Country of origin
5.56 x 45 mm
Length (with folded stock)
254 mm / 355 mm / 457 mm
Cyclic rate of fire
Practical rate of fire
40 - 100 rpm
Range of effective fire
300 m / 500 m / 600 m
The Mk.16 is
a modular assault rifle, used by the US Special Operations Command
(US SOCOM). At some point the US SOCOM requested a new combat rifle,
that would be available in different calibers and would replace the
Mk.11 rifles. In 2004 it was announced that a Belgian
modular assault rifle was selected to meet this requirement. Version
of the FN SCAR, the SCAR-L, chambered for 5.45x56 mm ammunition was
adopted by the US SOCOM as the Mk.16. Another version of the same
weapon, the SCAR-H battle rifle, chambered for a more powerful
7.62x51 mm ammunition, was adopted as the
Mk.17. Deliveries of both
rifles commenced in 2009. These were delivered to all branches of
the US SOCOM, including Navy SEALs, US Army Rangers, Army Special
Forces, MARSOC and AFSOC. However in 2010 soon after the
introduction, the US SOCOM announced that they will cancel all
purchases of the Mk.16, but keep on ordering the Mk.17. The main
reason was a lack of performance difference of the Mk.16 comparing
with the standard
to justify the purchase. Instead they planned to purchase conversion kits for their
Mk.17 battle rifles, that would allow to convert them into Mk.16s.
At the time the US SOCOM already bought 850 Mk.16s and 750 Mk.17s. Both the Mk.16 and Mk.17 weapons
are manufactured in the United
States by the FNH USA, a subsidiary of the Belgian company.
The Mk.16 is
a gas operated, selective fire weapon with modular design. It is
chambered for a standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. The key idea of
the modular system, that it provides the US special forces with a
wide variety of configurations. Each weapon can be reconfigured in
the field within the matter of minutes. The Mk.16 and Mk.17 assault
rifles have the same layout, controls and maintenance procedures, as
well as 90% parts commonality. These weapons are available in three
quick-detachable barrel versions - standard (355 mm / 14"), close
quarters combat (254 mm / 10") and long barrel (457 mm / 18").
Different length barrels can be quickly installed. So the shooter
can configure its weapon to suit mission requirements. None of the
previous US special forces weapon could be easily modified in this
ambidextrous safety and fire mode selector switch has positions for
"safe", "semi-auto" and "full auto". A charging handle can be easily
installed from either side of the receiver. Spent cases are ejected
only to the right side. However there is a deflector, which propels
the spent cases away from the left-handed shooters. This weapon has
The Mk.16 is
fed from improved
30-round capacity magazines.
side-folding buttstock is adjustable for length. It can be
completely removed from the weapon.
rifle has a full-length Picatinny-type scope rail for mounting
various optics. It comes as standard with detachable flip-up iron
sights. Though these special forces weapons are typically used with
various scopes. This assault rifle can also mount night vision
sights. Effective range of fire is up to 500 meters against single
targets and 600 meters against area targets.
additional Picatinny-type accessory rails, mounted on both sides and
under the foregrip. These are used to mount various add-on
accessories, such as tactical flashlights, laser pointers, vertical
grips, bipods and so on.
like the Mk.16 assault rifle can not mount a bayonet. Though it is
compatible with an Mk.13 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher, which can be also
used as a stand alone weapon. The Mk.16 can also mount a sound
Mk.17 is a
version of the same Belgian FN SCAR-H, chambered for a more powerful
7.62x51 mm ammunition. This weapon uses 20-round magazines.
Effective range of fire is up to 600 meters against single targets
and 800 meters against area targets. The Mk.17 assault rifle can be
configured to fire the 7.62x39 mm ammunition by changing the barrel.
In this case it can accept standard
magazines. This feature allows to fire enemy ammunition what is very
important for operations behind the enemy lines. In 2010, the US SOCOM
announced that they will cancel all purchases of the Mk.16. Instead
they planned to purchase 5.56 mm conversion kits for their Mk.17
battle rifles, that would allow to convert them to fire the same
5.56x45 mm ammunition as the Mk.16.
Mk.20 is a
sniper variant of the Mk.17. It is chambered for a 7.62x51 mm
ammunition and comes with a precision barrel.