by David Crane
USSOCOM’s Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) program appears to be very healthy, at the moment, and the FN Herstal/FNH USA "S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle" (FN SCAR Light 5.56x45mm carbine/subcarbine and FN SCAR Heavy 7.62x51mm carbine/subcarbine) functional/competition prototypes look interesting. DefenseReview received a spec sheet via email on the FNH USA
"S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle" yesterday, from one of our contacts. For anyone not already aware, "S.O.F." stands for "Special Operations Forces".
the FN SCAR-L /SCAR-H operating system is based on the FN FNC assault rifle’s operating system (which uses a Kalashnikov (AK-47/AKM)-based operating system/mechanism), albeit with significant modifications and evolutionary upgrades. However, we don’t yet have confirmation on this. "FN FNC" stands for "Fabrique Nationale Carbine". On the spec sheet, the FN SCAR Heavy (SCAR-H) is shown in CQB/CQBR format. "Gab", from the "Airborne Combat Engineer" weblog believes that the SCAR-H’s magazine is an FN-FAL 7.62x51mm battle rifle magazine (metric). From what we can see on the spec sheet, and from a logic standpoint, DefenseReview is inclined to agree with him. However, we haven’t yet confirmed this, either. We say "from a logic standpoint" because, as most of our readers probably already know, FN Herstal has manufactured the FN FAL 7.62x51mm battle rifle, a.k.a. the "Right Arm of the World", for many years, now. "FAL" stands for "Fusil Automatique Leger".
The modifications/upgrades include (but are not necessarily limited to):
1) Mil-Std/MILSPEC M1913 Picatinny Rail System for attaching/mounting optics, IR/visible lasers, BUIS’s (Back-Up Iron Sights), tactical white lights, vertical foregrips, etc.
2) New FN M249 SAW
/FN MK46 MOD 0 SAW
-style flip-up ghost ring front sight (gleened from viewing available pics, not actually handling the weapon).
3) A new multi-position (6-position) telescoping/retractable/side-folding retractable buttstock
4) Multiple available barrel lengths (carbine/subcarbine)
6) Other modifications/upgrades on which DefenseReview does not yet have confirmation.
From the all the digital pics DefenseReview has seen so far, including the FNH USA "S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle" spec sheet pictures
, the charging/cocking handle on the FN SCAR Light (SCAR-L) and FN SCAR Heavy (SCAR-H) appears to be ambidextrous in the sense that it’s switchable from side to side, i.e. left-side/right-side switchable. DefenseReview normally just prefers a left-situated non-reciprocating charging/cocking handle, which is ideal for right-handed shooters, with regard to weapon handling/ergonomics. That said, a right-sided cocking/charging handle is plenty fast and easy for a righty to operate by simply tilting the weapon slightly to the left and operating the knob with the left hand. With regard to a left-situated charging/cocking handle, the much smaller percentage of lefty’s out there can easily deal with having to tilt the rifle slightly to the right and operate a left-situated cocking/charging handle with their right hand. This procedure is still plenty fast and easy for them.
An ambidextrous cocking/charging handle, in DefRev’s opinion, is thus fairly unnecessary, for the most part, and just another thing to potentially create problems, like allowing sand/dirt/debris into the action (due to the extra slot/opening required) or weakening the integrity of the receiver, as additionally cut holes are prone to doing. A left-side/right-side switchable charging/cocking handle is perhaps, better, but there’s still that extra open slot there, which can allow foreign material inside and weaken the receiver. Remember, weapon reliability/durability under adverse conditions should be the primary concern for any combat/infantry weapon. It has to go bang every time, and be capable of handling adverse multi-environmental combat conditions and a high degree of physical abuse. Anway, a simple left-situated non-reciprocating cocking/charging handle is usually an ergonomically adequate universal set-up for an infantry weapon (small arm), all things considered.
All that said, DefenseReview isn’t knocking the left-side/right-side switchable cocking/charging handle. Maybe it’s the better way to go. Perhaps it offers actual real-world speed and ease-of-manipulation/ergonomic advantages for the operator under certain circumstances, while conducting CQB (Close Quarters Battle). We’ll have to see how the SCAR-L and SCAR-H versions of the FN S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle perform in-theater (in "the Sandbox") in their current configuration(s), under combat conditions. DefenseReview would surmise that the FN SCAR Light/SCAR Heavy (FN SCAR-L/SCAR-H) charging/cocking handle is non-reciprocating, although we haven’t confirmed it.
FN SCAR Light (SCAR-L)
The FN SCAR-L 5.56x45mm carbine/subcarbine weighs 7.7 lbs (empty/unloaded). Overall weapon length is between 24.49" and 33.54", depending on barrel lengh (carbine or CQB/CQBR length). Muzzle velocity with M855 ball 62-grain ammo is 2870 FPS (feet-per-second), and 2630 FPS with Black Hills
MK262 MOD 1 77-grain ammo. Cyclic rate-of-fire (ROF) is 600 RPM (rounds-per-minute). Magazine (detachable box) capacity is 30 rounds.
FN SCAR Heavy (SCAR-H)
The FN SCAR-H 7.62x51mm carbine/subcarbine weighs 8.5 lbs (empty/unloaded). Overall weapon length is between 30.25" and 39.25", depending on barrel length (carbine or CQB/CQBR length). Muzzle velocity with M80 ball ammo is 2342 FPS. Cyclic rate-of-fire (ROF) is 600 RPM. Magazine (detachable box) is 20 rounds.
DefenseReview has already received some positive feedback on the FN S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle
. This really isn’t surprising. The FN FNC is a solid combat-reliable/durable, and proven weapon system. So, if the FN SCAR Light (SCAR-L) and SCAR Heavy (SCAR-H) are evolutions of (i.e. updated/modernized versions) of that system, they should be just as combat-reliable/durable and at least as
combat-effective, and, hopefully, even more so.
You can contact FNH USA’s (FN Herstal USA’s)
Director of Military Operations, Paul Evancoe, by phone at 703-288-3500, or via email at [email protected]
. DefenseReview does not know what information Mr. Evancoe will be willing to provide on the FN S.O.F. Capable Assault Rifle.
The optical gunsight pictured on the FNH USA spec sheet mounted on the SCAR Light (SCAR-L) and SCAR Heavy (SCAR-H) is the Aimpoint CompM2 Red Dot
sight, which is currently the best red dot tube sight in the world for CQB (Close Quarters Battle). It also enjoys extraordinarily long battery life.
If you would like to inquire about the Aimpoint CompM2 Red Dot sight, or its new companion Aimpoint 3X Magnifier sight
, you can contact Aimpoint, Inc.
by phone at 870-423-3398, or toll free at 877-Aimpoint (877-246-7646). You can also email them at [email protected]
. Ask for Mike Beltran. Mike is Aimpoint’s Military and Law Enforcement Sales Director (U.S.).
Author’s Note: Black Hills Ammunition
is the sole source supplier
of the MK262 MOD 1 5.56x45mm cartridge, which utilizes a 77-grain Open-Tip Match (OTM) bullet. The Black Hills MK262 MOD 1 is currently being employed by U.S. Military SOCOM/Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel in-theater (in the "Sandbox"). DefenseReview recommends that you contact Black Hills Ammunition
by phone at 605-348-5150 to find out more about their excellent ammunition that’s currently available for your select-fire or semi-auto-only firearms/small arms. Black Hills ammo is high-quality stuff.