The SCAR 17 or SCAR H to give it it’s military designation is what is known as a ‘battle rifle’ rather than the more common ‘assault rifle’. The key differences between these two types of rife is that a battle rifle fires a full power cartridge rather than the smaller ammunition of a typical ‘assault rifle’ such as the NATO 5.56mm or 7.62x39mm or the 7.92x33mm Kurz round for the Stg 44 the first ever assault rifle.
Figure-1: the 7.92x33 kurz. The idea behind the smaller rounds for assault rifles is that they give rifle performance far outclassing the performance and range of sub machine guns but offering accuracy and adequate performance over common infantry combat ranges without the vicious recoil and heavier ammunition of a full sized battle rifle. At the time the 7.92x33 round was developed for the Stg 44 full sized battle rifles were firing rounds like the .303 british, .30-06 and 7.92 mm mauser Image by Volhv944 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
While the more convenient the lighter assault rifle cartridges allow us to carry more ammunition, minimises recoil there is still a need in modern combat for the option of the greater firepower offered by full power cartridges. The SCAR is chambered in the NATO 7.62x51 mm round, identical to the .308 Winchester round and the round of choice of NATO immediately after the Second World War as they searched for a universal round to equip the armed forces of all its member nations. The .308 Win was adopted due to the USA’s insistence on a .30 minimum calibre although the .280 British performed more favourably in trials and would have advanced the development of ‘assault rifles’ by some ten or fifteen years if it had been adopted.
Instead until the M16 entered service with the American armed forces in 1964 the US’s M-14, and the FN-FAL in all its variations were the personal weapons issued to NATO soldiers until the 5.56 round was adopted. Even after the adoption of the smaller 5.56mm in recognition of the decreasing average combat range and to make service rifles more user friendly it was clear that there was still a demand for the more powerful cartridges in the designated marksman role or to provide additional power for engaging a concealed enemy through cover. There is though no need for every member of a platoon to carry the heavier battle rifles and they tend to be used in designated marksman roles and by Special Forces where individual soldiers have a bit more freedom to select their weapons.
The SCAR H fills the role of battle rifle and was designed by Fabrique National to the specific requirements of United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for their Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) project which is where the rifle takes its name from. Although we are discussing the SCAR mk 17 which is a civilian variant of the SCAR H in this article the SCAR actually competed in the trials chambered in both 7.62x51 and 5.56x45.
The civilian 5.56mm version is known as the mk 16 and fulfils the assault role and has been adopted by several European military and police forces. In 5.56 it would be perfectly suited for use with reflex and red dot style optics for combat or practical target shooting but to take advantage of the range and power of the larger more powerful 7.62mm cartridge of the mk 17 full sized optics are a better option.
- Picking Your Scope
- Top 9 Best Scope For SCAR 17 - Comparision Table
- Top 9 Best Scope For SCAR 17 on the Market Reviews:
Picking Your Scope
Picking a scope for a rifle like the SCAR 17 is fairly strait forward, there are loads of suitable options on the market but probably the most important thing to consider is that this rifle is designed for battlefield conditions and probably one of the most likely civilian uses of it will be three gun competition shooting or self/home-defence and in those roles your optic needs to be as rugged as your rifle.
Consider a typical three gun competition as you choose your optics: The name of the discipline sums it up fairly well, three gun competition involves using three types of firearm; pistol, rifle and shotgun over a timed ‘practical’ shooting course. Targets range from paper to steel gongs and might even include clay pigeons. You can also rack up penalty points for shooting ‘no shoot’ targets in the heat of the moment or even by shooting a target with the wrong firearm or wrong ammunition, some targets will be designated to be engaged with a rifle others with a shotgun and some specifically to be shot with a shotgun slug rather than shot.
For the rifle elements though you might be engaging targets from just a few meters to six or eight hundred and will need a versatile scope not to mention one that is strong and rugged to cope with running and shooting from dynamic positions potentially from behind cover, supported, standing, prone or on the run. To cope with this there is little point going for really cheap optics as they just won’t manage the abuse or the recoil of the .308.
Also a simple red dot or reflex sight won’t give you the capability at the longer ranges and you will need to think about a proper scope that can work at close range as well as provide precision further out. Here are a few things to consider when you make your choice;
Smaller objectives might not gather light as well as larger ones but they are lighter, can be mounted closer to the bore of the rifle for a better shooting position and firmer cheek weld. They are also easier to shoot with both eyes open which is important for close range or dynamic targets allowing you to gain a sight picture quickly and shoot moving targets much more effectively.
