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Mk.16

Assault rifle

Mk.16

The Mk.16 is a US SOCOM designation of a Belgian FN SCAR-L modular assault rifle

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 2009
Caliber 5.56 x 45 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.5 kg
Length 850 mm
Length (with folded stock) 620 mm
Barrel length 254 mm / 355 mm / 457 mm
Muzzle velocity ?
Cyclic rate of fire 600 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range ?
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 current M14, M16, M4 and Mk.11 rifles. In 2004 it was announced that a Belgian FN SCAR 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 M4 carbine 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 way.

   An 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 excellent ergonomics.

   The Mk.16 is fed from improved M16-type 30-round capacity magazines.

   A side-folding buttstock is adjustable for length. It can be completely removed from the weapon.

   This assault 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.

   There are 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.

   It looks 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 suppressor.

 

Variants

 

   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 AK-47 / AKM 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.

 

 
Mk.16

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Mk.16

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Mk.16

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Mk.16

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Mk.16

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