Pop culture -mass media, movies, TV and Internet- made Special Forces’ warriors immensely popular. Hard men, with excellent training in superb physical and mental shape doing top secret missions deep behind the enemy lines. This is all true and top warriors need best tools of the trade. US Special forces are under direct command of SOCOM (Special Operations Command) which has recently run several programs for new weapon platforms. It is not a secret that M16/M4 family has probably peaked and despite being a reliable and accurate system it has its limitations. SOCOM invited several manufacturers to propose a system, which is M4/M16 compatible; however, one of demands was that gas impingement system must be replaced by short stroke piston. One of the proposed models is SCAR, produced by FN Herstal. One of the key features of FN SCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) is modularity and SCAR is actually a family of weapons. For understanding of this article it is important to know that there are SCAR-L (Mk 16) in 5,56mm and SCAR-H (Mk 17) in 7,62mm variant. There are also variants with different barrel lengths, but they are not really important for this article. Still, it remains to be seen if and when this family will replace ubiquitous M16/M4 family.
Enough of the banter, lets start with actual review, shall we?
Official name of this product is CA SCAR-Light and in order to maintain some brevity we will omit “Light” and designate is simply as CA SCAR. Classic Army decided that first in the line will be SCAR in tan; good news for people, building “sandbox” loadouts. Lower receiver is made out of resilient fiber plastic, upper receiver is machined out of one solid piece of aluminum (very similar to LMT monolith upper receivers). Picatinny rail is milled into entire length of the upper receiver and additional three shorter rails (at 3,6 and 9 o’clock) are secured by hex screws.
There is no fore grip in classical sense. Plastic parts (stock, lower receiver) don’t match upper receiver or magazine color wise- which is pretty much true to the original.
Markings are laser engraved on upper receiver at the exact same spot as on the real one. Serial number is individual; markings read CLASSIC ARMY / EX16 MOD 0 / CAL 5.56 / 0000732. Fabrique Nationale doesn’t grant rights to use the name to airsoft manufacturers- which is a shame, really.
Even without knowing the USSOCOM’s demands it is obvious that compatibility with existing parts and accessories (magazines, 1913 rails) and short transition period were pretty high on the list. Indeed, if you ever handled ArmaLite replica, you will instantly recognize commands on CA SCAR- with a twist. They are all ambidextrous, as both magazine releases and fire selectors can be engaged with either left or right hand. Magazine catch lacks the distinctive sound and feel when a magazine is inserted and positively seated. We are not suggesting that it is not doing its job; it just lacks the sound and the feel.
Fire selector is somewhat similar to those, found on M4/M16; however, latch is bigger and give gloved hand more positive feeling. Caution- they are fixed in same manner as G36 fire selectors with grub screw, which means that you should periodically check the tightness of the locking screw.
Clicks are well pronounced and positive; marks goes from S (Safe) to 1 (Single fire) and finally A (automatic).
Charging handle is also ambidextrous- to a point. You need to unscrew it (via small screw) and relocate it on the other side of the replica. Sadly bolt stop catch doesn’t stop bolt in the locked position, which would make adjustment of the HopUp much easier; despite that it is fairly simple as there is ample space even for sausage like fingers like mine. HopUp is adjusted with rotary dial. More about inner working in the second half of the review.
Magazine well is very tight and magazine is safely secured with no play. As always, Classic Army SCAR comes with 300 round HiCap magazine in tan color. We didn’t test compatibility of the magazines, but it works with Marui (HiCap/NormCap), ICS (HiCap) and G&P (MidCap) magazines.
CA SCAR stock is a masterpiece. It is hinged, fully adjustable with the rubber pad. It includes user adjustable cheek piece with 2 positions (up an down) and it is secured with big (metal) push button. Cheek piece has a groove at the top, so it does not interfere with rear sight when raised. Stock can also be adjusted in length. Again, big push button has to be pressed in order to extend stock to one of the 3 positions. When fully extended, it has a mm or two of play.
When it is not needed, overall length of the replica can be shortened by folding the stock. Again, a metal button is pushed and stock can be folded against the body (it is held in position by plastic tooth, similar to G36). As you can see from the picture, even with folded stock it is possible to access all controls without major problems.
Despite being plastic I think that stock will survive abuse of the airsoft field. And now something about stock that is not so good. It stores the battery. A small battery. Even though things changed and we have small and efficient cells (and old 600mAh batteries are long forgotten) this still somewhat limits possibility of upgrades.
