After putting a good 200 rounds of various ammunition through the SCAR 17S on the move and from various positions with iron sights, I added an Insight Technologies MRDS (Mini Red-Dot Sight). If given the opportunity to keep this rifle this configuration would be my preference. The MRDS allowed for faster target acquisition and a bit more accuracy. It also is very small, very light, and does not detract from the other strengths of this system.
During much of my testing, I wore a soft vest or no vest. But I also shot the SCAR 17S while wearing a tactical vest. The folding stock accommodated the tactical vest easily even with rifle plates.
The SCAR's folding stock also makes storage easy, and the cheek weld adjustment is nice. Adjustments are made by a simple push of a button, and the cheek weld moves up to accommodate optics. When you use iron sights, all you have to do is simply move it back down. The SCAR's stock is very simple, very adjustable, very rugged, and it works.
All of the features of the SCAR 17S are really impressive. But the best thing about this rifle is that it works and works and just keeps on working. I saw a SCAR 17S fire at least a thousand rounds at a recent media shoot with zero malfunctions. Now I've seen it do the same in my hands. This gun just works, plain and simple. It worked from the first round out of the box to the last round that I fired. It did so with ammunition ranging from 150-grain polymer tipped bullets to 180-grain full metal jacket. It even fed the 165-grain tactical, a round that chokes most AR rifles as the system just does not like flat bullets. I have no doubt that this rifle is reliable.
I have long been a fan of the .308 rifle, and the SCAR 17S is easily one of the best I've seen for patrol applications. It is lightweight, reliable, accurate, and comes with pretty much all you need right out of the box. In addition, the SCAR 17S's ergonomics make for easy transition and can accommodate any size of officer. For those agencies that want select fire models, they are available and the trigger is excellent and controllable.
If your area of operation requires the range and power of a .308 rifle, the SCAR17S is about perfect. It will take longterm testing to see how it works in the long run but for the time it was in my hands it was flawless. Believe me, had they let me buy this gun, I would have.
If you or your agency are looking for a .308 rifle, take a hard look at the SCAR 17S. It will likely do all you need and then some.
Iron Sights vs. Optics
My recommendation for police departments is to keep firearms simple and test them thoroughly. This goes double for patrol rifles.
Make certain that your agency's patrol rifle can be operated out of the box by your least experienced officer. Keep the gadgetry to a minimum, and be certain the rifle will work with nothing more than iron sights, a sling, and three magazines.
Unless your department is willing to buy a sighting system with the rifle, it is critical to keep it simple. And the truth is many agencies don't want to buy optics. Take a trip to a typical police rifle training range, and you will see that red-dot sights are still rare.
That means officers need to use iron sights, and that's fine. There is nothing you cannot do in a typical patrol environment with iron sights; it is just easier with a red dot or optic.
Lt. Dave Bahde is a 20-year veteran of South Salt Lake (Utah) PD and an experienced SWAT team leader and firearms instructor.
FNH USA SCAR 16S Patrol Rifle