Don’t rely too much on high mag scopes as at close range they are almost impossible to use and are inherently heavier and less practical for practical shooting but are potentially essential over the longer distances that this rifle allows you to shoot at thanks to its powerful cartridge.
Consider a longer eye relief scope in the style of a Scout Rifle, this will give you a considerable advantage on short range targets and no significant disadvantage at mid-range targets. For very long range shooting they are not ideal but are a good middle ground.
The SCAR is constructed according to stringent military specifications and is much tougher than your average hunting rifle, it should still be entirely functional even if it is put through abuse that you normally wouldn’t subject a civilian rifle to, consider this when you are buying a scope for it and the fact that putting a twenty round magazine or two of .308 through a rifle relatively quickly puts great stress on a rifle.
Go for a scope that matches the quality of the rifle and which won’t let you down when you are competing or if you need it in a life and death situation.
Top 9 Best Scope For SCAR 17 -
BARSKA 1-4X28 IR Scope
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Schmidt and bender PM II Riflescope
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Trijicon RS24 AccuPower
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Schmidt and Bender 3-20x50 PM II Ultra Short
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Top 9 Best Scope For SCAR 17 on the Market Reviews:
1 BARSKA 1-4X28 IR Scope
I have been using Barska products for almost a decade now and this low power scope would be an option for your SCAR if you have a tight budget, it will perform adequately for you it will not compete with products by the likes of Leupold, Shmidt and Bender or Trijicon but if you are not the kind of person to spend as much on your scope as you do on your rifle then this might be an option.
It will not let you down in terms of its ruggedness unless you really abuse it and its 1-4 power scope will be ideal for close and mid-range shots without slowing down target acquisition at close range and will give you enough magnification to use the .308 out to its full potential range. The illuminated reticle helps with fast target acquisition and can be adjusted from red to green for a clear sight picture in any light conditions.
It is small but that can be an advantage on a tactical rifle and for all the reasons already stated this small size does make target acquisition easier. If you have bought a SCAR though you may want an optic that has a few more features and matches your rifle in terms of quality and rugedness, this is great as a budget option but some of the following recommendations will give you more features.
2 Schmidt and bender PM II Riflescope
Scmidt and Bender produce some of the best scope for hunters, long range shooters and soldiers and are known throughout the world for their exceptional quality and outstanding craftsmanship.
This scope will perform at the very maximum of the ranges you can reach with the .308 cartridge of the SCAR and will definitely do all you need it to at the 800 meters or so that the SCAR is designed to be used at typically. This is the kind of scope that you want for when using the SCAR in the designated marksman role and at longer ranges.
The target turrets for dialling in windage and elevation are a great way to make those adjustments you need for mid to long range shooting and the illuminate reticle will help in low light conditions.
3 Trijicon ACOG
One of the most well-known modern tactical scopes, seen on top of innumerable service rifles from the M4 carbines of the US military to the British SA80 and many others. They have become a staple optic for military and law enforcement and are extremely robust, battle proven and importantly intuitive and simple to use. .
This particular model gives you a 4x32 optic with illuminated reticle but also a reflex sight mounted above the optic as a secondary aiming device for very close range shooting or as a backup. This Trijicon retails at round $1000 but it is a true quality item and extremely robust.
4 Trijicon RS24 AccuPower
Trijicon might just be the biggest name in tactical optics; they are best known for their ACOG range of optical sights for military applications, you have seen one of these already in this list of recommendations but they also offer more traditional scopes like this one.
Trijicon were established in 1981 and famous all over the world for innovation and for the rugged quality of their products. Their use of tritium and fibre optic technology in their optics is particularly well known. They are an official supplier of the Unites States Government, Marine Corps, Army, SOF as well militaries of countries all over the world and of state and local law enforcement agencies.
The AccuPower range of scopes contains products from this small 1-4 power option all the way to a massive 5-50x56mm model for serious long range shooting. This smaller model is great for fast target acquisition and shooting on the move while still being suitable for precise shooting at medium ranges. Four reticle options allow you to choose the best one for you including a single post sight for fast target acquisition to complex reticles with milradian marks for easily adjusting for holdover and windage. Whatever reticle suits your shooting style and it will feature LED illumination to help you find your targets even in the lowest light conditions.
