For many of us from the conventional side of the military (or who never served at all) the FN Scar tends to carry with it a certain appeal. As a rifle designed specifically for Special Operations troops (SCAR actually stands for Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle), it’s hard not to look at the jagged angles of the rifle and bulky 7.62×51 magazines with a sense of envy. There we were carrying around our M4s (or often in my era, M16 A4s) chambered solely in 5.56, baby faced and feeling awfully standard issue, when a group of Special Operations bubbas came strolling by with slung SCARs and the sort of beards that could intimidate a bear. In our minds, everything about that life just seemed better. Better training, better grooming standards, and of course, better guns.
But maybe that’s not the case after all. If you’ve spent some time rolling rounds through a SCAR, you might have responded like I did my first few times firing one: by assuming your issues with the platform must have been operator error. Try as I might, I just couldn’t get to liking the SCAR chambered in 7.62 or 5.56, but because I’d seen it in the hands of so many prolific war fighters, I figured any issues I had with the platform must have been a result on my lack of familiarity with it. Sure, it occasionally misfeeds, it’s loud enough to hurt your ears through cheap ear protection at an indoor range, and I would hate to try to clear a house with such a long weapon (standard barrel)… but it’s hard to shake the assumption that it’s not the rifle that’s the problem, it’s got to be the shooter.
Over the years, I’ve spoken to a fair number of special operations veterans that shared my distaste for the SCAR (but with operational experience to pull from, rather than just being a range cowboy with it like I was), and I came to appreciate that despite lacking in the high speed training allotted to SOCOM’s best, a bad feed is still a bad feed, and provided you’re not putting pressure on the magazine or otherwise mishandling the weapon, the fault tends to fall squarely on the platform, not the shooter, when it tries to cram two rounds into the chamber at once.
So, maybe that’s why I enjoyed this video from Vigilance Elite so much — because it features shooters more qualified than myself nit picking the SCAR in much the same way I have in the past. In the video, former SEALs Shawn Ryan and Jeff Reid put a SCAR through its paces, discuss some of its strengths, and then break down exactly why they do not like the platform. Reid goes into detail about his experiences on deployment with the SCAR and how he (as well as many other SEALs) suffered through repeated malfunctions until he finally decided to switch back to the M4 despite often finding himself in 1,000 meter engagements. In his mind, the added range and accuracy of the 7.62 chambered SCAR simply wasn’t worth the headaches.
Check out the video below: