FN Herstal SCAR 17S – Civilian Semi-Automatic version – 7.62×51 NATO

Complete Review of the Rifle


Today we are presenting one of the most sought after weapon systems of the civilian firearms market, the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR). Manufactured by Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FNH) in Belgium, the SCAR 17S is a slightly modified variant of the SCAR-H (Heavy) battle rifle – specifically chambered in the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge.


The SCAR 17S was not originally developed as a civilian firearm, rather it is the outcome of the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Special Operations Forces (SOF) Combat Assault Rifle Programme from 2004. This programme envisaged and produced both 5.56x45mm NATO SCAR-L (Light) and the SCAR-H variants. FNH had been offering the Belgian made SCAR 17S to the commercial and law enforcement markets since 2008. However this semi-automatic variant is slightly modified in USA to comply with Title 18 of the U.S. Code, section 922(r) regulations.


To produce a thoroughly modernised design, FN studied various rifles that preceded SCAR 17S. For instance some of its external features like the lower receiver, trigger, pistol grip, and controls as well as its ergonomics is inspired by AR-15/AR-10 rifles. Pencil profile barrel, gas valve, and magazine remind one of FN’s older Fusil Automatique Leger (FAL) – Light Automatic Rifle. Then in polymer construction, profile, short stroke gas piston system and bolt carrier group, SCAR 17S matches with legendary Heckler & Koch G36. But all this is not to declare FN SCAR 17S a copycat. Rather these older rifles have been carefully studied and done one better on to produce a new model.


The advantage of SCAR 17S is that it is compact, lighter and a modular design, but still it packs a power punch with that 7.62×51 NATO round. Such features are difficult to reconcile in one rifle. So none of the older battle rifles like the Heckler & Koch G3, FNH FAL, Springfield M14 have the same utility as FN SCAR 17S.

SCAR 17S has a weight of 3.6kg without the magazine so it is not a very heavy weapon. FN Herstal markets its accuracy as 1MOA at 100 metres but with right ammunition, the rifle is very much capable of giving an accuracy of 1/2 MOA at that distance. The rifle has minimum recoil. Being short stroke gas piston, the accumulated carbon remains separated, allowing the rifle to remain clean and cool even during sustained firing. So you can depend on it in drawn out battle. The safety lock can be operated, magazine can be released, and charging handle can be cocked with either left or right hand.



Technical Specifications :

Name: SCAR 17S

Type: Semi-automatic

Operating System: Short-stroke gas piston

Caliber: 7.62x51mm NATO

Overall Length: 28.5” – 38.5”

Overall Weight: 7.90 lbs

Barrel Type: Cold hammer forged (CHF), chrome-lined, free-floating

Barrel Rifling: 6 groove, 1:12” right hand twist

Barrel Length: 16.25”

Trigger Pull: Single stage 6lb 5oz

Sights: Back-up Iron Sights (BUIS) fully adjustable for windage and elevation

Magazine: 10 or 20 round detachable box magazine (DBM)

Muzzle Velocity: 2342 fps (w/ 150gr M80 NATO ammunition)

Effective Range: 800 Meters

Color Options: Black and Flat Dark Earth (FDE)

The SCAR 17S can be paired with practically all the commonly available optics.

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