrape my pinky knuckle when rapidly charging the weapon. Placing the red dot to the rear of the scope rail fixed this. The full length upper rail is a single piece. This makes it simple to mount different optics on the weapon. This includes a primary optic, a magnifier, or a night vision or thermal clip on device.
One thing I hate is when a premium rifles do not come with sights from the factory. Notably, the SCAR 16s comes with an amazing pair o folding sights. They are well built and have two apertures in the grand A2 tradition. They are easy to adjust, and stay zeroed.
The SCAR 16s is a modern rifle. Consequently, it is covered in picatinny rail. The fore end has enough room for any accessory you can imagine. The quad rail leaves room for flashlights, lasers, vertical foregrips, or whatever else you want to hang off your rifle.
At the end of the barrel, you have a rather impressive muzzle brake. It certainly makes the weapon a lot louder. It also effectively mitigates recoil and muzzle rise quite well. The brake is impressive. The barrel is very thin. I believe this was done to keep the weapon light with a 16-inch barrel.
Lastly above the barrel, there is a gas regulator. The gas regulator is adjustable for normal and adverse conditions. The normal position is the 12 O’clock position. The 10 o’clock position is for running a suppressor. This is a nice touch, especially since suppressor use is becoming more and more mainstream.
Disassembly is actually extremely easy. It’s different but superbly simple. I was able to field strip it completely without instructions. It’s that simple. It’s tool free and easy to do in the field. The weapon breaks down into just a few pieces, as seen here.