SOCOM drops 5.56 SCAR MK16, opts for 7.62 SCAR MK17

The big news making the rounds on the internet today is the exclusive story posted yesterday on Kit Up! about US SOCOM canning the 5.56mm version of the SCAR, and funneling the left over funds earmarked for that rifle to buy more of the 7.62mm Mk17 version of the SCAR instead.  This is a newsworthy – and curious – development indeed.

Whilst the timing of this development comes as a surprise, many people “in the know” knew that SOCOM was having some serious issues with the 5.56mm SCAR Mk16 for quite a while.  In a nutshell, the SCAR turned out to not offer offer the significant improvements / advances over the M4 SOPMOD or the HK 416 that SOCOM had hoped for. 

So, the decision to DX the Mk16 now is clearly a case of SOCOM deciding to cut their losses and use the remaining SCAR programme funds to purchase a rifle that supposedly provides a capability improvement over current assets – the 7.62x51mm NATO calibre Mk17.  However, if the Mk16 SCAR wasn’t robust enough for the job it needed to do – will the Mk17 (firing the more powerful 7.62mm round) really be any better?

Now, I have to confess that I was never a fan of the SCAR in the first place – admittedly, all I had to go on was desk-research, but everything I saw or read about it from people who have used it or tested it said to me that it was at best a developmental cul-de-sac.  There’s an old saying that the camel is what happened when a committee tried to design a horse – and to me, the SCAR was a camel of a rifle.  You really have to wonder why all the money spent on developing, testing and fielding the SCAR couldn’t have been used to buy HK 416s and 417s – or any of the other excellent piston-driven AR-platform rifles on the market already.

From my perspective; its good riddance to the SCAR Mk16 – but why not ditch the Mk17 as well and go with something like the LM308MWS from LMT, or the HK 417? 


Both of these rifles have been shown to be superb tools for the job, and have a much greater degree of parts commonality and user familiarity with their 5.56mm little brothers.  Just my two cents worth…

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