First conceived in 2002, the U.S. Special Operations Command SCAR program was intended to create a modular, multi-caliber platform for its elite troops. FN America’s design was selected in 2004 and was declared “operationally effective” as a result of field trials in 2008. Out of this developmental program came two models, the Mk 16 light rifle and the Mk 17 heavy rifle, chambered for 5.56 NATO and 7.62 NATO, respectively. Following its subsequent deployment with special forces units, FN America released a commercial variant of the 5.56 NATO model as the SCAR 16s in 2009. Watch the video above to see the SCAR 16S NRCH in use on the NRA Tech Range.
FN's SCAR 16S is heavier than its AR-15 cousins, but it brings some unique benefits to the table that aren’t possible on most AR platforms. Thanks to the charging handle location, it’s quick and easy to charge the gun with your support hand, and the updated, non-reciprocating design allows shooters to make use of any position or optic. The gun’s piston-driven operating system keeps the action cleaner and cooler than direct-impingement systems of the AR. The adjustable piston of the SCAR 16S also accommodates suppressor use much more readily without creating the gas blowback of direct-impingement guns.
The SCAR 16S has a monolithic upper receiver and handguard that is constructed of aluminum, and this one-piece design contains the bolt-carrier group, charging handle and 16.25” barrel. A polymer lower receiver is utilized below that contains the trigger components, magazine well, safety selector, magazine-release button and an A2-style AR-15 pistol grip. The buttstock at the rear is a telescoping unit that can be folded along the right side of the receiver when the gun is not in use to ease storage and transportation.
This particular model of the SCAR 16S, the NRCH, incorporates one of the most-requested updates to the SCAR platform, replacing the reciprocating charging handle with an ambidextrous, non-reciprocating design. From the factory, the gun ships with a straight handle on the right side of the gun and an angled charging handle on the left side, and users can swap these components to fit their shooting style or rifle setup. Other features of the SCAR 16S include the bilateral safety selector and magazine release, as well as the additional accessory rails on the sides and bottom of the aluminum upper receiver. The barrel is also topped with a compensator to reduce muzzle rise and felt recoil. The gun ships with a removable rear sight that folds out of the way to accommodate a scope bell. The folding front sight is attached to the gas block ahead of the receiver.
Manufacturer: FN America
Model: SCAR 16S NRCH
Action Type: gas-piston-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire rifle
Chambering: 5.56 NATO
Barrel: 16.25" cold-hammer-forged steel
Upper Receiver: hard-anodized aluminum
Lower Receiver: polymer
Stock: six-position adjustable, folding
Sights: flip-up front, adjustable flip-up rear
Magazine: 30-round detachable box
Length: 34.5" - 37"
Weight: 7 lbs., 4 ozs. empty