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When I reviewed the SCAR 17s, one of the major complaints I had was about the magazine. Its a proprietary design, and as such makes buying spare mags both expensive and difficult. Thankfully, a company called Handl Defense has come up with a new aluminum lower receiver or the SCAR 17S that takes regular PMAGs, and can be shipped straight to your door. You heard me right — a lower that can be shipped to your door.

The observant readers may remember that the SCAR platform makes the upper receiver the serialized part (and therefore the actual “gun”), while the AR-15 makes the lower the serialized part. Nifty, eh?

From the manufacturer’s website:

Handl Defense introduces the SCAR25, The first major upgrade for the FN SCAR-H platform. Made from billet 7075 T6 aluminum. We have completely re-engineered this lower receiver the way it should have been done it the first time. We have specifically designed the magazine well to be compatible with the readily available and combat proven SR-25, and M110 magazines, including the widely used MAGPUL P-MAG 20 in .308. We redesigned the grip tang to accept all M16/M4 compatible grips such as the Magpul and ERGO grips. We re-contoured the arch above the grip to accommodate gloved and smaller hands better reach to the fire controls.

While taking PMAGs and other standard AR-10 magazines is a great benefit in and of itself, having an aluminum receiver instead of the plastic one that comes with the gun is another big improvement. The lightweight yet sturdy material means that the gun not only weighs less, but you’ll be less scared of melting your gun to your hand.

Current list price is set at about $300, or 10% of the cost of the original firearm. And from where I’m sitting that’s a great investment — especially if you already had the money to throw around to buy the thing in the first place.

[h/t reader Dan]

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    • I checked out the specs on Handl’s site. They say the lower is lighter “with a full combat load out”.
      They threw 9 standard FN mags and the polymer lower on a scale and came up with more weight than 9 PMAGs and and their aluminum lower.
      Somebody at Handl is taking lessons from the people who come up with the unemployment numbers.

  1. OK . So I got 300 I can throw around ,considering what a Scar costs I have wanted one since they were available . At a gun show a couple years back they had one for about $4000. . I see them now for about $28oo-3000. So can an upper be had and what do they run?

    • Assuming pre-hysteria prices, I think the proprietary were~65, so 65-15=50

      The thing pays for itself after six mags. That is a pretty good return.

  2. Hey Nick — You tested out my SCAR 17 back in January. Thanks for this information. I just purchased one. And I really look forward to trying it out and customizing my SCAR. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

  3. So for only $360, I have a slightly heavier SCAR and four magazines.

    Or if I order FNH mags from Brownells and spend the same money, I have a SCAR, nine magazines, and a happy meal.


    • Yeah, but would you rather shoot 9 FNH magazines or 4 PMAG’s? After playing around with both, I’d rather have one PMAG than ever have to deal with FNH magazines again.

      And I really like the ability to take any AR pistol grip as an accessory.

  4. This changes the game on the scar 17s as far as I’m concerned. If they had any sense they will re-engineer the Scar to follow suit. Perhaps an uptick in sales will give a head-up.

  5. Hmmm

    Doesn’t anybody think it is odd that rather than ramp up manufacture ofa very very simple item (20 round magazines which have been in production in one form or another for edd half a century or more) someone instead replaces a $60 part at retail and puts in a $350 part that requires disassembly of half the weapon. It also requires that you junk your often considerable investment in FNH SCAR magazines and purchase an entire new set. Clearly just to break even requires a huge investment. All this just to replace magazines. I realize that it takes time to purchase the factory mags but with a little time and persistence they can be had for about $40. Why didn’t someone just approach one of the companies all ready manufacturing magazines and enlist them to produce SCAR Mags?

  6. I have a Handl Defense lower on my Scar 17. The motivation was to standardize magazines to other firearms that I have and to possibly use an X products drum mag down in the future.

    Fit, finish, and function are all perfect. I had not fired my SCAR 17 for a couple of months and after testing it last night, I was reminded of what a fine piece it is.


    • Bob, Before taking my SCAR to a gunsmith I also purchased a Timney trigger. The Trigger and hammer pins on the SCAR25 were canted a little and required work but after doing a little work and installing the little pull smoother trigger I took it to the range and was getting well sub MOA with off the shelf ammo and was nailing head sized rocks at 500 meters with no problem. The improved feel of the lower and the smoother trigger was incredible. Now I have to spend money on ammo to get as good as the rifle is.

  7. I ordered one of these from the manufacturer when they were first announced.
    They dinged my credit card for the $400+ then waited 5 months to let me know they printed a shipping label. As it turned out the lower never shipped, according to ups the shipping label was canceled. After a half dozen phone calls trying to straiten out the mater (the corporate phone # sounded like it was some guys cell phone) and as many emails it turns out they it’s my problem.

    They did offer to “sell me another at cost”, I politely declined.

    I can’t comment on the quality of the product but the quality of the company leaves much to be desired.

    • Chris,

      Your experience is the exact opposite of mine. I couldnt find a more helpful group of guys. They took the time to ask questions that really helped me make a decision. Their lower is really nice and works great with my Geislle trigger. Their carbon fiber hand guard is a thing of beauty. I think they are the class of the scar after market.

  8. The main interest is for military. This is the only product released for civilian use from the SCAR improvement program but its still in phase 1. It don’t have to make sense to sell units. And that’s the first negative comnent I’ve heard about their business practices. Sounds like you somebody should sue…..


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