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How is the SCAR-H an improvement over the FAL?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Balrog, Aug 1, 2010.

  1. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    I am asking from the standpoint of the user, and not so much from a manufacturing standpoint.
  2. dom1104

    dom1104 Well-Known Member


    Isnt it called the 17S?

    I always thought SCAR-H was a videogame term.
  3. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    I don't know what its called. It is the 7.62 version of the SCAR by FN. I have heard it referred to as SCAR-H, but I don't know what its really called and have never even seen one.
  4. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

    SCAR is the program name: SOF Combat Assault Rifle.
    The H designates 7.62x51. Its been the SCAR for a while now, and only mk17 for about a year. The S designates the civilian version.

    As far as the user is concerned, the biggest advantage is going to be a lighter weight, and a truly optics ready platform.

    The logistics aspects make it pretty revolutionary, but you don't care about that.
  5. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    I have a DSA FAL with a picatinny rail top cover. So it is optics ready as well.

    Would there be any advantage to owning a SCAR-H civilian version?

    Does the SCAR-H use proprietary mags?
  6. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

    I believe it's smaller and lighter than a FAL, but I may be wrong about that.
  7. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

    I'd say that mounting optics on a light sheet metal dust cover is less than ideal.

    The SCAR probably has better out of the box accuracy too. They are typically one minute or better guns with decent ammo (i.e. not M80)

    If you already have an FAL, I'd stick with it.
  8. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    FAL scope mounts are usually milled aluminum about 5mm thick, not the stamped sheetmetal used for the standard dust cover.

    Balrog, as I see it the advantages are quite small and boil down to:
    -lighter weight
    -greater accuracy
    -integrated optics rails

    In comparison the FAL is one of the most combat-proven designs of all time, is known for terrific reliability and of course has extensive support and extreme rifle longevity (80,000 rounds for the type 1 and 2 forged receivers).

    For a military with a lot of money, I think the SCAR-H has real benefits, although not dramatic ones. For us civilians I see it offering very little over a quality FAL.

    To the best of my limited knowledge, SCAR-H mags are not compatible with any other 7.62 mags you would likely own, e.g. FAL or M14 mags.
  9. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

    That fish-looking gun with a boot attached to its butt will never be one-tenth as cool as a FAL.
  10. fireside44

    fireside44 Well-Known Member

    If I am not mistaken there are Para FALs will alloy lowers that are competitive in the weight department.

    As for accuracy, seems about 1.5-2.0 moa is standard for a good STG-58 version. 2-3moa for the Imbel kits. Hits on a man sized target quite a ways out there. I don't think anyone with half a lick of sense buys a SCAR of a FAL thinking it's a sniper or bench rifle.

    Integrated optics rails? You can get rails for dang near everything and don't really see that as a factor especially given the cost of a new SCAR vs. a quality FAL.

    My understanding is it is identical to a FAL mag except the mag catches are different. A catch in and of itself. That's the new FN for you, gouging customers one at a time while selling products that are cheaper to produce than past offerings yet command higher MSRPs.
  11. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Well-Known Member

    FN SCAR-H is price competitive with a FN FAL...

  12. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    I have a DSA FAL PARA, an M1A Scout and a POF P-308 and would consider buying a SCAR 17S for the following reasons:

    1. Ability to swap barrels easily to 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .243 Win or .358 Win (once they're available) ... [superior to FAL, M1A and "AR10" variants]

    2. Ability to operate the charging handle with the rifle shouldered [superior to "AR10" variants].

    3. Adustable LOP and comb [superior to FAL PARA and M1A]

    4. Trigger [superior to FAL and M1A]

    5. AR style mag release [superior to FAL and M1A]

    6. Weight [less than FAL and "AR10"]

    7. Overall length when folded [shorter than M1A and "AR10"]

    8. Optics/bipod/accessories mounting [superior to FAL and M1A]

    So overall, the 17S may not be superior to every aspect of the FAL, M1A and "AR10", but it offers a combination of sufficiently superior features compared to the other systems to make it worth the cost. I've handled the SCAR and ACR extensively at the SHOT Show and local gun shops and much prefer the SCAR to the ACR even though it's heavier and despite the reciprocating charging handle. I haven't shot either.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2010
  13. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    If FN no longer makes the FAL, there's a reason, same for the G3, M14, etc. They are rooted in the '50s' with arbitrary ergonomics, old school automotive engineering, and less than current tactical application.

