SCAR 15P Reviewed: Small But Mighty

Authors Gun Reviews Handguns Pistols Riley Baxter

Estimated reading time: 16 minutes

The FN SCAR is one of the most iconic firearms, recognizable at sight by even the most disinterested in guns. Today’s generation can probably identify this firearm due to its prevalence in video games, while others have surely seen it in movies. A few of you probably even own or know someone who owns a SCAR.

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This gun may just be popular because of its patchwork color scheme, coming in 50 different shades of Flat Dark Earth, but it’s more likely that the SCAR is popular because it is battle proven, reliable, and accurate. And of course, the SCAR 15P is everything its predecessors were, but shorter. In this article, I’ll be going over the features of this pistol, discussing how it functions in the field, and conducting an accuracy test.

FN Scar 15P in soft case
The FN SCAR 15P is a master of versatility, being chambered in the hard-hitting 5.56x45mm NATO round and having a short, 7.5″ barrel, this platform can be useful for close-quarters and mid-range engagements alike. With the Form 1 approved, my SCAR 15P is a legal SBR and is fitted with a SIG Cross rifle stock and a few other accouterments.

About the SCAR 15P

The SCAR 15P is chambered in 5.56×45 and is the same SCAR that we have all come to know and love, but shortened to pistol length. It features a 7.5-inch barrel and comes with no pistol brace. Instead, the SCAR 15P comes with a Picatinny rail on the rear of the gun that allows you to either attach or remove pistol braces according to the ATF’s whims. Or, complete the appropriate federal paperwork to attach a rifle stock, as I did. With a stock or pistol brace and an added suppressor, the SCAR 15P really shines its brightest as a compact, accurate, reliable, and maneuverable CQB-focused firearm. I’ll be using mine as a home-defense gun.

Unboxing the SCAR

When you unbox the SCAR 15P, you’ll find that the gun comes in a zippered soft case that is quite nice. It has pockets for an extra mag and a suppressor for neat storage. There is also an extra charging handle, which I chose to install on the gun. You can either have the charging handle on the right, left, or both sides of the 15P. I put the longer charging handle on the left and the shorter one on the right side of the gun since I am right-handed and typically use my left hand to operate the charging handle. There are no concerns of your hand placement in relation to the charging handle because FN did us a favor by making this a non-reciprocating charging handle.

The SCAR 15P also comes with a QD sling swivel mount that is attached to the rear Picatinny rail on the pistol. With this, you can install a sling and use it to stabilize the gun without a stock or pistol brace. I elected to remove this and install a pistol brace until my Form 1 application (form to build an SBR) was approved. If pistol braces are still legal by the time this article is published, I recommend you do the same since it is a more pleasant shooting experience.

Scar 15P with a pistol brace on a work bench.
With the exception of the SB Tactical Brace that I installed, this is what the SCAR 15P comes as; 3-prong flash hider, sling attachment on the rear Picatinny rail, and lots of free real estate for adding accessories.

The Action

The action of the SCAR 15P is, of course, the same reliable short-stroke piston system that is time-tested in other SCAR models. This short-stroke piston system allows the pistol to run cleanly even when suppressed, and a clean system is also a reliable one. The gas block has two positions, one for suppressed shooting that bleeds off excess pressure, and one for unsuppressed shooting that does not bleed off the excess pressure that a suppressor would otherwise provide. Through my testing, both settings seemed to be just perfect, keeping the gun running without issue when appropriately set. And unlike a direct impingement firearm, my magazines were clean and not filled with carbon and gasses caused by using a suppressor.

Shooting the Scar 15P suppressed at the range.
I ran several hundred rounds of cheap ammo through the SCAR 15P while it was suppressed with a HuxWrx Flow 762 Ti suppressor and I never experienced a malfunction. You can see the dark red glow on the suppressor in this video screenshot.

The 15P comes with a 3-prong flash hider that knocks down the giant fireball that a 7.5″ barreled 5.56×45 produces. Though, if you want to remove this muzzle device to attach something else, it is threaded 1/2×28 TPI in the normal clockwise fashion. I say this because you may begin to wonder when you try to remove the flash hider; in my experience, this required the removal of the barrel, a large bench vice, a torch, and a very long wrench. I’m not overexaggerating when I say that this flash hider was probably torqued on at 200 ft/lbs or more.

Easy To Strip

Because of its simplicity, the SCAR 15P is incredibly easy to field strip down to its basic mechanical components. Such access to the firing pin, bolt carrier, recoil spring, and more provides easy cleaning and diagnosis if a mechanical failure occurs. This platform really is a work of art in the best way possible. To fit anybody’s needs or tastes, the 15P is available in FDE or black or with a 10 or 30-round magazine, totaling 4 different models available for purchase.

The Scar 15P field stripped at the rifle range.
Field Stripping the SCAR 15P is incredibly simple and doesn’t require the use of any tools.

