First Look: Ares SCR Rifle, and How It Works


While assault weapons bans are in effect in some states, that doesn’t mean that an AR-15 rifle is out of their reach. There are a number of companies that make AWB-compliant rifles for those markets, but the vast majority of those manufacturers take the approach of simply neutering the existing design and selling a substandard product. Ares Defense didn’t think that was good enough, and instead of simply chopping up an AR-15 they completely re-designed the gun. And in the process, they came up with something that is a nifty gun in its own right.

According to the guys at the booth, the idea for the SCR first came around when it was looking like the Federal AWB would be renewed in 2004 and the full featured AR-15 would be a thing of the past — permanently. They saw all of the AWB-compliant parts out there, especially the pinned collapsible stocks, and believed that they could make something better.

And so they did.


The SCR is probably best described as an unholy union between a shotgun and an AR-15. Since there’s no proper buffer tube the gun instead uses an articulated spur on the back-end of the bolt carrier just like that on a shotgun, and recoils downward into the stock that way. The front-end of the bolt carrier is just like that off a standard AR-15, which means you can use any existing upper receiver without any modification.


So far the rifle has been displayed with AAC’s 9″ 300 BLK upper on it, but the guys at Ares Defense actually like the feel of the stock on their long range and hunting configurations as well. And I can’t blame them — it’s downright comfortable to hold. If you like a traditional stock, you’ll like this gun just fine.

We’ve been promised a rifle for a full review shortly, so stay tuned.


About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

101 Responses to First Look: Ares SCR Rifle, and How It Works

  1. avatarDefens says:

    Quite reminiscent of the pre-modular battle rifle designs like the SAFN/FN49, VZ-58, or MAS 49/56. All of those were quite nice rifles or carbines, actually. They were steps in an evolution to the modern modular rifles. The ARES SCR is a step backwards in evolution (devolution), but at least it’s designed to be that way, not some tacked-on abortion of an accessory like most of the buttstock/pistol grip compromises currently on the market.

    I would have no reason to buy one, but it wouldn’t pain me terribly to do so.

  2. avatarMAXIMUS says:

    So how is the trigger? And how much does it cost?

  3. Very cool. The bolt reminds me of my Rem 11-48.

  4. avatarSelousX says:

    Very cool!

  5. avatarBigred2989 says:

    I actually kinda hope this will somehow lead to someone making an affordable AR design with a buffer tube-less action.

    • avatarAndrew says:

      Rock River makes one, but a bit on the pricey side.

      I think there are other makers as well of bufferless pistol AR’s.

      • avatarRusty Shackleford says:

        I actually really like the RRA design, even the ribbed handguard. Now, if they could scale it up to a .308 version that takes SR25/Pmags and a price of around $2K or less…

    • avatarCliff H says:

      Because of a wrist injury I much prefer pistol grips, but if I understand this correctly the “buffer” for the bolt actually travels down into the grip portion of the stock at an angle, rather than straight back like a usual AR.

      That being the case, how about a design that allows for an adjustable length pull? I’m a big guy and such a stock would look cool AND give me the proper stock length. Seems like MagPul could come up with something.

    • avatarBillD says:

      Kel-Tec Su-16, Sig 556, Saiga 223…all fit the bill.

  6. The mag release looks a little awkward to get to, though.

    • avatarLarryinTX says:

      Interesting. Yes it does, but I think it is in the usual position, just looks awkward because of the lack of a pistol grip!

    • avatarAndyFrom CT says:

      I’m sure either ARES or another parts manufacturer will make an extended mag release for it.

    • avatarRob says:

      Depending on sales volume, I imagine an aftermarket mag-release extension. Something akin to the aftermarket ambidextrous releases or Magpul’s Battery Assist Device spring to mind.

  7. avatarGWHNick says:

    Living in CA, I really like this idea. Using bullet buttons is just a PITA and I can see this selling on a huge scale over here.

    • Lord knows you guys could use a break.

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      There are – not that I have any – cool products such as the Vamfire Freelock mini kit, Raddlock, and such which will actually allow an AR to be reloaded in less than 2 hours. And such things are currently in stock at They are very easy to install, according to this guy I talked to once.

  8. avatarHobbez says:

    I would buy one for the unique factor alone, but it seems to me that it would be comfy. Make my uppers feel like the 700bdl that’s been my hunting partner for the last 20 years. Not to forget the middle finger to slave state legislators as a bonus.

  9. avatarNick D says:

    Seems like a neat idea, and any idea that gives antis fits fills me with glee, but I’d still prefer the belt-fed on their posters, given the choice. Any chance you guys can review an Ares Shrike?

    • avatarSteve in MD says:

      There’s an idea. Put a belt-fed upper on this.

      Why? Because we can.

    • avatarNick D says:

      Any thoughts on making this compatible with Magpul SGA stocks? Better ergonomics, and would match the Magpul forend and any other cool Magpul parts I put on it. Yes, I am a shill for Magpul. Can I have my corporate sponsorship now?