Cable is well protected and is is not possible to pinch is while closing the stock. Position of single hex screw can be seen on the picture below. Change of battery is a little slow and you will need a hex key, which is somewhat inconvenient.
Procedure is thankfully not very complicated. You have to unscrew the hex screw, pull the stock extension out and replace the battery, reinsert the stock extension and replace the hex screw. This can be done well under one minute, but I can imagine that it is hassle on the playing field, especially as you need to carry a hex key with you.
Sights are very easy to use. Time for little digression: primary users of SCAR are members of special forces, with bigger budgets than regular units. This means that they have freedom to use a wide variety of optics. Most pictures of SOCOM personnel, armed with SCAR, have some sort of optics installed.
Both sights are folding, so they don’t interfere with optics. However, this doesn’t mean they they are no good- quite on contrary. The sights are excellent.
Front sight is lowered and raised with simple press of the button on the side of the sight. In order to lower it, you have to press button and push it back into forward position. Rear sight is adjustable peeping type and can be adjusted in both windage and elevation. Base is marked with numbers from 1-8 (100-800 meters).
Sling swivels are -naturally – ambidextrous. When you purchase sling for CA SCAR, don’t buy the cheapest one. Why? Read on.
Attention to detail is excellent: bolt stop catch is being held by a spring so it actually moves- sadly without function. Same goes to gas regulator, found on the gas chamber; naturally, it has no function, it only rotates and clicks.
Appearance of this replica is excellent and I have hard time coming up with any valid criticisms.
Basic stripping is quick and very similar to ArmaLites. Upper receiver is held to the lower receiver with two pins and a three hex screws.
But getting gearbox out of the lower receiver is much more complicated as you have to pry gearbox out of the lower receiver- but it is doable. You will hate it at your first attempt, as you have to be certain that both fire selectors are aligned exactly as pictured in the manual. Also, you will lightly scratch the surface of the gearbox (as seen on the pictures). Please note that lighting greatly exaggerates scratches making them very visible.
When prying the gearbox out of lower receiver you will probably get some grit on the lower receiver. Some silicone oil and rag should take care of this, though. And finally gearbox is free. CA SCAR uses standard V2 gearbox with couple of notable exceptions:
– fire selector plate, which is enormous, compared to regular V2 fire selector plate
– large cams on the outside of the gearbox, which are connected with fire selector levers
– nozzle, which is considerably longer than usual V2 nozzle.
Gearbox is similar to gearboxes from CQB series. Engineers at Classic Army did a good job and made very robust and sturdy gearbox, with no weak spots. Combination of yellow polycarbonate piston with aluminum head and spring guide with bearing ensure smooth work.
However a lightened piston/piston head setup would be more favorable.
HopUp chamber is metal and cross between standard metal CA ArmaLite metal chamber and CA AUG dial type.
Putting it together again is requires similar action, but in reverse order. Again it is necessary to stress correct position of both fire selector levers when doing so. Follow the steps, outlined in the manual to the letter. Again: trick is to correctly align fire selectors, so they are disconnected from the cams.
You will definitely need two thing while on the field: one is a good sling, as this replica is quite heavy; and second, a vertical RIS grip. 1913 rail on the bottom tends to get uncomfortable- edges of 1913 rail will dig into your hand, gloves or not. If you don’t fancy bare RIS interface, you can secure 1913 compatible replica grenade launcher or alternatively, a low profile rail protectors. Replica is rock solid, no creaking or moaning, especially when you pad battery space with a piece of soft rubberized material.
HopUp is easily adjusted and its setting does not reset itself. Accuracy is excellent, as well as range. Measured velocity of .20g BBs were slightly under 100 m/s (328 fps), which is expected with a new replica.
Replica is very handy; despite visually being quite long, it is actually only as long as M4A1. Length of CA SCAR inner barrel is 384mm. This is important, if you decide to change stock 6,08mm brass barrel to something tighter.
Yes, review is up to now reassuringly positive. How about some downsides? It uses small battery. It is not first such replica and you can always take two on the field. Change of battery is slow? In the third try I managed to change battery well under a minute and there was room for improvement. Taking a gearbox out of lower receiver is awkward? True, but you won’t be doing it on regular basis.
And nothing more.
Classic Army SCAR-L is a new product with price, which is somewhat higher that expected. I’m following Classic Army from their first products and quality wise they come a long way. They become a mature player who listens to the player base. And CA SCAR Light is a proof of that.
Test item was provided by ActionSportGames.com