FN SCAR 15 Short-Barreled Rifle: The World’s Sexiest SBR

by Tommy Grant

America is awash to its gunwales in AR-15 rifles. We use Gene Stoner’s classic smoke pole for home defense, recreation, law enforcement, and hunting. However, the basic design is fully sixty years old.

Six decades is a long time. Sixty years ago a telephone was as big as a running shoe and remained tethered to the wall. Decent computers occupied entire buildings. Surely this deep into the Information Age we can do better.

FN SCAR 15 SBR Build

The current state of the art is the FN SCAR. SCAR stands for Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle. That is arguably the coolest gun name in military history. Developed in 2004 as a result of a solicitation by the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), the SCAR is currently in service with more than 20 countries.

The central tenet around which the SCAR orbits is modularity. The weapon is offered in two broad versions, the SCAR-L (Light) and SCAR-H (Heavy). Common receivers can be configured into everything from a micro Personal Defense Weapon to a carbine to an assault rifle to a designated marksman rifle with several increments in between. The SCAR-L saw combat service with U.S. Army Rangers in 2009. The SCAR-H remains in USSOCOM arms rooms today.

The SCAR 17S is the 7.62x51mm semi-auto version of the SCAR-H. The SCAR 20S is the heavy barrel precision version. Meanwhile, the SCAR 16S is the civilianized example of the standard 5.56x45mm GI combat rifle, while the SCAR 15P is a stubby pistol variant of the same gun featuring a 7.5-inch barrel and abbreviated everything. Now hold that thought.

Inflation Nation

Absolutely everything is more expensive these days. In the latter months of the Trump administration, gas in my neighborhood ran about $1.78 a gallon. Now it is nearly twice that. Our money just doesn’t go terribly far these days.

Take a moment and ponder what $200 will get you. When I was a kid a pair of c-notes was an astronomical amount of money. Nowadays, $200 will take the family out for dinner and a movie if the kids bring friends. That’s objectively bad, but there is a silver lining.

The draconian legislation that governs machine guns, sound suppressors, and short-barreled weapons in America is the National Firearms Act of 1934. The $200 transfer tax back then was the equivalent of $4,600 today. This astronomical tax effectively stopped all commerce in guns the government didn’t want us to have. And then inflation finally had its way with the National Firearms Act.

Today $200 is hardly front pocket change, but it’s not the massive buzz wrecker that it once was. So long as you live in a free state, the typical American with a clean record can sign up on the BATF’s e-Forms website and file a Form 1 to create a short-barreled rifle at home. The site is kind of antiquated and the fingerprint requirements are tedious, but it’s doable for normal folks. If you can navigate your cell phone contract you should be able to pull this off.

In years past it was the processing time that was so onerous. I once had an NFA form take fourteen months to clear. However, a buddy told me recently that he had a Form 1 application he submitted electronically approved in a week. I have actually met a few of the good folks who work at the BATF’s NFA Branch in Martinsburg, Virginia. Considering the volume of transfers we run through those guys, that is unbelievable performance.

A small folding stock added to the FN SCAR 15P makes it handy.

FN SCAR 15 SBR Source Material

The mission was to build the world’s coolest SBR (Short-Barreled Rifle). The FN SCAR 15P pistol served as a foundation. This gas piston-driven, big-boned handgun sports an aluminum receiver and polymer fire control system along with ambidextrous switches and unparalleled reliability. The gun comes with two charging handles, one straight and the other angled. I mounted one up on each side.

The SCAR 15P is available in either black or FDE and sports rail space aplenty. The full-length Picatinny rail up top is adequate for all manner of tactical glass, and the gas system is readily adjustable without tools. While hardly cheap, the SCAR 15P is likely the most reliable 5.56x45mm combat weapon in the world.

The SCAR 15P comes from the factory with a butt cap in lieu of a stock. Several companies produce aftermarket folding stocks for the SCAR family of weapons. Options range from expensive to insane with everything in between.

Original SCAR stocks are a drop-in fit but are spendy and can be tough to find. Some of the most exotic of the lot will set you back a grand, which is just nuts. However, the butt cap includes a short length of Pic rail that will accept an inexpensive adaptor. Thusly configured, the SCAR 15P will rock any standard M4 stock or a SIG-style side folder.

Accuracy results with the FN SCAR 15 SBR.

Exercising Your Stock Options

Once the paperwork came back approved, it was a painless chore to mount up one of several buttstocks. As we wanted to do this up right, I also set the gun up with a Trijicon ACOG and a nice Streamlight tactical light. The end result is compact, versatile, and more fun than Joe Biden believes you should be allowed to have. 

The stubby little 7.5-inch barrel corners like a Bugatti. The buttstock adjusts in several different axes and is more versatile than your favorite multi-tool. The FN SCAR 15 SBR is right at home securely tucked behind the door in the closet for those times when the dog just won’t shut up at two o’clock in the morning.

Absolutely nothing about this project was cheap. However, you get what you pay for is more than just a trite truism. The tricked-out SCAR 15 SBR is accurate, reliable, effective, and inimitably sexy cool. It will also make you some new friends at the local shooting range.

For more info, visit FNAmerica.com, Trijicon.com and Streamlight.com.

FN SCAR 15 SBR Specifications

  • Type: Gas Piston-Driven Semi-automatic
  • Caliber: 5.56x45mm
  • Barrel: 7.5 inches
  • Overall Length: 20 inches Retracted/ 30 inches Extended
  • Weight: 6.1 pounds
  • Finish: Black Anodized
  • Sights: Detachable Backup Iron Sights/Trijicon ACOG
  • MSRP (Gun Only): $3,699 
FN SCAR 15 SBR folded.

Performance Specifications

Load Group Size (inches) Velocity (fps)
Federal 55-grain FMJ 1.25 2,252
Remington 55-grain FMJ 0.7 2,345
SIG Sauer 77-grain OTM 0.5 1,890

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