Gear Review: VLTOR RE-SCAR Stock for the FN SCAR

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There’s little doubt that the stock on the FN SCAR series of rifles is less than optimal. Its big, bulky, and not terribly reliable — I broke the stock on my SCAR 16S about halfway through the competition year, as the latch on the hinge bent and wasn’t quite as solid anymore. Replacement parts for the SCAR series of rifles are few and far between, but VLTOR is a company that’s making an effort to come up with creative ways to make the highly proprietary SCAR rifles more customizable. Today we’re looking at the RE-SCAR, VLTOR’s attempt to make the SCAR rifles compatible with the nearly endless supply of AR-15 stocks . . .

Before I talk about what the RE-SCAR does right, let me talk a little about what FN did wrong.

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The first issue is the cheek rest. The SCAR is designed with the rail section remarkably high over the bore axis of the gun compared to other modern rifles. For those looking to mount optics, that means you might find that you get more of a chin weld than a cheek weld. FN tried to ameliorate this issue with an adjustable cheek piece (with two positions — up or down), but it feels like a bolt-on solution rather than a baked-in-from-the-start engineering design.

Issue #2 is the reliability of the folding mechanism. The hinge itself is fine, but the latch that holds the stock in the open position is made of plastic and prone to wearing down and breaking off. A solid stock is essential for making good, accurate shots, and while the stock is fine most of the time, the easily worn-out latch is a serious issue that threatens the accuracy of the gun.

The biggest problem with the SCAR stock, though is aesthetic. The front half of the SCAR rifle is a fairly sleek and sexy beast, nicely curved, with all the right rails in all the right places. I have some minor quibbles about the operating bits, but overall its a damn fine gun. Where the styling goes off the rails is the stock. It makes the rifle look and feel chunkier than it is. The stock is how the shooter interfaces their body with the rifle, and if the stock feels too thick, the gun consequently feels too thick. The design of the stock is the primary reason I didn’t like the SCAR 17S in my review a couple years back — it just felt way too much like I was shouldering a hippopotamus instead of a svelte modern rifle.

A few weeks back, I was bit by the sudden and unnatural urge to hot-rod my SCAR. My 16S had been sitting in my closet for nearly the last year untouched after the competition season, and I figured there would be nothing better than to turn it into a kick-ass SBR. After some troubles with the gunsmith, my SCAR 17S (not a typo) came back and I asked VLTOR very nicely to let us test their RE-SCAR stock adapter.

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The concept behind the RE-SCAR is pretty simple. The market is already flooded with aftermarket AR-15 stocks, so the simplest way for a SCAR owner to get a dandy new stock on their gun would be to make an adapter that allows the use of AR-15 aftermarket stocks. Instead of simply making a one-piece-fits-all adapter, though, the guys at VLTOR went a couple steps further with their aluminum creation.

Since the SCAR doesn’t have a need for any of that highfalutin buffer assembly garbage found in the AR, there isn’t really a need for a buffer tube…other than using it to attach a stock. So instead of making a solid part, VLOR went the extra step and added a water tight-tight cap on the end that allows the shooter to use the tube as a storage compartment for batteries or matches or whatever. I have mine stuffed with an emergency Twinkie.

The other nice feature on the adapter is the ability to change the position of the stock. The end user can select where they want their stock positioned in relation to the height on the gun. And it’s easy as pie to change the setting later — all it takes is a 5.56 or 7.62 NATO cartridge or a small piece of metal to spin the locking clamp. Since different people have differently shaped faces (and different optics are different heights) this allows the shooter to set the stock to whatever position gives them the best line of sight, something incredibly useful in the field.

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One final touch added on the RE-SCAR: QD cups. The VLTOR folks added a “quick detach” cup on either side of the stock, allowing the shooter to use any number of QD-based slings like the Magpul MS2. It’s something the original SCAR was sorely missing.

Installing the stock on your rifle is easy as pie — simply slide the old stock off and slip the new one on. From there you can install any stock you like, be it the VLTOR AR stock or any of the vast and varied array of Magpul stocks. Once installed and adjusted to your preference, you’re off to the races!

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On the gun (even a SCAR 17S), the stock and adapter feel rock solid. The adjustable height makes the gun feel much slimmer, since I’m not craning my neck around to try and find my dot anymore. And most importantly, the gun looks markedly better.

I’m not all smiles and rainbows though, there are a couple complaints.

The current method for adjusting the height of the stock uses friction to keep the stock adapter in place. This allows for an infinite number of positions to set the stock height, but I get the feeling that this is going to come loose eventually and need to be re-tightened. A minor gripe admittedly, but still I’d like to see a series of pre-drilled holes into which I can slot that side pin and stick that adapter.

The color is a little off as well, but that’s to be expected with the SCAR. Truth be told no two SCARs are really the same color — the color is a function of how long they were in the anodizing tank, and the SCARs at the bottom of the tank tend to come out a slightly different color than those at the top. Nothing like hot pink or anything exciting, just a slightly different shade of Afghanistan. Anyway, there’s no real way to match the RE-SCAR stock color because the SCAR itself isn’t exactly one color, so they did the best they could.

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The RE-SCAR from VLTOR is a solid product that fills a niche for SCAR owners. It enables them to use any AR-style stock currently on the market for their special snowflake of a rifle, opening up possibilities for modding a very good gun. It also improves the overall appearance of the SCAR, as the chunky FN stock is replaced with a slim single aluminum tube making the gun appear much slimmer. I finally feel like I’m shouldering a rifle and not an ocean liner with my SCAR. That alone is worth the price of admission to me.

VLTOR RE-SCAR Stock
Weight: 10.4 oz.
Colors: Tan or Black
Price: $169.95 MSRP

Ratings (out of five):

Usability: * * * * *
Easy to use, easy to adjust.