    Read the reasons the SCAR is superior - all 8 - and understand why a group of experienced combat soldiers who select weapons would prefer using it. The asked for it to be designed, specifically funded it, and still use it. They didn't ask for or buy old tech curios or relics.

    Cool, legendary, or even stylish have nothing to do with putting rounds downrange accurately. Those who don't want to understand why modern arms like the SCAR are better don't understand shooting in combat.

    It's not a lazy Saturday shooting at the range.
  14. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    A very good list, but a few comments on it. #1 is irrelevant to most military uses, so from a military perspective this list has 7 points. #2 and #7 are not superiorities to the FAL, so this is really a list of 5 points vs. an FAL.

    #4, I have shot two FALs with great triggers, neither of them with any reliability issues. Much better than AR15 triggers and equal to or better than SAI M1A "Loaded" model triggers. I have not shot a SCAR so I can't directly compare.

    #5, not everyone agrees that an AR style button mag release is the way to go. There are new rifle designs continuing to be made with the thumblever type release that is used on nearly all detachable-mag rifles other than AR15/AR10 types and designs derived from them or intended to use their magazines.

    #6 is a clear benefit for the SCAR.

    #8 is also a clear benefit, but very small if you look at all the existing accessory-mounting options for the FAL.

    I don't see on your list a free-floated barrel, which I consider one of the largest benefits the SCAR has over the FAL. (It is possible to have an FAL with a free-floated barrel but it's not standard and I don't think it has really been refined; and even with it the FAL is unlikely to produce MOA accuracy under real-world conditions of fully loaded magazines.)

    Tirod, the AR15 was also created with 1950's technology and at the time that its .308 predecessor the AR10 came out had no clear benefits over the FAL except minor weight savings and perhaps slightly more controllability in full-auto fire. As we all know, the AR10 was adopted by one nation, Sudan, the M14 by two (USA and Taiwan), and the FAL by approximately 90.

    I have a different theory as to why FN created the SCAR instead of simply offering an FAL design:
    1) Procurement types and politicians like brand new designs, not buying something existing, ESPECIALLY not something that's been around for a long time.
    2) The US Army specifically tested and rejected the FAL in favor of the M14, so it seems unlikely from a political perspective that the US Army would ever admit it was wrong and later adopt the FAL design it had rejected 50 (?) years earlier.
    3) There are high quality licensed (IMBEL) and unlicensed (DSA) FAL clones available on the market and FN would potentially have to compete against them if it offered an FAL design or derivative.
    4) The FAL receiver is very difficult to machine which raises the cost considerably. Every major rifle design I know of subsequent to the AR15 has been designed for ease of manufacture even if it compromises other features.

    That's my theory. As I said before, I can see that the SCAR-H has benefits in weight and accuracy, and that may be enough for a military with a large budget. But there are few revolutionary changes in small arms and the incremental improvements with each clean-sheet design are becoming much smaller as time goes by.
  15. fireside44

    fireside44 Well-Known Member

    Yeah, profit margin. Polymer is cheaper and less labor intensive.

    The word "arbitrary" means based on random choice or personal discretion. I would hardly call the ergonomics of a FAL or M1A rifle "arbitrary". They are fairly well thought out.

    Which is why most of the world still uses an AK-47, because they don't understand shooting in combat either.