Specifications and Features

  • MSRP: $3,699.00
  • caliber: 5.56x45mm
  • operation: short-stroke gas piston
  • mag capacity: 10 or 30 round options
  • weight: 5.65 lbs
  • barrel length: 7.5 inches
    • hammer-forged, chrome-lined
  • overall length: 19.75 inches
  • top Picatinny rail: ~13.75 inches
  • bottom Picatinny rail: 6 inches
  • side Picatinny rail: 3.75 inches
  • non-reciprocating charging handle
  • zippered carry case included
  • short-stroke piston operated
  • hard-anodized monolithic aluminum receiver
  • ambidextrous safety lever
  • one steel body, 10 or 30 round magazine included
  • comes in FDE or black
The scar 15P sits in a carry case and is fitted with Holosun optics, a TangoDown grip, and Surefire light.
Here’s a look at how the 15P fits inside the soft case that it comes with.

Accuracy Test

I chose to shoot an accuracy test at 50 yards, using 5-round groups as the standard for this review. This distance was picked because the SCAR 15P is sold as a pistol, even though I converted mine to a rifle. Standard rifle review accuracy tests are conducted at a distance of 100 yards, while the typical pistol accuracy tests are 25 yards. Because this is a large, rifle-caliber pistol, it seemed fitting to split the difference.

Shooting the Scar 15P at the range with a red dot and magnifier setup off of a bipod and rear bag.
I tested the accuracy of the SCAR 15P by shooting 5-round groups at a distance of 50 yards, using several different ammunitions.

I left the Holosun AEMS and HM3XT magnifier on the SCAR for the accuracy test. Yes, I acknowledge that 3x magnification using a 2 MOA dot is not the most precise, but this is a fantastic pairing for the platform and exhibits what you can expect to see in real-world applications. I did, however, choose to attach a bipod and shoot in the prone position in order to perform as well as possible on my side. I shot ammunition that varied from 55-grain to 75-grain projectile weight.

Don’t Forget the Ammo

The ammunitions used were American Eagle 55 grain FMJ, Lahab 55 grain FMJ, Hornady Black 62 grain, Lahab M855 62 grain, Hornady Superformance 73 grain ELD Match, and Hornady Frontier 75 grain BTHP Match. The FN SCAR 15P seemed to shoot the ammo with mid-weight projectiles best, putting down several groups that measured just over 1 MOA using 62 grain Lahab and Hornady offerings. Below are the results of this accuracy test.

Scar 15P accuracy with Hornady ammo.
A 5-round group with Hornady Black 62 grain ammunition measures 0.68 inches, or 1.3 MOA.
Scar 15P accuracy with Lahab Ammo.
Lahab M855 62 grain ammunition shot well with a 5-round group measuring 0.697 inches, or 1.3 MOA.
The Scar 15P accuracy with cheap Lahab ammo.
The 15P did not like the Lahab 55 grain FMJ ammunition and it printed a 5-round group of 2.6 inches, or 4.98 MOA.
Scar 15P accuracy with Frontier ammo.
Hornady Frontier ammo shot a 1.01 inch 5-round group, or 1.93 MOA.
Scar 15P accuracy with American Eagle ammo.
American Eagle 55 grain FMJ printed 1.47 inches, or 2.8 MOA.
Scar 15P accuracy with Hornady Superformance ammo.
Hornady Superformance 73 grain ELD Match shot 1.74 inches or 3.23 MOA.

My Experience With The 15P

From the moment I first pulled the FN SCAR 15P out of its carry case and put my hands on the gun, I knew that I had something great. It feels hefty, but not clunky, coming in at 5.65 pounds. The polymer and aluminum materials that construct the majority of the gun feel sturdy.

Speaking of construction, there are endless different configurations that you can choose to build the gun into due to the Picatinny rails located on the 12, 3, 6, and 9 O’Clock positions of the forend. The Picatinny rail on the rear, coupled with the extensive aftermarket support for the SCAR platform opens endless opportunities for slings, braces, or stocks to be attached as well.

Font view of the Scar 15P showing the attachments that can be mounted on the gun.
The customizability of the 15P is fantastic. Because of the ample Picatinny rail space on the front and rear of the gun, you can attach nearly any component that you wish. Here I have a TangoDown Stubby grip and rail covers as well as a Surefire WML mounted up front.

Early on, I slapped a SIG Sauer Romeo5 red dot sight on the 15P, complemented with an SB Tactical FS1913A brace. Later, you’ll see I exchanged these for a Holosun HM3XT magnifier, AEMS reflex sight, and a SIG Cross rifle stock once the form 1 was approved. An FN carbine stock is compatible with the 15P and would be a better pairing, but at the time of writing this article, it was tough to find one in stock. Both optics were an excellent pairing that complemented the firearm’s capabilities and design. These setups were perfect for close-range shooting and extremely fast target acquisition but I could still stretch things out to around 300 yards on man-sized targets when utilizing the quantity-over-quality shooting tactic.

A Well-Oiled Machine

My first range session provided a great shooting experience because the gun is very ergonomic and the recoil impulse is pretty low. The way the bolt cycles is solid and consistent, giving the impression of a well-oiled machine even though I’ve yet to provide the gun with any lubrication. Once I’m done stress-testing this firearm, I’ll reward it with a nice dip in a good-quality lube though.