  10. avatarH.R. says:

    The BCG with the spur on it reminds me of the FAL. Interesting solution.

    • avatarJoe says:

      HR, the Rem 1100/1187, use a spur that recoils into the stock, and is rebuffed by a spring in in the stock.

    • avatarYossarian says:

      Same here – Reminds me of the FAL. This rifle also reminds me of a mullet: Business in the front, party in the back. Except it’d be AR-15 in the front. All-in-all, it’s a really smart solution.

  11. avatarTehWanderer says:

    I’d buy one. Especially if it came with a wood stock. Put one of those ironwood handguards on there and it’d be some unholy fusion of old-school battle rifle and new-school technology (and much better looking than that keltec M43 or whatever it’s called). And it would confuse the hell out of the antis, it looks like grampa’s hunting rifle but is really an *eevil* black rifle! Two birds with one stone, huzzah!

    • avatarAccur81 says:

      A wood stock would be badass. Heck, wooden rail covers, even. It would give the antis histrionics.

    • avatarPaul Zimmerli says:

      I’d not only go for the wooden furniture, how about a Doug Turnbull-style case hardening job on the metalwork? We’d have anti’s peein’ panties because it would be so legal, so classic, and sellable!

      Of course, there’s another (sinister?) part of me that wants to see it with a P90 setup on the upper! Nyah-hah-hah….

  12. avatarDavid PA/NJ says:

    It is still semi, right? I’m not sure how that operates

    • avatarChris. says:

      Yes it’s semi-automatic.

      appears to be gas operated. If you go to the above link you can see it in a different profile, shows the gas block.

      Since they claim: the ARES SCR™ accepts most Modern Sporting Rifle accessories and parts including magazines, upper receivers, barrels, bolts, handguards and optics

      I’d assume Direct-Impingement.

      • avatarLarryinTX says:

        The pic of the BCG shows what looks just like an AR BCG cut off right behind the firing pin, in fact I think you can see the firing pin! The gas thingy (brain fart) on top of the BCG looks like the same item as on a DI AR-15, not just similar. I suspect there is a LOT of interchangability here.

      • avatarAnon in CT says:

        That’s a shame. Seems like a perfect excuse for a piston.

        • avatarint19h says:

          The whole point of this thing is to be compatible with any random AR-15 upper. I’m not sure if there are any piston uppers that can be used with a stock AR BCG, but if they exist then they should be compatible as well. If not, well, someone should just make a piston BCG that works in this.

  13. avatarGregolas says:

    Looks like real competition for the Ruger Mini-14.

  14. avatarPFDinATL says:

    Can you say Kel-Tec? This is very similar, aside from the caliber.

  15. avatarDV says:

    Sans shell deflector, forward assist. Do standard upper assemblies really fit?

  16. avatarValleyForge77 says:

    Definitely cool. Can’t wait for a full review!

  17. avatarManuel says:

    cool rifle! hope they come with a .308 vesion, would be awesome :)

  18. avatarDon says:

    I kind of like the look of this.

  19. avatarBDub says:

    Cool. I’d buy one in .308. Will they be selling the lowers separately?

  20. avatarCA.Ben says:

    Do aftermarket ar15 trigger groups drop in?

  21. avatarb00jum says:

    Is there any mention of selling just the lowers and BCGs at some point? I’ve got plenty of uppers already.

  22. avatarSigGuy says:

    Now that’s a ghost gun!

  23. avatarPeterK says:

    It actually looks pretty great. I’d buy that. If I needed to, heh.

  24. avatarRion says:

    So its basically a American take on the Saiga rifle?
    figures this would happen lol.

  25. avatarlolinski says:

    Hope they make a version with a 20 inch barrel, wooden stock and bluing instead of all those high-tech finishes. Simply because it would draw in many of the fence-sitters and fudds.

    • avatarLucas D. says:

      Isn’t the “.223 sport rifle with wood furniture and a blued finish” already adequately covered by a bog-standard Mini-14? And the Fudds tend to not be swayed by anything that isn’t their ol’ bolt-action deer rifle and double-barreled fowling piece.

      • avatarlolinski says:

        True that but the Mini-14 has a reputation for being, how do I put it? Precision challenged? The one we tried patterned about as well as a shotgun. The shotgun was a Baikal (which are great BTW, we ran over one with a truck then we needed a new truck).

        True they can become accurate with tuning and add-on parts, but many people (read: hunters) don’t really do much more to a gun than add a scope, sling and a suppressor.

        Besides, here in Norway the Mini-14 is banned by name (though the Mini-30 isn’t, go figure).

        • avatarint19h says:

          New (post-2006?) Minis don’t have such a bad reputation for accuracy. Though still nowhere near AR, of course.