5 Nikon P-308 4-12x40 Riflescope
The SCAR 17 is chambered in the extremely popular .308 Winchester cartridge and this scope offers a feature uniquely suited to that cartridge. It has a Bullet Drop Calculator reticle designed for a 168 grain match load in the .308 round and graduated out to 800 meters.
All adjustments can be made via convenient target turrets graduated for 1/4 MOA adjustments when you have enough time to make those adjustments, if not the BDC reticle allows you to take quick, accurately aimed shots at range without having to dial in any adjustments. Nikon scopes also feature great quality glass for the best image quality possible while not breaking the bank.
6 Schmidt and Bender 3-20x50 PM II Ultra Short
Ultimately the SCAR 17 is a tactical rifle designed for battle and is not a sniping platform despite the potency of the .308 cartridge and its status as a designated marksman rifle.
The problem with mounting a scope capably of getting the best out of the .308 on a small fast rifle is that they are often very large, heavy and unwieldy but this premium product from legendary optics manufacturer Schmidt and Bender combats that with this ultra-short scope that still packs impressive specs. It can be used at a very low magnification of three power or wound all the way up to twenty when you need the precision for longer shots. The 50 mm objective gives great light gathering characteristics and the scope also features an illuminated red dot for low light condition which might make it hard to see the fine reticle.
7 Monstrum Tactical 4-14x44
Monstrum tactical offer some excellent affordable tactical optics; extremely rugged and packed with features for the tactical marksman this particular model not only has target turrets for ease of adjusting for range and windage but also features a rangefinding reticle that due to this scope being in first focal plane will give reliable readings and stay constant no matter what magnification setting you have your scope on.
The 44 millimetre objective lens might not gather as much light as some of the larger 50 or 56mm but this does allow the scope to be mounted closer to the action of the rifle for a more comfortable shooting position.
Mostrum tactical might not have the reputation of some of the European brands of optic or of American brands like Leupold and Bushnell but they are getting rave reviews amongst their users and are a great affordable option for your SCAR 17.
8 Bushnell Engage
This scope from Bushnell is a great choice for your SCAR 17, while it does come in a range of magnification ranges and objective sizes the 3-12x42mm option is a great one for your rifle. It offers moderate magnification without being too powerful and the 42mm objective keeps it close to the action of the rifle for a good shooting position.
Side focus and target turrets allow you to make all necessary adjustments from a comfortable shooting position and while not as rugged as the toughest scopes featured here it will get the job done for you without breaking the bank.
9 Burris Fastfire III
You have already seen the option to mount a reflex sight on top of an ACOG scope and the Burris fastfire sight gives you that option for other optics as well. Scopes do reduce your field of view and at very close range they will not be the fastest way to take aim and fire at a target. One of these small reflex sights can be mounted easily to the top of a scope for close range targets or directly on the weapons picatinny rail. It won’t get the full potential out of the SCAR 17 but it is a good addition to your setup as in the picture below mounted on top of a Burris XTR ii.
There are plenty of options here for any budget looking to put a scope on a SCAR 17, if you have scrimped and saved for a SCAR and just can’t afford much on a scope something like the Monstrum will be perfect for you and give you plenty of functionality at a bargain price.
If you want an optic of the same standard as your SCAR then the ultra-short Schmidt and Bender would be my choice and unmatched in terms of quality, functionality or ruggedness. The PM series of Schmidt and Bender scopes are without equal in terms of tactical shooting and sniping and will be the perfect rugged accompaniment to your SCAR no matter what the range or conditions.
eoff has a background in professional game and deer management, he has put his years of experience to good use and now lectures at Hartpury College, one of the UK’s leading providers of land based education. He specialises in training game and wildlife managers who will go on to work in professional game management, conservation and other outdoor professions. He has been teaching at colleges for eight years and in that time has worked at some of the most prestigious land based colleges in Britain.
He has also worked in lead instructor roles at outdoor education centres and as manager of outdoor centres in Norfolk and Scotland and has also operated his own bushcraft and survival skills training companies for many years. He specialises in providing training in bushcraft, survival skills, wild food, and woodcraft.