    The SCAR light has failed to improve much over current designs. I see no reason why the H model would fair any better. But I suppose someone has to hype up the new FN otherwise they won't sell any rifles.:)
  16. nwilliams

    nwilliams Well-Known Member

    The FAL is a great gun and I will always love them but if I had the choice between lugging around a FAL in the field or a SCAR 17s I would pick the SCAR without thinking twice. In the hot and humid jungles or the hot and sandy desert the difference in weight between a SCAR and a FAL would make a huge difference.

    I can think of a bunch of reasons why the SCAR is an improvement over the classic FAL. It's lighter for one, mag changing is easier and faster, better sights, a full length top rail, better trigger, most of the reasons have already been posted by other people so I won't go on.

    Of course I'm basing all this on my experience with my SCAR 16s which I took out for the first time today. I was extremely impressed with the SCAR in .223 and I can only imagine that in larger calibers it must be just as nice. I would buy a SCAR 17s in a heartbeat but it will take me a while to come up with that kind of money, maybe in a couple years.
  17. Balrog

    Balrog Well-Known Member

    As people answer, remember I am asking about whether the SCAR H is a significant improvement over the FAL for the civilian, non-ninja user. Some of the things the military thinks are important are probably not too important to me. For example, I don't think the fact that the SCAR can be manufactured cheaper really matters. I am only going to buy one, I am not trying to outfit an army. Weight is not a big concern as I don't have plans to have to carry it long distances. In fact, I would prefer a heavier gun for shooting.

    The SCAR sounds like mag changes are easier, so I think that is an improvement. As for the triggers, I am happy with the trigger on my DSA FAL, and think it is equivalent to most other military triggers. How is the SCAR's trigger an improvement? Is it just lighter?

    My Fal has the same type sights as my AR's, so I am pretty much OK with those too, and dont see how the SCARs iron sights would be an improvement.
  18. Girodin

    Girodin Well-Known Member

    I'm guessing that a great many of those using the AK-47 in the field today are doing so simply because it is what is most readily and easily available to them. Of armies with the means to outfit themselves with something else who is still using the AK-47?

    I love the AK platform. I have a number of Kalashnikov platform weapons and think highly of them. However, I am not going to look to the armed forces of the third world as indicia of what is "best".
  19. MCMXI

    MCMXI Well-Known Member

    My apologies ... since our military doesn't use the FAL (or does it?) then I assumed that this question was directed more at civilian use. Personally, the easy barrel/cartridge swap is one of the most appealing features to me. I reload for 7mm-08 and .260 Rem (soon anyway) in addition to .308 Win. I'd like to have barrels for every .308 Win derived cartridge if possible.

    You're absolutely right ... I completely forgot to add the free-floating barrel and accuracy to the list. My experience with FAL triggers is that they're terrible without quite a bit of work. I only use Geissele SSA triggers in my ARs so I'm probably spoiled.

    1. Ability to swap barrels easily to 7mm-08, .260 Rem, .243 Win or .358 Win (once they're available) ... [superior to FAL, M1A and "AR10" variants]

    2. Ability to operate the charging handle with the rifle shouldered [superior to "AR10" variants].

    3. Adustable LOP and comb [superior to FAL PARA and M1A]

    4. Trigger [superior to FAL and M1A]

    5. AR style mag release [superior to FAL and M1A]

    6. Weight [less than FAL and "AR10"]

    7. Overall length when folded [shorter than M1A and "AR10"]

    8. Optics/bipod/accessories mounting [superior to FAL and M1A]

    9. Free-floating barrel [superior accuracy to FAL and M1A]

  20. nwilliams

    nwilliams Well-Known Member

    Well therein lays the problem. Both the SCAR and the FAL are guns designed for tactical applications so the improvements and differences are mainly going to be related to combat effectiveness. Off the bench the only real improvement of the SCAR over the FAL is that it's going to be inherently more accurate due to a better trigger and free-float barrel.

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