      • avatarint19h says:

        This thing is like a pound lighter than a Mini. And takes AR mags and furniture. And has a rail out of the box. And is almost certainly more accurate.

    • avatarint19h says:

      Since they say that any AR upper works, I’d imagine that you can just grab a 20″ upper. It would look very neat with a bull barrel varminter.

  26. avatarArdent says:

    I suppose I’m just in a bad mood today. I get that the ability to swap uppers is a huge thing, but other than that how is this an improvement on the mini-14?

    • avatarSteve in MD says:

      No more proprietary magazines.

      • avatarYvan91 says:

        Ding ding ding. Winner. Mini-14 mags, both OEM and Aftermarket have a penchant for sucking harder than a Russian hooker.

        • avatarjohnmackay70 says:

          I don’t know about that anymore…All of the newer (within last few years) OEM metal mini-14 mags I have have all been great – but of course expensive.

    • avatarChris75 says:

      It’s almost certainly way more accurate and easier to mount optics and accessories to.

  27. avatarCknarf says:

    I kinda want one.

  28. Success is likely a question of price point. Does it use a conventional ar-15 trigger mechanism?

  29. avatarRob says:

    If they sell just the lower and BCG(probably separately) I think they would make a fortune in California.

  30. avatarLarry says:

    Those key mod versions will be collectors items after M-LOK crushes the life out of Keymod.

    • avatarlolinski says:

      It is a rail, you bolt stuff onto it. You guys are over-complicating things.

      Some of us even just bolt on individual pieces of rail on regular stocks for the stuff we need.

  31. avatarChris says:

    I like it and I already have Kel-tec, Mini’s and AR’s! Even though its the same it’s different and adds some diversion from the norm with interchangability built in. Could be a big hit. How much?

  32. avatarJay says:

    One of my big time concerns (I tend to be a hypothetical worry wart) has been traveling with a rifle that looks like a black rifle. An AR looks mean but is as versatile as can be for damned dear any purpose. This reasoning led me to consider a Mini14 but there are quality control issues. I know, I will get flamed by the Mini14 fan boys whose reasoning why the mini is so great is because the M14 was great.

    Simply, this might be the versatile yet unimposing rifle I am looking for.

  33. avatarYvan91 says:

    I’m trying to imagine this coupled with an A2 style upper and carry handle.

  34. avatarKyle says:

    One point, but officially, there are NO AWB-compliant ARs in New York state. There are neutered ARs that many BELIEVE should be compliant, but there has been no official approval from Albany for any of them thus far. This rifle will thus be a fantastic alternative. I am really hoping that this is priced decently. I am saving for my first rifle, and was looking to get a Kel Tec, but I am now looking to get this instead.

  35. avatarSixpack70 says:

    I’d own one if I lived in a state that sucks for gun laws.

  36. avatarBill says:

    other than mag swap from AR platforms…. which will remain an issue in many AWB states…. why not just go Mini-14 chambered in .223?

  37. avatartodd see says:

    ok why not make a tub fed device that can feed a magizine no state have laws against it??

    • avatarlolinski says:

      Pointy bullets + tube mag = bad time

      This is due to bullets (the pointy part) resting on the primer (the boom which causes bigger boom – part).

      Not meant to be condenscending, sorry if it is taken like that.

  38. avatarDrewN says:

    Eh, proprietary trigger with a !@#$%$# cross bolt safety. I could live with one or the other but probably not both.

  39. avatarLfshtr says:

    Miss the pistol grip. It’s like a 45 without a magazine? But it could be a bridge to some ware.

  40. avataremfourty gasmask says:

    this in .243 Winchester* would be awesome

    • avatarSmallArmsRepair says:

      My dad’s favorite rifle cartridge. I’ve been thinking of an Armalite in .243 for him with wood furniture, but this sized for .308 with wood/hydrodip might bridge the gap between his preference for classic firearms and the benefits of current technology.

  41. avatarSpunk Monkey says:

    Since this uses a custom bolt carrier, when changing uppers you can’t just drop in a BCG “matched” to it, right? Won’t you have to worry about headspace issues?

    • avatarint19h says:

      Who checks headspace on an AR, anyway? Especially when no-BCG uppers and fancy replacement BCGs are sold by hundreds of thousands?

      • avatarArdent says:

        In all the upper and BCG swaps I’ve seen head spacing was never an issue with one glaring set of exceptions. When converting AR-15s to select fire with M-16 BCGs there were a whole string of head spacing issues. It appeared that what ever brand of uppers we were using (I’ve forgotten now) the M-16 BCGs just would not work in. Aside from that rarity ARs are about as modularly compatible as it gets.

  42. avatarjax teller says:

    What about the mini 14? I think that to be the next best thing to an ar15 (m4)

  43. avatarJon R. says:

    If they could get the Magpul 870 stock to fit the receiver, this thing could actually look, and feel great.

  44. avatarPuyallup Devil_Doc says:

    Did we ever get a price on this?

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