Reliability: * * * *
I’m concerned about the friction based locking system for the stock, but it hasn’t come loose so far.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
It made my SCAR feel less massive. I like it.

comments

  1. avatar preston says:

    VLTOR once again, forcing us to spend money on things we already want to. LOL. this is a much needed update to the SCAR platform. I always had a issue believing FN had propagated such short comings with the stock on this gun. I had heard the stock turned alot of potential, enthusiastic buyers into non-buyers.

    This begs the question: Does VLTOR make anything that is NOT bad ass?

  2. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    That is just a cool looking rifle.
    Now looking even more cool.

  3. avatar Defens says:

    I guess it’s a matter of opinion on appearance – one of the things that differentiates the SCAR (or for that matter the Beretta ARX-series) favorably from the AR is the very different profile. With the VLTOR adapter, it’s just another AR with a funky looking front end. But again, that’s just aesthetic taste. But they need to come up with an adapter that lets you bolt a surplus plywood AK stock, or housepaint camo’ed, surplus Rhodesian FAL stock, on. Now that would be getting somewhere!

    My first internal question about the height adjustment was answered a few sentences later by you. Great idea, probably poor execution. I’ve had similar issues with the length adjustment on an AR stock – they used a cap screw as the push button for adjustment, which is uncomfortable as heck, jams up, and tries to unscrew itself. Adjustable stuff needs to be as robust as you can possibly make it or it becomes a deficit, not a benefit.

    Overall, nice review Nick. One of your better ones lately.

  4. avatar Sammy says:

    Does the stick still fold with the re-scar? Any fix for the weak plastic latch?

  5. avatar Alan In FL says:

    I’m surprised FN did not stick with the FAL/FNC hinge design without the safety latch. Can’t go wrong with metal.
    But it is a good thing that VLTOR made something to adapt AR stocks to the SCAR. More choices to go tier 1.

    1. avatar seans says:

      What do you mean by tier 1?

      1. avatar notaTTAGreg says:

        Tactical as hell is what Tier 1 means, bro!

        1. avatar Alan In FL says:

          Tier 1 is the what everyone wants to be a SEALs, DELTA, or any other spec ops operator.

          It was meant to be a tongue in cheek joke. Teir 1 replaced the mall ninja run on. You guys need to visit other websites.

      2. avatar seans says:

        The reason I asked is cause I actually know what the Tier system meant. I am curious what the majority of people think it is cause I have yet to meet someone who actually knows what it actually meant. I got a briefing from a JSOC planner for it(and still came out sort of confused), and learned it actually has nothing to do with the ranking of a units tactical ability. Like how the majority of Seals are Tier 3, while the Ranger Batts are Tier 2. Even though the Seals or better trained and equipped than the Batts. Or how the vast majority of Tier 1 units are support units, not shooters.(And none of the Tier 1 shooter units use the SCAR family).

        1. avatar Swamp Fox says:

          The tier system determines operational cycles. Furthermore, vanilla Seal teams don’t even fall under the command of this mysterious organization you call “JSOC.” In fact, JSOC doesn’t even exist. So what are you talking about?

  6. avatar surlycmd says:

    The VLTOR stock will not loosen. I’ve had a Scout M1A in a VLTOR chassis for a couple of years. No issue with it loosening. Ever. Glad to see some after market gear for the SCAR series. Beside the price, the side folding stock is why I wasn’t interested in buying.

  7. avatar stateisevil says:

    Pretty sad for such an overpriced rifle. The VLTOR handguards for the FAL are also very good, but overpriced.

  8. avatar forrest says:

    These aren’t all that new. I’ve seen a couple of photos from afghanistan recently featuring these. Thanks for the info as to who makes them though! +1

  9. avatar Lee Woiteshek says:

    Still waiting on my Bren 10.

    Somebody had to say it.

    1. avatar RocketScientist says:

      Hear hear!

  10. avatar Hinshelworld says:

    Or, you know, just buy an AR…

  11. avatar Billy says:

    “I have mine stuffed with an emergency Twinkie.”
    Tallahassee would be proud…

  12. avatar Billy says:

    I have mine stuffed with an emergency Twinkie.
    Tallahassee would be proud…

  13. avatar Texsylvanian says:

    So when you put a magpul stick on a vltor receiver extension… is that like crossing the streams?

  14. avatar pun&gun says:

    Subjective, I guess, but that’s horrifically ugly compared to the replacement stock VLTOR already makes. Unless you run a CTR with cheek risers on it, too, that comb just don’t go high enough. I’d rather run the replacement folding latch from HANDL, I think.

  15. avatar JC says:

    So in your experience, does this reduce the ‘SCAR cheek’ experience with the OEM stock? It’s not unbearable, but on the 17S you can definitely feel it after enough rounds. Probably depends on which stock you put on there, of course, but wondering about your thoughts on this aspect of stock replacement.

  16. avatar DevsAdvocate says:

    Nick, for a grassroots development, I suggest you check out SCAR stock adapter as well: http://fnforum.net/forums/fn-scar-17s/57027-ditch-boot-spring-here-sneak-peek-fresh-off-machine.html

    It’s about $100, has QD, but lacks the upward/downward adjustment. Just figured I’d give a shout out to the folks at FN Forum who came up with this.

  17. avatar JQP says:

    Nick –

    Does it still fold (or at least easily detach for storage/transport)?

    Does it add any weight?

    Thanks!

  18. avatar PeterK says:

    The only concern I’d have with this is moving the stock around changes how the recoil pushes the gun against you. Admittedly this is a minor issue. But still it’d still be annoying methinks.

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