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Reviews : Arsenal

FNH USA SCAR 17S Patrol Rifle

This feature-loaded rifle is easy to shoot, accurate and rugged enough for the toughest duty.

January 25, 2011  |  by Dave Bahde

The SCAR's charging handle can also be moved to either side, making it easy for anyone to operate. Yes, it is a reciprocating handle and that seems to tweak the noses of the AR purists, but honestly, my advice to AR purists is to get over it. Having run AK-47 rifles, G36 rifles, and a few others, I can tell you that if you are actually focusing on the threat, you don't notice. Short of pushing the rifle into the ground as you shoot it, it would be pretty difficult to induce a malfunction .

Another nice touch on the SCAR 17S is the assortment of sling attachments on both sides of the rifle. It can be slung on the right or left side, and can be slung when folded.

The SCAR's folding stock is nice for storage in a trunk, in a rack, or just in general. The stock also adjusts for length of pull to accommodate body armor and different body sizes.

One of the last features of the SCAR 17S that I want to discuss may be the most important: the sights. This rifle comes with an excellent set of battle sights that accommodate the entire range of the caliber.

Proprietary Mags

About the only thing missing from the SCAR 17S right out of the box is the two extra magazines. Again, why manufacturers do this is clear, but it is still something you will always see me complain about. Magazines are essential, especially with this rifle. The magazines are proprietary and few places stock them. It would be nice to see three come with the rifle.

Since the magazines came up let's deal with the proprietary magazine. It is great marketing to have your rifle fit all the "popular magazines," but I don't think that's the best way to do things. This is true if you are selling rifles, or you are in the military where logistics are an issue. For me, it is all about how it works, and unless you are preparing for the invading horde as an apocalyptic warrior you only need three magazines. More importantly they need to work all the time and when the magazines are made specifically for your gun, they do.

Testing the SCAR 17S

The best test for this rifle was right out of the box with iron sights. Initially all that I added was a sling. The rifle was zeroed and fired for groups at 100 yards from prone using my drag bag on the range. No bipod was used although one could be added easily, especially one that goes over a rail.

From this position most of the groups measured between 1.5 and 2 inches. Federal 168-grain Gold Medal Match was my preferred ammo. Since shooting groups is all about the "system" not just the rifle, it is likely that the SCAR 17S is actually more accurate than it was in my test, but a 1.5-inch group gets the job done in most any case where it could be used in a patrol environment. Put a scope on this rifle and you may see groups closer to an inch, which is about as good as it gets.

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Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Raymond Wockley @ 1/26/2011 12:19 PM

The US Army is in the process of a showdown in the selection of the best sniper rifle. The current rifle the XM2010 (.300 Winchester Magnum, range 800-1,200 meters) is an upgraded M24 with proposed fielding in late FEB 2011. The contenders are the FNH Ballista (.308 system which can be configured to 7.62 NATO and .300 Winchester Magnum, range 1,500 meters); and the Remington Modular Sniper Rifle (can be configured to 7.62 NATO and .300 Winchester Magnum, range 1,500 meters. These wpns have a lot of upgrades which have been dictated by the operators in the field and a careful watch should be made on the final decisions for the next generation sniper rifle....

Banks @ 2/11/2011 7:46 AM

I agree it's a great patrol rifle. However, the cost is prohibitive and is a deal breaker. Maybe if the glory days return and we have more money then we can spend, then we'll consider a SCAR. Otherwise we'll continue to purchase well built moderately priced AR-15 rifles and equip every officer on the street with one.

KAP @ 12/9/2012 7:40 PM

Yes...the FNH SCAR 17S is the best 7.62mm NATO in my collection, howeveer, you can't buy any additional magazines for it...anywhere, on the net, or in gun-stores. The only people producing them are FNH and they say sometime in June or July 2013, maybe!

jon @ 1/20/2013 9:17 PM

Well the citizens are buying these rifles as fast as they come to the shelves, and every time I go to the gun shop and see one its gone in a week or less, i miss my buying opportunity every time. So next time if there is a next time i will buy it, since your commander and chief will outlaw our guns soon and force you guys to crack some heads of those that decide to keep them. i feel sorry for you police having to mop up the mess our politicians make for you. Stay safe guys and if you can disobey this gun confiscation crap then be bold.

mike @ 8/13/2013 4:09 AM

if you're looking for mags, WeaponsOutfitters has SCAR mags in stock.. or you can go to or google "SCAR 25 lower", an get a lower receiver that accepts almost any standard 7.62 magazine. I have a SCAR25 lower on my SCAR 17S and it works great with surefire mags and also the 50rd drum made by Cheers :)

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