Closeup of the Scar 15P firing controls.
A closeup of the left side of the receiver. Take note of the ambidextrous mag release and 45-degree safety.

The 3-prong flash hider that comes on the SCAR 15P does a great job cutting down on the otherwise massive fireball that the 7.5-inch barrel produces, but this firearm is extraordinarily loud. Because of this, I eventually removed the flash hider and installed a HuxWrx QD muzzle brake paired with their new Flow 762 Ti suppressor. Though the flash hider was loud, the system proved reliable on the correct gas block setting.

SEE MORE: The FN SCAR 15P is Here!

Impressively, the 15P performed just as reliably with the Flow 762 Ti. Also, I could hardly feel a difference between the suppressed and unsuppressed gas settings with the Flow attached. This observation is a testament to the low back pressure, flow-through design of this suppressor.

Warranty Assurance

On a related note, there are rumors that using a suppressor on a SCAR will void its warranty, but I can assure you that this is not exactly the case. I spoke with an FN employee at SHOT Show 2023 in January about this and I was told that damage caused to the firearm that results from the use of a suppressor is not covered under warranty, but the warranty is not voided. To avoid this situation, the SCAR is best paired with a suppressor that is designed to produce low back pressure, such as the one I chose.

SCAR 15P Reviewed: Small But Mighty
A look at the front of the gun where the gas settings can be changed on the gas block between suppressed, and unsuppressed shooting.

Once the gun was suppressed, it was far more pleasant to use. Eventually, I got a bit carried away at the gun range and put a few hundred rounds through the 15P in a relatively short timeframe. The suppressor took on a dull red glow and the bottom Picatinny rail became too hot to touch with bare hands. This aluminum Picatinny rail at the 6 O’Clock position is bolted directly to the barrel, so if the barrel gets too hot this rail will eventually conduct that heat. After this experience, I attached a vertical foregrip (use an angled grip if you don’t SBR your 15P) that allows me to take my hand away from the hot barrel while maintaining control of the firearm. Even with so much heat introduced to the system, the SCAR 15P continued to perform flawlessly in this scenario.

One Tough Son-of-a-Gun

The FN SCAR 15P is built to be extremely tough. I’ve used and abused this gun thoroughly, as you may have inferred. I should have known that FN’s engineers knew best, but at one point I decided to swap the factory 8-pound trigger for a Timney Trigger. This aftermarket swap brought the trigger pull weight down to exactly 3.5 crisp pounds. With this change, eventually, my using and abusing brought about a catastrophic failure where the aftermarket trigger’s disconnector sheared off. You can probably assume the consequence of this. Timney informed me that the failure was a random fluke and sent me a new trigger for the gun once I sent the broken one back to them.

Because of this, I will now be wary of similar failures going forward. Though, with the factory trigger installed, this worry would not exist. Consequentially, I’ll likely swap back to the original trigger when I employ the gun as a home-defense weapon. Outside of this issue with an aftermarket part, I experienced no other failures of any sort with the SCAR 15P.

Aftermarket Timney Trigger replacing the stock trigger in the Scar 15P.
This is a close look at the Timney SCAR trigger that I replaced the factory trigger with, and eventually broke. If you demand reliability, a safe bet is to put your faith in the factory components of the 15P.

Final Thoughts

After my testing, I purchased this SCAR 15P as my own and I plan on keeping it ready in the house as a home defense gun. If this does not sum up my thoughts on the 15P, I’ll elaborate some more. This SCAR pistol is a natural progression of the SCAR product line. Since it is designed with the same features and characteristics that are time-tested and battle-proven, the end result is near flawless. I’m even willing to overlook FN’s apparent color blindness with their use of 8 different flat-dark-earth shades on the same firearm because of the way the firearm performs, but I know some of you weirdos might even like this color scheme.

The exquisite simplicity of the SCAR 15P keeps potential points of failure to a minimum and the overengineering of each component prevents failure from happening altogether. On top of all of this, I experienced zero failures to eject, zero stovepipes, zero double feeds, and zero failures to reliably feed of any other nature. Yes, the FN SCAR 15P comes with the premium price tag of $3,699.00 but I’ve come to the conclusion that reliable performance is worth this, especially when my primary use for the firearm involves life or death scenarios. And my life is worth far more than four grand.

Click here to learn more about the FN SCAR 15P.

A suppressed Scar 15P at the gun range.
I suppressed my SCAR 15P with a HuxWrx Flow 762 Ti, which added very little back pressure to the system and ran reliably and quietly.

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  • Dan July 7, 2023, 9:03 am

    Nice weapon – if you happen to live in a state that allows you to purchase it or own it.

    Washington State has now joined the other liberal bastions that forbid anyone from owning such a firearm, or the magazines that feed it.

    • Stan d. Upnow July 7, 2023, 11:06 am

      And according to their HUTA idea, gun violence has dropped to nil in all those places, right?

      • Jason October 29, 2023, 1:02 am

        Lol! I live in eastern Wa. State, and gun violence is the same as before or as*hole dunce signed an “emergency” bill with out the people’s vote. My county refuses to obey such unlawful ransom. Don’t believe sugar coated lies.

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