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Classic Army SCAR-L (Mk 16 Mod 0)
  • Manufacturer 
     Classic Army
  • Model 
     SCAR Light
  • Capacity 
     300
  • Weight 
     3500 g
  • Power 
     310
  • Motor 
     
  • Hop-up 
     Adjustable
  • Battery 
     8.4 V Mini type
  • Shooting Mode 
     Semi, Full auto
  • Construction 
     Aluminum, fiber reinforced polymer

Pros

-CNC-finished upper receiver
-Overall sturdy construction
-Excellent finish and detailing
-Ergonomics
-Smooth operation
-Versatility
 

Cons

-Questionable battery size
 

Verdict

An in-house designed replica from Classic Army, representing the higher end of AEGs. Numerous details and well thought design points with fully compatible internal parts based on the widely spread V2 gearbox make this an excellent choice for fans of the SCAR-L and skirmishers as well!

 

CLASSIC ARMY SCAR LIGHT

 

INTRODUCTION AND REAL GUN BACKGROUND

As recently as 2003, the US SOCOM (United States Special Operations Command) announced the search for a new assault rifle for the finest combatants on the face of the Earth. After rigorously testing a few existing models and newly developed candidates, the FN Herstal entry beat out the competition by meeting the criteria and naturally offering a good deal. The new weapon is called the "SCAR", which stands for Special forces Combat Assault Rifle. A lot of insight and feedback from actual operators was used in the design and development process, which has been unbelieveably rapid. The reliability requirements were set to three times the levels of current assault rifles, but the requirements included other important features such as accuracy (sub-MOA) and modularity as well. The weapons family includes two main variants, Light and Heavy, both in three different lengths.

The FN SCAR-L (Mk 16) is loosely based on their older FNC assault rifle. The first SCAR prototypes were in fact built on FNC lower receivers. The upper receiver has been redesigned externally to be modular, allowing the user to mount optics and various other accessories easily to the weapon, to tailor it to suit the specific needs of each mission. The bolt handle can be switched from one side to another depending on the user preference, and all controls are ambidextrous. Being a gas piston operated rifle, it is less prone to overheating and fouling than the AR-15 type weapons family, which direct the hot gases into the action via a gas tube.

The SCAR-L will replace the M4A1 Carbine, Mk 18 CQBR and Mk12 SPR models currently in special forces (SOCOM) service. With 90% of the parts in common between the three SCAR-L variants, it can be adapted to all of these roles with ease. The short and medium variants have barrels just shy of 10 and 14 inches (253 mm and 351 mm respectively), while the long variant reaches to 18" (457 mm). The standard and sniper variants of the SCAR-H will replace the M14-based rifles (such as the EBR) and the Mk 11 (SR-25), and creates new possibilities with the short CQB-model.

 

An operator shooting the real SCAR-L.
The real deal stripped into the main part groups.
The Classic Army SCAR Light with a couple of accessories. (Scope and grip-pod sold separately.)

CLASSIC ARMY

After starting with metal receiver kits for AEGs in 1997, Classic Army has steadily improved in quality and expanded their series to complete airsoft guns. It is a natural step for accessory manufacturers to take, but also a big leap going from individual parts to a whole working system. For this reason most of the complete guns by parts manufacturers are based on existing designs, usually those by Tokyo Marui. As a welcomed side-step, Classic Army started designing their own AEGs as well. While the SCAR is not the first replica featuring their own design elements, it has the least common parts with other models. Despite the unique looks, the internals are standard type, so the AEG holds a great upgrade potential as well! The standard features are as follows:

  • Unique Serial Number
  • 7mm Metal Bearing Gear Box
  • Hi-Cap Magazine (300 Rd)
  • Metal Flip up Front & Rear Sight
  • CNC made Metal Upper Receiver
  • Up to 9.6V Mini Type Battery can be used (8.4V recommended)
  • Fiber Lower Receiver & Retractable Folding Stock
  • Ambidextrous Magazine Catch
  • Bearing Spring Guide, Bearing Piston Head, Sealed Nozzle & Cylinder

    UPON LIFTING THE SCAR-L out of the box, you can't help noticing that the AEG is quite heavy. With a battery and magazine attached, it tips the scale quite accurately to the weight of the real SCAR-L loaded. The Classic Army model represents the medium size of the SCAR-L siblings, with an inner barrel length of 384 mm. It's only a matter of time when the short and long barrels are available, so you can use one platform regardless if you want to be the entry man or "distant surgeon"!

    Judging from pictures found online (as we have not had the pleasure of actually handling a real SCAR), the color scheme of the Classic Army replica seems realistic. The lower receiver and stock are a bit lighter tan, whereas the upper receiver, pistol grip and magazine are darker. The finish is very good all over, and especially the upper receiver is sturdy with sharp details. This is no surprise: The upper receiver is made from an extrusion and CNC-finished, instead of the typical die casting approach. It has screw heads countersunk to various points to replicate the construction of the real SCAR. On this model most of them serve merely a cosmetic function, but do that job really well.

    The plastic parts are the usual Classic Army quality. This means fibre-reinforced polymer: You won't find ABS plastic easily in these AEGs. There are faint seam lines where the halves meet, but it would be rather pedantic (and technically incorrect) of us to complain about seam lines, as they are found on the majority of real guns with polymer parts as well. Sometimes the finish on airsoft guns is actually better than on the real ones! A prime example of this is the AK series.

