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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

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.

No Malfunctions

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

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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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