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Mk.17

Battle rifle

Mk.17

The Mk.17 is a US SOCOM designation of a Belgian FN SCAR-H modular assault rifle

 
 
Country of origin United States
Entered service 2009
Caliber 7.62 x 51 mm
Weight ? / 3.58 kg / 3.72 kg
Length 889 mm / 965 mm / 1 067 mm
Length (with folded stock) 635 mm / 711 mm / 813 mm
Barrel length 330 mm / 406 mm / 508 mm
Muzzle velocity 714 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 625 rpm
Practical rate of fire 30 - 90 rpm
Magazine capacity 20 rounds
Sighting range ?
Range of effective fire 300 m / 600 m / 800 m

 

   The Mk.17 is a modular battle 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-H, chambered for 7.62x51 mm ammunition was adopted by the US SOCOM as the Mk.17. Another version of the same weapon, the SCAR-L assault rifle, chambered for a lighter 5.56x45 mm ammunition, was adopted as the Mk.16. 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 procurement of the Mk.16 was suspended due to the lack of performance difference over the standard M4 carbine to justify the purchase. However the US SOCOM continued purchasing the Mk.17. The Mk.17 is manufactured in the United States by the FNH USA, a subsidiary of the Belgian company. This weapon is currently widely used by the US special forces, and proved itself well.

   The Mk.17 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon with modular design. It is chambered for a standard NATO 7.62x51 mm full-power 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. Three  quick-detachable barrels with different lengths are available, including short (330 mm / 13"), standard (406 mm / 16") and long (508 mm / 20"). These barrels can be quickly replaced, so the shooter can customize his weapon depending on actual mission requirements. None of the previous US special forces weapon could be easily modified in this way. Version of the Mk.17 with the shortest barrel is a rather unusual weapon with compact dimensions, but with a firepower of a battle rifle. This configuration is intended for close quarter battles.

   The Mk.17 assault rifle can be configured to fire the 7.62x39 mm ammunition. In this case it can accept standard 30-round AK-47 / AKM magazines. This feature allows to fire enemy ammunition what is very important for operations behind the enemy lines.

   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.17 is fed from 20-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 600 meters against single targets and 800 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.

   Flash hider of the Mk.17 can be used to snap barbed wire by inserting the barbed wire into the flash hider and twisting the weapon. Alternatively it snap the inserted barbed wire by shooting through it. Also this weapon can mount a sound suppressor. Though it looks like the Mk.17 can not mount a bayonet.

   This weapon is compatible with an Mk.13 40 mm underbarrel grenade launcher, which can be also used as a stand alone unit.

 

Variants

 

   Mk.16 is a version of the Belgian FN SCAR-L, chambered for a lighter 5.56x45 mm ammunition. This weapon uses 30-round magazines. Its effective range of fire is up to 500 meters against single targets and 600 meters against area targets. This weapon was adopted by the US SOCOM, alongside the Mk.17 in 2009. However in 2010, soon after its introduction, the US SOCOM announced that they will cancel all purchases of the Mk.16. The main reason was a lack of performance difference comparing with the standard M4 carbine to justify the purchase. 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. At the time the US SOCOM already bought 850 Mk.16s.

   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.17

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