When U.S. Special Operations Command (U.S. SOCOM) put out the request for proposal (RFP) for an SOF Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR), weapons manufacturers jumped on it—and the results, for fans of modern combat rifles—have been breathtaking.

In 2003, the SOCOM RFP for a new combat rifle for U. S. Special Forces was met by a hail of bidders—not least of which included Belgium's Fabrique Nationale de Herstal (FNH), Colt, Heckler & Koch and Robinson Arms XCR. And when the dust settled, and the brutal weapons testing was over, the winner of this huge government bid was FN USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Fabrique Nationale Herstal.

SOCOM realized a need for current and future SOF needs.

What was called for was a modular weapons system for elite Special Forces.

That system had to feature a rifle with interchangeable barrels and calibers that could easily be switched out on the battlefield. SOF teams could then take advantage of munitions mustered behind enemy lines. The weapon had to employ a short barrel for Close Quarter Combat (CQC) and a long barrel for long-distance and sniper applications.

SCAR met these and other SOCOM requirements.

The FN SCAR is not fashioned after any existing weapon. SCAR is a gas-operated, short stroke piston action rotating bolt rifle with two distinct models: SCAR-L for light, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition and the SCAR-H for heavy, 7.62x51mm NATO ammunition. Both L and H models are available in Long Barrel, Standard Barrel and CQC short barrel configuration. SCAR-L standard rifles are 33.5 inches long, 24.5 inches with the short barrel. The SCAR-H standard rifle is slightly less than 40 inches long; the short barrel version is 30.3 inches in length.

Rate of fire is 600 rounds per minute. The SCAR-L uses 30-round magazines and the SCAR-H uses 20-round (7.62x51 NATO) and 30-round (7.62x39 M43) ammunition.

The SCAR-L weighs 7.7 pounds empty; the SCAR-H weighs 8.5 pounds empty.

SCAR uses Picatinny rails atop the receiver (front and rear sights fold down) and on either side for sighting and lighting options, and an EGLM (Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module) in 40mm can be mounted to the platform.

The SOF Combat Assault Rifle: Coming soon to a theater of war near you.