    The CA SCAR-L has quite a few interesting details, such as the gas regulator (which clicks in different positions with a tactile feel), cheek piece with two positions for irons or optics, ambidextrous selector and magazine catch, flip up front and rear sight, both with adjustment for elevation and windage. The folding stock is adjustable to four different positions to suit a different shooting stance and the armor the operator may be wearing. You can also move the charging handle from one side to the other. The hop-up is accessed via the ejection port as usually. The adjustment dial is stiff enough not to wander by itself, but turns smoothly for a precise setting. This is how the M16 type hop-up should have been from the beginning.

    Color comparison: A Hero Arms Bipod Grip and a Magpul PTS grip (dark earth) shown for comparison.
    A shot of the details and controls. The magazine catch is ambidextrous. Note the wide sling attachment point.
    The flip-up rear sight fits into a recess in the cheek piece, when the latter is raised. The stock is in the longest position here.

    IN ORDER TO SHOOT, you need to insert the battery first. We didn't need instructions to figure out that it goes inside the stock: The wires are visible when the stock is folded, although protected by a heat shrink tube from wear and curious looks. Knocking out a push-pin in the rear gave access to a handy little storage space, but it was far too small for anything else than a few CR123s for your SureFire. Well, it turns out that you need a 3 mm allen key to separate the front and rear parts of the stock to access the battery compartment. Luckily you can place an allen key inside the rear storage compartment, so you'll always find it when you need it. It is also possible to modify the stock to be taken down without tools, by removing a small grub screw which prevents the stock from being pulled out when you extend it.

    So the battery space is limited to a 9.6 V Mini type (600-1400 mAh) battery. This is absolutely no problem for people who are more into the MilSim playing style, but skirmishers with a heavier trigger finger and large magazines will most likely need to change the battery during one day of gaming. A 9.6 V Mini type battery built from modern high capacity NiMH cells has no trouble pulling the typical 400 fps upgrade with a happy rate of fire for about 1000 shots, partially also because of the smoothly built mechanism with 7 mm bearings. It's nice to see that CA didn't cut corners in the realism section just to fit a bigger battery in the stock. Heavy-users will have no problems gutting the stock or using an external power source, and it would be very hard for collectors and other realism-minded persons to trim a stock that is too thick.

    Before getting to the BB-spitting mode, you need to pour BBs into the magazine, wind and insert it. The supplied magazine is an M16 type hi-cap mag with a 300 round capacity. It has a very durable finish to it, and a similar color as the upper receiver. The magazine fed faultlessly during the test period, as did a few other M16-type magazines we tried in the AEG.

    This is what a 8.4 volt battery looks like in the stock. There's room for one more cell to make it 9.6, and you can still fully adjust the stock.
    Remove this screw to allow quick access to the battery compartment. But don't rush when extending the stock if you do!

    GETTING INSIDE the SCAR proved to be very simple - at least to start off with. Unscrewing three screws from the rear of the receiver (two sides and behind the rear sight) allows you to take the stock off, and the recoil spring comes out as well. After knocking out the front takedown pin, which is retained properly with a spring wire, the lower receiver can be pulled out to the rear. This structure is a bit different than the real thing, but it's very sturdy as the upper and lower are mated together with full length rails. It also keeps the gearbox and the barrel assembly perfectly aligned. The inner barrel and hop up chamber slides now out from the rear as usual, so you can change the inner barrel or hop packing if necessary.

    The lower receiver and getting to the gearbox proved to be another story. Classic Army were nice enough to provide instructions for this in the manual, but normally we don't recommend doing it if you are not determined to get into the gearbox. Getting the grip off is the easy part (similar to the AR-15 series), but the FRP lower receiver actually needs to be pried open with a screwdriver to ease the gearbox out! This is not exactly a new thing, as a lot of GBB pistols need to have their plastic slides temporarily deformed to access the GBB mechanism, but a surprising detail to say the least. It doesn't take long to get used to removing and re-seating the gearbox in the lower receiver, and getting the selector switches aligned is not as hard as it sounds.

    The lower receiver slides out on full length rails after removing the stock.
    The CA SCAR-L can be stripped this far with just two allen keys.
    They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but you better not mock the SCAR when you're looking at it from this end!

    THE SHOOTING EXPERIENCE is nothing new to someone who is used to higher end AEGs. Thanks to the 7 mm gearbox with high quality reinforced internals, the shooting sound is really smooth and trigger response is quick. This unit shot an average of 314 fps with 5 fps difference between the highest and lowest velocity. Consistent velocites are usually an indicator of very good accuracy, but this time the groupings were only good without the prefix. The barrel was cleaned and checked before shooting, so the random "flies" are most likely the result of the hop-up being new. Achieving top accuracy would call for a tightbore barrel, but in the stock condition groupings of 160 mm (6") from 20 meters (~60 feet) are perfectly acceptable.

    EVEN THOUGH the SCAR-L looks a bit like someone stuck a funny stock and a hard beetle-shell on a Carbon-15, it has a certain appeal especially when you see someone else shoulder it in a shooting position. Every ergonomic detail, the shapes, the curves and buttons and levers are engineered from a human perspective. From the part when the packaging was opened until the testing was finished, the Classic Army SCAR-L kept increasing its appeal. It's suitable for -very near future- US SOCOM operators (in the airsoft meta-world of course), but also gamers who are looking for an ergonomic, sturdy and versatile AEG platform. Apart from the questionable battery storage size, the SCAR-L is simply an excellent AEG in all respects. If wolves had fingers, we'd point two thumbs up.